Welcome to Malibu
If there is one beach city in the country to outshine all others, it would be Malibu. Located in the southwestern edge of Los Angeles County, in that sweet spot where the Pacific Coast Highway curves along the edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu is the very picture of luxurious oceanfront living in Southern California. Nothing comes close to this place people affectionately call “the ‘Bu.”
A Legendary Place
Malibu has long been entrenched in the collective psyche as a fabled place only the most privileged have access to. It has a long history that spans thousands of years, starting with the seafaring Chumash people. They were the ones who gave Malibu its name; Humaliwo. In the 20th century, one family treated Malibu as their own private kingdom until the celebrities and the creme de la creme of society flocked to create their dream homes in this place where “the surf sounds loudly.” It’s a story that deserves its own Hollywood retelling. And with Malibu considered as one of the most desirable places to live on the Southern California coast, we can only assume it will add more to its prestige.
Peace, privacy, and the best ocean views in Southern California
Although Malibu has long been open to the public, privacy is still one of its most treasured offerings. As such, it remains one of ideal addresses of many high-profile home buyers and real estate investors who want to stay away from the limelight. This is an oceanfront escape, one that is about a 50-minute drive away from Downtown Los Angeles and the Los Angeles International Airport. There is only one main thoroughfare: the Pacific Coast Highway, and up the Santa Monica Mountains, the roads get steeper and the neighborhoods even more secluded.
Homes for sale in Malibu, CA
In real estate, Malibu is best known for its fine collection of waterfront properties, whether they may be luxury homes, ranch properties, or condos. But there are other offerings here as well. Malibu’s many neighborhoods open up plenty of real estate options, from striking mid-century modern abodes further inland to mountainside retreats, forested equestrian properties, and even vineyards for oenophiles who want to enjoy the region’s terroir and perhaps bottle their own wine.
Malibu luxury real estate is highly prized and coveted, and this demand and reputation is reflected on the home prices in the city. In Malibu, the average home price is $3,175,000, with the most expensive homes listed on the market for over $110 million. Competition for these properties can be fierce, especially now that the market is extremely active, which is why it is absolutely recommended to work with an expert realtor like Joyce Rey and her team.
The best neighborhoods in Malibu
For a closer look at Malibu luxury real estate and celebrity homes, a tour of Malibu’s myriad neighborhoods is a must. The following communities are some of the most sought-after places to live in Malibu:
Big Rock is one of the first neighborhoods you will encounter as you drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. Named after the distinctive rock formation that can be seen offshore, homes in Big Rock consist of luxury and ranch properties with some of the most expansive and unobstructed views of the ocean. There is an old Malibu feel to this neighborhood, thanks to the mature flora as well as the real estate, most of which date back to the 1950s and 1960s.
Broad Beach is one of Malibu’s more exclusive addresses. This remote strip of a beachfront neighborhood is home to 108 beachfront lots, occupied by the most dazzling display of real estate options. There are contemporary architectural gems that stand alongside older properties, as well as a handful of undeveloped vacant land. Residents here have unrestricted beach access. It is literally their backyard.
Carbon Beach is also called the Billionaire’s Row for one primary reason: it’s the address of many wealthy and high-profile individuals. There is an impressive lineup of celebrity homes in this neighborhood, which also makes Carbon Beach quite the destination for tourists hoping for celebrity sightings. Real estate-wise, Carbon Beach has an even more limited housing supply with only 70 lots in the neighborhood. A Carbon Beach address means you’ve made it in life and now it is time for you to enjoy it.
Encinal Bluffs is a popular summertime retreat because of its idyllic location in Malibu. It is no wonder many A-listers have also set up celebrity homes in the neighborhood. Located close to El Matador State Beach, homes in Encinal Bluffs are in close proximity to a wealth of outdoor recreation such as diving and paddle-boarding. Charmlee Wilderness Park is also nearby, making this a secluded and naturally beautiful place to live.
Malibu Colony is one of the very first neighborhoods in Malibu. In fact, some locals and historians refer to the place as the original Malibu. As such, it not only boasts a great location and an excellent crop of luxury homes but historic appeal as well. Homes here can be dated all the way back to the golden era of Hollywood and come in a variety of styles, from beachfront bungalows to luxurious estates. Most of these properties have been renovated or expanded to suit more modern needs and sensibilities.
Serra Retreat offers a break from the usual beachfront lifestyle that is typical of Malibu. Located up in Malibu Canyon, the landscape here is far greener and the roads long and winding, opening up to reveal some of the most breathtaking views of the area and the Pacific. Amidst its forest of sycamore and eucalyptus trees are private luxury retreats, estates, and ranch properties encompassing acres of lush land. Malibu takes on a more rural and rustic personality here, and although it feels worlds away, Downtown Malibu is nearer than you might think.
Architectural highlights in Malibu real estate
Architectural styles in Malibu widely vary. Contemporary and mid-century modern homes are plentiful, but you will also find Spanish Revival, as well as Modern and International styles in the real estate market.
Celebrities, sun-seekers, and surfers were not the only groups of people Malibu attracted since it was opened to the public in the early 20th century. Artists and designers also came and were inspired. By the middle of the century, Malibu became one of the go-to playgrounds of some of the world’s most renowned architects. As you explore Malibu luxury real estate, you will find the works of Richard Neutra, A. Quincy Jones, Ed Niles, Frank Lloyd Wright, Harry Gesner, Frank Gehry, and Richard Meier.
A city best enjoyed during the day
The sun is your best friend in Malibu. From sunrise to sundown, you’ll be able to enjoy all of Malibu’s most breathtaking sights, not to mention plethora of outdoor activities on land or on water. Watch the sun rise from your bedroom window and see it as it sinks down the horizon, painting the skies in shades of orange, pink, then blues and purples.
At night, Malibu transforms from an exciting beach town into a serene coastal escape. Since it’s largely residential, there is little to no light pollution in Malibu. Here, you can look up and go stargazing on clear nights. If you are craving for some nightlife, Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles are the best places to go.
Pleasant weather all year round
Malibu is blessed with a warm summer Mediterranean climate that is significantly affected by the Pacific Ocean with it so being close by. The typical Mediterranean climate brings about dry summers and mild winters, and in Malibu, temperatures are comparatively more moderate than other Southern California cities located further inland.
Summers in Malibu are just the right kind of warm and never too uncomfortable, while winters are cool and relatively long. It usually rains during the winter months and there’s hardly any snow.
A fine selection of top schools
Malibu is served by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SSMUSD). They have four schools in the city: Webster Elementary, Malibu Elementary, Malibu Middle School, and Malibu High School, which is a California Distinguished School.
In addition to the excellent public schools, Malibu is also home to a handful of private institutions such as Our Lady of Malibu School and The Sycamore School. For higher learning, there’s Pepperdine University located along the Pacific Coast Highway. The University of Southern California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is about less than an hour’s drive away from Malibu.
Splendid restaurants that satisfy cravings
The entire length of the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu not only offers a scenic drive any time of the year. There are plenty of dining options you can find here as well. Some of the most iconic restaurants in Malibu are located along this stretch, including Duke’s Malibu, famous for their seafood and Hawaiian cuisine.
Another well-loved restaurant in the city is the Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market and Patio Cafe, where you can enjoy freshly made fish ‘n chips on an outdoor picnic table overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Malibu Farm Pier Cafe is also a notable mention among local favorites— this is one of the go-to places in Malibu for farm-to-table dining and some of the best ocean views.
Geoffrey’s offers an all-Californian menu as well as exemplary oceanfront dining. Do try their paella and come by on a Saturday or Sunday for their famous weekend brunch. If you’re feeling adventurous, look for the stairs that lead directly down to Escondido Beach.
For a different kind of culinary experience in Malibu, visit The Malibu Cafe in Calamigos Ranch. They have an excellent selection of local wines, an impressive menu featuring New American cuisine, as well as kid-friendly options.
The finest beaches in Southern California
Looking to sunbathe in peace and quiet? Not to worry. Malibu has approximately 21 miles of shoreline. You will surely find a nice spot to claim as your own. And if you have a beachfront property, you need not worry at all.
The Malibu Lagoon State Beach is a constant local favorite specifically for its waves. Local and visiting surfers flock here to ride the waves, which is why Malibu Lagoon State Beach also goes by the name Surfrider Beach. If you aren’t into surfing, the Malibu Pier is an excellent spot for saltwater fishing, while Creek Bridge is one of the top spots in Malibu for bird-watching. The Malibu Lagoon Museum is another on-site attraction, this time dedicated to the early history of Malibu.
If you don’t mind the crowds on an especially sunny day, head to Zuma Beach, the largest of Malibu’s beaches. There are a variety of amenities and facilities here, from foodstands to showers and of course, parking space. A special event can be spotted from Zuma Beach from January through March: the winter migration of grey whales.
There’s more to Malibu than beaches and luxury waterfront properties
Find yourself short of things to do in Malibu? The following must-try activities might just become your new favorite pastime:
Go hiking. The Santa Monica Mountains hugs the entire length of Malibu. As such, there are numerous trails to explore, and a lot of them lead to amazing sights and views. Solstice Canyon and Escondido Falls are popular destinations, but there are other hidden gems such as Sandstone Peak and Tuna Canyon.
Become a purveyor of local wines. The Malibu Wine Safari offers a fine and extensive introduction of Malibu wine country and all its sparkling gems. But even if you don’t sign up for the tour, you can still come up and enjoy a glass or two at any of the tasting rooms in the area.