Point Dume is located in LA County in the glamorous city of Malibu. This beach features headlands, cliffs, rocky beaches, and tidepools. And at the right time of year, it’s also a perfect beach for whale watching.
To get to the beach, from the top of Point Dume at Cliffside Dr, follow a little path till you reach the stairs. Then take the stairs down, down, down…so far down…until you reach the water. At the bottom of the stairs it is mostly rocks, so if you are looking for a sandy beach, hug the side of the cliff and follow it to the left. You’ll see the sand and better water for swimming over there.
This beach is a good beach to sit around and hang out. Get a tan, splash around in the water, check out the tide pools and Nature Preserve…but it’s not a very “active” beach. It’s a lot of work to get to the beach, and even just bringing our picnic was difficult. Because of it’s lack of accessibility, this isn’t a good beach for surfing or family fun (in my opinion). And on top of that, there are a lot of big rocks in the water. But it’s perfect for relaxing with a book and watching the waves.
Though we were unable to visit it because it was under construction at the time, Point Dume has a Nature Preserve that is supposed to be pretty cool. So I can’t really offer up any opinions or advice on this part of the beach. But if you go and it is open, I would definitely check it out if I were you. Access to the Preserve begins at the cul-de-sac at the end of Westward Beach Rd, and a gradually ascending trail leads to a viewing platform offering views of the Santa Monica Bay, north Malibu, the Santa Monica Mountains, and even Catalina Island on a clear day. So it sounds like it would be pretty awesome to see if you get a chance. Please stay on the trail to help preserve the sand dune!!
I’m just gonna come straight out and say it: parking is a bitch at Point Dume. There is an official parking lot on Cliffside Dr, but there are only about 10 parking spots. Which are basically always full, and have a 2hr parking limit anyways. There is also a pay lot at the end of Westward Beach Rd, but you should also assume it will most likely be full. Though it’s always worth a shot. Odds are you will end up having to park in the residential areas down the street. Be prepared for a long walk just to get to the stairs that lead to the beach. And as is the case everywhere in LA, CHECK THE SIGNS POSTED WITH PARKING RESTRICTIONS. And be respectful of the residents.
MY THOUGHTS ON POINT DUME: It was definitely a very beautiful beach, but not very practical for a real beach day. Those stairs getting up and down the cliff are fierce, and way too challenging to navigate holding any sort of beach gear. Those stairs could also present a challenge for bringing small children. This is a good beach to just bring a blanket and relax for a couple hours, maybe do the Nature Preserve trail (though I can’t really comment on that part since it was closed for repairs when we were there).
I would recommend only bringing supplies you can easily sling over a shoulder. You’ll want at least one hand free to use the handrail on the stairs, and whatever you bring, you’ll have to carry for a loooooong time.
There is also little to no shade at this beach (so bring a hat and sunblock) and no restroom facilities (so go ahead of time, hold it, or use nature’s giant toilet).
From Santa Monica: follow Pacific Coast Hwy 18-miles west to Westward Beach Road. Turn toward the ocean, go beyond the fee collection station to the very end of the road.
From the 101-Freeway: exit at Kanan Road, follow it south 12-miles to Pacific Coast Hwy, then turn right. Westward Beach Road is over the rise, at the foot of the hill.
To access Point Dume State Preserve: access begins from the cul-de-sac at the end of Westward Beach Road.
- Beach is open sunrise to sunset.
- Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Point Dume Natural Preserve or on the beach.
For more information, visit the Point Dume State Beach website.