Point Dume

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.

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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.

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

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.

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

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!!

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

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.

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

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).

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

LOCATION/DIRECTIONS:

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.


USEFUL INFO:

  • Beach is open sunrise to sunset.
  • Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Point Dume Natural Preserve or on the beach.

Point dume, Malibu beaches, point dume state beach, California beaches, beaches in los angeles, los angeles, Malibu, beaches in Malibu, travel, travel blog

For more information, visit the Point Dume State Beach website.


 

Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach is a fun beach, and has a variety of activities everyone can enjoy. There are shops and restaurants right next to the beach, and there are even more places to eat and buy things right across the street in the city. Imperial Beach is a more commercialized beach, so if you are looking for a tranquil beach stroll, this is not the beach for you. This beach is all about the fun!

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The pier made for a very pleasant evening stroll, with a beautiful California sunset in the background.

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Just a couple words of advice for visiting Imperial Beach: the parking is kind of tough. There is no designated beach lot, so you have to park at meters or pricey lots down the street. In addition, I have been stung by a sting ray at this beach before while surfing early in the morning, so if you go early in the day, exercise caution and shuffle your feet along the ground to kick up the sand and scare off the sting rays. Nothing ruins a beach day faster than having to stick your foot in boiling water to stop the poison from spreading, and then having your foot periodically start gushing blood throughout the rest of the day. Don’t let possible sting rays deter you from visiting this beach though! They are virtually nonexistent by the afternoon, having been scared off by the morning crowd.

Border Field State Park

If you want an experience that is truly like no other, I recommend heading down to Border Field State Park. This is the southernmost beach in CA, right on the border of Mexico. Sure, there are lots of places you can visit throughout the southwest United States that border Mexico, but this one is unique, because it is on the western coast of both countries. And because our charming governments want to make sure everyone stays in their appropriate country, they have constructed an actual fence along the border, extending all the way out into the ocean.

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On the United States side of the fence, the beach is completely desolate, and they recommend not swimming due to unsafe conditions.

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But on the Mexico side, it was party town! Music was blaring, food was grilling, and families were splashing around in the ocean.

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We wandered over to the fence and talked to some of the people on the other side. It’s a pretty cool feeling, talking to someone in another country face-to-face.

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However, the US side of the fence is heavily guarded, and it wasn’t long before the border patrol made us back away from the fence and told us we weren’t allowed to stand that close to it.

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This isn’t a beach to visit if you are looking for a fun, quintessential beach day. This one is better visited as an interesting glimpse into the political/social division of two neighboring countries, and to see how different two sides of the same fence can be.

Want to check it out? Information on visiting Border Field State Park can be found here.