All the things to see, eat, drink, and do on a beachy weekend getaway.

Blue Ocean and Beach at Point Dume. View from Hiking Trail
Georges Begue/Getty Images

Sunset’s Insider Guide series highlights seasonal diversions and secret travel tips from local experts. Follow along as we learn where to eat, drink, stay, and shop.

Gregory Day Portrait

Malibu Beach Inn

Meet the Insider: Gregory Day, Managing Director, Malibu Beach Inn

Location: Malibu, California

Gregory Day is the managing director of Malibu Beach Inn and the go-to guy when it comes to where to send guests in this beachside city at the base of the Santa Monica Mountains. Situated on what locals like to call Billionaire’s Beach, the hotel is known to attract the world’s most discerning clientele. And there’s no one better to do so than Day, who’s lived on the Westside for over 20 years. Here, he shares his tips on where to explore while enjoying a weekend along this iconic strip of PCH.


King Pier View room.jpg
A room at Malibu Beach Inn.

Malibu Beach Inn

Not to overstate the obvious, but I am quite biased about my recommendation of Malibu Beach Inn. There are very few hotels in the area, but Malibu Beach Inn is the only one with direct ocean access; it’s just 34 steps to the ocean to be exact, and all accommodations have private balconies overlooking the Pacific. After Malibu Beach Inn, I love Surfrider Malibu across the street from the Malibu Pier. The rooms are thoughtfully designed, and they have a nice dining and drinks option available to hotel guests only. Nobu Ryokan is also a lovely alternative with a mix of garden and ocean view rooms, and although its minimalist aesthetic is ryokan-inspired, it is every bit luxurious and nemaki robes are not required.


Carbon Beach Club Pray for Surf Cocktail
A cocktail at Carbon Beach Club.

Malibu Beach Inn

Moonshadows’ beautiful oceanfront location, casual but refined service, and heavy-handed barmen are always a recipe for success. The fairly new Aviator Nation Dreamland is a must-visit venue for live music and local superstar spotting, complemented by a vibrant bar and restaurant scene. And of course, Carbon Beach Club at Malibu Beach Inn has eight consecutive Wine Spectator Awards and a menu balanced with both new and old-world wines—a real indulgent delight when taking in Malibu’s scenery on the patio.


Taverna Tony Malibu Grilled Eggplant
Grilled eggplant at Taverna Tony.

Taverna Tony Malibu

Howdy’s Sonrisa Cafe is a great Malibu story. The family’s restaurants were a West L.A. institution for over 40 years, and their Malibu outpost La Salsa sadly closed in 2014. So, Howdy’s return to Malibu after the pandemic was an exciting one, and they are known for their burritos—particularly the ones at breakfast—as well as their bowls and mariscos. Malibu Farm is a terrific casual gem on the historic Malibu Pier, featuring a wide array of organic dishes and juices. Other Sunset favorites include Broad Street Oyster Company and Taverna Tony, both staples in the area.


The three intertwined outdoor shopping arcades of Malibu Country Mart, Malibu Village, and the Malibu Lumber Yard have all of the shops one would expect, but I would draw your attention to the Ranch at the Pier. Located at the end of the pier, it’s a lovely collection of things you never knew you needed, but once spotted, can now never live without, such as vintage wooden smashball sets, old-timey toys from Candylab, and swag from One Gun Ranch in Malibu.


Malibu Surfers Overhead
Surfers in Malibu.

Drew Dau/Unsplash

Surfing and hiking are amazing in Malibu, followed by an afternoon cryotherapy treatment at CURE Spa. Check out Malibu Surf Shack for the best boards and locations depending on your skill level. Escondido Falls and Point Dume Cove are the most popular public hiking trails in the area.