A Sunday Drive through Malibu:
One of my favorite things to do in California is to cruise down Pacific Coast Highway in my car with my favorite music blasting. It‘s even fun alone as I can sing out loud with no one having to suffer through my lousy singing. With guests in the car my singing is a little more subdued and barely over a whisper as not to scare anyone away.
Singing or no singing, one of the best routes to cruise PCH is along the 20 or so miles of the affluent and iconic Malibu Beach. We have seen it a million times on TV or in the movies, with the actor sitting happily in their convertible, the wind blowing in their hair, and the crystal blue Pacific Ocean in the background.
In those scenes their car cruises along like it is the only car on the road with the traffic appearing to be nonexistent. Unfortunately, that is not how it really is. In real life the beautiful Pacific Ocean is still there, as are the cliffs with the magnificent homes, but you are definitely not alone.
On this Sunday afternoon in January it seemed like everyone else in Southern California wanted to be on that same stretch of highway. This was understandable as it was a gorgeous Sunday and an unusually warm winter day even for California standards.
After taking the I-10 exit onto PCH, we were greeted by bumper-to-bumper traffic headed north. Amazingly, gridlock isn’t so bad when you have the wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean to the west.
The cliffs to the east were either full of stunning homes or were torn up due to mud or rock slides. Slides are a common occurrence in Malibu along PCH.
The star of the trip is the crystal blue ocean which is the favorite playground for surfers and stand up paddlers who were enjoying the waves and the sea with each other. Along the coast, rock formations are scattered about, lending a nice aesthetic to the area.
The coastline wraps around allowing you to see all of the beach cities that line the South Bay. Gazing out across the sea, you can clearly see Catalina Island which sits out about 50 miles from shore.
Crawling along PCH at a mere 2 miles per hour wasn’t so bad as it gave you time to admire the beach homes that proudly sit at the oceans end. In some cases they were only a few feet from the breakers and made me wonder what happens when the surf and the tide are high.
Further north we passed by the Malibu Colony which is home to movie stars, musical artists, and various other entertainment people. A guarded gate keeps us crazy fans and looky-loos away, at least from the road side. A nearby trail actually dumps you off at the beach and eventually in front of the impressive beach homes.
As traffic continued to creep slowly along PCH we drove by the world renowned Nobo restaurant which is a favorite eating establishment for the rich and famous. Just as we were passing by the front door, a shinny jet black Ferrari pulled up to the valet. As its winged doors swung open skyward, we were anxiously waiting to see who would exit. Was it someone famous? Out popped a nicely dressed man and a blond woman. I didn’t recognize the man and the blond wasn’t facing us. She finally turned our way as if in slow motion and we were ready to be delighted by our sighting of someone famous.
It turned out to be . . . nobody I recognized. Sorry. I wish I had a better story to tell. It was probably some “behind-the- scenes” industry folk out for a Sunday dinner and a cruise along the coast. Kind of like what I was doing except my car was a jet black Camry and my dinner would be inland at a local Denny’s.
However, on any given day if you look for the expensive cars and motorcycles, you might just see your favorite movie star or rock star. After all, it IS Malibu, and Hollywood is just up the hill.
Sitting majestically on the hill above Malibu was our cut off point, Pepperdine University. Pepperdine is known as one of the most beautiful places to study in California. We drove up the hill and discovered why. It had a spectacular view all down the coast and beyond.
As we turned around to make our way down south we were hoping to park and walk along the Malibu Pier. Much to our disappointment the parking lot was full and there was nowhere else to park. I made a mental note to come back and visit this charming pier another time.
Along the route there were a few places to pull over and park for awhile to marvel at the amazing view. In certain areas there was plenty of sand to enjoy the day without sitting on top of your fellow beachgoer. Also adorning the route on both sides are fancy as well as quaint restaurants and a small number of fast food establishments thrown in just for good measure. We also saw quite a few “pay to park” lots that actually had spaces open. Too bad that wasn’t the case by the pier.
Our tour of Malibu was mostly along PCH and I am told that most of the population resides off or near this road anyway. This is an extremely scenic part of our coast and is rich full of history in the entertainment industry.
Overall, you can’t beat Malibu for a Sunday afternoon drive. And if you are so inclined to sing out loud just remember . . . you are not alone on the road. Unless you have a voice like Whitney’s or there’s a talent agent right next to you, it’s best to leave the windows up.
We leave you with some sunset picks.
Photos: Debbie Colwell