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Not so mad for Malibu…where to go instead

Not so mad for Malibu…where to go instead

  • Author: Meg Jerrard
  • Date Posted: Apr 9, 2013
  • Category:
  • Address: Malibu

While we love travelling, and writing home to brag about our adventures overseas, seeing cool places, meeting great new people, and experiencing amazing cultures, there are going to be places that just don’t do it for you.  Malibu, California, really didn’t do anything for me; disappointing since I had been itching to get there!!

The drive from Los Angeles to Malibu was surprisingly breathtaking – we drove the US 101 N for an hour which took us through Rocky Oaks Park and the Zuma/Trancas Canyons.  Stunning mountain scenery.  This was, however, the highlight of the Malibu experience.

I obviously had over inflated expectations about glitz and glamour; Hollywood stars, hot mums, surfer dudes and Pamela Anderson (apparently she lives right by Zuma beach)!

I had researched the previous night addresses of multi-million dollar properties in order to get my celebrity fix and was pretty excited about hitting the beach.  While Malibu is home to many Hollywood movie stars and others associated with the entertainment industry I seriously don’t know why!!

Malibu.

Malibu. Photo CC by Łukasz Lech

The city is located on a very narrow strip of the Pacific Coast Highway, while the houses are indeed spectacular they are located so far into the canyons and so far up narrow cliff faces that access to the beach would be a venture (and also locked inside gated communities like “The Colony” which thwarted my celebrity house drive by idea).

Unfortunately public access to the beaches were very rare and mostly hidden, however we did manage to hike down 3 flights of stairs to take a walk up one of the narrow stretches of beach.

I’ve now realized growing up in Australia has spoiled me in terms of my expectations of what constitutes a beach!  Malibu had sand, calm water and a lot of seaweed, which was sad as I was looking forward to some kind of atmosphere!

Laguna Beach was what I was expecting from Malibu in terms of glitz, glamour and atmosphere, and in fact there is a video blog about my love affair with Laguna.

Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach. Photo by Patrick Nouhailler

We had a much more enjoyable experience later that day at Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier.

Manhattan beach was everything I expected from California and met my apparently over hyped Australian expectations of a beach!!  It has atmosphere, million dollar houses right on the beach, waves, hot mums and surfer dudes!!…although no Pamela Anderson.

Recreational facilities line the beach – play equipment for kids, beach volleyball courts, separate sidewalks for joggers and cyclists and even gym equipment in some segments of the jogging tracks!  I would live on Manhattan Beach if I could!  Go here instead of Malibu!!

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Manhattan Beach. Photo Mike Jerrard

Santa Monica Pier just oozed fun and satisfied my craving for beach atmosphere!  It’s a large double jointed pier (a 100 year old landmark) which includes a family amusement park, beach restaurants and cafes, buskers and street artists as well as arcades and your general amusement stalls.

When we arrived we stood around for a while to watch the filming of a pilot for a new cheer leading TV series called “Bounce”.  It was everything I expected from LA and should not be missed from your itinerary!!

We based ourselves in Los Angeles at the Shelter Hotel which was great value for money and extremely central to the majority of LA locations.  We enjoyed the hotel for it’s incredible value for money – cheap nightly rates, free parking, free wifi, large spacious rooms and friendly laid back staff; customer service was amazing.

The hotel is very edgy and hip with a lot of personality – room didn’t include a fridge – but did include modern amenities like an IPod docking station and flat screen.  I would recommend it as luxury backpacking or if you’re just looking for somewhere nice to crash at the end of the evening.  We were planning on going back at the end of our round road trip but stayed at LA airport instead to catch our early flight.

Check out Flickr or Facebook for all of our photos from California!

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Santa Monica Pier. Photo Mike Jerrard

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