With the unique way it juts out into the Pacific, it’s hard to miss Point Dume State Beach in Malibu, California. It’s a good thing too, because it would sure be a shame to not enjoy it. The long bluff that forms the northern end of Santa Monica Bay offers up some out-of-this-world views of Palos Verdes Peninsula and Santa Catalina Island. You can even spot Zuma Beach right to the northwest!
Clocking in at more than a mile of oceanfront, Point Dume Beach is a whole lot more than 34 acres of sand and surf. Daring enough to test your mettle on the rocks? Gear up and tackle the rocky coves. Perhaps you’d rather check out the cool sea life swimming around in the tidal pools. Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the highway, the area has plenty of quiet trails that lead to the very top of the point for some spectacular ocean views.
History of Point Dume
Point Dume was named in 1793 by explorer George Vancouver, in honor of Padre Francisco Dumetz of Mission San Buenaventura — sort of. Turns out, Dumetz’s name was misspelled on the map, and no one ever changed it. Oops! Some gigantic mansions call the area home, but it’s technically now a preserve that’s protected from any more building.
Once an empty peninsula with no roads or trees, Point Dume’s off-the-beaten-path location made it pricey and not the kind of place where most Hollywood types wanted to set up house. Of course, its under-the-radar existence ended in 1984 when Johnny Carson bought a gated estate on the bluffs for a record — at least, at the time — $9 million. Since then, a slew of celebs have settled in these parts.
To get to Point Dume Beach, hop in your Dollar car rental and follow Westward Beach Road all the way to the end. You might want to get there early if you want the free parking and not the paid. As an official California State Beach, it’s a top spot for surfing, swimming, diving, and fishing, and lifeguards are on duty during daylight hours.
The park is open from sunrise to sunset, with no alcohol or dogs allowed on the beach — sorry, Fido. Restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and food stands are all nearby when you’re hankering for some carbs after hanging ten.
Are you an animal lover? Point Dume is a great place to spot wildlife like sea lions, pelicans, and birds roosting in the volcanic rock cliffs. From December to March, you might even spot gray whales on the move as they take a shortcut near the bluffs to enter and leave the bay. Fishing, snorkeling, and tide pool hunting — yes, it’s a thing — are all top activities here. Keep your eyes peeled for mussels, barnacles, anemones, and sea stars.
For a workout on land with great views, take the trail that leads up to the coastal bluff sand dune. On a clear day, views of Santa Monica Bay, the northern Malibu Coast, the inland Santa Monica Mountains, and distant Catalina Island will take your breath away. The view from the platform below the summit isn’t too shabby either. Bonus: You’re sheltered from the wind as you gape at your surroundings.
Weather and Water Conditions
Expect to see fog at Point Dume until at least early afternoon — maybe all day — especially in summer. Water quality isn’t monitored at the beach, but you can check conditions at nearby Zuma Beach.
You might recognize Point Dume’s Westward Beach from movies, TV shows, commercials, and videos. It’s practically as famous as some Hollywood stars. The beach has had starring roles in popular TV shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” “Modern Family,” and “I Dream of Jeannie,” as well as the “Iron Man” films and “The Big Lebowski” — remember that crazy ash-scattering scene? Yup, this is where it happened!
California is chock-full of gorgeous beaches just waiting to be explored, and Malibu’s Point Dume State Beach is one that’s a super spot for sun-worshiping, picture-perfect views, outdoor adventure, and good ole fun.
What are you looking forward to doing in Point Dume? To prepare yourself for your upcoming adventure to California, check out our Pinterest for additional guides.