The Surf Sounds Loudly—Malibu

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Properties for sale in Malibu, CA, USA


Population: 12,645
Language: English
Currency: US dollars


Cradled between mountains and sea, Malibu is an American paradise.

The surf sounds loudly as brilliant rays of light cut over the surface of the mountains and illuminate an azure sea. A sleepy gray skyline transforms into rich hues of purple and orange fire. Vehicles periodically wind their way along the curves and vistas of the Pacific Coast Highway; the murmur of engines mingles with the hush of the waves, and surfers splash against the swelling tide.

Such a morning would be paradise anywhere else in America. But it’s a normal day in Malibu, California.

Once known as Humaliwo, or “the surf sounds loudly,” by the Chumash tribe, Malibu is one of Southern California’s most famous and iconic residential locations. Following its discovery in 1542 by Spanish conquistadors, Malibu became an outpost for Spanish missionaries attempting to spread Christian faith to Native American inhabitants. In 1802, the Spanish governor included modern-day Malibu in a massive land grant to former soldier José Bartolomé Tapia. Tapia’s land became known as “Rancho Topanga Malibu Simi Sequit,” or “Malibu Rancho.” The rancho eventually passed into the hands of Frederick Hastings Rindge, whose widow only began to lease and sell the property in the 1920s after losing an epic court case against the State of California, which sought right of way to build the legendary Pacific Coast Highway. “Malibu Rancho” transformed into “Malibu Movie Colony” as the rising Los Angeles film industry brought stars, directors and producers—eager for premier property—to the region.

Malibu remained a private community until its late incorporation as a city in 1991. At once quaint and popular, Malibu has served as home to the world’s most famous celebrities, as well as a secret coastal landing for bootleggers during Prohibition. Today, the quiet 21-mile-long beachfront strip contains approximately 13,000 residents, but attracts millions of visitors each year with its extensive assortment of pristine beaches, exquisite restaurants, and rare cultural opportunities. 

Malibu’s beaches in particular have brought fame to the region and are known internationally for their beauty, as well as being the birthplace of California’s surfing scene. Malibu Lagoon State Beach, formerly known as Surfrider Beach, is a popular destination due to its smooth-cresting and easy-breaking waves. Located next to iconic Malibu Pier, it remains the most surfed spot in Los Angeles County. Zuma Beach is another common stopping point for avid surfers, but can also be enjoyed by those more interested in a quiet stroll along the soft sand of its wide beach. Those who decide to test the waters may do so with confidence—Zuma is ranked among the region’s healthiest beaches by Los Angeles County, and highly regarded for its clean waters. Weekend explorers may seek adventure amongst the giant sycamores and hiking trails of Leo Carillo Beach. Malibu is home to many additional public and private beaches that capitalize on one of Southern California’s main attractions: the Pacific Ocean. 

However, Malibu is cradled by both sea and mountain. The Santa Monica Mountains provide pleasant paths for hiking and literal stargazing. In spring and summer, these mountains acquire heightened splendor as wildflowers bloom and cover their steep surfaces. Other nearby natural wonders include Solstice Canyon and Malibu Creek State Park, which allow for more hiking, bird-watching, picnicking, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

Malibu’s fabulous restaurants offer outstanding fare and, in many cases, a spectacular ocean view. Many of Malibu’s bistros are situated along the Pacific Coast Highway, and offer all types of cuisine in addition to their remarkable vistas. Enjoy Mediterranean food at the Beau Mirage, seafood at the Chart House, or a mimosa at legendary Duke’s situated directly on the beach.  For those seeking a more casual environment, dine at the Malibu Café or find something a little closer to home with the classic American cuisine of Moonshadows. Better yet, try it all at the annual food festival "A Taste of Malibu!" Whatever the choice, dining in Malibu offers the assurance of fine cuisine and stunning scenery.

Malibu satisfies refined tastes with more than just gastronomy and picturesque landscapes; the quaint beach town is a treasure trove of cultural gems. Hidden in the hills neighboring the Pacific Coast Highway is the Getty Villa. Designed to resemble the magnificent villas of ancient Rome with pillars of marble, breathtaking frescos, and an exquisite garden, the Getty Villa houses a rich collection of classical antiques, including artifacts from Greek, Roman, and Etruscan cultures. Occasionally, the Getty Villa even hosts live performances of Greek dramas within its on-site amphitheater. The annual Malibu Arts Festival, held in July, features a wealth of fine art exhibits from award-winning painters, sculptors, photographers, and artisans. Pepperdine University is also located in Malibu and frequently hosts dance, music, and theater performances at the Smothers Theatre and its University Center for the Arts.

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