Pacific Coast Highway: Malibu


I arrived in Los Angeles fairly early on Day 1, but my plans to meet a friend for lunch left me driving around on a maze of freeways for most of the afternoon.  It seemed at every turn, I was either ending up stuck in traffic or exiting on the wrong road.  My plans to hike up to the Hollywood Sign faded as time slipped away and my frustration with the freeways grew.  Eventually I gave up on the day’s plans, and headed towards Ventura, where I had made reservations for my first night.

As photography goes, there was only one redeeming stop along the way: the pier at Malibu.

The Pacific Coast Highway passes directly in front of the entrance to the Malibu Pier.  That’s not a surprise, since Malibu is, essentially, a very long (21 miles long!), very narrow city that’s squeezed in between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  The Pier is near Malibu Beach, a few miles before you arrive at Point Dume.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the Malibu Pier was built in 1905.  By the mid-1990’s, it was falling apart and so dangerous, it was closed to the public.  After an extensive reconstruction effort, it reopened in 2008. 

You’ll find a good view of the Malibu Pier from the small beach, just off the Pacific Coast Highway.  Walk onto the pier…

… and you’ll find countless spots to watch the sun rise or set (since the pier points southward, you should have a good view morning or night).  At the far end of the pier, there’s a burger restaurant, and on the land-side, there’s an upscale restaurant.

My visit to the Malibu Pier came far too late to enjoy a sunset, but thankfully, the city of Los Angeles provides a never-ending glow towards the east.  That’s right, all that light on the horizon is man-made.

The Malibu Pier is part of the California State Parks system, but there’s no charge for admission to the pier.  There’s plenty of parking along the street, or at nearby parking lots.

Also at the pier: you can go deep-sea fishing (boat trips depart twice daily).  There are also coastal boat tours, and beach rentals (kayaks, surf boards, etc.).  You can get the latest information on the pier at the California Parks website

Continue driving north (although here, it’s actually west) on the Pacific Coast Highway, CA Rte. 1, to the Oxnard/Ventura area.

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