Looking for an endless summer? You’ll find it in Malibu. (Just remember to pack a sweater.)
Malibu offers the best of Southern California’s warm climate: the sun shines more than 280 days out of the year, temperatures are often in the 70s and rain is a rarity. As with most beach towns, summer is the most popular season to visit, especially during the peak temperatures of July and August. Yet thanks to its year-round mild climate, Malibu can be just as fun in the fall and winter months – and without the crowds, too. No matter the season, nights are usually chilly near the beach and in the nearby mountains, so be sure to pack extra layers for when the sun goes down.
Summer in Malibu
Once school’s out, the beaches of Los Angeles fill up quickly, especially on the weekends. Malibu is no exception – and for good reason. The days are long, the sun is often shining, and opportunities for surfing, hiking and exploring are at their best. Still, the month of June does have its share of foggy and overcast mornings, known locally as the “June Gloom.” July and August bring the nicest weather of the year but also the crowds, which means traffic can pose a challenge and prices are at their peak.
Fall in Malibu
Fall might be the sweet spot for visitors to Malibu. The crowds have dissipated but the weather remains hot and dry, especially in late September and early October, making for quieter days at the beach. For surfers, October brings some of the year’s best swells to Southern California. September is when the popular Malibu Chili Cook-Off and carnival happen, along with the Malibu Triathlon. Despite the hot days, the ocean water gets cold fast – so if you’re thinking about swimming, pack or rent a wetsuit.
Winter in Malibu
While winter is the coldest season even in sunny SoCali – mornings can start as low as 40 degrees – it’s not uncommon for Malibu to get a summer-like day in the middle of February. Then again, cold downpours can happen too. Winter also sees the whale migration come to the Southern California coast: Malibu offers several prime whale-watching spots, most notably Point Dume.
Spring in Malibu
Every spring, hikers and nature enthusiasts take to the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains to watch the canyons bloom with wildflowers. The days are sunny but not overly hot, making it possible to do longer treks. With fewer drivers on the road, spring is also a great time to drive up Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and take in the majestic coastline before dropping in on the beach or a park for a picnic.
January brings the unofficial start of the glitzy awards season in Los Angeles, beginning with the Golden Globes. Life remains relaxed in Malibu, though, and the beginning of the year, when temperatures are in the low 60s, is ideal for solo walks on the beach. On rare rainy days, visit nearby museums like the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art at Pepperdine University and the magnificent Getty Villa, the original location of the Getty Museum that now displays Greek and Roman art.
Key events: Whale-watching season begins
The weather remains crisp in February, and it’s the perfect time of the year to hole up for a romantic getaway at a beachfront hotel like the Malibu Beach Inn. There, you can take in ocean views (and maybe a whale sighting), order room service and indulge in a spa treatment. Later on, make a reservation at Nobu Malibu restaurant for another kind of spotting: of celebrities.
Key events: Whale-watching season
Peak whale watching happens in March, as visitors glimpse the migration of gray whales from lookout points like Point Dume or take a whale-watching tour from a boat. These typically depart from nearby towns such as Ventura or Marina del Rey.
Key events: Whale-watching season
The wildflowers start to bloom in April, lending pops of color to Malibu’s hiking trails and Malibu Canyon. Corral Canyon and Las Flores offer easy hikes just off PCH – but to make a day out of exploring the canyons and mountains, head over to the Malibu Creek State Park.
Late spring in Malibu often means cloudy mornings, referred to as “May Gray.” The fog usually burns off in the afternoons, though – so time your beach day accordingly. If you’re in town on a Sunday, stop into the Malibu Farmers Market at the Civic Center for fresh produce and local goods.
As summer officially arrives, Malibu’s high season kicks off. The beaches are the main attraction for the next few months, despite the persistence of that morning “June Gloom.” Head to Zuma Beach to enjoy a quintessential Malibu beach day, filled with surfing, volleyball, picnics and frozen treats.
Malibu has a small 4th of July parade at Point Dume with fireworks by night in Malibu Colony, a little north of the pier. Fireworks happen up and down the Pacific coast in SoCal, so expect a dazzling display of colors wherever you spend the night.
Malibu is at its most crowded as the temperatures heat up and visitors cram in a few more beach days before school starts. But the summer fun on the Malibu Pier and within the Malibu Country Mart is hard to resist. Just off PCH across from Topanga Beach, Rosenthal Winery is where you can end your beach day tasting local varietals.
Beach days continue well into September as things stay sunny and warm for most of the month. For surfers, September and October deliver some of the best waves of the year. This also marks the beginning of a dry season for the region, especially in the mountains where the threat of wildfires is high. Perhaps the highlight September in Malibu is the annual Chili Cook-Off, presented by the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu.
Key events: Malibu Chili Cook-Off, Malibu Triathlon, Waves of Flags display at Pepperdine University
Halloween is a big deal in Malibu: residents take their house decorations very seriously and the city sponsors its own Halloween Carnival. CineMalibu, the city’s free outdoor movie series, culminates in a Halloween-themed movie appropriate for all ages.
As the days become shorter and the weather turns cooler, visitors can work up a sweat on the mountain trails. To add a little fun to the workout, consider the Malibu Wine Hike, a moderate two-hour loop around Saddle Rock Ranch that ends in a hard-earned wine-tasting session.
The winter wonderland is more sunny than snowy in Malibu, and there’s plenty of holiday shopping to do at Malibu Country Mart, which has both big stores like Sephora and Urban Outfitters alongside specialty boutiques. Across the street, the historic Adamson House puts on holiday tours that show what life was like in Malibu around the turn of the 20th century. On New Year’s Eve, many restaurants along PCH have dinner events that promise a view of fireworks going off along the coast.
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