by Erica Garza
Golden hour is prime time to visit Malibu, just before the sun sets when the sky is that perfect blend of red and gold and the light cascading off the water is nothing short of magical. To help you choose your ideal vantage point, we’ve rounded up the five best spots to watch the sunset in Malibu, whether you’re moved by archways and sea caves or spellbinding mountain vistas.
1. El Matador Beach
Don’t be surprised to share the beach with newlyweds and supermodels, because this somewhat hidden beach spot is begging to be photographed. El Matador is one of three “pocket beaches” within Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach and home to rugged rock formations, amazing sea stacks and picturesque archways, not to mention a strip of white sand beach. But be forewarned that the trip down to the beach is no easy feat. You’ll have to trek down a steep staircase along a 150-foot bluff, but once you get there, the Malibu sunset will reward you. You can also choose to watch from the top of the bluff, as there are a few picnic tables for hanging out.
Find it here: 32350 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
2. Point Dume
After an easy hike from the beach to the top of the cliff, sunset at Point Dume is a must, especially if you time it during whale season in the winter, where you can spot these gentle giants breaching across the panoramic vista. The sunset is also Instagram worthy because of the giant dome-shaped promontory jutting into the Pacific, an iconic image now synonymous with Point Dume. Down near the shore, you’ll find tide pools in Dume Cove and a long stretch of sand ideal for romantic sunset strolls.
Find it here: 7103 Westward Beach Road, Malibu, CA 90265
3. Corral Canyon Trail
If you’re up for more of a challenge, Corral Canyon is another top choice for taking in the Malibu views at sunset. The moderate hike is just over two miles and features a river, purple sage and scenic lookouts with panoramic views of the ocean and mountain backdrop. Dogs are also welcome on this trail.
Find it here: From Pacific Coast Highway, turn inland 4.5 miles west of Malibu Canyon Road
4. Malibu Bluffs Park
Directly across from Pepperdine University, Malibu Bluffs Park is easily accessible from Pacific Coast Highway and is a great place to hang out during sunset, especially if you bring the kids along. The park contains playing fields, kids’ areas, picnic fields and easy paths that lead to the sea. The six-acre park is also dog-friendly.
Find it here: 24250 CA-1, Malibu, CA 90265
5. Rockwell Kitchen
Want to feast on the sunset with a delicious feast in hand? Head to Rockwell Kitchen on your way over, or watch the sunset with us to enjoy everyday, elevated food served in a setting with incredible views. From thoughtful beverages like turmeric lattes and kombucha, to burgers, tacos, poke bowls and more, Rockwell Kitchen completes your sunset experience with the experience of wholesome dining.
Find us here: 18820 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday
Keep in mind that Malibu sunset times vary throughout the year, so be sure to check the current sunset time here.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in TIME, Glamour, Health, VICE and Good Housekeeping.