by Nick Marshall
The good news in Malibu is that for the most part, your four-legged friend gets to enjoy the same attractions and activities that you love. You’ll find a wide selection of dog-friendly restaurants (ours included!), beaches and hikes to keep you both busy. We even have some exclusive dog treats reserved for pups only. Here’s how to get the furry best out of Malibu...
1. Trails for Tails
The outdoor lifestyle is strong here and you’ll find plenty of dog-friendly hikes in Malibu to try out. None of these are too strenuous for two or four legs, but we recommend heading out early or in the late afternoon to escape the higher temperatures. You’ll need to keep your pup on a leash for these hikes.
Here are a few of our favorites (you can also check out a full list of our favorite Malibu hiking trails):
- Zuma Canyon Trail. A gentle hike covering just over 3 miles along the creek bed through brush and canyon. Take shade under the oaks or sycamores. The trailhead is just a mile up Bonsall Drive.
- Solstice Canyon Trail. Access from beachside parking makes this a popular trail to tackle, starting from Corral Canyon Road. The 3-mile hike rises gently through surrounding sage scrub to the Solstice waterfall, passing the Keller House hunting cabin on the way. The views of the ocean on the way are something to bark about.
- Escondido Falls. Starting in Malibu, this 3.8-mile hike takes you into the Santa Monica Mountains to the 50-foot Lower Escondido Falls and through a pleasant canyon landscape of tropical vegetation and moss.
2. Bark in a Park
If you want to take a picnic with the pup or just toss around a ball, there are several dog-friendly parks in Malibu where you’re welcome. These are some of the safe, fenced-off spaces where the two of you can let your hair down and relax.
- Trancas Canyon Dog Park. A modest but popular doggy park in western Malibu where you’ll find picnic tables, water and a playground for any kids in the party. There’s a fenced-off VIP pup area with some agility activities to tackle and trash bags for any waste.
- Malibu Bluffs Park. A beautiful park just off the Pacific Coastal Highway. This 6-acre park is already a family favorite, with softball diamond, soccer field, playground and picnic tables. Let any little ones loose and take the pup on a stroll (leashed) around the walking track.
3. Dog-Friendly Beaches
You’ll have seen the pictures of stars walking their dogs along Malibu’s beaches, but the reality is that only a few local beaches are dog friendly. That’s typical of Los Angeles County and more relaxed than some other towns along the coast.
Here’s where to go:
- Leo Carrillo State Beach. You and the pup can recreate the opening credits of “Baywatch” with a run along the sands on the North Beach section. There is also access at the northern end of the park at Staircase Beach. Dogs must be on a leash at all times, however.
- Point Dume State Beach. Although most of this beach has restrictions on dog access, there is a safe pup haven at Little Dume Beach where you’ll find a quiet cove with beautiful views of the ocean and Catalina Island.
4. Dining With Dogs
There’s a vibrant canine dining scene in Malibu, with no shortage of places where you can bring along your dog to an outside table. And here’s where we have to declare in earnest. At Rockwell Kitchen, we’re nuts about pups! In fact, our own mascot is Maus, our owner and executive chef Alla Rockwell’s best boy. So come on over and we’ll hook you up with some healthy, natural organic superfoods and juices — and take care of your dog like a guest of honor.
5. Pampering for Pets
We’re proud to support and promote our local dog-friendly community. So if you want to treat your pup to some pet grooming, Malibu Vet Clinic will get any knots, tangles and burrs out their fur after a hike. Need to stock up on treats and toys? That’s what Pacific Coast Pets is for, with stores near Malibu Surfrider Beach and at Point Dume State Beach. Have to leave town for a while or can’t take your pet to the beach you’ve chosen? Malibu Paws can take care of dog walking and pet sitting, while the Malibu Dog Hotel is the only place top dogs will stay when they’re in town.
You’ll find local regulations in Malibu are much the same as in most public places in California. Your dog will have to be on a leash and microchipped, and you should always have bags to clean up any mess. If you do take your dog to one of our dog-friendly beaches, bear in mind that swimming is not allowed.