by Erica Garza
With five miles of ocean shoreline dotted with bluffs, dunes and sandy beaches, as well as 70 miles of hiking trails, Point Mugu State Park is a feast for the senses and an adventurer’s wonderland.
Whether you’re a surfer, a hiker or a sunbather, this Malibu gem is worthy of your time. Explore our guide to Point Mugu’s beaches, trails, camping spots and more. And be sure to pick up provisions at Rockwell Kitchen for a picnic with picturesque views.
Best Beach Spots at Point Mugu
There are several beaches within Point Mugu State Park, including Point Mugu Beach, Thornhill Broome Beach and Sycamore Cove Beach. While water temperatures can be relatively cold, even during the summer months, the beaches here are still popular with swimmers and surfers alike. Both Point Mugu Beach and Sycamore Cove Beach are one-third of a mile long, while Thornhill is nearly 1½ miles long — more than enough room for sunbathing, playing volleyball and building sandcastles.
Point Mugu State Park Hiking Trails
With more than 70 miles of hiking trails, Point Mugu State Park is ideal for both novices and expert hikers. Some of the trails are even open to bikes and horses, opening up endless options for exploration. Traverse 14,000 acres of scenic land while soaking up views of rocky bluffs, rugged hills, sand dunes and two gorgeous river canyons.
According to hikers who love a challenge, the top trail is Mugu Peak Trail, which features beautiful wildflowers. The most family-friendly hike is Big Sycamore Canyon Trail. Take your shade under sycamores, oaks and native walnut trees while looking out for wildlife across the park.
Wildlife at Point Mugu
During your hike, you may see a number of animals, including deer, foxes, woodpeckers and occasionally a mountain lion or coyote. Though rarer, bears have even been spotted in the state park. In the sea, look out for whales, seals, dolphins, sea lions and sea birds like pelicans and cormorants. The best time for whale watching in Malibu is from early December through the end of May, when gray whales make their way from the Arctic to Mexico.
Point Mugu State Park Camping
The two campsites in Point Mugu State Park are Sycamore Canyon Campground and Thornhill Broome Campground. Both require reservations and are located right on the sandy beach for awe-inspiring views of the ocean and Santa Monica Mountains. Both sites have fire pits and picnic areas so you can dine while taking in the scenery. And both are dog-friendly, so you can bring along every member of the family. Learn more about making campsite reservations here.
Final Things to Know Before You Go
The beach parking lots are open from 8 a.m. to sunset, while the Sycamore Canyon and Thornhill Broome campground gates operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Get energized for a day of fun on the coast or refuel after your adventures at Rockwell Kitchen, offering wholesome meals and beverages ranging from breakfast burritos and omelettes to fresh fish plates and skirt steak with local veggies for all-day, elevated dining. The food truck is located at 18820 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265 and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in TIME, Glamour, Health, VICE and Good Housekeeping.