Rockwell Kitchen’s Guide to Topanga Beach

by Erica Garza

Rockwell Kitchen is lucky enough to call Topanga Beach our home, which is why we’re stoked to share our favorite things to do and see while you’re here. Popular with surfers, divers, and kayakers, the beach is teeming with adventures above and below the surface of the water. The shore is pretty epic too, complete with over a mile of ocean frontage and 21.5 acres of property, crowning it the first real beach in Malibu. Plus, Topanga Beach is more secluded than other nearby hotspots despite being easily accessible from Los Angeles. 

So what are you waiting for? Check out what to do and see while visiting our home beach.

What to Do at Topanga Beach

While rocky areas keep Topanga Beach from being a popular swim spot, the sandy point formed by Topanga Creek creates a continuous right break ideal for surfing. In fact, Topanga Beach is one of the most beloved surfing spots in Malibu, though be sure to check the surf report first. If you’re a novice, don’t fret. Get all your surf gear and ask about lessons at Boardriders Malibu, located at 18820 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265. Call (310) 359-8274 for more info.

The reef at Topanga Beach also makes for superb diving adventures. Skin divers, snorkelers, and scuba divers can explore a magical kelp forest teeming with lobster, crab and other sea creatures. Interested in getting scuba certified? Contact local Malibu Divers to begin your adventure.

Land dwellers will also find plenty to do here, even if it’s just sunbathing on the wide sandy beach while you take in the surf scene or the mountain vistas just behind you. Wildlife viewing is also exceptional on the shores, where you might see giant sea slugs, or sea hares, some whales breaching in the distance and grunion. In fact, Topanga Beach is one of the top places to catch the “grunion run,” when these tiny silvery fish spawn in clear view on the sand. If you’re up for hiking, Topanga State Park is within easy reach and home to 55 multi-level trails to explore.

When to Visit Topanga Beach

Spring and fall are the best times to visit Topanga Beach, when there is more visibility and less chance of rain. Peak grunion spawning occurs from late March to early June. Keep in mind that even in the summer months, water temperatures in Malibu tend to be quite cool, so be sure to don a wetsuit before you hit the waves. 

The Basics: Parking, Restrictions and More

Topanga Beach is located at 18700 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265. The beach is open from 8 a.m. to sunset every day. There is a parking lot (fee-based) as well as free parking on PCH. Sadly, pets are not allowed on the beach. Planning to bring along some brekkie or a lunch for a beachside picnic? Picnic tables are available for a meal with sweeping views. 

What’s Nearby

Make a day of your visit to Topanga Beach and don’t miss these other nearby adventures:

  • Will Rogers State Beach to the east
  • Las Tunas Beach to the west
  • Pacific Palisades neighborhood
  • Hiking at Topanga State Park
  • Elevated comfort food at Rockwell Kitchen

Erica Garza is an author and essayist from Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in TIME, Glamour, Health, VICE and Good Housekeeping.