Just Off The Pacific Coast Highway, This Beach Is Often Called California's Most Stunning

There is no shortage of noteworthy beaches in Los Angeles. Think Venice and Santa Monica, considered to be among the most famous beaches in the world. However, these destinations are also regarded as tourist havens. If you want to discover a beach off the beaten path, head to El Matador State Beach in Malibu. It's under an hour from Santa Monica on the Pacific Coast Highway and located within Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, which also includes El Pescador State Beach and La Piedra Beach. 


However, El Matador is especially renowned for its coastal cliffs and caves. Simply put, its beauty is unmatched and reviewers on Tripadvisor couldn't agree more. "The place is simply breathtaking and is my favorite picturesque beach in the Los Angeles area," said one person. Another stated, "The rock formations looked impressive, the waves crashing on the beach beautiful and the water clear. Best of all, the sunset from this beach was stunning!"

All that said, El Matador is not ideal for swimming. Despite this, visitors are free to explore its coastal landforms and tide pools. Sunbathing is also a must. But before you hit the Pacific Coast Highway, you should plan accordingly for a beach day at El Matador.


Know before you go to El Matador State Beach

El Matador State Beach is open from 8 a.m. until sunset, and while finding parking in Malibu is notoriously difficult, El Matador does have a parking lot available. If you need to use the bathroom, this is also where you'll find porta potties. Nevertheless, be warned that several reviewers on Tripadvisor say that the lot is small and fills quickly. Likewise, street parking is sparse. Thus, if you can, visit El Matador earlier in the day and avoid visiting during the weekends. Another important thing to keep in mind: El Matador is not dog friendly nor is it accessible.  


There are several stairs that lead from the parking lot to the beach, so, in other words, El Matador is unfortunately unsuitable for guests with limited mobility. Even if this not the case, make sure to bring the proper footwear. As one Tripadvisor reviewer explained, "The stairs were very sturdy but sand builds up on the steps so it would be a good idea to wear runners or shoes that grip and hold on to the rails while descending and ascending the cliff." 

If you're spending a few hours at El Matador, make sure to pack everything you need, including beach day essentials and food. Note that if you want to have a seaside picnic, Tripadvisor reviewers say that there are tables available. 

Accommodations and eateries near El Matador State Beach

If you're planning a visit to Los Angeles and want to stay near El Matador State Beach, there are different options for travelers. Those with RVs, vans, and tents can stay at Malibu RV Park, a campground that has some of the most beautiful views of the Pacific ocean. It's located only 18 minutes away from El Matador. Rates vary and reservations can be made online. Less than 10 minutes from El Matador is the Malibu Country Inn, a 3-star establishment featuring a heated pool and free parking. In addition to basic rooms with a queen or king bed, there are suites and one cottage available.


About 10 minutes from El Matador is Hotel June, which offers boho-chic bungalows with a king bed or a king bed with bunk beds. A pool, bike rentals, and more are available for guests. Although El Matador does not have an onsite eatery, there are plenty of dining options in the area. Neptune's Net and Kristy's Village are both less than 10 minutes away. The former serves a variety of seafood dishes and the latter offers pastas, salads, flatbreads, and more.

Looking for more to explore nearby? El Matador State Beach is conveniently situated near several of Malibu's other gorgeous beaches including Zuma, Nicholas Canyon, and Leo Carrillo State Beach. In addition, it's less than an hour away from Ventura, California's number one most affordable beach town