Malibu…aka “The Bu” as it is called by locals, is comprised of a 27 mile scenic coastline and approximately 20 square miles, stretching from Santa Monica in Los Angeles County to points north in Ventura County. In 2010, the population of Malibu was 12,645. Yes, think: The Beach Boys, Surfin’ USA, world class beaches, and celebrity estates-and Malibu is so much more! It is a community filled with much history, and natural beauty. In 1887, long before Frankie and Annette filmed “Beach Blanket Bingo”, a wealthy Massachusetts businessman, Frederick Rindge arrived. He purchased a 13,300 acre land Spanish land grant, known as “Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit”. After Rindge’s death in 1905, just two years after a fire destroyed his Malibu ranch, his widow, Mary Rindge did her best to thwart the growth of Malibu. For 30 years she managed to halt the development of the Pacific Coast Highway. Eventually, the Rindge’s property was divided into 100 acre ranches in the hills, and smaller beach houses along the coast. Shortly thereafter, celebrities began to construct “summer homes” in gated communities at the shore, to escape the Hollywood hustle and bustle.
Credit must be given to the Chumash people who inhabited the area long before Mr. Rindge made it cross country from Boston. The Chumash aptly named the area, “Ettumaliwo”, “where the mountains meet the sea, and the surf sounds loudly”. The Chumash lived along the coast from Malibu north to San Luis Obispo and made their way inland as far as Santa Clarita & Simi Valley. Much of Malibu and the surrounding areas’ neighborhoods, attractions, villages, and streets still bear names reflecting the Chumash culture. Zuma, Piru, Mugu, Somis, Ojai, and Tapo were Chumash villages.
Malibu is also known for its top-notch equestrian facilities, and acres & acres of trail riding! Gunter Thiede Dressage makes its home here. Gunter is certified with the German Rider’s Federation and is a world-class Grand Prix champion. This facility is a 24 hr. full service, gated facility complete with on-site massage therapy for horses. There is also a public equestrian park, Malibu Equestrian Park, in the Trancas neighborhood of Malibu, near Malibu High School. There are two riding rings, a picnic area, horse shows, lessons, and recreational riding available at the park. There is even a summer horse camp for the youngins.
Also in Trancas Canyon you will find the Trancas Riders and Ropers, a non-profit organization that partnered with the Malibu Department of Parks & Recreation in 1952. Zacharosa Farms is another full service boarding and training facility in Malibu. It features a cross country course, ocean views, and easy trail access to the Santa Monica National Mountain Range. There is also plenty of trail riding available in Malibu Creek State Park, which is comprised of 10,000 acres. Bulldog Rd. and Backbone trail are two popular routes. Check out traillink.com for more information.
Where Malibu creek meets the ocean, lies Malibu Lagoon State Park, featuring many fascinating tide pools over 200 bird species. Just east of the lagoon is where world-famous Malibu Surfrider Beach is located. This spot, at the Malibu Pier was dedicated in 2010 as the first “World Surfing Reserve”. There are many other beaches, public and private, in Malibu. To the north, you will find Zuma beach and Westward Road beach, two popular spots with plenty of parking for a fee, restrooms, lifeguard stations, and a take-out restaurant. Ask a local about “Free Zuma”!
Some beaches are private yet allow entry for a fee. Paradise cove is a popular spot, with a full-service restaurant, double cushioned loungers for rent, and Adirondack chairs lining the shore-European style. There are homes above Paradise Cove’s famous cliffs. This was where the “Rockford Files” series was filmed. Under the cliff is where Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr shared that famous kiss in the film, “From Here to Eternity”.