Next to Palm Springs, my second favorite place in California is Malibu or the “Bu”. And in my opinion, the best part of living in Los Angeles is that you can be in any environment you choose within a couple hours. Malibu has it all: there are pristine beaches, a world-class museum, fresh seafood restaurants, cute cafes and boutiques, wineries, and serene hiking trails.
One place to not miss in the greater Malibu area for scenic beauty and serenity is the Self-Realization Fellowship. The Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine lies a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, on Sunset Boulevard in Pacific Palisades, California. SRF has been dedicated to carrying on the spiritual and humanitarian work of its founder, Paramahansa Yogananda, widely revered as the father of Yoga in the West and author of Autobiography of a Yogi. The entire property is a natural amphitheater with its lush gardens, lotus flowers, and natural spring-fed lake filled with turtles, ducks, and swans.
“Self-realization is the knowing — in body, mind, and soul — that we are one with the omnipresence of God…” — Paramahansa Yogananda
Malibu may be known as a laid back surfer town, but it also has some of the best art and architecture in the city. The Getty Villa is simple and calming with perfectly designed gardens that are great for picnicking and viewing art mostly from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Just down the street from the Getty, is the iconic Eames House. The Eames House, Case Study House #8, was one of about two dozen homes built as part of the Case Study House Program. The house is architecture perfection. Just by strolling the grounds, and basking in the significance of all the art and folk art within, you can see the artistic genius behind Ray and Charles Eames.
One of the places I always take out-of-town visitors is Malibu Wines. The atmosphere is always energetic with a handful of tasting bars, live music, picnics spread on the grass, and breathtaking views of the vineyard. I haven’t been yet, but Malibu Wine Safari sounds like so much fun! Plus, their resident giraffe, Stanley, is the star of the safari.
Malibu consists of a 21-mile strip of prime Pacific coastlines and some fabulous beaches! One of the most beautiful beaches in Malibu, with sea caves and large rocks on the beach is El Matador. The view overlooking this beach is phenomenal and I love the staircases going down to the sand.
My favorite trails for hiking in Malibu are Topanga Canyon and Solstice Canyon. Topanga Canyon and Eagle Rock trail is a great hike with beautiful geology, wildlife and scenery. Solstice Canyon is a moderate hike to a ruined mansion in the Santa Monica Mountains, and then you continue the trail up a waterfall! After you hike make sure you stop at the cute stores to shop and cafes to snack before heading back to the city.