Emma Goodwin of the Surfrider Spills Her Favorite Spots in Malibu

The hotelier behind The Surfrider Hotel gives us the ultimate Malibu cheat sheet.

By Jenn Rose Smith

It’s the dive bar up the road from the restaurant you couldn’t get into, the ex-real estate mogul turned bearded surf bum, the Tesla parked next to the beat up Westfalia van… nowhere else on earth has the unique high/low mix of Malibu. “Well, this isn’t really Los Angeles,” is something the locals tend to say — and they’re right. It’s technically it’s own city, with a population just under 13k. Rugged hills meet miles of sandy beach to give this surf spot it’s distinctly small town vibe. This is one place where an inside connection can really take your visit to the next level, and we’re in luck: Emma Goodwin of The Surfrider is sharing her tips for the best things to do in Malibu. Scroll down to discover her favorite spots in town, including the best trails to hike, secret beaches, and an invitation-only restaurant on the water. Locals only.

photo via pinterest

Surf First Point.

In the 1966 cult classic, The Endless Summer, filmmaker Bruce Brown says “every surfer dreams of finding a place as good as Malibu.” It’s one of the most iconic beaches in the world. Surfing it is a must!

photo by kevin russend

Hike Point Dume.

…followed by a long languid afternoon at Big Dume. The water color is the best on the coast, you’re almost guaranteed to see dolphins and the hard-to-find stairs down the cliff to get there means you basically have the entire stretch to yourself.  Best paired with watermelon, magazines and a sun hat.

Drinks at the Little Beach House.

Soho House’s Malibu output (dubbed “the Little Beach House”) is a members only beach club with cocktails and DJ sets nearly as cool as their design.

photo by kevin dinkel

Cruise Tuna Canyon.

Take a late afternoon drive through the canyons to get here. Time your hike perfectly with sunset. There’s a labyrinth at the end and 360 degree views of city, mountain and sea.  Perfect spot for a picnic.

photo by tony hafforth

Get the Shot at Leo Carrillo Beach.

Walk a little further from the main strip to find secret coves, white limestone cliffs and the little pastel lifeguard tower. It doesn’t get much more Californian than this!

photo by giftedeye

Grab Beers at The Old Place.

It’s a former post office and general store turn tavern tucked away in the canyons and owned by the same family 50 or so years. Pull up a stool at the bar, order a beer and take a trip back in time.

photo via pinterest

Tour the Eames House.

For the design enthusiast, Case Study House No. 8 is Ray and Charles Eames residence, left exactly how it was when they lived there.

Shop at Sunroom.

Sunroom is a country mart boutique with an edit of clothes and accessories which basically matches The Surfrider interiors.

photo via martha stewart

Visit the Adamson House.

Opposite The Surfrider, not only is it the most incredible piece of real estate overlooking First Point, it’s also the original home of Malibu, the reason the pier exists and the founding place of Malibu Pottery. If only for the hand-painted tiles alone, it’s worth a walk around.

photo by  kristen kilpatrick

Road trip from Surfrider Beach to Point Mugu.

Windows down, music up. There’s a point where all of the development drops away and it’s just mountain, ocean and the windy PCH. Throw on some Fleetwood Mac, leave the world behind you and remember what it feels like to be free!

Tour Emma’s incredible boutique hotel in Malibu here!