El Matador Beach: Big Boulders and Sea Arches
Everybody has his/her own definition of the perfect beach.
I prefer lots of palm trees, from where hammocks can be hanged, warm water and soft sand. In California, a beach culture of surfing, pier walks, bike riding on designed paths and frigid waters rule. Others dream of white sands, turquoise waters and clear skies.
It doesn’t matter what your preferences are. The good news are that your perfect beach exists somewhere in the world (not sure if this sentence is a positive or negative).
Luckily for me, I think I have found my perfect beach not so far from home. As a slap in the face, on that beach, there are no palms in sight or bathtub temperature waters.
This beach has certain features I am beginning to enjoy more and more: cliffs, rock promontories and sea arches. I am kind of obsessed with wild and rugged pieces of coast. Maybe I have been looking too long at pictures of the Oregon Coast.
That is why I felt so energized after having the opportunity to finally visit El Matador State Beach. This “pocket beach,” part of the Robert H. Memorial State Beach, has been voted many times the most beautiful strand of sand in the Los Angeles area.
Located at the west end of the city of Malibu, it can be considered a “cove that emerges during low tide.” This part of the coast is characterized by 150 feet tall cliffs. When the water recedes at certain times during the day, a small pouch peppered with huge boulders is revealed.
The view from the top of the cliff is incredible. In one direction, it is possible to admire the deep blue waters filled with kelp forests (look for dark spots). In the other direction, mansions line a long strand of sand till Point Dume.
A steep dirt trail goes down to a series of stairs that take you to the bottom. This is where you get your first glimpse of the numerous rocks against the cliff. As you continue going down, the water looks clearer with turquoise and emerald tones.
Once at the bottom, I discovered many caves formed by the waves crashing against the cliff. It was also interesting to imagine forms in the rocks. There are many arched rocks in here so it is easy to “see” elephant silhouettes here and there. Another rock looks like a bent index finger.
If the tide is low enough, it is possible to walk to El Matador’s sister beaches, La Piedra and El Pescador.
Walking towards Point Dume, you get close to million dollars houses. Some parts of Malibu have even been nicknamed “Billionaire’s Beach.” In this area, “Private Beach” signs start to pop up. Continue you walk in peace, since under California’s Constitution, the public is allowed be on the wet sand (official definition: mean high tide line).
Just writing this post made eager to return to El Matador. At least, I don’t have to go that far to experience my perfect beach.
Directions and Tips:
– El Matador Beach is located 4 miles north of famous Zuma Beach (or 24 miles north of Santa Monica) on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). Be attentive to the signs since the entrance point is sometimes difficult to spot.
– There is a fee parking lot at the top of the bluffs.
– People who want to avoid the fee, park on PCH. Be carefully when crossing the highway if you part across the street.
– There is a portable restroom next to the parking lot. Be prepared and bring toilet paper (or napkins, gulp!) just in case.
– There are no food services in the beach. Bring you food and eat it at the tables on the top. Or get original and claim one of the caves below. Have you eaten in a cave before?
– Don’t leave trash in the area.
– When going back to Los Angeles (or Santa Monica) thru PCH, try to spot a sign saying the following “Welcome to Malibu. 27 miles of scenic beauty.” Stop there for amazing views of the coast. A lot of tour groups stop here to get photos.
Have you visited El Matador Beach? Do you enjoy beaches with big boulders and sea arches?
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