Take a walk on the Malibu coast’s wild side! El Matador State Beach is a rugged stretch of sand where 150-foot cliffs have been beaten and worn away by the turquoise waves to create a series of small sea caves.
Caves and protruding boulders are all along El Matador Beach, but the highlight here is a colossal freestanding pillar. You can’t miss it. The crown of this formation is a favorite spot for seagulls and its base is a set of arches. These arches aren’t just cool to look at—you can walk in, around, and under these mini caves for a unique beach experience. During high tide the lower arches fill up with water and can be risky to wade through, but if you wait for the tide to drop, there’s even more discovery to be had.
The route to the beach is marked by signs and a well-worn path. You’ll first be greeted with a panoramic view of the beach as you stand atop the cliffside. It’s a small beach but its beauty is grand. Halfway down to the sand, the dirt path joins a steep staircase that will land you just a few yards away from the pillar, the arches, and the pockmarked cliffs.
El Matador State Beach is on CA-1 (Pacific Coast Hwy.) 12 miles up the coast from the intersection of PCH and Malibu Canyon Rd. Parking is $8, or you can park for free on stretches of PCH if you don’t mind walking a bit. No dogs.