El Matador State Beach http://iamsherrelle.com

How To Enjoy El Matador State Beach

Today I’m participating in Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop: Let’s rewind to Summer and warm up! Share some favorite photos from a vacation you took.

It is FREEZING here in Atlanta.  No, really; we are hitting record temps this week.  Teens and low 20’s.  I bought a Patagonia coat last week thinking it was overkill for Atlanta weather, but I actually need to wear it.

This is a perfect week to do some California Dreaming and post some photos of our time spent in Los Angeles over the summer.  We actually lived on Venice Beach, so we spent much of our time there, but took a few rides out to Malibu.   El Matador State Beach is absolutely breath-taking and by far, one of our favorite beaches.   It’s a pain to get to, there’s limited parking and the beach is full of seaweed, but those inconveniences are worth it.

We stood at the top of the stairs for a good five minutes, just taking in all the rugged beauty.    It was stunning.   Down on the beach the boys played football while my daughter and I explored the sea caves and rock formations.  If you are ever near Malibu, you MUST go to this beach.  It’s gorgeous and so different than your normal beach.   We felt like we were on an adventure, like part of The Goonies.  Here are a few tips to make your time on El Matador State Beach enjoyable and worth the adventure:

*Bring your own food and drinks or stop by Point Dume Village on the way; there is a Subway and Pavillions grocery store in the shopping center.

*The parking lot is tiny and fills quickly.  You can park on PCH, but will have to cross the busy highway; I don’t recommend doing that, especially with children.   Hopefully you’ll get lucky and see someone coming out of the parking lot.  And hopefully they will be kind and give you their parking ticket to put on your dashboard.  Someone did that for us and we passed along the favor to someone else when we left.  That $8 parking fee stretched to cover at least 3 cars.

*While you’re up there, be sure to pee.  There is a porta-potty in the parking lot, but there are no facilities down on the beach.   And it’s a loooooong climb back up.

*Do not wear flip-flops.  The walk down to the beach covers some rocky terrain and there are not handrails all the way down.  I wore Keens and felt good about that.   Slipping and sliding all the way down and possibly careening over the edge would not have felt good.

*The seaweed can be out of control–along with the sand fleas that it attracts.   It was in huge clumps when we were there, mostly right at the bottom of the stairs.  The only way to the beach was to walk  it (or run through screaming, as I did).   That’s another reason not to wear flip-flops, because it’s definitely yucky, stinky and gross; you do not want your feet touching that seaweed.  My husband put our daughter on his back because she refused to walk through it.   Be brave.  Goonies never say die.

*There is no lifeguard on duty; the beach is very natural and rugged.  Swim at your own risk and wear swim shoes.   Besides the clumps of seaweed, the sand is pretty rough and the beach is narrow.   Do I have to say it again?–Do not wear flip-flops!

*While there were families on the beach, there were plenty of couples canoodling as well.  And as it got later in the evening, more came to watch the sunset toting dinner and coolers; it was definitely going to turn into a party.   It’s best for families to come early and leave early.  I heard it is an unofficial topless beach (because it’s so secluded), but I also heard that the police patrol regularly.  I saw neither boobs nor bobbies when I was there, but just be aware.

Have fun!

El Matador State Beach 3 http://iamsherrelle.com

El Matador State Beach 2 http://iamsherrelle.com

El Matador State Beach 4 http://iamsherrelle.com

P.S. You may also like to read A Perfect Sunday on Venice and Santa Monica Beaches.

Download a free packing list for the beach.

El Matador State Park


Storyteller. Travel junkie. Extroverted introvert. Very, very clever. Find me at http://iamsherrelle.com .


  • Hello, beautiful pictures.
    How do I get to el matador beach where the rocks are? I live in the san Fernando area.

    • Hi Jenny – just walk down the steps from the above parking lot and the rocks are there. El matador is on Pacific Coast Highway. I think from the valley take Kanan Road, turn right on PCH and look for the signs. Hope you enjoy it!

  • How beautiful! Hot weather and the beach! I can only dream.

    Still can’t figure out why I haven’t moved!

    • Actually it was cool that day and the whole time we were in LA (in July), but still the beach was gorgeous. I need to move also!

  • Neither boobs nor bobbies…love it!

    Pictures are so great, I wish I was there right now and not in Antarctica…ok, New Jersey, but it’s freezing!!!

  • Thank you for the warmth contained in your pictures. It is freezing here in South Carolina.

  • This makes me want to go home and see my California beaches again. Thank you for posting them!

  • Beautiful pictures! Makes me want to be there right now.

  • This has to be one of my favourite prompts – the pictures are stunning and there’s some good tips there too 🙂

  • I toured America but didn’t get to the beach as it was in October.. you would probably love our beaches here in Australia too xx


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