Truth be told, Malibu is one of those spots that never completely appealed to me. I mean, present me with the chance to go to the beach and I will likely (always) say yes. But to head to Malibu at will was never really on the agenda. That is until I got a few insider tips from Mrs. Eden of Sugar and Charm (who’s a crazy wealth of knowledge on all things Malibu!) I think I owe this gorgeous place an apology. For more incredible photos, you should click right here.

From Eden… My husband and I were married on the beach in Malibu five years ago. When we first started on our path to marital bliss, several of our dates were day trips to Malibu. We would just lounge on the beach, hit up a favorite eatery and watch dolphins… which always make a sunset appearance! We’ve made so many memories there over the past ten years, it will always be a special place to us. Malibu was also where we took Romeo for his first outing when he was five days old. The first ground his little feet touched was the sand at Paradise Cove!

Although it’s a fairly small town of 13,000 people, there is no shortage of things to do in Malibu. Idyllic Malibu covers 21 miles of stunning coastline, scenic routes down the PCH, surfers, celebrities and waterfront restaurants. And yes, it’s all that and more. Whether you want to paddle surf, dive, ride horseback through trails or shop at the upscale Malibu Country Mart, you’ll have no problem keeping yourself busy in the “Bu,” as they call it. What Malibu doesn’t get enough credit for (we’ll blame that on TV and the industry!) is the stunning canyons, horse ranches, acres of land, hiking trails and a plethora of really good vineyards and wineries… yes wineries! Zan and I have enjoyed many a delicious glass of wine in the canyons of Malibu. On our way home we usually stop at one of the many fruit stands on the corner to pick up fresh strawberries. The drive is superb and with the windows down and fresh ocean air surrounding you, nothing compares to a beautiful day exploring Malibu.

Whether you’re drinking an ice cold Corona on the sand at Paradise Cove, hittin’ the shops or sipping a glass of pinot at Malibu Wines, you will find many exciting things to do on a weekend trip. Below is a little travel guide to the “Bu.”

Restaurants on the water
Paradise Cove – absolutely gorgeous for breakfast, lunch or sunset dinners. It’s the only place in Malibu that you can actually drink on the beach. Even though it’s just a few miles away, I always feel like I’m on a tropical vacation when we go to Paradise Cove. This place can get crazy in the summer though!

Dukes – waterfront views, seafood.

Sunset restaurant – Across the street from the sand. It’s a chic place to grab Sunday brunch, drinks or a sunset dinner. This is where we got married!

Gladstones – Famous for their giant portions and tinfoil to-go animals. This is a beautiful restaurant they just remodeled a few years back. It’s located on the water.

Geoffery’s- Spectacular outside seating with an ocean view terrace. Upscale restaurant, perfect for brunch or a romantic dinner.

Moonshadows – Great place to grab a cocktail while sitting on the outside oceanview terrace.
Neptune’s Net – A tiny fish shack that’s located on the PCH, across from the water. A casual place to grab a beer and a taco. It’s also a very popular spot for motorcyclists on the weekend. It can get loud and crazy, but they have super fresh seafood and it’s fun vibe.

Wineries
Cornell Winery – Tucked away in the mountains. This is a beautiful, historical building that is now a tasting room.

Malibu Wines – Grab a table under an umbrella and enjoy the beautiful scenery at Malibu wines.

Malibu Family Wines

Restaurants in the Canyon
The Old Place – Next door to Cornell Winery, this is a tiny, rustic Western steakhouse. You have to make a reservation weeks in advance or just try to stop by and if you’re lucky you’ll get a seat at the bar!

M Cafe – Part of Calamigos Ranch. This is a must-go place because of the atmosphere. It looks like a giant tree house! You can relax on the lawn, play pool under the tree, take a paddle boat out and feed some of the friendly animals who live on the ranch. It’s really a great place for kids too! Don’t forget to order the s’mores… yum.

Trails
Paramount Ranch – An old abandoned Western town that was once the set to many Hollywood movies and TV shows including Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. It’s an ideal place to take some really cool pictures.

Point Dume Natural Preserve – The most beautiful view of the ocean and cliffs.

Beaches:?Point Dume – You will always see dolphins!
Zuma

Shopping
Malibu Country Mart or also known as the “Lumber Yard” is a hot spot for its upscale shops, laid back atmosphere and feel. Beware! You’ll find a million things you think you need to take home. Some of my favorite stores are James Perse and Oliver Peoples. There are also several restaurants and a few coffee shops here as well.

Ice Cream
Grom Gelateria – Stop by Grom for the most delicious gelato ever!!

Hotels
Malibu Beach Inn
Casa Malibu – I’ve stayed here and it’s located on a little private strip of sand. It’s a little boutique hotel, nothing fancy, but still beautiful with a fantastic location.

Photography: Zan Passante for Sugar and Charm