Your Destination Guide to Los Angeles

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Malibu

Malibu
Malibu

© Paraflyer

The Chumash Indians called it "Humaliwo," meaning "where the surf sounds loudly," others call it a paradise where "the mountains meet the sea." It once rose to popularity as "Surf City USA," and countless silver screen stars have called it "home", but most people around the world know it by one name: Malibu.

Images of crashing ice-blue waves, gently swaying palm trees, and sun-soaked beaches are the first that likely come to mind at the mention of Malibu. Stretching 27 miles along the California coastline, this part of Los Angeles County is easily one of the most beautiful. The rough hillsides face the blue horizon and the space between hill and beach is typically no wider than four traffic lanes. The Pacific Coast Highway is a narrow ribbon of pavement that follows the curves of the cliffs, hosting a steady stream of cars heading north and south. The highway is occasionally buffered on its ocean side by homes, restaurants, or parks, but that famous crashing surf is rarely out of view.

Malibu was originally home to the Chumash Indians, whose main settlements existed at the site of what is now the Lagoon Museum (see Malibu Beach article for details). Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo came to Malibu in 1542, and early Malibu settlers included the Rindge family who founded the popular Malibu Potteries in 1926. The Potteries produced unique Malibu tiles, which are still featured as decorative accents in the area's older estates. Visitors can tour the Adamson House (also part of the Malibu Lagoon Museum) to learn more about the Malibu Potteries and see examples of Malibu tiles.

Malibu later became the epicenter of the 1960s surf craze, initially sparked by the release of the lighthearted beach film "Gidget" starring blonde ingénue Sandra Dee in 1959. The Beach Boys furthered the trend with their numerous surf-themed hits, extolling Malibu among other Southern California beaches in their lyrics and encouraging America's youth to go on their own "Surfin' Safari."

As the Sixties progressed, Malibu gained popularity as the destination and inspiration for surf music, new-age ideas, alternative youth lifestyles, and, of course, great waves.

Malibu was confirmed as a city in 1991, and actor Martin Sheen was its first honorary mayor.

Humaliwo or Surf City, home or vacation spot, Malibu is loved for its beauty and its role in inspiring the California sun culture. This seaside town is a national destination for those who have always been "California Dreamin'."

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