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Beautiful Coastline Living, Rich in History and Culture
Malibu is famous for its beaches as well as its canyons, being close, but removed, from city living. Malibu stretches 27 miles along the ocean and extends up into the canyons and mountains. Pacific Coast Highway (part of the famed Highway 1 that runs through California) connects Santa Monica/Pacific Palisades to Ventura County line and beyond. Everyone has their own opinion on which is the best part of Malibu for them and there are many areas to choose from based on location, location, location and your personal needs and budget. The population remains small (less than 15,000 people), but its beautiful beaches, parks and canyons draw visitors from all over the world and many people have second homes here.
Malibu History and Community
There will be more about Malibu history in my upcoming blogs and posts – but in summary, coastal California from Malibu to San Luis Obispo was the home of the Chumash Indians before the Spanish explorers. Juan Cabrillo landed in Malibu in 1542 and claimed the land for the King of Spain. 200 years later in 1775, a permanent Spanish settlement was established. In 1800, Jose Bartolome Tapia, a soldier who fell for Malibu’s beauty in 1776, requested a land grant as reward for his service which was granted in 1805. By the time California was part of America, the land (originally 14,000 acres) had passed on to Leon Victor Prudhomme, through marriage, but he was unable to prove title to U.S. Land Commission and Prudhomme sold the grant to Matthew (Don Mateo) Keller at about a dime an acre, who by 1864 was able to clear title to 13,330 acres after having to overcome many other claims, All later deeds to Malibu real estate are traceable to “the land of Matthew Keller in the Topanga Malibu Sequit.” The title description was:
“Extending from a place called ‘Topanga,’ the dividing line between these lands and the Ranch of ‘Santa Monica,’ on the southeast, along the Pacific to a point called Mugu on the northwest, and bounded on the northeast by a ledge of rocks on the top of and extending the whole length of a range of mountains; and adjoining the lines of the ranchos of ‘Las Virgines,’ ‘Triunfo,’ ‘Santa Ysabel,’ and ‘Conejo.”‘
In 1892 Frederick Hastings Rindge and May Knight Rindge purchased the 13,330 acres for $10.00 an acre from Keller’s son, Matthew Keller, and they were the fourth and last owners of all of Malibu. They even expanded the property to 17,000 acres. The history of this family should be made a movie, and I will be writing of more of the history in separate posts, but May Rindge exhausted the coffers of the estate trying to keep Malibu private by blocking access across the rancho – first by the Southern Pacific Rail Road and then by the State of California for a highway. An easement for what became Roosevelt Highway (now Pacific Coast Highway [PCH]) was granted to the State of California by the Superior Court in 1925 after many battles in court and otherwise (i.e. to counter the railroad, she built her own railroad as it there was a clause that didn’t allow parallel railroads to be built). The Rindge family has left a huge impact on Malibu, which survives until today, but May Rindge finally set up the Marblehead Land Company to portion and sell parts of the rancho to cover the massive legal bills.
Much of the land of the Topanga Malibu Sequit remains protected as state parkland and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This is important because without this protection Malibu could very easily become too overdeveloped. Properties that are abutting or near these protected lands are desirable.
There are many challenges as Malibu struggles to be welcoming to the visitors and private to the residents. The planning and zoning continue change to be more and more restrictive as the density and traffic of Malibu expands.
Malibu was an unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County until 1991, when The City of Malibu was incorporated on March 21, 1991. While current full-time population is currently just over 12,000 people, Malibu is visited by about 15,000,000 people per year making the planning and development very sensitive requiring special sensitivity to traffic flow and the needs of the residents, as well as the visitors.
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Coastal and Canyon Living Convenient to City Amenities
- Pacific Coast Highway – east of Las Flores Canyon (Big Rock, Las Tunas, Las Flores) – Beachfront homes line Pacific Coast Hwy, from Topanga Cyn to Los Flores Cyn. While new homes continuously replace the older ones, this remains the most affordable beachfront property in Malibu.
- La Costa Beach – Beachfront from Los Flores Cyn to Carbon Cyn. – Beautiful homes and beach. Very exclusive and most hold memberships to the coveted La Costa Beach Club.
- Carbon Beach – Most exclusive beach extends from Carbon Cyn to the Malibu Pier – luxury home estates, condominiums, restaurants and hotels. Other businesses line the landside of Pacific Coast Hwy. This beach is known as Billionaire Beach. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, owns several residential and commercial properties along this fabulous beach.
- Malibu Colony – this is the first area populated when Malibu opened (it was previously a private ranch and really difficult access) and was made instantly famous by the movie stars that first moved there. It remains very exclusive and behind manned security gates. It is reasonable close to town and very convenient to all services.
- Malibu Road – Malibu Road is an extension of Malibu Colony just beyond the gated area. It extends about two miles lined with beach homes (there are a few landside homes as well). This area has become very popular and desired and many of the older homes have been replaced with new, although there are some lots that come up for sale from time to time. There are also some condos and beach rentals along the beach of Malibu Road. It was made famous in 1950’s and 60’s with the Beach Party and other movies.
- Corral Beach – Mostly a public beach (Dan Blocker County Beach) along PCH with a few residences and condos, between the end of Malibu Road and Latigo Shore.
- Latigo Shore – This is also a famous surf break, it hosts some Condos on Seagull Way and some beachfront homes on Latigo Shore Dr.
- Malibu Cove Colony – Right around the point west of Latigo Shore Dr. is this private enclave of exclusive beachfront homes.
- Escondido Beach – Continuing west from Malibu Cove Colony, Escondido (“Hidden” in Spanish) Beach is tucked away along a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California. Escondido Beach Road runs along the beachfront, with large homes facing the water. The beach continues to Paradise Cove and Point Dume and is mostly accessible at high and low tides all the way including Little Dume, but needs to be low tide to continue past Point Dume.
- Paradise Cove – Paradise Cove is an anchorage cove sheltered by Point Dume. While at one time there was an extensive pier that was home to rental boats and where fishing boats landed in the past. The long pier was mostly destroyed in a 1983 storm, but a short pier remains. It features an expansive beach lined by bluffs with many luxury properties and fantastic ocean views expanding from the famous “queens necklace,” Palos Verdes and the Channel Islands. This has become known as Millionaire’s and Billionaire’s Beach. The beach continues to little Dume and there are some beachfront homes, but the bluff front homes are very desirable. There are some large lots that extend from PCH to the beach, and there is a section that is behind gates at Sea Lane Dr. The Cove is anchored by the Paradise Cove Mobile Home Park and Paradise Cove Beach Café on the sand.
- Point Dume Bluffs – The bluff lining the beach continues from Paradise Cove and around the Point Dume area very luxurious homes line the bluffs with amazing extensive ocean views with private beach access,
- Zuma Beach – there are not any homes beachside along the public beach, but many significant properties line the bluff across Pacific Coast Hwy in this area.
- Broad Beach – A stretch of exclusive beachfront along two miles of Broad Beach Rd. It also includes some private gated beach communities, Sea Level, Victoria Point and Point Lechuza, in addition to some landside homes and smaller off-shoot cul-de-sacs. Broad Beach continues to gain popularity and exclusivity.
- Encinal Bluffs – Bluff continue up the coast to Ventura county line offering some expansive properties interspersed with State Park beaches with some great views and special pockets of great locations.
- Public Beaches and Coastal Access – The public has access to all beaches below the mean high tide line, although use of the beach is often limited by high tide and private property. There are access points all up and down the coast of Malibu and this is monitored by the California Coastal Commission.
- Big Rock – This is a collection of micro communities that climb up the hillside off Pacific Coast Highway and Big Rock Road. It is closer to town, just a few miles west of Topanga Canyon and Pacific Coast Highway. Many properties have incredible views. There is a mix of older and new homes.
- La Costa landside – Across Pacific Coast Highway from La Costa Beach, it is hillside neighborhood most homes have incredible views of the ocean and easy beach access. Most properties having membership in the private La Costa Beach & Tennis Club. It is close to central Malibu and close-in to town.
- Serra Retreat – This area has become more and more exclusive and desired year after year. It is famous for being very lush as it sets straddling the Malibu Creek. It was originally the center of the Rindge family’s ranch that included all of Malibu. It was home to Malibu Tile and other commercial family endeavors. Serra Retreat is named for the Franciscan Monastery sitting on a prominent knoll (sold by the Rindge family as Malibu was broken up into parts in 1946). A very special place with both entrances behind gates with manned security.
- Malibu Knolls – Just off Malibu Canyon, overlooking the Civic Center with most properties enjoying incredible ocean & Santa Monica Bay views, this neighborhood offers proximity to center of Malibu and the valley.
- Malibu Country Estates – 107 home subdivision built right next to Pepperdine University (many have rights to use Pepperdine facilities was first developed in the 1970’s by ALCOA, this is one of only a few subdivisions featuring both sidewalks and a private sewer system that serves this community.
- Winding Way – This area offers estates with acreage and ocean views, many of them being new homes.
- Point Dume – A family community where most of the homes have deeded beach rights to one of the private beaches (Riviera’s). This area is also accented by a highly regarded elementary school focused on Marine Science. Swim, surf and play here.
- Malibu Park – Malibu Park neighborhood is accessed off of Pacific Coast Highway on Bonsall Drive, Busch Drive, Morning View Drive and Guernsey Drive. It was divided into larger lots and horses and agriculture were encouraged in its development. It includes all of the bluff property (this has been split into some smaller parcels) along PCH from Busch Dr. to just before Trancas Canyon and extends up into the hills. It now sports many newer large estates, many have spectacular ocean views.
- Trancas Canyon – This Canyon has no outlet, but winds up the hills with some very nice homes. It is a bit of a mix between older and new homes. There are still some building sites to be developed in the future.
- Malibu West, Trancas Canyon – Malibu Park was originally about 200 affordable homes. It was developed in 1962 and built by Nisan Matlin and Eugene Dvoretzky, award-winning architects. Today many of the homes are restored with homage to their original design. This tract of about 177 homes and 66 condos was developed in 1970’s offering affordable housing in Malibu. This subdivision has sidewalks and a sewer system maintained by Los Angeles County. Most homes have memberships to the Malibu West Beach Club on the beach across PCH from The Trancas commercial center.
- Corral Canyon Road – This canyon road is access to both the El Nido and Malibu Bowl areas of homes.
Living in the Malibu Hills on Canyons with Access to the Valley
Malibu is accessible to other areas in Los Angeles and Ventura counties by some Canyons connecting Pacific Coast Hwy to the 101 Freeway (for easy access to all of San Fernando Valley):
- Topanga Canyon – (Hwy 27) This canyon is a world of its own. Far removed from the maddening crowd. It boasts many unique residential areas, including its off-shoot Old Topanga, and it also has its own shopping, restaurant and entertainment venues and one might never have to leave. It crosses the 101 and continues across much of the valley.
- Tuna Canyon – mostly closed by has one-way access to Pacific Coast Hwy from downtown Topanga and is a State Park subject to closures due to weather.
- Las Flores – This is a small canyon road has several interesting communities of homes, most of them perched on the hillsides.
- Rambla Pacifico – Just west of Las Flores, both roads climb the canyon and eventually Las Flores connects to Rambla Pacifico which ends at Piuma Road connecting to Malibu Canyon – some unbelievable views and homes along the way.
- Malibu Canyon – This canyon is an easy drive without a lot of elevation change and well-engineered curves connecting PCH to 101, the Malibu Knolls area is close to PCH and overlooks central Malibu. This canyon is also the access to the Monte Nido community and connects some other tributary roads including Mulholland Hwy, Las Flores and Rambla Pacifico.
- Latigo Canyon – This canyon road winds up through the hills from PCH and has a lot of homes on it and the area known as Malibu Vista is up this canyon. It connects and ends at Kanan-Dume Rd.
- Kanan-Dume Road (N9) – This is another major thoroughfare from the beaches to the valley and it also is a connector for man of the other canyon roads. There are some
- Encinal Canyon – This westerly canyon road is a pleasant drive and connects to Mulholland and Kanan Dume to get to the 101. Plenty of properties developed and undeveloped along Encinal.
- Decker Canyon (23) – This road leaves PCH just west of Encinal Canyon and winds up to connect to Mulholland which turns into Westlake Blvd. to the 101. It is quite twisty, but is a very well used thoroughfare. There are developed and undeveloped properties lining this road and Decker School Rd. has its own community. Decker Edison Rd. is getting more developed as well.
- Mulholland Highway – This amazing highway originates in Malibu across from Leo Carrillo State Beach and climbs up into the mountains and then continues through the hills and valleys of the Santa Monica Mountains all the way past Topanga Canyon where it turns into Mulholland Dr. and continues. It crosses or turns almost all of the other canyon road mentioned above.
Malibu Mobile Home Parks
- Paradise Cove – It even had a food shack at the end of it. A strong storm destroyed much of the pier in 1983 reducing the length from 600 ft. to 220 ft. In the 1960’s mobile homes were introduced as beach rental vacation homes in the lower canyon that opens onto the beach. Later the park was sold to the Kissel family, who still owns it. 200 more spaces were developed on the bluff areas of what became Paradise Cove Mobile Park. Paradise Cove boasts an excellent beach, with walking access to popular Point Dume surfing – all mobile home owners have access to the beach – and there is beachfront restaurant (currently Paradise Cove Café, previously the Sandcastle). The park offers homeowner’s many amenities and mobile homes are currently very
- Point Dume Club – This mobile home park that was developed in 1970. Point Dume Club sits on the top of the Point Dume bluffs and many homes boast views of the ocean and Zuma Beach, with great sunset viewing. This park has a manned 24-hour gate and is laid out like a well-maintained residential neighborhood. Amenities include a heated swimming pool, saunas, tennis court and clubhouse. It is a great family park and residents can walk to the beach, to school, Point Dume shopping and restaurants. Golf carts give easy access to local spots. Current listings range from $650,000 to $1,750,000. Space rent on current listings range from $2,000 to over $4,000.
- Seminole Mobile Home Park – This is the most affordable mobile home park in the Malibu area (it is not officially Malibu but Agoura which sits off Mulholland Hwy in the middle of the foothills and can be accessed from Kanan Dume Rd).