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Malibu Drive: PCH Oxnard-Santa Monica

California's Finest Drive:  Route 1 Santa Monica, Malibu, Oxnard

The coastal route between Ventura and Los Angeles is not only beautiful, it can be a time-saving alternate to the busy 101 freeway.

Here’s a Southern California coastal drive that’s enjoyed by both locals and tourists alike.  And, believe it or not, it is often less crowded than the freeway (101 and 405) when traveling between Ventura County and Santa Monica.  Plus, there’s plenty of fresh air to breathe and beautiful scenery to see along the way.

California Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) near the border of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties is mostly a single lane in each direction.  The smooth road hugs rocky mountains or sandy hills on one side, and the rugged crystal blue-turquoise Pacific Ocean on the other.  The approximately one hour (without traffic) drive takes you past the Naval Base Ventura County (home of the “Seabees” and Point Mugu Naval Air Station) to the Santa Monica Pier.  And, there’s so much to see along the way.

Related: El Matador Beach Malibu “Picture Perfect”

Mugu Rock, a distinctive boulder that stands on the coastal side of the road, can be seen from far away, as you wind along the highway.  You might recognize Mugu Rock, and this stretch of Pacific Coast Highway, since it’s a popular shooting location for TV shows and car commercials.

Malibu, CA

California's Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) between Oxnard and Santa Monica offer is one of the most beautiful drives in the USA. The New York Times calls this drive through Malibu one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the USA! Here are some photos I took along the way. Story to follow soon, in case you want to try this 30 mile coastline drive yourself. I highly recommend it!

[img src=]59630Point Dume Natural Preserve, Malibu
Point Dume offers a hiking trail down a hill to a beautiful secluded beach.
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[img src=]7650Point Mugu Lookout Point
[img src=]6460Beachside Camping Malibu
How's this for a camping spot?!? Thornhill Broome Beach State Park is an ideal place to cool off in the summer. Bring your camper, motorhome or fifth wheel and you're all set!
[img src=]5670Malibu Country Mart
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[img src=]5650Getty Villa, Santa Monica Bay
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[img src=]5080California's Finest Drive: Route 1 Santa Monica, Malibu, Oxnard
This stretch of California coastline is among the most beautiful in the state. Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) is also a great alternative to the 101 freeway when traveling between Ventura County and Los Angeles.
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Point Dume is another recognizable landmark.  The flat-topped bluff jutting into the Pacific is visible from miles away.  The Point Dume Natural Preserve offers a path to the Cliffside lookout point.  It’s a relatively easy walk downhill to a pristine beach, but there’s very little parking in the Point Dume neighborhood.

Nearby Zuma Beach is popular among sun worshippers, but can be dangerous for swimmers. If your ‘parking karma’ is good, you might find free beach parking when you turn onto Busch Drive (just south of Zuma Beach).

Related: Hike Solstice Canyon Malibu

Just South of Pepperdine University is the heart of Malibu’s shopping district.  For a relaxing break, stop at the Ralph’s shopping center for a frozen yogurt or Starbucks.  Across the street, Malibu Country Mart, offers an array of dining options and can be a good place to spot celebrities.  (Cross streets are Civic Center Way or Cross Creek Road).

Related: Pacific Park Santa Monica Pier – Carnival by the Sea

Santa Monica is about nine miles away from the Malibu Civic Center area.  This is the portion of the drive where you’re likely to find the most traffic, especially on summer weekends, or during the weekday morning and evening commutes.

Related:  Santa Monica Daycations

The Malibu Coast is a fun daytrip.  If you only want to take the coast one way, hop on the 101 north to Camarillo, exit Pleasant Valley or Las Posas, then head west to the coast, and southbound along Pacific Coast Highway (toward Santa Monica).  Coming from Ventura or Santa Barbara, exit the 101 South at Rice Road, head west and you’ll wind up on California Highway 1.

Note:  The Ventura portion of Pacific Coast Highway is very dark at night, there are no street lights, so it’s not recommended if you are unfamiliar with the road, especially on evenings when there isn’t much moonlight.  Safe travels!!

See the map!  The Malibu Drive:  PCH Oxnard-Santa Monica