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Malibu, California

Explore El Matador Beach

Originally added by Kyle Huber

El Matador is home to gorgeous rock formations and caves with amazing sunsets and sunrises. This is also a great place to try different lenses, exposures and action shots.

There's something magical about this strip of beach and it never fails to deliver at sunset. Lined with strange and jagged rock formations/caves, there are endless opportunities for finding unique compositions and new perspectives. Although it's become quite the popular spot for photographers and wedding photos, most people tend to clear out around sunset for some reason. My favorite sunsets here have been when the tide is low and the beach is easier to navigate. That being said, certain spots aren't really accessible by foot when the water level is too high. Either way, you can almost always expect to find birds perched perfectly on the tip of rocks and gorgeous colors in the sky.

I recommend utilizing free parking on the PCH (opposite side of the road from the beach) and walking past the state beach parking area (must pay before leaving your car) to the dirt trail that leads you down to the beach. You'll walk past a picnic table area and then down a slightly dangerous (thank you erosion) path that eventually turns into stairs that bring you to the sand. This beach is great for a picnic lunch, laying out in the sun with friends, finding a peaceful spot to read a book and of course, taking photos. Explore the rock caves (don't forget the ones built into the rock cliffs) and soak in the beauty around you. Note: You'll want to walk up the beach in a Northern direction away from the residential homes and stay off the steep staircases for your safety.

Photo Tips: I tend to prefer shooting during the 10-15 min after the sun slips over the horizon because the colors in the sky really pop during that time. Plus, the sun usually creates evil glares when you aim your phone's camera lens directly at it. From my experience, the lighting after sunset is usually perfect for capturing silhouettes and for long exposure photography.

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Tags

Chillin
Photography
Bathrooms
Beach
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Groups
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Easy to miss, hard to replace

It is real easy to pass Matador Beach as you are traveling California, with entrance an immediate turn off of the Pacific Coast Highway, yet almost immediately after turning you are greeted by a Matador beach in its picturesque glory: majestic rock formations and sea caves, with mighty waves crashing on the shore. It's a very easy place to miss, but the sights you will witness are hard to replace.

One of the most beautiful beaches in CA

We came here for sunrise and the quality of light filtering into the sea caves was stunning. this beach is truly beautiful and i would visit again in a heartbeat.

Best beach in LA

This is my ultimate favorite beach in LA. The rock formations make a perfect backdrop to any photo, especially for the start photos. For free parking, try and park on PCH and walk to the entrance! However, if you're looking for a secluded beach, this is probably not it.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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