Malibu History

Zuma Beach, Malibu 90265

Brian Merrick | July 24, 2023

Now that we are solidly in throngs of Summer here in Malibu lets look at Malibu’s largest beach, Zuma beach.  Zuma is the ultimate Southern California beach: wide, extends for miles. Zuma Beach has 1.8 miles of beach frontage with 105 acres of property. There are approximately 2000 parking spaces. Food vender locations are located at each end of the beach. Other amenities include restrooms, showers, volleyball nets, and a bus stop. Beach wheelchairs are also available from the lifeguard headquarters. 

Zuma! It is derived from the Chumash word for “abundance.”  Zuma beach was an extension of a seasonal Chumash village located in Zuma Canyon.  The Indians would come to reap the many sources of food in the canyon as well as the beach.  Zuma beach had many Clams, Mussels, and other sea life that sustained the tribe.

Zuma in recent years was used for many film shoots, Surf Camps, ocean lifeguard festivals, and Triathlons. Most people know Malibu as a clean safe beach to escape the heat of the valley.  Zuma is the most accessible beach from the San Fernando Valley, Zuma has long been known as a popular surfing, sunning and swimming locale. On holiday weekends and hot days, it’s not unusual of for more than 100,000 people to visit Zuma per day. 

In the 1950’s the Zuma parking lot was built and when finished it would stretch the entire length of Zuma Beach paralleling Pacific Coast Highway.  There were food stands, volleyball courts, swing sets, and later walkways were just some of the amenities featured at the beach.  My mom would take the family down to Zuma and we would spend hours on the swings and climbing the jungle gym.  I can remember that the swings were bigger than normal and once you got going it was high up and very fast moving.  The swings and jungle gym have long since been removed but the volleyball courts and food stands are still there.

Zuma is still one of the cleanest beaches in LA County and well worth a visit.  

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