Los Angeles International Airport
, also known as LAX, is the sixth-busiest airport in the world, which means it’s a bit of a beast. But with more than 565 daily flights, it’s also your best bet for getting a cheap flight to Malibu from wherever you are. Rental car companies are plentiful and a mere shuttle bus away. In recent years, Angelenos have embraced the smaller Burbank Airport
(no one calls it by its official name, Bob Hope Airport). It’s a longer haul to Malibu and generally the flights are priced higher, but it is considerably less of a hassle. Charter flights, if that’s how you roll, can land at airports in Santa Monica, Santa Barbara or Oxnard.
Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner
makes 12 daily round trips from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, stopping at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. It’s a nice way to travel until you get to downtown LA, which is notoriously confusing to navigate and, during rush hour, a sea of cars.
Malibu Taxi (22211 PCH, 310-456-0500) is the only company with a fleet of cars on hand in Malibu. They’ll take you anywhere you want to go—around town, to the airport, even over the border to Mexico, if it comes to that. Note that when you call Malibu Yellow Cab (310-456-5303), Malibu Cab or Malibu Checker Cab, you get the same dispatcher.
We know what you’re thinking: top down, surfboard in the back, the wind tousling your sun-kissed hair as Jack Johnson plays on your iPod. It’s not really like that. If you hit it right, driving the PCH can be almost fun. And by “right,” we mean midday, during the week, in late October. But if it’s a summer Saturday, holiday Sunday, or rush hour, prepare for a parking lot. Northbound traffic usually opens up around Pepperdine University, and the canyon roads, while busy, tend to stay moving. Keep an eye on the shoulders of the PCH. They’re usually packed with RVs, cyclists and surfers wriggling out of their wetsuits.
There is a city bus that runs along the PCH, but you’ll grow old waiting for it—and growing old is strictly prohibited in Malibu. But if you’re determined, keep your eyes peeled for the 534 express, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
. Ideally, it leaves Trancas Canyon in the far west of town every half hour on its way to Santa Monica and downtown L.A.
Useful information about the bus:
-A one-way fare will set you back $1.50. Do yourself a favor and bring the exact fare. Bus drivers won’t make change. Ever.
-While you’re at it, bring a book. It takes roughly 45 minutes to get to Santa Monica and over an hour to reach downtown.
-Buses run from 6AM to 9PM on weekdays. They start a little later on weekends, 6:55AM on Saturdays, 7AM on Sundays.
-The bus stops at three places along the PCH in Malibu: Trancas Canyon, Malibu Canyon and Topanga Canyon. Benches mark the spot where the bus pulls over.