Although located next to one another, Malibu Lagoon and Surfrider Beach offer visitors different experiences. The lagoon is made up of 22 acres of wetlands, gardens and beach, while Surfrider has almost a mile of oceanfront beach and some of the best surfing conditions in Los Angeles. Given that Surfrider only has limited areas for swimming and is often occupied by devoted surfers, kids may prefer Malibu Lagoon. Both a resting and feeding estuary for more than 200 species of birds, it can be both relaxing and educational. Admission is free.
The lagoon grounds are open from 8 a.m. to sunset. Parking is $3 an hour for the first three hours or $12 for all-day access, which can be applied to parking at any other California state beach or park same-day.