We recently suffered the loss of a dear friend to our family. It’s those things that put life into perspective and cause you to not “sweat the small stuff”. This is what it did for me. Going to the beach always seemed like just a giant production with the packing and all the sand in all the places. I’d never even attempted to do it without my husband, which means there have been summers we’ve missed it all together. That’s what happens when you take for granted that people travel from all over to visit these beautiful beaches that are just short drive away from home. The day we found out our friend had gone home to be with Jesus, I grabbed my babies and headed west. I wasn’t going to put off making memories with my kids due to slight inconveniences any longer. While it was a hard day, I felt the best way to honor that amazing man of God’s memory was to spend quality time loving on my family. It inspired the start of our summer 2017 adventures.
La Piedra, State Beach
32700 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90265
We stumbled upon La Piedra Beach when there was no parking at El Matador, State Beach in Malibu. It was the next beach up with plenty of parking. I was a bit suspect when we arrived so I asked two surfers unloading if it was a good beach for the kids. They said it was “awesome” and pointed the way to the path. I trusted, paid for parking and trotted off. Turns out, two surfers were not the ones to ask. It was a quite perilous getting down to the beach with two little ones and bags of beach gear, but we made it (by the grace of God). Once we did… it worth it. This was probably the most beautiful of our beach adventures. It was quiet, private, with far fewer people than El Matador which we could see from where we were. Wildlife was incredible. The kids saw and explored sea anemone, collected sand crabs, and found the carcass of a large crab which for me…gross, for them…amazing. Our visit was a short due to basketball practice, but we packed in as much fun as we could into two hours. Getting back to the car wasn’t easy, requiring some American Ninja Warrior type rock climbing skills. I’m not sure I’d brave this beach alone because of that hike, but with the help of the hubs it could totally happen.
Pacific Coast Highway and Busch Dr Malibu, CA 90265
Since we had such a short visit to La Piedra, I told the kids we could go back the next day. I wanted to keep thoughts positive and smiles on faces after the news of the prior day. We headed back to Malibu Coast for another beach adventure. We were hit with very different weather than the day before, therefore landing at conveniently located, Zuma Beach. Zuma is the beach of my youth where I’d prance around as a bikini clad teenager, playing volleyball and such. It’s not a beach I would normally visit now, because being a state park, everyone and their mama is at Zuma Beach. I’m not big on large beach crowds. That said, most people must have gotten the memo I missed about the super overcast weather and stayed home. Once again, it was as short visit, but the kids had tons of fun with their sand toys. Parking was easy and free because we found a great spot on the street, which most likely wouldn’t have happened with better weather. However, on those busier days there is very ample parking in the paid lot.
Pacific Coast Highway and Sycamore Canyon Rd Malibu, CA 90265
Sycamore Cove is further up the coast getting into Ventura County. It’s a bit of a trek, but probably my overall favorite. It requires you to pay for parking, but the lot is convenient and steps away from the beach. There’s an adjacent campground so if you’re prepared you can take advantage of the picnic tables and grills provided. Sycamore Cove was a great happy medium to the two beaches we’ve visited so far. There weren’t a ton of people, but enough that the kids were able to make new friends while playing with their toys. It was very family friendly. The kids even got to witness a dolphin making it’s way across the ocean. We had a perfect trip with perfect weather. I’d say the only downfall was all the rocks on the beach making it harder on little feet.
Worth the trouble?
So ultimately was it a lot, visiting three beaches over just a few days? Sure, it’s a one hour drive with no traffic, and there’s always traffic on the trip home, snacks to pack, and all that sand, but it was just what we needed and thinking of our friend and the man he was while here made it quite painless. Let the family fun and summer adventures continue in honor of you Pastor Hank Morris, we love you always and forever! Even in his passing he’s done what he always did…inspire people to be better and see the goodness and beauty of God. He will never be forgotten.