We recently suffered the loss of a very close friend to our family. It’s those things that put life into perspective and really 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 the sand. All the sand in all the places. So much so, that I’d never attempted to do it without my husband, which means there have been summers where we’ve missed it all together. That’s what happens when you take for granted the fact that these beautiful beaches that people travel from all over to visit are just short drive away. 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, and 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, where we intend to make the most of our time together and this beautiful state we live in.
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”, pointed the way to the path, I trusted, paid for parking and off we went. 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) and once we did…boy was it worth it. This was probably the most beautiful of our beach adventures. The beach was quiet and private, not many people at all compared to El Matador which we could see from where we were. The wildlife was incredible. The kids were able to see and explore sea anemone, which they’d only seen prior at the aquarium. They collected sand crabs, and found the carcass of a large crab which for me…gross, for them…amazing. The day was pretty dreamy. Our visit was a short one as we had to get back to town for basketball practice but we packed in as much fun as we could into two hours. Getting back to the car wasn’t easy. We pretty much had to break out some American Ninja Warrior type rock climbing skills if you ask me. I’m not sure I’d brave this beach with just the kids and I because of the hike up and down, 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 the beach the first time, I told the kids we could go back the next day. After the news of the day before, I was just trying to keep thoughts positive and smiles on faces. So off we went once again, on another beach adventure. We headed back to Malibu Coast. This time once we came over the hill, we were met with thick fog and completely overcast skies. Totally different weather than the day before. As a result, we landed at Zuma Beach. Zuma is the beach of my youth. I remember going there as a bikini clad teenager to prance around, play volleyball and such. It’s not a beach I would normally visit now, just because it’s super populated. Being a state park, everyone and their mama is at Zuma Beach, and that does not equate to good times for me. That said, because of the weather it was not the case on this day. Most people must have gotten the memo that I missed and stayed home. Again, it was as short visit, but the kids had tons of fun with their sand toys building mountains and canals. Parking was easy and free becasue we found a great spot on the street, which most likely wouldn’t have happened on a day with better weather. There is however very ample parking on those days in the conveniently located 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 due to the ease of it all. You do pay for parking, but once you do, the beach is steps away from your car. It’s adjacent to a campground so if you’re prepared you can take advantage of the picnic tables and grills provided. We didn’t on this day, but intend to later this summer, for sure. This 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 a new friends while playing with their sand toys and boats. It was very family friendly, with the highlight of the day being when the kids saw a dolphin making it’s way across the ocean. The weather was perfect and so was our time there. Can’t wait to visit again!
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 make 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.