6 Things to Do in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

When visiting the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, there are plenty of activities to do. For those who love being outdoors, this is the place to go, with hiking, horseback riding, biking, and surfing available.

Head to the Hills

Adventure enthusiasts will love exploring this region. Head to the mountains to go hiking at Sandstone Peak or trail running at Las Virgenes Canyon. Mountain bikers will love riding the trails at Cheeseboro Canyon and feeling the rush of going fast. Camping is allowed at Malibu Creek State Park for those who love to sleep under the stars.

Horseback Riding

Over 500 miles of horse trails are in the Santa Monica Mountains, so it’s a great place to get out on a horse. There are plenty of short trails to go for a few hours, or serious riders can head out for the day exploring the mountains. Overnight camping with the horses is even available for those who want to make a trip out of it. There are many companies nearby to rent horses from and go on guided tours with

Spend a Day at the Beach

There are over 41 miles of coastline to explore in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Santa Monica State Beach is the perfect place to relax and sunbathe. Those who feel like moving can join in on a game of beach volleyball at Zuma Beach County Park. Fishing is popular at Point Mugu State Park for those who want to try their hand at catching something. Malibu Surfrider Beach is a great place to watch some of the best surfers in the area ride the waves.

Admire the Beauty

The Santa Monica Mountains have plenty of beauty to admire day or night. During the day, head to Point Dume State Beach to watch whales play in their natural environment. La Jolla Valley provides a stunning place to take pictures of all the wildflowers that grow there. Head to El Matador State Beach to see the sun go down over the Pacific Ocean. At night, Circle X Ranch is the place to go stargazing.

Botanical Gardens

Though technically outside the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden has over 15 different gardens to admire. It’s free to visit and is open every day of the week with the exception of July 4. There are over 33 acres to explore, and a plant sale and kids’ adventure garden is open on Sundays.


Not a fan of the outdoors? While your companions are spending the day in nature, head to The Oaks to spend the day shopping. They have big name stores such as Apple, Macy’s, Sephora, and Dick’s to name a few. There’s no need to go anywhere else for dinner, as there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. This includes Red Robin, Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, and PizzaRev. They even have a farmer’s market every Thursday from March 29 through October 31.

Whether you spend the day relaxing outside or actively exploring the area, there’s something for everyone at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Posted in Around Town