Paradise Cove in Malibu may be the nicest little beach you’ve never heard about.
You can’t see this lovely cove from the road; it’s tucked off the Pacific Coast Highway, but a big sign marks the turnoff. The beach is picturesque enough to have attracted location filming of, among others, Baywatch, Rockford Files, and Gidget, and there’s a great fishing pier. Somewhat protected, the Cove generally offers calmer waters, making it ideal for families.
With or without kids, the Paradise Cove Beach Café--all dressed up in vintage photos of the California Coast--is a first-rate restaurant, with style and no attitude. The sign inside the door says it all: “Dress Code—None.” The place is famous for its crispy calamari appetizer served in a bucket-size martini glass, but a close second must be the heaping (no portion here is small) fish tacos. Tuesday and Thursday nights feature live jazz, and if you eat at the restaurant, parking is free.