In hopes of being awarded the “2015 Best Girlfriend Award”, I planned the ultimate birthday surprise for my boyfriend, Cody. I booked us flights to Los Angeles, gave him a list of things to pack (most of which he forgot anyway) and drove him to the airport. He wore headphones and avoided eye contact with all signage allowing him to make it all the way to LAX without knowing for sure where he was. Once we landed, he took a few guesses (Montana, Las Vegas and Los Angeles were among the top 3) and right before we got off the plane, he spotted signs on the runway, indicating we were in LA. Little did he know, that wasn’t our final destination.
After arriving in LA, we rented a Mustang Convertible and drove to get a couple’s massage. Because let’s be real, there’s nothing better than a massage after a long flight across the country. After the massage, we drove down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) into Santa Monica and walked along the Pier. Over two glasses of champagne I told him we were headed to Malibu, where we would be lodging for the week.
There is nothing better than California weather. Cool enough for morning hikes and warms up just in time to hang out on the beach all afternoon. By dinner time, the heat subsides and the temperature is perfect for evening walks on the pier and star gazing from the convertible. It was like the weather accommodated each activity we chose and allowed us to feel comfortable, all day long.
Planning a surprise getaway is a lot of fun but it most certainly takes a lot of leg work! I starting planning this trip in April and had to make sure Cody could take off of work without making it too obvious that I was taking him out of the state, let alone across the country. Booking everything without your significant other’s input can seem stressful, but if they are as easy-going as Cody, no matter what you have planned, it’s sure to be enjoyable! His excitement and gratitude for the whole experience made it well worth it. So much so, that I’m considering making it an annual tradition.
Although I created an itinerary with a good amount of activities and dining options, I made sure to keep some days free so we could pick things we wanted to do together, depending on our mood that day. Most of my research was done ahead of time, allowing us to have a list of cool options to choose from but still leaving plenty of room for spontaneity and suggestions from locals (my favorite!!). Which came in handy when we impulsively decided to just drive up and down the coast, taking in the perfect view, twice.
the Malibu itinerary
(What I would recommend…)
Things to do in Malibu:
- The Getty Villa
- Amazing grounds and architecture. Perfect for a quick pit stop or a half-day. We opted for the quick pit stop and spent about an hour exploring the grounds on our own terms. I think if I were to go back I would like to do the architecture tour. We were headed back to our room for a nap by the time it started.
- Solstice Canyon: challenging for beginner hikers but so much fun! You’ll see some enormous trees and uninterrupted panoramic views.
- Escondido Falls: seeing as Cali is experiencing a drought, the falls were more like pretty rocks than water features. We deciding to climb them and take in the view from higher grounds. This spot has awesome bouldering but you definitely have to be willing to get a bit dirty. We ran the trail back to get in a quick workout. You’ll be impressed by all of the homes (and their gated driveways) on the walk to and from the trail
- Santa Monica Pier (20-30 min south on the PCH)
- We played a few dollars worth of Jurassic World and got all hype shooting dinosaurs and raptors (NOTE: Cody died twice before I died once, boo yah!). To cap off the night, we rode the Ferris Wheel and I even got a kiss when we got stuck at the top (I’d say that’s two wins for the night).
- Venice Beach/Boardwalk (1 hour south on the PCH)
- Good for shopping, street performances (which I may or may not have been a part of), people watching and cultural entertainment galore!
Places to Eat:
- Mastro’s Ocean Club
- Steak & Seafood
- Hawaiian Fusion
- Malibu Farm
- Farm to Table, organic, healthy & fresh
- The Reel Inn
- Seafood galore with a side of some pretty tasty house made slaw
- Grom Gelato
- Perfect desert spot
- Marmalade Café
- Bui Sushi
- It was so good, we went twice! Loved their coconut sake infused cocktails and specialty rolls.
- Point Dume State Beach
- El Matador State Beach
- Zuma Beach
A Cute little slide show of our photos: