Zuma Beach is a county beach located at 30000 Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in Malibu, California. One of the largest and most popular beaches in Los Angeles County, California, Zuma is known for its long, wide sands and excellent surf. It consistently ranks among the healthiest beaches for clean water conditions in Los Angeles County. The origin of the name of the beach may be related to the origin of the name of nearby [promontory] Point Dume. Point Dume was named by George Vancouver in 1793 in honor of Padre Francisco Dumetz of Mission San Buenaventura. The name was misspelled on Vancouver's map as "Dume" and was never corrected. On a plat map of the Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit finally confirmed to new owner Matthew Keller in August 1870, the point is marked on the map as "Point Zuma or Duma".
Zuma is protected by the Lifeguard unit of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, with 14 lifeguard towers on the sands proper and one of four L.A. County Section Headquarters located at the center of the beach. Like all beaches with good surf, Zuma has its share of rip currents. Visitors are encouraged not to swim or surf in front of the Lifeguard Headquarters between Towers 8 and 9, an area particularly prone to rip currents. In fact, rip currents are so prevalent that as of 2007 the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Unit uses Zuma Beach to illustrate a rip current.
Zuma Beach hosts several premier surfing events each year. With optimum wind conditions nearly daily in the late afternoon, Zuma draws many to kitesurfing on the northern end of Zuma Beach.
Zuma Beach can be accessed directly from PCH, and lies between the major access corridors Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road and Kanan-Dume Road to the southeast, and Las Posas Road to the northwest. Parking is available in a large fee parking lot. Additional parking is available on the adjacent PCH.
On its southeast side, Zuma is bordered by Westward Beach. Westward is geographically situated on Malibu's westernmost promontory known as Point Dume. Westward includes a stretch of 2-way road right at the sand's edge. Parking is available on the road as well as a fee parking lot. Westward Beach is marked by a shorter sand shelf than Zuma, a veritable pipeline, making the waves of less duration and higher impact. Westward Beach is recommended only for strong swimmers, as the wave action compared to Zuma Beach is stronger, can push down on swimmers, and delivers more of a "crunch." Westward Beach is where former lifeguard Jesse Billauer suffered the accident that left him paralyzed.
- Beach Volleyball courts (Pepperdine Waves beach volleyball)
- Diving (shallow)
- Food stands, seasonal
- Outdoor showers (cold)
- Parking lot
- Swimming; lifeguard on duty during daylight hours
- Walkway (wheelchair accessible)
Parking: 2025 spaces (43 disabled) Electric Vehicle - 3 inductive, 1 conductive
During emergency conditions, e.g., fire, mudslide, or earthquake, Zuma Beach is the designated emergency evacuation center for evacuees. With its flat terrain, open parking lot, miles of pristine sand, and xeriscape landscaping, it serves as an optimal first response open air shelter.
Zuma Beach also sports a dedicated helicopter landing area for medical emergency airlifts to local trauma centers.
With its proximity to the film and television industry in Los Angeles, Zuma Beach has been a popular location for advertisements in film and print, films, and television episodes, such as:
- Planet of the Apes (1968) — the final scenes were filmed on Zuma Beach near Point Dume and at Pirate's Cove Beach to the southwest.
- Zuma Beach (1978) — a television film directed by Lee H. Katzin
- The final beach scene and the transitional image of a wave crashing against a rock in Barton Fink (1991) by the Coen brothers was shot at Zuma Beach.
- Indecent Proposal (1993) — directed by Adrian Lyne
- I Dream of Jeannie (1965–1970) — as "a deserted island in the South Pacific" when Capt. Tony Nelson discovers Jeannie in the first episode
- Baywatch (1989–2001) — a frequently used site for the television series
- America's Next Top Model (2003–2015) — the location for a challenge commercial (cycle 22, 2015)
- Scorpion (2014–2018) — a location in Season 1, episode 12
Zuma Beach is home to the annual Malibu Nautica Triathlon, a benefit for Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. The swim portion begins at Zuma Beach, followed by a bicycle segment along the length of Zuma Beach north to Deer Creek Canyon, capped by a run along the sidewalk fronting Zuma Beach. In its 34th year as of 2008, the Malibu Nautica draws competitors from around the world but is best known in popular culture for the Hollywood celebrities and retired Olympic medalists who compete. Stars in recent Nauticas have been David Duchovny, Felicity Huffman, Carl Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, William H. Macy, and Matthew McConaughey. Many television stars also have competed. In 2008, athletes participating in the Nautica raised nearly $980,000 for Children's Hospital.
- Zuma is the name of a Neil Young album released in 1975
- Zuma Beach is mentioned in the song "Some Girls" by The Rolling Stones
- Zuma Beach is mentioned in the song "Why I Came to California" by Leon Ware
- U2 makes reference to Zuma Beach in their song "California".
- A singing surfer's wagon mentions Zuma in the song "Worthless" in The Brave Little Toaster (1987).
- NASCAR on Fox used an instrumental called "Zuma Beach" from 2001 to 2006. It was co-written by Chris Lang and Eric Cunningham. It is unknown if they named the song after the 1975 movie or the actual beach.
- Don Henley wrote the song "The Boys of Summer" on Zuma Beach
- Robin Sparkles (portrayed by Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother) sang the song "Sandcastles in the Sand" as her next big single to "Let's Go to the Mall" with the music video filmed on Zuma Beach.
- “Zuma Beach” is the name of a Francesco Bianconi song, from “Forever”, his first studio album.
- The band "Surf Punks" produced and engineered much of its music in the late 1970's through at least the early 1980's in a garage across the street from Zuma Beach. Referencing Zuma Beach on occasion in videos associated with "Surf Punks" music, the words "Zuma Beach" were also emblazoned across the bottom of the drum stand in several of the band's videos, including the 1980 video for the song "My Beach."
- Singers Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale named their second child Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale (born August 21, 2008).
- Jamie Fry and his wife Anne were married on Zuma Beach in July 2015.
- County of Los Angeles Public Health. "Beach Water Quality Advisories". Retrieved 2018-01-10.
- Point Dume Brochure California State Parks.
- Bright, William; Erwin G. Gudde (1998). 1500 California Place Names: Their Origin and Meaning. University of California Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-520-21271-1.
- LA County Lifeguards Archived October 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- LA County Fire Department
- Rip Currents Archived October 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- LACFD: What is a rip current Archived October 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- Jesse Billauer
- "Zuma Beach". pepperdinewaves.com. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
- "Official Website". Malibu Nautica Triathlon.
- Some Girls lyrics
- YouTube link to video for Surf Punks song "My Beach," Retrieved March 14, 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AgfzNDGcJE8