About Pirates Cove Beach in Malibu, California
Pirates Cove is a hidden sandy beach in a small cove on the west side of Point Dume in Malibu. It was made famous as the filming location of the final scene in the original 1968 movie Planet of the Apes with Charlton Heston on the beach below the ruins of the Statue of Liberty.
Access to Pirates Cove is from the southern end of Westward Beach and it can be tricky at higher tides. Westward Beach ends abruptly at a high rock wall which has large boulders piled up in the surf at the terminus. The cove is behind this wall. If the water is too deep or too rough to safely walk through (usually), then take the rugged path behind the boulders that climbs up and over to Pirates Cove.
It’s possible to see sea lions and harbor seals on the rocks at Pirates Cove. Dolphins and whales can be spotted in the waters offshore. Birds and other animals are often on the top of Point Dume so don’t get off the established trails if you decide to venture up to the top.
After visiting Pirates Cove Beach you can explore the natural preserve in Point Dume State Beach that is on the bluff above. A hiking trail ascends from the end of Westward Beach to the bluff top. From those trails you can look down on Pirates Cove and also walk to an observation platform at the top of Point Dume. From November through April you might spot migrating gray whales who pass close by the point. A stairway descends the east side of the point to Dume Cove for another beach and tidepools to explore.
To get to Pirate’s Cove, turn off Pacific Coast Highway onto Westward Beach Road and drive to last parking lot (which requires a fee).
Beach address: 7103 Westward Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 98265
Activities: It’s a small beach that is suitable for sunbathing, while the park above has trails for short hikes, whale watching, watching sunsets, and photographing the area.
Amenities: Trails, viewpoints, but no facilities (restrooms at Westward Beach parking lot).
Dogs: They are not allowed on the beach or in the preserve on Point Dume.
Parking: There is adequate parking at the end of Westward Beach Road but you’ll have to pay a fee to park there.
Beach and park hours: Sunrise to sunset every day.
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