On Location: Kinga Philipps Reveals the Beauty of Malibu
Journalist, traveler and adventurer, Kinga Philipps explores her hometown of Malibu, revealing what's not to love about Malibu, CA.
Watch REAL: Malibu 14:53
What brought you to Malibu?
Kinga: Malibu is my hometown. It’s known the world over, has loads of stereotypes associated with it and a cool history that most people aren’t aware of…so it was perfect as the pilot episode of the REAL series. Personally, I choose to live in Malibu because it’s a quirky little surf town and all of its flaws make it that much more endearing.
What were your expectations while filming in Malibu?
Kinga: Since this is home for me, I knew what to expect, but I really wanted to share all the other sides of Malibu that people don’t know about. It’s funny that people see Malibu as a dreamland overrun with movie stars, expensive restaurants and paparazzi. Truthfully, there are celebrities here... and they are mostly wearing sweatpants at the grocery store. Our expensive sushi restaurant is across the street from KFC, which always makes me laugh. The paparazzi were banned years ago after a fight…an actual fist fight. Malibu is kind of the wild west of LA. There are more beat up surf vans here than fancy cars, we know most of the homeless guys by name and we have growing pains like any other tiny resort town not wanting to lose its heart and soul.
What were some unforgettable moments?
Kinga: Malibu is loaded with unforgettable moments…from sunrise to sunset…literally. I’ve lived here for 9 years and I panic if I can’t make it home for sunset. We are minutes away from the second largest city in the US and there are hikes where you won’t see another person. Surfing Malibu is always unforgettable. We had the tiniest waves the day we filmed and it was still a blast. When you’ve been here long enough you usually know almost everyone in the lineup.
What are your recommendations for things to do in Malibu?
Kinga: If you come to Malibu you have to try surfing, it’s a rite of passage. There are plenty of local instructors offering surf lessons and it’s worth taking one to feel comfortable. If surfing isn't your cup of tea, try stand up paddling or kayaking. We don't offer a lot of places to eat but my not-so-secret favorite spot is Cholada Thai. It’s a little shack just off the beach and it’s a great local hang out. We usually come in with wet hair just out of the water. Get the Cholada pumpkin.
Go hiking. There are so many great trails and all it takes is a guidebook and an afternoon. You can also bike most of the trails. Explore the different beaches. They all have unique personalities. If you want a great sandy beach, visit Zuma. If you want rocky caves, Leo Carrillo. The hike at Point Dume State Beach is beautiful and an excellent spot for whale watching in the spring and fall. Surfrider beach is a great place to spend the day and watch some of the best long boarders in the world. It’s also a perfectly central location within walking distance to restaurants on the pier, margaritas across the street and shopping in the main square.
Visit the Adamson House and get the scoop on Malibu's colorful history. There are some good underdog stories in there and the spirit with which Malibu was built is the same resilience found in its residents today.
What are your tips for planning a trip to Malibu?
Kinga: First of all, don't come in the summer. It’s crowded and the beginning months often have what we lovingly call June gloom….a marine layer that you can cut with a knife. The most beautiful time of year is fall. The weather and the water are warm, the crowds have gone home and you can actually get a seat at the restaurants. It’s glorious. If you are coming in the high season, book your accommodations in advance. We only have a few hotels and they book up fast. The good news is that Santa Monica is just down the street with endless options. If you’re flying in, definitely rent a car. Malibu is 27 miles of scenic beauty and our bus system isn’t going to cut it.