El Matador State Beach, Los Angeles
It is a ways up the coast of Malibu, but the drive up to El Matador State Beach is nice in its own right. El Matador is a quiet small beach with spectacular jutting rocks into the ocean. It is not a great swimming beach due to some of the rocks (the one just south is fine for swimming). It is several miles past Zuma Beach and if you don't look for it, you'll miss the sign. Overall, it is a pristine spot that is not well known and nice for a couple.
El Matador Beach is off PCH (highway 1). It is a smaller, more private beach with cool rock formations. You have to walk down a ton of stairs to get there, but I think it's worth it. It reminds me of the beach they show at the beginning of the movie "Grease".
Often you can see dolphins jumping near the coast.
It's $2 to park in the lot, free parking on PCH.
Southern California has some of the best weather in the United States. If you like lots of rain and overcast skies, don't come here because you'll be disappointed. SoCal is also known for its wonderful beaches, and there are still some quiet places left to watch the sunset. Point Mugu, about an hour drive north of Santa Monica along the 1 (Pacific Coast Highway), is a nice place to disappear for the day to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Note: you have to search for the lonely beaches. Some good ones between Malibu are Pt. Mugu are El Matador and El Pescador.
(Photo: the cliffs meet the waves at Pt. Mugu - June 2001)