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Malibu is an affluent, beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city population is 12,575. Malibu consists of a 21-mile (34 km) strip of Pacific coastline. The community is famous for its warm, sandy beaches, and for being the home of countless movie stars and others associated with the Southern California entertainment industries. Signs around the city proclaim "27 miles of scenic beauty", refering to Malibu's original length of 27 miles (43 km) before it was incorporated in 1991.
Most Malibu residents live within a few hundred yards of Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1), which traverses the city, with some residents living up to a mile away from the beach up narrow canyons; the city is also bounded (more or less) by Topanga Canyon to the east, the Santa Monica Mountains to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south, and Ventura County to the west.
Malibu's beaches include Surfrider Beach, Zuma Beach, Malibu State Beach and Topanga State Beach; its local parks include Malibu Bluffs Park (formerly Malibu Bluffs State Park) and the planned Legacy Park, with neighboring parks Malibu Creek State Park, Leo Carrillo State Beach and Park, Point Mugu State Park, and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and neighboring state beach Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, that was once part of Old Malibu (before Malibu became a city), and better known as pristine beaches, El Pescador, La Piedra and El Matador.
Malibu is located at 34°1′50″N 118°46′43″W / 34.03056°N 118.77861°W / 34.03056; -118.77861 (34.030450, -118.778612).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 261.5 km² (101.0 mi²). Thus, Malibu is one of the largest cities in California and the United States in terms of land and water area. 51.5 km² (19.9 mi²) of it is land and 210.0 km² (81.1 mi²) of it is water (the city boundaries extend three miles (5 km) into the ocean). The total area is 80.32% water. Malibu has a population density of 632.9 persons per square mile of land area.
Malibu's dry brush and steep clay slopes make it susceptible to fires, floods, and mudslides. Poor grading practices and over-irrigation or leaking pipes exacerbate the tendency for landslides.
Carbon Beach, Paradise Cove, Escondido Beach, Surfrider Beach, Broad Beach, Pirate's Cove, Westward Beach, Zuma Beach, and Trancas are places along the coast in Malibu. Point Dume forms the northern end of the Santa Monica Bay, and Point Dume Headlands Park affords a vista of stretching to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Santa Catalina Island. Directly below the park, on the western side of the point, is Pirates Cove, named for rumrunners during prohibition who liked the secluded beach for offloading their cargo. Because of its relative seclusion, Pirate's Cove was previously used as a nude beach, but because nudity is now illegal on all Los Angeles County beaches, nude sunbathers are subject to fines and/or arrest. On the eastern side of the point is "Little Dume", a surf spot which is accessible only by an unmarked trail below Wildlife Drive which has a locked gate. Surfers often paddle out from Paradise Cove to the area when the waves are breaking.
Like all California beaches, Malibu beaches are technically public land below the mean high tide line. Many large public beaches (Zuma Beach, Surfrider Beach) are easy to access, but such access is sometimes limited in some of the smaller and more remote beaches. Some Malibu beaches are private, such as Paradise Cove, which charges an entrance fee to keep the crowds at bay. Although access to most all Malibu beaches can be obtained after a bit of a walk, the issue of expanded public access is continuously addressed and debated by the City. Many Malibu homeowners who favor limited public access expansions to some beaches, claiming that many visitors are less likely than residents to respect the beaches or private property.