Zuma Beach County Park is situated just to the west of Point Dume. The park boasts a 3-mile-long beachfront, the southern half of which is called Westward Beach. Its proximity to the Pacific Coast Highway makes it easily accessible, and consequentially very popular. Lifeguards patrol from sunrise to sunset, making sure that swimmers, surfers, and divers are safe in the water. If you would rather stay on land, check out the swing sets and volleyball courts. Food can be purchased at the snack bar, and full meals are available at The Sunset, an elegant restaurant located right on the beach. Restrooms and showers are available, including an accessible bathroom and shower located on Westward Beach Road.
Many different species of sea mammals can be seen from the beach including dolphins, whales, seals, and sea lions. These animals and their habitat are protected as they reside in the Point Dume State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). The idea behind the SMCA is that conservationists can do more good by preserving an entire ecosystem than they can by protecting just one species. This area and others like it exist because of the California Marine Life Protection Act, which dates back to 1999.
Today, a surfer who goes to Zuma Beach generally has a lot of company in the water. In fact, over 50 million people visit L.A.’s beaches every year; this has not always been the case. People began surfing in the 1920s, and the sport experienced a significant rise in popularity during World War II. When soldiers who enjoyed surfing came home from the war, they were shocked by the influx of people on the beaches. In the 1940s, when Zuma Beach emerged from a foreclosed piece of property, a beach with two dozen surfers in the water was considered congested.