In today’s technology-centered world, it’s become undeniably challenging to unplug and truly connect — to something other than WiFi, that is. But amid peaceful mountain vistas and breathtaking Pacific sunsets, the natural serenity of Malibu provides a leisurely change of pace for those seeking a reset.
The coastal town is an ideal destination for an aptly named “digital detox,” or a designated period of time where smartphones and laptops are stowed away in favor of authentic, screen-free experiences.
Whether for a night or a week, plan your own digital detox getaway at Malibu Beach Inn. Within walking distance of many of the area’s best sights and activities, it’s the perfect place to slow down, watch the sun set, and breath in the salty ocean air from the sands of Carbon Beach.
What Is a Digital Detox?
While the rules of a digital detox can be customized, the idea is to gain as much freedom from devices as possible, including phones, computers, smart watches, televisions, tablets, and more. Research has found that these kinds of breaks from devices can offer countless mental, physical, and emotional health benefits, ranging from improved sleep to lower stress levels.
Plus, cutting back trains individuals to develop a healthier relationship with technology. While it’s simply unrealistic to go device-free forever, taking breaks can create less dependency.
To go off the grid, the first step is to choose a period of time to “detox.” Consider leaving non-essential tech at home (like laptops and smartwatches), and when you arrive at Malibu Beach Inn, stash your phone in your room, only picking it up when you must. Delete social media apps and email accounts from your phone, and turn off notifications (consider putting it on airplane mode until you need it).
Since you’ll be going tech-free, visit the concierge at Malibu Beach Inn for directions and additional information before heading out on excursions, and bring along an old-school disposable or Polaroid camera to capture memories (or simply savor the sights as you come across them).
Digital Detox-Friendly Activities in Malibu
In lieu of checking emails and Instagram Stories, here’s what to do instead during a digital detox in Malibu.
1. Start with Yoga on the Sand
For those wary of a parting with their devices for an extended period of time, a yoga class is a gentle way to ease in — because it’s a place where you most likely wouldn’t be looking at your phone anyway.
Malibu Beach Inn offers guests complimentary yoga on the beach every morning from 8am to 9 am. The sand below your mat adds an additional stability challenge to the Vinyasa flow, while simultaneously grounding you to the Earth as you gaze toward the ocean ahead.
Photo: Bruce Klumph
2. Visit Malibu Pier & Surfrider Beach
Just a five-minute walk from Malibu Beach Inn, Malibu Pier is a Southern California icon that extends over the glistening Pacific. Walk to the end of the pier to soak in stunning coastal views at any time of day, or enjoy a bite from farm-to-table restaurant Malibu Farm Café.
The pier also marks the eastern boundary of the world’s first surf reserve, Surfrider Beach. As the name suggests, it’s a go-to destination for surfers — and visitors can take lessons, too.
Or, settle into a spot on the beach for some sunbathing and people watching. (If Surfrider Beach is a bit too crowded, head to the wide and sandy Zuma Beach or the rocky El Matador State Beach for a long, reflective walk.)
3. Go Wildlife Spotting
Thanks to Malibu’s coastal lagoon, it’s a natural haven for a wide variety of wildlife, ranging from soaring sea birds to magnificent marine mammals. And without the distraction of a phone, you might be surprised at how much you can spot. Catch a glimpse of snowy plovers during nesting season, and keep your eyes out for seals basking on the rocks along the coastline.
For an elevated marine mammal watching experience (quite literally), grab a pair of binoculars and hike up to the overlook at Point Dume to look out for the region’s gray whales. You may also spot bottlenose dolphins near the shore.
4. Connect with Nature on a Hike
Hiking is a favorite pastime in Malibu, and for good reason — the area’s scenic landscape offers panoramic views from a variety of trails. Beginner hikers can head to the Tuna Canyon Trails near Topanga (featuring views of the Santa Monica and Malibu piers at the top, as well as Los Angeles to the east). For a more of a challenge, embark on the six-mile Backbone Trail, one of LA’s most renowned paths for its picturesque vistas and colorful wildflowers.
5. Unwind at the Spa
Another naturally phone-free activity, an afternoon of pampering is a detox for the mind and the body. Veronica Skin & Body Center offers a range of skin and massage treatments, ranging from stress-relieving reflexology to revitalizing gold stem cell facials. A deluxe oceanfront spa suite adds an extra element of relaxation to the experience.
6. Indulge in Wellness-Inspired Dining
Malibu is known for its health-minded California fare, and it’s reflected in the cuisine at Carbon Beach Club. Featuring locally sourced ingredients from One Gun Ranch and nearby farmers markets, the restaurant focuses on deliciously imagined seasonal dishes.
It’s a complement to the restaurant’s surroundings: The oceanfront terrace is suspended over the Pacific Ocean, offering seaside views as the backdrop to engaged conversation (no phones on the table permitted, of course). Those embarking on a solo digital detox can settle in at an outdoor table with a good book.