Holiday Weekend Draws 584,000 Visitors

Shea Davis proudly waves an American Flag in Malibu over the Fourth of July Weekend. 

Despite traffic accidents, lane closures and a man threatening to jump from a bluff on Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica, 584,000 people flocked to the beaches of Malibu over the holiday weekend as temperatures hit the 80s and 90s in some areas.

Around 2 p.m. on Saturday, the Santa Monica Police Department issued an alert saying PCH was shut down in both directions near the California Incline. According to various social media witness accounts, a suicidal man was threatening to jump from the Santa Monica Bluffs, the Santa Monica Daily Press reported. Lanes reopened at about 3:30 p.m.

Also causing traffic were a number of car accidents along PCH. On July 4, an injury accident on PCH at Big Rock Drive involving two vehicles blocked traffic in both directions, causing heavy delays around noon. Later in the afternoon, there was an accident at PCH and Topanga Canyon Boulevard which closed both eastbound lanes and also caused delays for those trying to leave the Malibu area.

At the end of the holiday weekend on July 6 at around 6 p.m., an accident at PCH at El Matador State Beach closed the two westbound lanes. Lanes were all reopened around 7:30 p.m., after an hour and a half of delays.

Despite numerous accidents, Lt. James Royal at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station said that the weekend went relatively well.

“We were extremely busy, but it was a good, safe weekend,” Royal said. “We didn’t experience an unusually high number of calls for traffic collisions or emergencies.”

Although the delays were inconvenient for holiday crowds, the station didn’t respond to anything out of the ordinary, despite an increased number of people in the City of Malibu and on the beaches. 

“Considering the crowd, it went well and was really safe,” Royal added. 

The Fourth of July is always a busy weekend for Malibu, but Lifeguard Captain Tim McNulty said several factors contributed to making this long weekend even busier than normal.

“We were extremely busy,” McNulty told The Malibu Times. “We had four factors that contributed to this: the holiday weekend, hot weather, large surf and warm water.”

Ocean water temperatures reached 70 degrees over the weekend, with large surf reaching 2 to 3 feet overhead, making the waves a popular destination for visitors and locals alike Friday through Sunday. Warmer weather was also a factor, with temperatures reported in the 80s and up to the 90s in some areas.

Approximately 600,000 people made a visit to the beach over the long weekend. This is twice the number of people who were at the beach last weekend, which was reported as 298,000.

On the Fourth of July, 196,500 people visited Malibu beaches. Approximately 181,500 people visited on July 5 and 206,000 made the trip on July 6, the highest count for the three-day weekend.

According to McNulty, there weren’t any out of the ordinary or major emergency calls throughout the weekend, even with increased visitor traffic.

On Friday, 978 citations were given out and on Saturday, 1,070. On Sunday, the busiest day at the beaches, there were 1,120 citations. 

Although there were no major rescues over the course of the weekend, there were 40 minor rescues on the Fourth of July, 26 on July 5 and 58 on July 6. Most of the incidents occurred at Zuma Beach.