Paradise Cove, Ready for a Close-Up

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Perhaps you, like me, continue to be intrigued by the “tiny house” trend.  For one exclusive area of Malibu, California, the tiny house thing has been more than a trend for more than 50 years.  Welcome to Paradise Cove, one of the most photographed and filmed parts of the greater Los Angeles area.  Paradise Cove is unique, not only in Malibu, but for all of the beach communities along the Pacific Coast Highway. Paradise Cove is, in simple terms a trailer park — a very fancy trailer park.

Fans of Grease, The Rockford Files, and pop culture junkies, stick around. We’re going to dish all the dirt on Paradise Cove.

It goes without saying it’s the most scenic and sought-after trailer park in the world.  A little sliver of Malibu starts just under $1 million for a one-bedroom, one-bath interior lot home site.

I love this current listing at 15 Paradise Cove Road.  At 975 square feet, its efficient use of space and light is downsizing at its best.  The blend of rustic and contemporary elements harken to a simple, uncluttered life.  It’s a 2 minute stroll to the beach.

Larger homes, two- and three-bedroom with bluff and ocean views are north of $2 million.

This current listing, located at 248 Paradise Cove Road, is considered ideal for Paradise Cove.  The property has both bluff and ocean views.  Along this stretch of Paradise Cove Road, there are constant Pacific breezes.  Most properties have terrific sun-drenched decks.  The ones that don’t typically have privacy fencing with features like outdoor soaking/hot tubs.  Container gardening is all the rage in Paradise Cove.

Current listing, 112 Paradise Cove Road.

As the real estate season ramps up, one thing is for sure.  Some of the summer listings will top $4 million, and could go over $6 million.  Malibu mobile homes are so popular, there is a website that consolidates the listings.

I’ve closely followed the real estate in Paradise Cove for about a decade.  Ten years ago, the interior homes were in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, and only the largest properties with views inched towards $1 million. Paradise Cove is so exclusive and unique, the values are more than double in the current market.  The values will continue this upward trend.  Although we aren’t in the height of the season, there are only seven available homes in Paradise Cove.  In most years, no more than 25 homes turn over in any given year.  Keep in mind, the purchase price is for the structure only.  Buyers pay rent on the lots themselves.  Those range from $2,500 a month to more than $10,000, depending on location within Paradise Cove.

Locals are quick to point out this tiny section of Malibu is one of California’s coastal “microclimates.”  Paradise Cove is only 30 miles, but a world away from Los Angeles. If the temperature is 100-plus in downtown LA, it’s closer to 80 in Paradise Cove. Many Paradise Cove homes are the greenest of the green.  They don’t need air conditioning, and strategic passive solar placement in the bluffs, paired with large windows, heat the homes in the winter.  Malibu and Paradise Cove is so green, in fact, it was one of the first communities to ban plastic. Bags, straws, and stirrers are verboten.

In terms of manufactured housing, the homes of Paradise Cove are technically trailers, but not in every other sense.  You won’t find fiberglass surrounds and factory vinyl banquettes in these homes.  The homes of Paradise Cove showcase high-end chef’s kitchens, granite and stone, as well as luxury appointments.

Paradise Cove’s beach and rock formations are the location of the opening scenes of Grease.

And, if you ever wondered where Jim Rockford parked his humble trailer in The Rockford Files — it was Paradise Cove.  One former resident told me, “In the 70s, this was where surfers came to the big waves, and divorced men came to pick up the pieces.”

Paradise Cove was developed by the Morris family.  Bob Morris still owns and operates the Paradise Cove Beach Café.  Be sure to check out the vintage and historic photos of Malibu, Pacific Coast Highway, and Paradise Cove in the café.

For those that just want to make a day of it, the café, in turn, handles the rentals of chaise lounges, beach beds, and terraces along Paradise Cove.  The food is amazing.  Bring and appetite and a friend, as the portions are huge.  There’s a good chance on the day you’re there, at least part of the cove will be blocked to the public, as it is still booked steadily as a location for movies, TV, and commercials.  I’ve never seen the entire beach closed.  Large-scale filming is done in stages over the course of several days, so beach goers still enjoy the cove, regardless.

This scenic boardwalk has been in thousands of commercials, tv shows, and films.

Oh, and don’t go confusing Paradise Cove with Pirate’s Cove, California’s notorious “clothing optional” beach.  Nude beaches are allegedly banned these days.  We hear the former partakers can be found in and around the privacy fences at Paradise Cove.  But, check out the ammenity-free beaches and trails of Pirates Cove.  It was the location for Planet of the Apes.

Check out this Oprah segment from 2011.  It’s a tour of Hollywood mogul Tom Shadyac’s Paradise Cove digs.  And, an article about how he simplified his life by happily downsizing into Paradise Cove.