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A Brief History of Malibu, BC

Updated: May 10, 2023

In 1940, a man by the name of Tom Hamilton brought a little piece of paradise to the world when he built Malibu Club on the shores of Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia, Canada. He named it after his yacht, the MV Malibu. Malibu Club quickly became a popular destination for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But a few years later, Young Life, a Christian association, bought the club from Hamilton and turned it into a camping destination for young Christians. The camp is situated on a beautiful stretch of coastline and offers superb views of the Pacific Ocean.

But how did Malibu Camp become the thriving destination that it is today? Let's take a look at the history of this Canadian gem, and how it transformed from a famous club for the elite to a Christian camp.

Malibu Camp's Early Years

Mr. Tom Hamilton first had the vision for Malibu Club back in 1940. At the time, there were very few resorts in the area, so he saw an opportunity to provide people with a place to escape the busyness of city life and enjoy some peace and quiet surrounded by natural beauty. Malibu was, therefore, one of the series of resorts that were to be constructed in Princes Louisa inlet.

The Malibu Club first opened its doors in July 1941, but its operations were soon suspended due to the outbreak of World War II. When the war ended in 1945, the club reopened as a premium resort, attracting visitors such as Senator John F. Kennedy, Walt Disney, John Wayne, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Barbara Stanwyck. Over the next few decades, the club continued to be a popular destination for Hollywood celebrities and other wealthy Americans. Despite being modest in size and amenities, Malibu Camp quickly became a popular destination for those looking to get away from it all.

The challenges

In the early days, the Malibu Club was only accessible by boat, float plane or by a long hike up the beach. This made it difficult for visitors to get to the club and for important supplies to reach the resort. The club also had to deal with the fact that the weather was only good for two months out of the year. As if that wasn't bad enough, a polio death and subsequent quarantine measures in 1948 severely hampered the Malibu camp's business prospects. As a result, the club was forced to close in 1950, and that was the end of Hamilton’s control over the Malibu club. The place stayed vacant for a few years before Hamilton listed it for sale.

The Purchase of Malibu by Young Life

In 1953, Jim Rayburn, the founder of Young Life, visited the Princess Louisa Inlet. Even before his plane landed, Jim was so fascinated with the view of the Malibu Club. As a result, he was determined to make it a fantastic resort for Christian kids. The asking price at the time was set at 1 million dollars. However, this was too much a price at that time, and Jim couldn't afford that amount of money. But Hamilton was fascinated by the work of Young life and decided to reduce the price to 300,000 USD. This is how the Young Life Malibu Camp came to be.

The First Group of Campers Arrives In Malibu

In 1954, Young Life welcomed its first high school kids to this special place where they could have the time of their lives. Since then, the camp has been providing incredible experiences for young Christians. Campers come from all over the world, each with their own unique story. No matter where they come from, they all have one thing in common: a desire to understand their religion better and make lasting memories. The camp teaches its attendees that Christianity can be enjoyable and fun. Many of the campers come back year after year, and the Malibu Camp has become a tradition for many families.

The Modern-Day Malibu

Today, Malibu Camp is still a popular destination for campers, and since it’s located at the of Princess Louisa Inlet, yachts and other boat tourists pass by the narrow area called Malibu Rapids which, is only accessible during a slack tide that happens just twice during the day hours. The camp has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years, but it has managed to retain its small-town charm. Campers can enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, hiking through scenic trails, and even going on overnight camping trips. There are also many opportunities for campers to get involved in water activities such as fishing, swimming, canoeing, and kayaking.

In addition to all of these great outdoor activities, campers can also participate in arts and crafts, learn about different cultures, and make new friends from all over the world. Malibu camp also attracts interns, parents, and volunteers from a variety of backgrounds.

The Best Way to Experience Malibu: A Yacht Charter Camping Trip

A charter camping trip is hands-down the best way to experience everything that Malibu Camp and its environs have to offer. From the comfort of your own private vessel, you can explore the coastline, drop anchor for a swim or a picnic on the beach, and enjoy the incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

Charter camping trips are fully customizable, so you can tailor your itinerary to match your interests and preferences. Whether you want to go fishing, swimming, hiking, or just lounge on the beach, your charter camp trip can be designed specifically with you in mind. You also get to spend time with experienced guides who know the area like the back of their hand. They can show you all the best spots for swimming, fishing, hiking, and more.


From its humble beginnings as a single resort built by Thomas Hamilton, Malibu Camp has come a long way. Today, it is a world-renowned destination that draws campers from all over the globe. But no matter how much it has changed over the years, one thing remains the same: its stunning location in the heart of British Columbia's wilderness. People loved the peaceful setting and remote location, and they kept coming back year after year.

Thanks for reading!

-Captain Bill

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