We took our motorhome for it's shakedown trip to Doheny since it's about 3/4 mile away. If I really messed something up I could easily get us home, LOL!
Right about the first few rows being nice beach camping, but I wouldn't want to be in that back area by the road and RR tracks! The Boneyard outdoor cafe is on the Doheny Beach boardwalk, where they rent bikes and surreys. Really nice large grass picnic area with BBQs, too. If you have a toad, check out the Marine Institute just down the road about a mile.
Funny about the so. CA beaches, there are many, but each has its own characteristics. I haven't camped or even been to Malibu, but camped at Carpinteria once in the mid 1980s. Another neighbor takes their pop up there. It's on my list. Pismo as well. Never camped there, but have been to that area a lot.