Huntington Beach is a destination for every season. Whether you are seeking a relaxing and luxurious beach vacation, days full of activity for the entire family, or some of the best surfing in the world, this beach city offers something for everyone.
1. Spend the day in Pacific City
Located across from the Huntington Beach Pier, this 12-hectare (31-acre) expanse provides visitors with nearly unending entertainment. Shoppers can browse 19,000 square meters (191,000 square feet) of retails shops, from big names like Tommy Bahama to small boutiques specializing in local items. The section of Pacific City, dubbed “Lot 579,” is an entire area dedicated to local businesses, specializing in everything from creative floral arrangements to customizable popsicles.
Craving a more pampered experience? Not a problem. Book a blowout at the Drybar or a nail lounge experience at Holly and Hudson Lounge. Want to be more active? Play games such as foosball and ping pong outdoors on their lower levels, or visit the Equinox, a state of the art fitness facility, including a spa, with a fantastic view of the Pacific Ocean.
Be sure to check out their events page before you visit – live music and pop-up art shows are weekly if not a daily occurrence that you will not want to miss. And don’t worry about missing the beach while you’re in Pacific City – breathtaking views of the ocean can be found around every corner.
Address: 21010 Pacific Coast Hwy, 92648 Huntington Beach, CA
Website: Pacific City
2. Have a beach bonfire
After a long day in the city, walk outside to the beach directly across from it to find 500 fire rings just waiting for company. They are totally free and open to public use on a first come, first serve basis. Bring blankets, chairs, and smores, and settle in to have a relaxing evening, listening to soft music and enjoying the night sky above the ocean. These fire rings go fast during peak season, so arrive early to stake your claim. Visitors who would rather have a guaranteed spot in a more remote location can also reserve a picnic area at either Huntington or Bolsa Chica State Beach.
3. Visit the Huntington Beach Pier
Any trip to this area would be incomplete without a walk along the iconic Huntington Beach Pier. This landmark, included on the National Register of Historic Places, dates back to 1904 and is the longest pier on the West Coast. Open nearly all day (5 a.m. to midnight), stop in to enjoy an outstanding view of the sunrise or sunset or spend some time watching the surfers dance on the waves. Observe “Lifeguard Tower Zero,” a structure that looks like Air Traffic Control, set up to give year round protection to beach-goers below. Additional activities on the pier include shopping, dining at upscale restaurants, and of course fishing, which is permitted here without a license.
Huntington Beach Pier
Address: Main St. and Pacific Coast Highway; Huntington Beach, California
Website: Huntington Beach Pier Cam
4. Explore the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
Craving some nature and outdoors after a couple of days experiencing life in the beach town? Stop by the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. This park includes 8 kilometers (5 miles) of trails and hosts around 200 species of regularly-spotted birds.
The wetlands also house 80 species of sea life, including leopard sharks and stingrays, as well as many small rodents and reptiles. Conservationist groups and volunteers provide countless educational programs and activities for kids ages 5 and up, but you don’t need to be a kid to enjoy it here. Public and private tours are also available, ensuring this place to be a fun and educational day trip for the entire family.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
Address: 92648 Huntington Beach, CA
Website: Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
5. Become immersed in surf and skate culture
Take at least one afternoon to experience what made this beach famous – its surf and skate scene. Start by viewing all the greats of past and present immortalized in the Surfing Walk of Fame. Continue your journey of learning and admiration with the International Surfing Museum. For the low price of 2 USD, you can see the World’s Largest Surfboard and the surfboard of the famous Duke Kahanamoku.
If you are feeling appropriately inspired, there are numerous ways to start the adventure yourself. Continue into Jack’s Surfboards to purchase top of the line surfing gear (rentals also available for the less permanently inspired), or visit Van’s Off the Wall Skatepark. This skate park has over 3,300 meters (35,000 feet) of rails, stair sets, and more, all free. Equipment rentals are available to anyone 18 or over.
International Surfing Museum
Address: 411 Olive Ave, 92648 Huntington Beach, CA
Website: International Surfing Museum
Van's Off the Wall Skatepark
Address: 7471 Center Ave, 92647 Huntington Beach, CA
Website: Van’s Off the Wall Skatepark
6. Downtown Huntington Beach
The downtown Huntington Beach area was cultivated specifically to improve local businesses and the area’s economy. Here you can find a variety of unbeatable dining choices and unique shopping experiences. Rent a bike to explore the city, or go on an exciting Segway tour. This area also hosts several events such as scavenger hunts, sandcastle building, art in the park, and chili at the beach. Stop by to enjoy some local customs, make new friends, and have fun with the whole family.
Downtown Huntington Beach
Website: Huntington Beach Downtown
7. Go to the beach!
This one is obvious, but worth mentioning. With 16 kilometers (10 miles) of coastline, you can spend the day having tons of fun playing in the ocean. Rent a boogie board, paddle board, surf board, skim board, or nearly any other kind of board you can think of from local vendors.
Ride a bicycle along the beach. Or, join a game of volleyball at one of the many nets. If you’ve had enough activity, spend some time lying on the sand and soaking up the sun and the beauty around you.
One vacation is all you need!
One vacation to Huntington Beach will show you why it was chosen as Time Magazine’s 2015 Best Beach of the Year. You can enjoy warm weather, consistent beach conditions, local attractions, and views of unblocked coastline stretching off into the horizon at any time of year. When will you book your trip?
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