Better known as Surf City, it boasts the longest uninterrupted stretch of beach on the West Coast. The city has a lot of attractions, parks, theaters, malls, and restaurants – but let’s faces it: the main attraction will always be the beach.
There are several beaches to choose from, each one with its own personality. Some of them are managed by the city and others are part of the State Park system.
Huntington City Beach (and Pier)
The Pier @ Main Street is the most popular beach in HB. It is usually bustling – and for a good reason. A wide sandy beach, spotless with fire pits and barbeques. Excellent surf most days of the year and plenty of surfers making the best of it.
If you love beach volleyball, you can either jump in and play a few games or watch various teams beating the ball around the net.
On some days, it gets too crowded on this stretch of beach because of surfing or volleyball competitions. You can check out the calendar before you make your way here.
My favorite place is Zack’s because they have a large selection of bikes, surfboards, and bodyboards. They also have a good selection of snacks and sandwiches for the hungry.
If you don’t feel like fast food, you can walk a few steps to several good restaurants. Two of them are right on the beach. Others are on Main Street.
Parking can be a challenge, especially on the weekend. If you get here early enough, you might be lucky to find a parking spot right on the beach. Otherwise, head to one of the parking structures around Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway - or part at Pacific City Mall.
Huntington Dog Beach
A paradise for dogs and dog lovers. It is located along Pacific Coast Highway between Seapoint Ave and 21st Street, under a cliff.
Even if you don’t own a dog, you can come here to watch dogs training their owners how to catch a Frisbee or a ball.
Bolsa Chica State Beach
One of the best beaches for swimmers and beginner surfers. The shallow waters prevent the waves from getting too high, making it ideal for families with smaller children.
This beach is located along Pacific Coast Highway between Warner Avenue and Seapoint Street – to the north of the pier.
Across the street, you can find Bolsa Chica Wildlife Preserve. A protected wetlands area with a large variety of birds, small animals, and plants. Read more here
Huntington State Beach
At this beach, you will find a lot of fire rings, Barbeques, restrooms, and showers. It is also wheelchair accessible – with ramps and designated accessible parking areas.
This is located along Pacific Coast Highway, between Beach Boulevard and Brookhurst Street – to the south of the Pier.
Huntington Beach has one of the best beach bike trails in Orange County. It is paved, safe, and very long. The trail starts from the Santa Ana River at the south end of the state beach and runs through the city of HB, then continues north through Bolsa Chica state beach. It runs for 8 miles of mostly level and paved ground.
You can extend your ride by continuing north to Sunset Beach or south toward Newport Beach.
You don't have to bring your own bike. You can rent one at Zack's.
Cars and bikes are not allowed on the pier so you can enjoy a peaceful stroll on the pier. You will also find a few shops offering souvenirs and kites.
A new shop opened close to the pier's tip that offers fishing supplies and rentals. You can grab everything you need to start fishing.
Towards the end of the pier, you will find Ruby’s restaurant. The food is acceptable, but the views are amazing.
When you reach Ruby’s, this is not the end of the Pier. Keep going around it to get to the very tip of the pier and enjoy an unobstructed view of the ocean.
Pacific City Mall
The mall has anchor stores like H&M and Tommy Bahama and unique boutiques like Chico Hats and Molly Brown's Swimwear.
You can also find some great restaurants like Ola Mexican Kitchen, which serves tasty Mexican fare with amazing ocean views.
Another good choice for dinner is the Old Crow Smokehouse which serves a variety of barbequed meats and fish.
- Sun, Sand & Surf: The Ultimate Guide To Orange County Beaches
- Afoot & Afield Orange County: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide
- Huntington Beach - Then and Now
Ola Mexican Kitchen
The food and service are excellent. We especially like Lobster and Shrimp Enchiladas, Fish Tacos, and Ribeye Fajitas.
The complimentary chips and salsa are more than enough for starters, but you can choose a more filling appetizer from the extensive menu.
The complete this delicious meal, we always order the Tres Leches, a traditional Mexican butter cake made with three kinds of milk.
21040 Pacific Coast Hwy F200, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Bluegold is another restaurant with a great view at the Pacific City Mall in Huntington Beach. This one offers new American cuisine with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. Menu items vary depending on availability.
We recently tried their breakfast while admiring views of the beach and the pier from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
We ordered scrambled eggs and an omelet. They were both fluffy and tasty. The dishes come with salad, but if you prefer, you can order your favorite style of potatoes.
If you are an early riser, this place is not for you. They open for breakfast at 9 am.
During another visit, we went for dinner and drinks. While waiting for our table to be ready, we ordered The Perfect Storm (a rum drink) from the bar. We enjoyed a few sips of this delicious cocktail before we were whisked away to our table overlooking beautiful ocean views.
We tried the Lamb Shank with asparagus risotto for dinner and had an El Chapo margarita.
Both food and drinks were above expectations.
We couldn't resist trying Pumpkin Spice and Mocha Crunch cakes for dessert. Both were very tasty, but the Pumpkin Spice was exceptional.
21016 Pacific Coast Hwy d200, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
On a recent visit, we sat on the balcony and enjoyed our brunch while gazing at the pier and the surf.
We tried the SoCal Breakfast Burrito and the Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos. Both were very tasty and filling. I especially liked the burrito which was stuffed with Eggs, Onion, Bacon, Red Pepper, Cheese, Fries, and Avocado.
The finalie was a baked cookie with bread pudding and vanilla ice cream.500 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA
Pete's Sunset Grille
It is an excellent place to grab a bite before walking to the beach. We enjoyed our lunch while enjoying the beautiful California weather out on the patio.
We tried the Cali Rueben and the Fish Tacos. They were both good but not exceptional. The service, drinks, and dessert were worth the visit. We loved the Mallory's Triple Layer Torte.21500 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA
The Boardwalk at Hilton
This newer restaurant opened its doors in 2018 as part of the Waterfront Beach Resort expansion. This sit-down restaurant offers a diverse menu inspired by the coastal flavors of Southern California.
During our visit, we chose to sit outdoors right next to the pool, with great views of the ocean and the beautiful California weather.
We tried the Short Ribs Rigatoni and the Vegetable Curry. They were both tasty and filling.
While waiting for our dinner, we sipped on the Huntington Margarita, Passion Fruit Manhattan, and Bacardi Silver. The drinks were ok, but not the best we had, but the dessert made up for it. We ended our meal with an Apple Pie Ala Mod.21100 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA
Huntington Beach hosts many popular events throughout the year. Check their calendar here to up-to-date info.
Here are some of the events worth mentioning:
The Great Pacific Air Show
The air show is a big event with three jet teams from three countries and more than two million people attending the three-day event. Every year a different group of flyer teams is assembled to provide an amazing spectacle for millions of viewers.
The event can last up to 4 hours each day and is mostly free to attend. You can claim a spot on the beach to enjoy the show. But if you prefer, you can pay from $30 to $1600 for a reserved viewing area. You can get more details here.
Every Friday, 10 am to 7 pm. Arts, crafts, and handmade gifts. Sometimes extended into the weekend.
Surf City Nights:
Every week on Tuesday from 5 pm to 9 pm. Farmer's market, bounce house, street performers (musical and non-musical acts), restaurant samplings, sidewalk sales, and specials from local restaurants
Surf City Blues, Brews & BBQ:
At the microbrewery "Brew Bakers," every 3rd Saturday.
Bolsa Chica Wetlands and Mesa Tour:
Every third Sunday of every month (10 a.m.)
4th of July Parade
A 2-hour parade that starts from PCH and Main with a firework show at 9 PM.Huntington Beach, CA
300 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Some photos are from Wikipedia