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Huntington Beach California
Vacation Guide

Things To Do And See

beach volleyball and bicycles on the boardwalk at Huntington Beach California

This guide to Huntington Beach California is filled with information on where to stay and what to do while visiting.

There is seemingly endless sand to lay or play on and great waves to surf or body surf in (which are bigger in winter). There is over 8 miles of uninterrupted beachfront with a two lane trail on which to walk, jog, skate or bike.  Beach volleyball is popular, while others like to walk out on the pier.

The 2 main beaches:  Huntington State Beach stretches for about 2 miles of this coast, and comes complete with lifeguard stands, restrooms, showers, bike and beach rentals, snack shacks and fire pits.

Huntington City Beach is similar, but smaller, and includes the Huntington Beach Pier where people fish, roller blade and people watch. The pier is also host to a variety of events such as a farmer’s market, art festival and even an annual rubber duck race. The city beach is also where the international surfing championships are usually held.

Huntington Beach Map Of Beaches

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Surfing In Huntington Beach

The big surf competitions are generally held near the pier. You can rent surfboards and bodyboards at Zack's Beach Concessions, which is located near the pier. You can also rent wetsuits. If you want a surfing lesson, they can hook you up with that as well.

Speaking of surf lessons, many Southern California beaches offer summer surfing camps. for kids.

International Surfing Museum

Just off the pier on Main Street is a couple of blocks of surf shops, cafes and eateries. Around the corner at 411 Olive Street is the International Surfing Museum in a very cool looking Art Deco building.

Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum

The museum is small (2000 sq. ft.), but sweet, with an in depth look at the history and culture of surfing, not only in Huntington Beach, but around the world. There is a collection of unique surfboards, contest posters and surfing memorablilia of all kinds. They charge a mere $2 to get in and browse around.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

North of downtown, across from Bolsa Chica State Beach is the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve where you can take a stroll out on trails through the wetlands and do some bird watching.

The reserve is not within the State Beach, but is worth mentioning because if you are camping at Bolsa Chica (or staying anywhere else for that matter), it is another thing to do besides hang out at the beach, especially if you enjoy wetlands nature and birdwatching.

The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington BeachBolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

There's a small parking lot off of Pacific Coast Highway that is free, but for visitors of the reserve only.

A footbridge takes you across the water inlet, and trails circle the wetlands. All sorts of birds love this place, and each season brings a different assortment.

There's an Interpretive Center at 3842 Warner Ave. to the north. The Bolsa Chica Land Trust (714-860-1001) and the Amigos de Bolsa Chica (714-840-1575) both offer free monthly tours with trained guides who tell you all about the history, the birds and the ecology of the area.

Where To Stay In Huntington Beach California

Check special deals in Huntington Beach

Accommodation options include hotels, motels, a hostel, beach house rentals, and two waterfront resorts. For camping in Huntington Beach there are 3 campgrounds for RVs only. One is at Huntington State Beach, another is at a private campground across the highway and the third is at Bolsa Chica State Beach, just to the north.

For hotel accommodations, there are many, but the Hilton Huntington Beach resort is right across from the beach. 

You can search for vacation rentals in Huntington Beach here

Biking down the Huntington Beach bike path past beach volleyball courtBeach bicycle path in Huntington Beach

Annual Events

In February is the Huntington Beach Kite Party, a festival for kite lovers. It's a casual event, where people bring all kinds of unusual kites and fly them just to the north side of the pier. Expert kite flyers and a kite team do demonstrations to music. 

kite festival at Huntington BeachKite Festival

Huntington Beach Events - March 2018

  • Beach Kite Party - March 10-11

In June is a public Pier Swim Competition, in July, the US Open of Surfing and Beach Games, and September holds a surfing contest for locals.

Getting There

People on the sand at Huntington BeachNice Day at Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach California is located in Orange County, south of Long Beach and north of Newport Beach. The most convenient airport to arrive by is John Wayne-Orange County Airport in Santa Ana, but LAX and Long Beach Airport are other possibilities.

View Huntington Beach in a larger map

Affiliate Disclosure: Some links on this page may go to the TripAdvisor website, where I will gain a small commission if you click certain links within their website. However, I wouldn't link to that site if I didn't think it would be useful and interesting as a supplement to this site.

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