With its stretches of pristine white-sand beaches, new boutiques and sublime eats, Huntington Beach, California has certainly come into its own. In recent decades, it’s evolved from a sleepy beach town into a final destination, all while retaining its sweet, laid-back charms. Kick off your shoes, take a stroll and see what unfolds.
Find inspiration in the world-class surfers dominating the swells, fly a kite, drop a fishing line off Huntington Pier or take a cruiser for a spin on the paved beach path. Or venture into these one-of-a-kind experiences:
- Roast sausages followed by marshmallows at your very own bonfire in one of the hundreds of fire rings along Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach
- Walk the trails and spot migrating birds in the 1,400-acre Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve, one of the largest saltwater marshes of California; or wander the eight different habitats featuring lush native plants at Shipley Nature Center
- Take an intimate tour of Huntington Harbour by gondola—Sunset Gondola supplies the blanket, wine glasses and ice bucket, so just bring the bubbly and your favorite treats
- For a serious beach party complete with jaw-dropping feats, visit during the largest surfing competition in the world, the week-long US Open of Surfing Championship in late July or early August; or check out the quirkier Kite Party in March
Shop, Stroll and Sample
- On Fridays and some weekends, hunt for original artwork and unique handcrafts at the pop-up booths of Pier Plaza Art Afaire; the adjacent Friday Farmer’s Market offers further delights against the unbeatable ocean backdrop
- For a midweek farmer’s market, funky street fair and food vendor mecca in one, check out Surf City Nights, which closes Main Street for pedestrian revelry every Tuesday 5-9 p.m.
- Browse away (or people watch) at the lively surf and souvenir shops on Main Street and its calmer counterpart, Fifth Street, then take a short walk to the oceanfront Pacific City, a hub of trendy boutiques and alluring foodie bites
Friendly Fare Downtown
- To experience a classic Huntington Beach surfer eatery, join the hordes of famished surfers breakfasting at the family-run Sugar Shack
- For lunch, build your own fresh poke bowl at North Shore Poke; or let Sessions West Coast Deli fashion a mouthwatering sandwich from locally sourced ingredients
- To dine alongside ocean views in the heart of Huntington Beach, head for Hawaiian surf-themed Duke’s or Sandy’s, which offers beach-inspired beers on tap and tried-and-true California dishes
- For a more polished take on coastal favorites, head to the new Pacific Hideaway, a modern American beach tavern whose dishes are inspired by the flavors of Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands and Latin America; pair them with equally vibrant cocktails and local craft beers