Huntington Beach is world-famous as "Surf City", from the 1960s Jan and Dean surf rock song of the same name, and much of surfing culture started and continues to evolve there, from surfing styles to surfing apparel companies that started there. Huntington Beach is also mentioned by name in the Beach Boys song "Surfin' Safari", where "at Huntington and Malibu they're shooting the pier".
The year-round temperature averages 67 °F (19 °C), and good weather can be had every month, though the months of January to March can be rainy.
As with most of Orange County, Huntington Beach is served by John Wayne Airport (SNA IATA) in Santa Ana, which is 11 mi/17.5km to the northeast. SNA is served by many major carriers for flights from all regions of the U.S. and from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento in northern California.
Long Beach Airport (LGB IATA) is also within close distance (17mi/27km to the west) but is dominated by JetBlue Airways, which serves 14 destinations from Long Beach: Oakland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Chicago (O'Hare), Boston, New York (JFK), Washington (Dulles), Fort Lauderdale, Austin, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle. American (Phoenix), Delta (Salt Lake City) and Southwest(Denver & Oakland) also serve Long Beach too.
Huntington Beach is located at the intersection of Beach Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway, just under 14 miles directly south of Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park. Interstate 405, which links John Wayne, Long Beach, and Los Angeles International Airports, intersects Beach Boulevard about 6 miles north of Huntington Beach.
Parking: The best place to park is the city parking located right at the beach. The entrance is just north of Highway 1 (the PCH) and the main street. You will conveniently be able to unload watercoolers, surf boards and the kids all safely without having to cross streets. It saves on lifting and lugging as well. You can wash off and change clothes right next to the parking at the water showers and washrooms. Washrooms are adequate but small. They also get wet and sandy during the day.
If you're on a budget, you can usually find some parking in nearby neighborhoods. But watch for street signs that may indicate parking is only allowed at certain times or days. This may require a little more walking if you're headed to the beach, but it's not too much.
OCTA Route 1* North and South runs along the Pacific Coast Highway, servicing all of Orange County's beaches. Routes 33 and 35 South directly run into Huntington State Beach. Routes 21** South, 70* West and 72 West end at Sunset Beach. Routes 25 South, 29 South, 172 West and 173** South all serve Huntington's downtown and its beach.
- *For route 1 North make sure that the banner reads Cal State Long Beach and not Newport Transportation Center. For route 70 make sure it reads Sunset Beach and not Goldenwest Transportation Center.
- **No service on weekends.
- 1 Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Huntington Beach boasts the largest unspoiled coastal wetlands in California where many migratory birds stop and nest.
- 2 Huntington Beach Pier. The second most popular sight here, after the beach itself.
- Main Street. A shopping and gathering place for residents and tourists alike, with sidewalk cafes, surf shops and live music all vying for attention.
- Huntington Beach. It has some of the largest stretches of open-sand beaches in all of California, as well the Huntington Beach Pier (one of the longest concrete piers in the world), site of world-class surfing and volleyball events yearly.
- Running/Walking/biking/rollerblading. There is a wide boardwalk right by the pier. It is part of the Huntington Beach Bike Path. The Bike Path runs for about 8 miles along the beach. Heading south along the boardwalk is likely your best scenic scenario. Walking, riding a bike, running are all very safe. Many very good runners first thing in the morning - often as soon as the sun comes up.
- Surfing. You can try your hand at surfing. There is a surf rental shop right at the boardwalk. Start with a boogie board for the day circa $15. There are many good surfers so they may get annoyed if you stand in the waves too long. Keep moving; this is your best bet. If you get tired get out (of their way) by heading to the hot sandy beach to rest up for more.
- Relaxing. Take a walk up the main street. There are a number of restaurants and a Starbucks.
- Partying. There are so many bars on Main St. that you can meet with friends at any of them and have a great time drinking, dining, or dancing. During the winter, you can organize a "pub crawl" and have your group stop for a drink at every bar.
- Nickel Nickel, 7454 Edinger Ave (Moving to 12827 Harbor Blvd). On weekend nights, the Huntington Beach video game arcade where everything costs only nickels to play is packed with teenagers.
Peak season is from late May to early September. The beaches on any given summer day may have as many as 500,000 visitors when it is particularly hot inland.
- 1 Bella Terra. The newest mall in town, this upscale transformation of what once was the Huntington Mall has turned a small, unpopular shadow of a mall into a vibrant city center. It is just off the 405 at the Edinger exit, and is a treasure trove of restaurants, shops and areas to socialize. The Cinemark movie theater opens up to a courtyard that regularly plays host to musical performances, dance shows, and other fun activities. Second only to downtown in the number of restaurants there is no shortage of choices for food. From sushi at Kabuki to burgers at Johnny Rockets, to the eponymous dessert at The Cheesecake Factory Bella Terra is the locals' favorite for a fun night out.
- 2 Huntington Surf and Sport, 300 Pacific Coast Highway (off of Pacific Coast Highway and Main St). Surf accessories and apparel.
- 1 Fred's Mexican Cafe, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy, ☏ . Great Mexican food & Margaritas. There is no better view of the Huntington Beach pier than Fred's patio. Good prices and a favorite of the locals!
- 2 Chronic Tacos, 328 11th St, ☏ , fax: . Located a few blocks from downtown, this place offers a full menu of extremely tasty tacos, burritos, and other Mexican cuisine served from behind a counter. Prices for a giant burrito are around $5.50 (includes guacamole, cheese, meat, and a choice of other fillings). Two pool tables are also available for $0.75 per game.
- 3 Islands, 7861 Edinger Ave, ☏ . A Californian chain, this is a great place for family, serving hamburgers, salads, and hotdogs.
- Matsu Japanese Restaurant, 18035 Beach Blvd, ☏ . Japanese restaurant with nice atmosphere and a red-lit sushi bar. The prices are good for quality sushi. Try the lunch time menu offered during the weekdays which includes bento-box meals that are enormous for about $10, and the sushi and sashimi lunch specials are half the price of the dinner versions.
- 4 Ruby's, ☏ . Huntington Beach Pier. A great place for family with 1950s diner feeling and great hamburgers, hotdogs and milkshakes. It's located at the end of the pier, so it offers lovely views of the Pacific, the Huntington Beach coastline, and (on less smoggy days) Catalina Island.
- 5 Sugar Shack Cafe, 213½ Main St, ☏ . A favorite cafe for locals, famous in Huntington Beach for great breakfasts and amazingly low prices.
- 6 Duke's, 317 Pacific Coast Highway (At the base of the pier), ☏ .
- 7 Mangia Mangia, 16079 Goldenwest St (Head towards Westminster), ☏ . Basic strip mall restaurant with excellent authentic Italian food
- 8 Hangout Too Southern Bar & Grill, 16490 Bolsa Chica St (Cross Street: Heil Avenue), ☏ . Daily 7AM to midnight. Casual restaurant near Bella Terra & Huntington Harbour Serving New American Food. Craft Beers, Burgers, Seafood, BBQ. Outside patio that's dog-friendly with free parking.
- 9 Slater's 50/50 Burgers by Design, 8082 Adams Ave, ☏ . Burgers, beer and lots of bacon. Select from menu or design your own burgers, but you have to like bacon to eat here. Good selection of beers too.
- Aloha Grill, 221 Main St, ☏ . This upstairs bar and grill has a luau vibe and friendly staff. This may be the only place you can go where it would be wrong not to ask for a rainbow (Rainbow is the name of their world-famous tropical drink).
- Longboard Restaurant & Pub, 217 Main St, ☏ . Good, cold beer and a delicious menu. Their appetizers are tough to beat.
- Hurricanes Bar & Grill, 200 Main St # 201, ☏ . Delicious drink options include blended drinks such as their Rum Runners, and the food menu has Caribbean cuisine. It's a cool place to be with great "scenery" for the guys, but the service isn't always nice to people in large groups.
- Killarney's Irish Pub, 209 Main St, ☏ . Whether you want a Guinness on tap or delicious Irish cuisine, Killarney's is well-suited to fit your needs.
- Jan's Health Bar, 501 Main St, ☏ . Fresh and healthy soups, sandwiches, salads, smoothies and fruit drinks.
- Huntington Beach Brewing Company, 201 Main St, ☏ . Great microbrews, food and girls.
- Mama's on 39, 21022 Beach Blvd, ☏ . Family style dining in a casual atmosphere. "Great vibe... great food... great place."
- Pete's Sunset Grille, 21500 Pacific Coast Highway, ☏ . Located inside the Hyatt, Vacationers and locals take advantage of nightly happy hour, 4 - 7PM in the Pete's Bar. Complimentary valet parking available for up to three hours, with a minimum purchase of $25 and proper validation. Enjoy a sunset cocktail!
- House of Brews, 16903 Algonquin St (direction Seal Beach off Warner Avenue), ☏ . Great place for beers and a game of pool with friends.
There are accommodations from beach campgrounds to five-star resorts along the Pacific. The beach campgrounds are open year round and usually full.
- Huntington Beach Inn, 800 Pacific Coast Highway, ☏ , fax: .
- Best Western Regency Inn, 19360 Beach Blvd, ☏ , fax: .
- Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, 21500 Pacific Coast Highway. A luxurious Spanish-inspired hotel with views of the Pacific. Includes a heated pool, direct access to the beach, surf pros, tennis, biking and Camp Hyatt.
- Comfort Suites Hungtington Beach, 16301 Beach Blvd., ☏ . Check-in: 11AM, check-out: 3PM. Great Hotel Suites for Economical Prices and breakfast in the morning!! $90-130.
- 1 The Waterfront Beach Resort, 1100 Pacific Coast Hwy, ☏ . 7 suites. Pet friendly, Shades Restaurant & Bar, Tennis court, Fitness center, volleyball court, laundry facility, and more.
Crime is very low for such a large city, and violent crime is very rare. However, the city has long had a reputation for skinheads and white supremacist activities. Like some other parts of Orange County, Huntington Beach sometimes sees confrontations between reactionaries and people of color. If you are drinking, you should be far more concerned with local police than civilians. If you are drinking, call a cab because DUIs are illegal.
- Travel north on Beach Boulevard and you will reach Buena Park, the home of Knott's Berry Farm.
- North on Beach Boulevard and then east on Katella Avenue or Ball Road will take you to Disneyland.
- Take the Pacific Coast Highway to San Juan Capistrano, Long Beach, Santa Monica, and numerous other seaside communities.
- Take a train to downtown Los Angeles or San Diego.
|Routes through Huntington Beach|
|Long Beach ← Seal Beach ←||N S||→ Newport Beach → Dana Point|