Also known as Surf City, Huntington Beach is the classic Orange County beach city. Built on barley and cattle, Huntington was named after the railroad magnet, Henry Huntington and has since blossomed into the modern beach town it is today. Amid the surf culture and the coastline, Huntington Beach has numerous must see spots and things to do.
Take A Surfing Lesson
Every Huntington Beach bucket list should have surfing on it. Sign up for private or group lessons and learn how to catch a wave. Here are a few surf schools to help you brush up on your board skills.
- Corky Carroll’s Surf School: 714-969-3959
- Banzai Surf School: 714-813-2880
- Learn To Surf HB: 714-313-4577
- Surfriders Academy Surf School: 714-782-4510
Have a Bonfire
Grab your friends and family for a bonfire at Bolsa Chica or Huntington City & State Beaches. Spend the day playing in the sand and surf, then take in an epic Orange County sunset. Fire pits are available on a first come, first serve basis. If you’re planning on having a bonfire on peak holiday weekends or during the summer, you’ll need to arrive early to secure a ring. Bring plenty of wood for the fire, beach chairs, blankets, and all the goodies for roasting hot dogs and s’mores over the fire.
Go On A Craft Beer Crawl
Huntington Beach is home to many craft beer breweries, and craft beer crawls are popular in the area. From specialty IPAs to seasonal stouts, check out some of these local breweries for a unique craft beer tasting experience.
- Beachwood Brewing: 7631 Woodwind Drive
- Four Sons Brewing: 18421 Gothard St., Ste. 100
- Golden Road Brewery & Pub: 16390 Pacific Coast Highway Ste. 100
- HB Beer Co: 201 Main St #E
- riip beer company: 17214 Pacific Coast Highway
For a true dose of surf culture, you’ll want to stop in to the International Surfing Museum. Located in downtown Huntington Beach, you’ll see exhibits featuring surfboards, photos, and art, as well as information about the history of surfing around the world. There are also plenty of items available for purchase including books and t-shirts. Huntington Beach’s surf history dates back to 1914 when George Freeth demonstrated the sport at the dedication of the pier. Today, Surf City is home to the U.S. Open of Surfing, which you’ll also want to add to your bucket list to attend. The championship event is held every year at the Huntington Beach Pier. 411 Olive Avenue, Huntington Beach
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
Sitting on 1,449 acres and offering over five miles of trails, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is the largest saltwater marsh in Orange County. The wetlands have abundant plant life and wildlife and most remarkably, birds. It is not uncommon to see dozens of bird watchers with state of the art cameras looking to capture a beautiful pelican or maybe even a mallard.
While this hike doesn’t have many variants in regards to terrain, the wetlands are a great place to get a breath of fresh air right across the street from one of the most popular beaches in California. In the springtime, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve brightens up with flowers blossoming into bright purples and yellows. During this time the honey bees become more active and the flowers seem to speak with the humming of the bees.
While springtime is beautiful, Bolsa Chica is also an active outdoor classroom where children can learn about the ecology in their own backyard. There is an interpretive center that makes this possible and it is under the Bolsa Chica Conservancy that funds come from. If you are looking for an outdoorsy activity that is a little more involved in Huntington Beach, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserves is the place to be! 3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach Pier & Downtown
The Huntington Beach Pier comes in at 1,850 feet in length, making it one of the longest piers on the West Coast. Listed on the Register of Historic Places, the pier and it’s red-roofed restaurant are synonymous with surf culture, creating the backdrop of many iconic images. The pier was originally built in 1902 and went through numerous rebuilds. The current structure was completed in 1992. Whether you’re just coming to take a stroll along the historic pier or fish from it, anyone visiting Huntington Beach should stop here.
Main Street is the city’s downtown destination for local nightlife, shopping, and dining with unique shops, surf stores, and souvenirs. Next door, The Strand at 5th & PCH offers additional shopping and dining, with Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel for those visiting, or locals looking for a staycation.
A few blocks down, Pacific City, named after Huntington Beach’s early history, is an upscale, centrally located, shopping, dinning, and entertainment hub.
Sitting on 191,000 square feet, Pacific City has even more to see. As with most of Huntington Beach, Pacific City appeals to the beach crowd and is a mere crosswalk away from one of the best beaches in the area.
Pacific City features restaurants and boutiques such as Back House Sushi and Bar, and Beverly Hills Rejuvenation Center. Lot 579 is a modern food hall with communal seating where hungry beach bums can choose from the menus of 12 different restaurants.
For those looking to build their bodies from the inside out, there’s luxury gym and wellness center, Equinox. Equinox offers state of the art gym equipment, a juice bar, and is laid out to let natural light in. This is the best location for a gym hands down and a must see if you’re looking for gym motivation!
Pacific City offers valet, complimentary Wi-Fi and outdoor living rooms to take in a California sunset after a day under the sun with your toes in the sand. There’s also free live music and the PC Grommets: Kids Club so you can be sure the whole family is in for a treat.
Huntington Harbour is a neighborhood on the edge of the city along a sleepy stretch of PCH. The Harbour was built in the 1960s and is located on the northwest corner of Huntington Beach bordering Sunset Beach. There are five man-made islands and over 500 waterfront homes.
Huntington Harbour has a lot to offer including stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, electric boats, or simply taking in the sun on the sandy beaches. Be sure to check out Sunset Kayak Rentals for kayaks or paddle boarding or maybe Prince Charters for a luxury yacht cruise. Whatever your style is be sure to check out a great outdoor adventure.
The Harbour also has great restaurants and high end eateries to indulge in after a day on the water including AoSa Coffee where you can cool off with a divine acai bowl or Harbour Rack House.
Recently renovated Peter’s Landing, along PCH, offers several spots for harbor views while you shop and dine, including Golden Road Brewing and Pelican Isle.
Old Crow Smokehouse
Tucked away in Pacific City is Old Crow Steakhouse, known for good food, good music, and good times. Hailing all the way from Chicago, Old Crow Smokehouse brings some of the best finger-licking BBQ to Huntington Beach. Sip a Front Porch Punch from the patio and enjoy those ocean views.
Live country music is performed on weekends and can be enjoyed with Southern style cocktails served in mason jars from the eclectic open air bar. Sitting at the outdoor tables you can experience incredible, tender barbeque and glance over at perfect surfable waves. If you have a craving for southern food and find yourself in Huntington Beach, Old Crow Smokehouse is a can’t miss. 20122 Pacific Coast Highway Huntington Beach, CA
Old World Village
During Oktoberfest, Old World Village comes to life with one of the most authentic Oktoberfests in Orange County. Old World Village has tradition everywhere you turn and can easily be explored anytime of year with a 10,000 square foot biergarten, live music, and more.
Visitors can find the European-styled complex across from the Bella Terra mall but it is surely a world away. From the cobblestone streets to the store fronts, Bavarian styled architecture is everywhere. Once you walk into the small markets and shops you begin to realize just how special this little slice of Bavaria really is. The shops here are just as they would really be found in Germany, with delectable groceries, German style baked goods, and authentic deli meats.
During late September and October, the grounds light up with live music, and the occasional chicken dance, hundreds of people enjoying Paulner, and the celebration of Oktober that Germany is known for. Whether you want to explore an authentic German deli or have a blast celebrating Oktoberfest, Old World Village is the perfect place. 7561 Center Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
|City of Huntington Beach||Best Beach Resorts in Orange County|
|Ways to Experience OC By Water||Best Surf Spots in Orange County|
|Best Downtowns in Orange County||Orange County Beaches: Huntington Beach|
Rebecca has an undeniable love of writing and recently graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. She enjoys watching hockey, scuba diving, swimming, and working out.