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Huntington Beach

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Huntington Beach

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Huntington Beach [2] is in Orange County in Southern California. Once known as Pacific City, it started as the southern terminus of the Golden West railroad line.


Huntington Beach is world-famous as "Surf City", from the 1960's 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 degrees F, and good weather can be found year-round. However, the months of January to March can be rainy.

Get in

By air

As with most of Orange County, Huntington Beach is serviced by John Wayne Airport (IATA: SNA) [3] in Santa Ana.

Long Beach Airport (IATA: LGB) [4] is also within close distance but has limited service from five carriers. JetBlue Airways [5] serves 12 destinations from Long Beach: Oakland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Chicago (O'Hare), Boston, New York (JFK), Washington (Dulles), Fort Lauderdale, Austin, San Jose and Seattle.

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX) [6] is the largest airport in the area.

By car

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.

By train

Amtrak's [7] Pacific Surfliner and Metrolink's [8] Orange County Line serve Santa Ana, Tustin, Buena Park, and Irvine.

Get around

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.


Huntington Beach boasts the largest unspoiled coastal wetlands in California, Bolsa Chica Wetlands, where many migratory birds stop and nest.

The Huntington Beach Pier [9] is the second most popular sight here, after the beach itself.


Huntington Beach 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 eight 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 US. Many good surfers so they may get annoyed if you stand in the waves too long. Keep moving 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.

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.


Huntington Surf and Sport 300 Pacific Coast Highway (Located off of Pacific Coast Highway and Main St).Surf accessories and apparel.


Downtown, or Main Street is a shopping and gathering place for residents and tourists alike, with sidewalk cafes, surf shops and live music all vying for attention.


  • Fred's Mexican Cafe, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy., Ph (714)374-TACO. Great Mexican food & the best Margaritas north of Tijuana. There is no better view of the Huntington Beach pier than Fred's patio. Good prices and a favorite of the locals!
  • Chronic Tacos, 328 11th Street, Ph: (714) 960-0339, Fax: (714) 960-0094. 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.
  • Islands, 7861 Edinger Ave, Ph: (714) 897-4619. A Californian chain, this is a great place for family, serving hamburgers, salads, and hotdogs.
  • Red Pearl Kitchen, 412 Walnut Ave., Ph: (714) 969-0224. This downtown restaurant is centered around Asian cuisine; Thai, Japanese and Chinese.
  • Ruby's, Huntington Beach Pier, Ph: (714) 969-7829. A great place for family with 50s 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.
  • Sugar Shack Cafe, 213 1/2 Main St., Ph: (714) 536-0355. A favorite cafe for locals, famous in Huntington Beach for great breakfasts and amazingly low prices.


  • Aloha Grill, 221 Main St # F, Ph: (714) 374-4427. This upstairs bar and grill has a luau vibe and friendly staff. This may be the only place you can go where you would be gay not to ask for a rainbow (Rainbow is the name of their world-famous tropical drink). [10]
  • Longboard Restaurant & Pub, 217 Main St, Ph:(714) 960-1896. Good, cold beer and a delicious menu. Their appetizers are tough to beat.
  • Hurricanes Bar & Grill, 200 Main St # 201, Ph: (714) 374-0500. 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 so be aware. [11]
  • Killarney's Irish Pub, 209 Main St, Ph: (714) 536-7887. Whether you want a Guinness on tap or delicious Irish cuisine, Killarney's is well-suited to fit your needs.


There are accommodations from beach campgrounds to five-star resorts along the Pacific. The beach campgrounds are open year round and usually full.

  • Best Western Huntington Beach Inn, 800 Pacific Coast Highway, +1 714 536-7500, Fax: +1 714 536-6846, [12].
  • Best Western Regency Inn, 19360 Beach Boulevard, +1 714 962-4244, Fax: +1 714 963-4724, [13].
  • Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa, 21500 Pacific Coast Highway, [1]. 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.

Stay safe

Crime is very low for such a large city, and violent crime is very rare. If you are drinking, you should be far more concerned with local police than civilians. Huntington Beach police have a vigilant reputation regarding DUI enforcement, so call a cab.

Get out

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