When the sun’s out and surf’s up, that can only mean one thing: beach day. Less than 30 minutes from the Anaheim Resort District, Huntington Beach offers 9.5 miles of sandy shores and a world-renowned surf scene. There’s much to explore in the way of eclectic shops, restaurants and outdoor activities—all with a coastal view. Using the vibrant stretch of downtown as a home base, plan the perfect day in Huntington Beach for any personality and interest.
For the Surfer
Novices will be shredding the waves like pros after booking a surf lesson with one of the veterans of the HB shore. Private sessions are available by the hour from myriad companies like Corky Carroll’s Surf School that train on and off the water along Huntington State Beach. After mastering the basics, take a stroll along the Surfing Walk of Fame next to Jack’s Surfboards on Pacific Coast Highway before making a stop inside the International Surfing Museum two blocks up on Main Street.
For the Foodie
Huntington Beach abounds with dining options, but Pacific City’s Lot 579 packs more than a dozen purveyors of artisanal eats and drinks into a food hall with communal seating and patios like Bear Flag Fish Co.’s, which provide jaw-dropping ocean views. Grab a craft beer from The Dudes’ Brewing Co. or sip on a flat white from Portola before sampling Pie-Not’s Australian meat pies or sweets from Frosted Cupcakery and Hans’ Homemade Ice Cream.
For the Shopper
Surf style is paramount in Huntington Beach, and there’s no better place to start than at the corner of Main and Pacific Coast Highway. Main Street is a hub for beachwear galore, with shops including Huntington Surf & Sport, Diane’s Beachwear and Jack’s Surfboards. One block over, Fifth and PCH features a stretch of stores and eateries anchored by the Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel. On this drag, check out boutiques like Merrilee’s Swimwear and the Chilli Beans sunglasses stand alongside bigger retailers such as Forever 21, Skechers and Rip Curl.
For the Animal Lover
Those with four-legged friends should head slightly north on Pacific Coast Highway to find Orange County’s only off-leash dog beach. Located between Goldenwest Avenue and Seapoint Street, Huntington Dog Beach spans approximately 1.5 miles and is open from dawn to dusk seven days a week.
For the Active Adventurer
Rent a bike or surrey, then enjoy panoramic ocean views while sightseeing with ocean breezes whipping through your hair. The Huntington Beach Bicycle Trail allows visitors to cruise through the city’s four beaches on a paved patch stretching 8 miles along the coast, passing local landmarks like the iconic pier and Bolsa Chica wetlands.
For the Night Owl
Gather around one of the 200 fire rings at either Bolsa Chica State Beach or Huntington State Beach for an after-dark s’mores party. The over 21-crew can continue the evening with a drink or two along Main Street, which boasts a lively, walkable nightlife scene. Enjoy ocean views from the patios of bars like Fred’s Mexican Cafe or Huntington Beach Beer Co. as a fun way to cap off an evening at the beach.