For a city of nearly 200,000 residents, Huntington Beach has a surprising number of eco-tourism destinations where you can connect to nature, and see native habitats and wildlife of Southern California.
A remarkable destination for birdwatchers and anyone who loves the outdoors, Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve represents the culmination of a decades-long effort by activists who battled to protect this wetlands ecosystem from development. After years of restoration work, you can now walk on five miles of trails, and spot both resident birds and transient species that use the wetlands as a critical stopover while migrating along the Pacific Flyway.
The community-based Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy owns and manages 118 acres of local wetlands habitat, including the 25-acre Talbert Marsh where you can explore along a short interpretive trail. The organization partnered with the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center to create a new, educational interpretive center that is now open to the public.
Huntington Central Park, Surf City USA's top outdoor recreation destination beyond the beach, is a 356-acre urban oasis of trees, broad lawns, and lakes. It is the largest city park in Orange County and contains an equestrian center, disc golf course, sports complex, dog park and Shipley Nature Center.
A number of community groups work diligently to keep our beaches beautiful and clean. Those seeking a voluntourism experience will want to check out the Huntington Beach/Seal Beach chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which holds regular beach clean-ups along the coast.
The City of Huntington Beach is a forerunner in sustainable efforts, leading Visit Huntington Beach to publish Steps Toward a Sustainable Huntington Beach. This educational guide gives a history of sustainable efforts in the community, along with sustainable tips and resources for residents, restaurants, hotels and businesses. To request a digital copy of this sustainable guide, click here.