For those spending only one day in Huntington Beach, here are some suggestions based on interest. Of course, don't blame us if this list makes you feel the need to stay in Surf City USA a day or two longer. If that happens, you might want to take a look at our hotels, as well.
Got your towel and sunscreen? Then head to the beach to stake out a spot and relax. If you forgot anything at home, beach concessionaires most likely have what you need, from sunglasses to swimsuits to beach grub.
Since you're already at the beach, join in a volleyball game or take a surfing lesson. Or rent a bike and explore the coastline along the 8.5 mile paved beach path. Beach concessionaires also have tandem bikes and surreys. If you're worried about pedaling the distance, head to Pedego for an electric bike. For something unique, take a Segway tour on the sand with Surf City Segway.
After spending an active day at the beach, spend the evening around a beach bonfire with hot dogs and s'mores. Fire rings are free to the public and available on a first-come, first-serve
Take a walk on the Huntington Beach Pier. From there, you can watch the surfers below or join the fishermen along the rails. Let's Go Fishing rents and sells everything you'll need and no license is required to fish from the pier. You can also browse for official Surf City souvenirs at the Surf City Store or take advantage of the ocean breeze with a kite from Kite Connection.
Have lunch or dinner at Duke's or Sandy's Beach Grill next to the Huntington Beach Pier. Or head up to Fred's Mexican Café high above Pacific Coast Highway. All three offer perfect vantage points to observe life in Surf City USA.
Soaking up the Surf Culture
Downtown Huntington Beach has been called the Times Square of Surfing. Stop at the Surfing Walk of Fame and Surfers' Hall of Fame at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway to see which of your favorite surfers have been honored. Spend some time at the International Surfing Museum to learn about surf history and culture. Browse the many surf shops in downtown, including Huntington Surf and Sport, Jack's Surfboards, Rip Curl, Chuck Dent, and more. Take a surfing lesson from one of the many surf schools in Huntington Beach - or rent a board and head out on your own. And be sure to have brunch at Sugar Shack, the local surfer's favorite spot for good eats since the 1960s.
If spending time in the water is your thing, you have a variety of options. Take a surfing lesson or rent a board and head out on your own. A number of surfing alternatives are gaining popularity, including kite surfing and paddle boarding. Head to Huntington Harbour for stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking. Local businesses there rent paddle boards and kayaks by the hour , half-day or day. If you don't want to do the work, take a ride in an authentic Venetian gondola with Sunset Gondola or rent an electric boat.
If you've got the kids with you, bring them to Adventure Playground for some good, dirty fun. Shop for a kite from Kite Connection on the Huntington Beach Pier and take advantage of the ocean breezes out on the sand. Learn how to build a professional sandcastle from Dig It Sandcastles. If you want to explore, rent a surrey from one of the beach concessionaires. Then before heading home, munch on beach food classics at Ruby's Surf City Diner or Sugar Shack, both of which are kid friendly.
After spending a few hours at the 1.5 mile long Dog Beach, where dogs can frolic off-leash in the water, stop at Fred's Mexican Café for Doggie Date Night. Or take a walk along the paved beach path to Kokomo's Surfside Grill, which offers a (secret) doggie menu. Park Bench Café in Huntington Central Park also offers the same doggie menu - and it's close to the Central Park Dog Park.
Explore the five miles of trails at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Birders love this location that is home to 200 species of birds year-round, with another 160 species seen throughout the year. You can also tour the Bolsa Chica Wetlands Interpretive Center or take a tour with one of three conservation groups. Stop at Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Central Park to experience five different native Californian habitats. While at Central Park, don't forget to take a stroll through the Urban Forest. Visit Gibbs Butterfly Park, an overwintering site for the California Monarch butterfly. Learn more about the Huntington Beach Wetlands at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care and Education Center, Surf City's newest interpretive center. If you're here between March and August, you might even have the opportunity to experience a late night grunion run on the beach.
Spend some time strolling along Main Street and 5th Street in Downtown Huntington Beach. Shop at the many boutique stores or surf shops to find the latest in surf fashion. Stop in at the International Surfing Museum and the Huntington Beach Art Center. Find your favorite surfers at the Surfer's Hall of Fame and Surfing Walk of Fame. Dining options here are almost endless, with a variety of options to fit almost any mood. Pop in at the Visitor Information Kiosk to get a personal recommendation. Afterward, take the self-guided Historical Downtown Huntington Beach Walking Tour - copies are available at the Visitor Information Kiosk.
Girls Day Out
Soak up the sun on the beach, then head to downtown Huntington Beach for a stop at the Beauty Society Beauty Bar, where you can get complimentary facials. While in downtown, pamper yourself with a massage at Total Relief Spa or Haven of Wellness Day Spa. For the ultimate in pampering, spend a full day at Pacific Waters Spa in the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa. End your day with a stop at Main Street Wine Bar or SeaLegs Wine Bar, both of which have been voted one of the top wine bars in Orange County.