Huntington Beach

California, U.S.A.

Starfish Rating of 5

Claim to Fame

Surf City U.S.A.; one-mile-long safe, clean off-leash beach for dogs; a boardwalk-style pier; home of Dean Torrence, of 1960s band Jan & Dean (who recorded the hit song, “Surf City”, in 1963), and former Seattle Mariners pitcher, Bob Wolcott.

(click image to enlarge)
image courtesy of Smart Punk
  • Where is it?on the Pacific coast in southern California’s Orange County, just south of Long Beach in the extreme outskirts of Los Angeles
  • Coordinates: latitude» 33.6565°
    longitude» -118.003°
  • Water Type: saltwater
  • Climate: warm Mediterranean (sunny, dry and breezy) with lots of sun all year (only 13 to 14 inches of rain per annum in mid-winter)
  • Development: heavily built-up urban area in major city
  • Length of Beach: 8.5 m/13.7km
  • Type: pale beige sand
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Huntingdon Beach is certainly the surf capital of America, with its long coastline and reliable waves. With a population of about 203,000, the city is home to a pack of surfboard aficionados. This is a family-oriented beach, including the family dog (they have their own one-mile stretch for off-leash fun in the sun), resplendent with a lively pier and abundant activities for children, including an annual Kite Party held in mid-March.

This California-style, unpretentious beach city is loaded with events and festivals. On July 4th each year the U.S. Open of Surfing is held; if you plan to attend this event, book well in advance! In accordance with the surfing theme, the city is home to the Surfing Walk of Fame and Hall of Fame, and the International Surf Museum. Huntington Beach hosts the annual Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament (watch from the pier or the beach-bleachers); the annual Surf City U.S.A. Paintball Open is another favorite that is staged right on the beach, along with a tradeshow, in early April every year. And don’t miss the whacky, fun Beachcruiser Meet, a display and parade of beach-type vehicles from Volkswagen campers to hot-rod convertibles.

Dogs are everybody’s best friend here, and besides canines having their own beach, the town has “gone to the dogs” with dog-friendly hotels, specialty dog-treat bakeries, and shops that sell neat stuff for dogs and their owners. The city even handles clean-up on the dog beach, so the focus is on fun for Fido.

A delightful feature of Huntingdon Beach, which was settled by a Spanish soldier in 1784, is the long pier. Open 5:00 a.m. until midnight, the pier stretches 1,800 feet from the beach into the Pacific Ocean; Ruby’s Diner, a fun eatery, rests in a red-roofed pavilion at the ocean end and is a popular spot to dine and watch the surfers. Two more upscale restaurants are located at the beach end of the pier. Over the length of the pier are spots to fish, a lifeguard tower, and stores that sell kites and other beach paraphernalia. Nearby are the numerous beach volleyball courts, summer beach concerts and a farmers market. It’s a busy, upbeat spot.

The focus of fun is on Main Street, a streetscape with funky facades and Spanish-influenced architecture. On Tuesday nights, join in when the street is closed to vehicular traffic for “Surf City Nights”; there is live music, as well as children’s activities and great sidewalk sales from the local merchants.

Huntingdon Beach is a lively and yet laid-back (in the California tradition) family beach and metropolitan area, full of things to do, swimming and water sports, and with a vibrant nightlife, too. Fun for all ages is had at “Surf City U.S.A.”!

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