Huntington beach on Highway One is a small town yet it has wide open soft sand beaches, a vibrant beach life – even at night – that’s egged on by a sunny Mediterranean climate. And as it is just 35 miles from Los Angeles, Huntington Beach is so worth a stopover when you visit California.
It’s self-proclaimed nickname “Surf City USA” is so apt. It all started in 1910 when real-estate developer and railroad magnate, Henry Huntington, brought the Hawaiian-Irish surfing star, George Freeth, to town to give demonstrations.
Fifteen years later legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku moved here and Huntington Beach achieved iconic status as a surf destination.
The West Coast Surfing Championships, now known as the US Open of Surfing, have been held here since 1959. Yet anyone can do it and every day enthusiasts grab their surfboards and head into to the sea. Medium-sized waves roll in and out so consistently that all you have to do is remain poised on your surfboard and the next thrill will be along momentarily.
Get there in September (this year on 18th) for the annual Surf City Surf Dog event where dogs compete in a surfing competition. Yes really.
But if surfing is not for you Huntington Beach can offer so much more.
The recently renovated Hyatt Regency Beach Resort is a sprawling metropolis of a resort with 514 rooms and several courtyards.
It is in a fantastic location in the heart of town and just steps away from the beach. It comes with its own high end very fancy spa, retail outlets a couple of pools (one gated outside pool), several fountains and a walkway to the beach. Rates start at $255, but check for specials.
For something a little smaller but just as vibrant is the Shorebreak Kimpton Hotel. It has a boutique atmosphere, a courtyard where you can enjoy s’mores and games and it’s within a minute’s stroll from the pier.
Must enjoy yoga on the beach
An early morning hour of yoga on the soft sand is a brilliant way to start the day especially as those meditative yoga moments are accompanied by the calming sway of the waves.
To arrange this experience nip into the Hyatt Regency Huntington resort where Toes on the Nose retail outlet is located. Don’t miss this.
Must lunch at Pete’s Sunset Grille
You don’t have to go far for a casual but appealing lunch experience inside or al fresco at Pete’s Sunset Grille. This colorful restaurant is themed with surfing and beach memorabilia and located in the Hyatt Regency complex.
There’s a creative menu – pulled BBQ Pork, crispy slaw and bacon Bourbon and Pineapple Sriracha Glaze Salmon. There’s lots on the drinks menu including cocktails but at lunchtime draft beer just seems the right thing to order.
Must take a private harbour cruise
Prince Charters LLC offers private harbour cruises guided by a licensed captain. Choose between a restored classic wood boat (up to 12 passengers) or a vintage yacht (up to 30 passengers) and sail around Huntington Harbour.
Just imagine the cool ocean breeze ruffling your hair under the watch of the glorious Californian sun lighting up the harbour views. Add a glass of craft beer, wine or a glass of champers to hand and some great background music.
Must end the evening with S’mores on the beach
Huntington Beach has a string of 500 bonfire rings dotted along its wide beach. It sounds plentiful yet to use one you need to be up early to secure the firewoods, the fixings and indeed your spot.
Every night the sunset beachscape is lit up with locals congregating around bonfires roasting marshmallows, chocolate and graham cracker sandwiches to make S’mores, America’s most loved campsite sandwich. The toasted melting marshmallow is wedged between two graham crackers together with a slab of chocolate. Yes it is sugar overload but so delicious.
Tip: These bonfire rings are very popular and so you must book one in advance. You can do so here: Waterfront Adventures Beach Bonfire Service