Good vibes only at Surf City USA
Surf is well and truly up at California’s Huntington Beach. In fact, they are consistently up. This part of the Cali coastline rightfully deserves its Surf City USA moniker as it boasts sunny, warm weather, surfer beach vibes all year round. Huntington Beach is one for those wanting their own slice of the surf – especially when you have 16 kilometres of coastline at your disposal!
Its five beaches – Sunset Beach, Bolsa Chica State Beach, Huntington City Beach, Huntington State Beach and Huntington Dog Beach provide ample space to spread your towel and have your moment with the Cali coast.
With it being on the doorstep of the Disney theme parks in Anaheim and one hours’ drive from Downtown LA, it is the perfect place to unwind from the mayhem from all the crowds and enjoy some chilled out vibes under the sun.
Hop on board Huntington Beach as we outline how you can spend a day at USA’s surfing capital.
9 am Start the day with a Banzai breakky
Making the trek to Surf City USA is not just a detox from the craziness of LA or the crowds at Disney but can also be good for your body too.
Kick start your Huntington Beach adventure right by eating right at the much-loved local Banzai Bowls – one of Southern California’s first acai bowl and smoothies cafes. Only moments from the beach, this is a place where happiness and all colours of healthiness are served in a bowl. The bowls’ healthy toppings are just the right amount to fuel your body in anticipation for an action-packed day on the coast. Takeaway and eat it at the beach while admiring those brave young nippers, surfers and avid beachgoers tackle the morning surf.
11 am Surf’s up
What would be the quintessential thing to do along the Cali coast? Hop on board and learn how to ride the Cali waves like a real pro, of course! (Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore – watch out, there is a new surfer in town!)
There are eight surf schools located in Huntington Beach all within a short stroll from the pier. Local surf heroes Toes On The Nose offers both group and private surf lessons along Huntington Beach. Alternatively, if you want to perfect your existing surf skills by yourself, they provide beach rentals too.
1 pm Lunchtime
Do lunch light and breezy with a visit to Sessions West Coast Deli.
This cosy, laidback lunch bar opposite the beach presents imaginative sandwich combinations and lunch options all made from scratch in-house – those tasty sauces included!
To indulge some smokey American bacon, the hearty The Morning Zephyr proves to be winning choice. If you are up to hitting those holiday vibes early, there is even bottomless Mimosas on offer.
3 pm Cycle the coast
As mentioned, there is much coast to cover. The best way to explore it is by putting your foot to the pedal and hopping on a bike to ride its spacious coastal path. With the sun beating down and the palm trees glistening, riding along Huntington Beach’s five beaches proves to be a moment of pure joy.
Along the way, you may get to catch a glimpse of its coastal residents – squirrels – who add cuteness to the already sweet day.
Make sure to hop off the bike for a stroll along Huntington Beach’s pier. Surfer watch or grab an ice cream and lap up what a perfect simple summers’ day should be about – cheap thrills.
Fun fact: Huntington Beach set up the world’s first live surf camera, Surfline. There are currently 12 surf cams that cover Huntington Beach and over 200 cameras worldwide. These are used for surfers to check out the waves before making a trek to the beach
5 pm Surf the shopping and eating scene
Could this be the most scenic shopping centre ever to exist? We think so.
Huntington Beach’s historical centre is at the junction of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway and is a popular spot for boutiques and surf shops. But if you require a shopping fix to fill up your lonely empty suitcase, head south of the pier to reach the city’s beachside shopping utopia.
Pacific City is the city’s premier shopping, eatery and lifestyle destination all rolled into one in an idyllic location along the oceanfront. You can get happily lost in here for hours, flexing your credit card on cocktails and clothing in one fell swoop.
If you are missing a taste of home, there are even Aussie meat pies to be found! Artisanal market, LOT 579 features independent food merchants (homemade ice-cream, gourmet burgers, fresh seafood) all under one roof. Just expect to leave a little bit fuller than when you came…
7 pm Feel the coastal breeze at dinner
Treat yourself to something fancy and upmarket. By up, we mean heading to the balcony at the Kimpton Shorebreak Resort’s Pacific Hideaway. This beach restaurant not only enjoys views of Cali’s golden palm-ridden coast in modern comforts but features cocktails and cuisines that sizzle too.
It’s worth surfing the menu as its Latin American and Asian fusion share plates are a flavoursome ride for all. Its Laos-inspired sausage lettuce wraps are a highlight and warrant the Bang-Bang sauce dripping all over your fingers. Another dish worth satisfying your hunger with is its fresh scallops served on a squid ink risotto cakes. Wash it all down with a creative cocktail (the gin and tropical fruit-based HB Radler is in for the win!) or a local craft beer – you earned it!
9 pm S’Mores by the beach
Melted chocolate with marshmallow sandwiched between two crackers – is there any other dessert treats that sound quintessentially American?
The making of S’Mores over a campfire is a popular North American past time. Except replace camping with heading to the beach as there are house fire pits to cook up a S’ More storm along Huntington Beach’s sandy shores. Three of Huntington Beach’s beaches are DIY bonfire friendly including Huntington City Beach, Huntington State Beach, and Bolsa Chica State Beach.
You can up your S’More game by checking out the luxe bonfire packages available at oceanfront hotels Pasea Hotel & Spa, The Waterfront Beach Resort and the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa for an effortless S’More experience that can include beach butlers to personal fire pits.
The hearing of waves crashing and firewood crackling under a blanket of stars – it really does cap of the best of Cali’s beach life.
Kimpton Shorebreak Resort – 500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Julia was a guest of Visit Huntington Beach and all thoughts and opinions are of her own.