Huntington City Beach and the Huntington Beach Pier

#1 in Best Things To Do in Huntington Beach
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Art Wager/Getty Images

Key Info

Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway

Price & Hours

Free
5 a.m.-10 p.m. daily; 5 a.m.-midnight daily

Details

Beaches, Natural Wonders, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

If you've seen a photo of Huntington Beach, chances are it's of its main beach and famous pier. The beach's 3 ½ miles of gorgeous sands is a haven for professional surfers and volleyball players, and draws locals and tourists eager to learn how to surf and stroll the 1,850-foot-long pier. The impressive pier, which is one of the longest on the West Coast, is an excellent place to fish and catch a sunset. Meanwhile, the beach itself features all kinds of amenities, including fire rings for beach bonfires, restrooms with outdoor showers, an information kiosk, water sports equipment rentals and beach volleyball courts. When you need a break from the sand and sea, cycle along the Huntington Beach Bike Trail or explore Downtown Huntington Beach. Both sit within walking distance of the beach and pier.

According to previous visitors, the city's main beach and pier are two of its can't-miss attractions. Not only will you enjoy incredible ocean views (especially at sunset), but you'll also discover a laid-back ambiance ideal for relaxing outside. In fact, many highly recommend coming here to simply watch the surfers and walk up and down the pier. If you're hoping to avoid large crowds, past beachgoers recommended visiting on a weekday and outside the busy summer season. The beach also tends to get crowded during its annual events, so consider planning around popular events like the AVP Huntington Beach Open (in May), the Vans US Open of Surfing (in August) and The Great Pacific Airshow (in September).

Huntington City Beach and the Huntington Beach pier can be found in the heart of the city close to various shops, restaurants, bars and hotels. Parking is available for $2 per hour or $15 per day in the adjacent lots. There are also metered spots along the Pacific Coast Highway. Fees apply for items purchased or rented on-site, but the beach and pier are both free to visit. The beach is open every day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., while the pier welcomes visitors daily between 5 a.m. and midnight. Check out the Visit Huntington Beach website to learn more about the beach and pier.

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#2 Downtown Huntington Beach

Whether you need a break from surfing or fishing at Huntington City Beach or are looking for something to do by your beachfront hotel, Downtown Huntington Beach is the place to go. The city center is the dining and entertainment hub of Huntington Beach thanks to its plethora of restaurants, bars, shops and attractions. Shopaholics will find everything from trendy brands (think: Urban Outfitters, H&M and Free People) to casual surf shops. Meanwhile, foodies can visit the weekly farmers market, grab a bite to eat at one of numerous restaurants or relax with a beverage and light bites at Orange County's highest rooftop lounge. Downtown Huntington Beach is also home to the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, so be sure to save some time for perusing the property's surfing-focused exhibits.

Overall, previous visitors heaped praise on this part of the city, citing its diverse selection of shops and restaurants as reasons to return. However, a few lamented the lack of parking, particularly at night and on weekends, so consider arriving early or walking to the area. If you can only squeeze one visit into your itinerary, past travelers suggested going on a Tuesday between 5 and 9 p.m., when the popular Surf City Nights street fair and farmers market takes place.

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