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Key Info

21601 Pacific Coast Highway

Price & Hours

Free
6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily

Details

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

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

One of Huntington Beach's most popular shorelines is Huntington State Beach. At this beautiful beach 2 miles southeast of the Huntington Beach Pier, you can enjoy activities like surf fishing and swimming. Plus, the beach is a haven for California least terns (an endangered species) and snowy plovers (a threatened species), making it a top spot to go bird-watching. However, the beach's main draw is its superb swells. From late spring to mid-fall, Huntington State Beach boasts steep, curled waves that are excellent for surfing. But remember, the beach's large swells are not recommended for beginners; only experienced surfers should ride the waves here.

Although a few past visitors wished the beach still permitted overnight camping, many praised its ample amenities (think: a paved bike path, barbecue grills, beach volleyball courts and outdoor showers) and wide shore. What's more, several previous beachgoers raved about Huntington State Beach's sunsets. To dial up the ambiance when you visit, claim one of the beach's fire rings – which are available on a first-come, first-served basis – so you can sit by a fire and savor s'mores as you watch the sun set. Make sure you arrive early during the warmer months to guarantee access to a fire ring. Also, keep in mind that the beach's three concession stands are only open on weekends and summer weekdays, so firewood is only available to buy on-site at those times.

You can visit Huntington State Beach between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily. There is no entrance fee, but a $15 fee applies to park in the beach's lot. You can also reach the beach by bike via the Huntington Beach Bike Trail. Learn more about Huntington State Beach by visiting the California State Parks website.

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#1 Huntington City Beach and the Huntington Beach Pier

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).

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