Welcome to Huntington Beach – known as ‘Surf City USA’ – where 15 kilometres of uninterrupted beach meets one sparkling blue ocean. This SoCal locale earned its reputation as a mecca for surfing more than a century ago, and its town serves as a laid-back base for those seeking exceptional sun, sand and surf.
Huntington Beach is situated along the same stretch of gorgeous coast as Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Long Beach. Safer and less crowded than many of Los Angeles’ rival hot spots, the city is a fantastic family-friendly choice for a California beach holiday. Even after sunset, its beachfront has plenty to offer; gather around a firepit to toast ’smores and trade stories late into the night.
One of the best times to visit Huntington Beach is between July and August, when the weather is warm, the sun is shining, and the beaches are at their best. Towards the end of July, the town is buzzing as the annual US Open of Surfing brings competitors and spectators to the coast. If you’re inspired by these professionals carving up the Pacific, note that beginner surfers may be better served 30 kilometres away approx. at Laguna Beach. Experienced surfers, however, will fall head-over-heels for the superior waves here.
Ideal for couples, Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel is a boutique oceanfront property, which reflects the easy-going attitude of Huntington Beach. After enjoying the sunshine, return to one of the hotel’s comfortable rooms, some boasting views of the town’s iconic pier. For families, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is an excellent alternative. It provides everything surf-related, so you can focus on the most important thing – having fun.
Newport Beach offers plenty for pleasure seekers. From harbours chocka-block with luxury yachts to the swollen waves of The Wedge – a haven for serious surfers, this O.C. city revolves around its gorgeous coastline. Here, you can enjoy sublimely fresh seafood, perennially pleasant weather and some of the best beaches in California.
Don’t stay planted to the beach, though – take a boat out for a scenic tour. Combine seafaring with seafood by hiring a private ‘Duffy’ boat to sail from dockside-restaurant to dockside-restaurant. You’ll enjoy views of the palm-dotted coast and the opulent private homes that nestle along it. Or hop aboard the ferry for a 10-minute journey across the bay to Balbao Island. This pretty islet encapsulates the seaside charm of Newport Beach. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon. You can also embark from Newport Bay for a chance to glimpse majestic grey, blue and minke whale during a whale-watching tour.
Visit the city at the tail-end of April for the Newport Beach Film Festival, an annual showcase of more than 350 films from over 50 countries. Whilst you watch everything from blockbusters to indie gems, you can also enjoy the springtime weather – warm, sunny and with little rainfall.
Situated between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, The Resort at Pelican Hill is a family-friendly, five-star property and the perfect seaside retreat. When you’re not cosying up in your ocean-facing bungalow or villa, enjoy the mosaic-embellished circular pool, one of California’s largest spas, two golf courses and five restaurants.