8 ways to hit the beach in Surf City, USA

With its 10-mile (16-km) stretch of shimmering white sand and waist-high waves, Huntington Beach is more than Surf City.

It’s a beach-goer’s paradise. There are just so many  different things to do in Orange County, so we’ve put together our top tips for making your stay as easy and as fun as possible!  

  1. Getting there: Private SUV from Long Beach Airport

After touching down in the OC (that’s Orange County for short), climb inside one of AsterRIDE Limousine and Luxury Transportation’s sport-utility vehicles with plenty of room for stashing your surfboard. It’s an easy, convenient transfer to the self-proclaimed surf capital of the United States and gives you a chance to soak up sights of the Pacific. The transfer will take you right to the door of your Huntington Beach accommodation.

  1. Hang 10: Private Surfing Lesson

California didn’t inspire songs like “California Dreamin'” and “California Love” for nothing. With the golden sunlight streaming through your window, suit up and prepare to take to the beach during a private surfing lesson with Wavehuggers. On the beach, your guide teaches you to read the swells and equips you with techniques for getting vertical on your board.

  1. Fuel up: Ruby’s Diner

After your surfin’ safari, stroll along the full length of Huntington Beach Pier—a 1,850-foot (564-m) jetty in the center of the city’s beach scene. Watch the pros slicing through the waves on either side of the pier, and then settle into a table at the iconic Ruby’s for more ocean views and a burger and a shake.

  1. Get active: Bolsa Chica State Beach

Got a taste for the Eternal Summer? Continue the thrills at Bolsa Chica State Beach, where a bevy of beach activities—from birdwatching to surf fishing—beckon. Want to work up a sweat before taking to the waves? Consider jogging from Huntington Beach along the Bolsa Chica bike path, which hugs the coast and winds through glittering wetlands.

  1. See and taste it all: Walk, Wine & Dine Downtown Food Tour of Huntington Beach

California doesn’t just know how to party; it also knows how to eat. Don your laid-back Cali best and take to the streets of Huntington Beach on one of Walk’s famous food tours. Mouth-watering samples of jerk chicken, artisan pizza, and creamy gelato await. Plus, your friendly guide regales you with local lore you won’t hear anywhere else.

  1. Take a history lesson: International Surfing Museum

You don’t have to know the difference between a fun board and a fish to visit the International Surfing Museum—in fact, you don’t even have to know how to surf! Lovers of surf culture from all over the world flock to this esteemed thirty-year-old institute—where admission is just $2—to soak up the history of the sport.

  1. An icon: Duke’s Huntington Beach

Duke Kahanamoku—the father of surfing—hailed from Honolulu, not Huntington Beach. But with Duke’s—a swank seaside eatery—as a beachfront institution, the Olympic medalist and longboard surfer definitely earns honorary resident status. When the beach games are through, sidle up to the Barefoot Bar and snack on fresh poke tacos and margaritas. Or, get cleaned up and head inside for the full dining room experience – the Hula Pie is not to be missed!

  1. Narrated Tour to the Scenic Beaches of Orange County

Not staying in Huntington Beach? No problem! The experts at Anaheim Tour Company are adept at whisking travelers away to the beaches for the day. Cruise beyond the 98202 in a vintage bus and fall head-over-surfboard for Laguna, Newport, and Huntington Beach on a hop-on hop-off tour that lets you spend as long or as little as you like in each town.

Where to stay:

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to somewhere to stay near Huntington Beach, as there are several Expedia +VIP Access hotels that offer the vacation experience you thought only existed in your dreams. Whether it’s the allure of falling asleep to the sound of lapping waves just outside your hotel room or the idea of relaxing by the poolside under the California sun, these hotels are eagerly waiting for you to put your feet up and indulge in the coastal scene.

Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel

The Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel is laidback luxury at its finest, where you’ll fall for the surf-themed décor and evening wine hour. The outdoor patio, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean, offers an open invitation for you to cozy up by the fire pits and roast s’mores. Step out on your private terrace at sunset, and watch as the cotton candy-colored clouds loom over the crashing waves, and take some time to admire Aaron Chang’s ocean-themed artwork adorning the walls. After soaking up the beachy hotel vibes, venture down to the legendary Huntington Beach Pier, just across the street.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Another must-visit +VIP Access hotel is The Ranch at Laguna Beach, located roughly 18 miles south of the Huntington Beach Pier. Tucked in the Aliso and Wood Canyons, this luxury ranch covers all your vacation desires, whether you’re in the mood for basking in the heated saline pool or playing a round on the greens. Treat your taste buds to the fresh, organic fare at Harvest, which cultivates many of its ingredients from the hotel’s very own garden, and then find your bliss with a clarifying facial and deep-tissue massage at the on-site Sycamore Spa.

Monarch Beach Resort

For a toes in the sand, sea breeze in your hair kind of hotel stay, head 30 miles south of Huntington Beach and arrive at Monarch Beach Resort. This scenic seaside resort sits on a grassy hillside with easy access to the surfable waves. With not just one, but three swimming pools, there is always refreshing water and a lounge chair with your name on it, but if its saltwater you’re craving, the beach is just a short stroll away. As for when you’re looking to get moving, the 18-hole championship golf course, athletic club, and tennis courts are always on hand.

With an average of 284 days of sunshine and year-round rolling turquoise waves, there’s nothing not to love about Surf City, USA. What are you waiting for? Plan your Huntington Beach getaway today.

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Expedia Local Expert

Insider tips, locals-only insight, and tried-and-true travel expertise—Expedia Local Expert® is the ultimate reference for making sure that you get the most out of your trip. Whether you're nibbling croissants on the banks of the Seine, skipping the line for the must-ride roller coaster at a California theme park, or sailing between remote tropical islands in Fiji, Expedia Local Expert is your resource for booking any activity, anywhere. We can help you organize your trip in advance with online bookings, or get you situated in person once you're on the ground thanks to our concierge desks in major destinations such as Oahu, Orlando, and New York City. Our blog posts are designed to make sure you spend more time having fun, exploring, and living like a local and less time trying to figure out the logistics on the go. We share our pointers for maximizing your time and stretching your dollar, offering suggestions, ideas, and advice for attractions, activities, and itineraries. Pick up advice for planning your days, learn what to see and what to skip, and figure out how to navigate new places. Our writers are lovers of travel who know these destinations like the back of their hand and are eager to share their know-how with you. Read on, and travel better!

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