15 Best Things to Do in Huntington Beach, CA

Huntington Beach, CA
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Pack your sunscreen and get ready to have some fun under the sun at Huntington Beach, California!

Known to many as "Surf City," Huntington Beach is a city in Orange County, California, right next to the sea.

Given the city's seaside location and warm weather, many beach lovers and surfers visit Huntington Beach regularly.

The natural environment and lifestyle of the locals at Huntington Beach are so vibrant that it has inspired many artists as well.

For example, it has appeared in popular songs like the Beach Boys' "Surfin' Safari," the Surfaris' "Surfer Joe," and Jan and Dean's "Surf City."

Although it is popular because of its pristine beaches and laid-back exciting culture, Huntington Beach has much more to offer its visitors.

From walking along the iconic beach pier to checking out flora and fauna around the city, there are many activities you can indulge in when you visit Huntington Beach.

Here are the best things to do in Huntington Beach, California:

Watch the Sunset over the Ocean at the Huntington Beach Pier

Scenic sunset at Huntington Beach Pier
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Wait for the sun to come down as you take a peaceful stroll at the Huntington Beach Pier.

Located where Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway meet, the Huntington Beach Pier is 1,850 feet long and extends out to the Pacific Ocean.

This beach pier dates back to 1903 when its first 1000 feet area was completely built.

After braving many storms and undergoing numerous reconstructions, the pier was developed to reach its current length, becoming one of the longest piers on the West Coast.

Aerial view of Huntington Beach Pier
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With its captivating views and gorgeous natural environment, many people consider the Huntington Beach Pier the "heart" of the city.

You will have a great time taking photographs of the sights and listening to the waves crashing when you visit this pier.

If you are lucky, you might catch a surfing competition or see fishermen at work when you come to this pier.

Ruby's restaurant at Huntington Beach Pier
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Swim with Your Furry Friends at the Huntington Dog Beach

Daytime view of Huntington Dog Beach
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Bond with your beloved pets and run around with them at Huntington Dog Beach.

This beach is a must-visit for all dog lovers and fur parents, especially if you brought your furry pal with you on your trip!

Based in the middle of Goldenwest Street and Seapoint Street, this 1.5-mile beach area offers plenty of room for your canine friends to roam around and play.

Huntington Dog Beach was established by Martin Senat, the founder of the Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach.

A dog sitting on Huntington Dog Beach sand
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Through his nonprofit, the beach remains "off-leash optional," allowing dogs to run around and play on the sand endlessly.

Here, you will have a grand time watching your pet and other dogs roam freely as you enjoy the view of the beautiful beach.

You can also bring your other dog-loving friends or make new ones as you rest and have a snack on the picnic tables within the area.

Dogs enjoying the water at Huntington Dog Beach
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Meet Surfing Superstars at the Surfers' Hall of Fame

Discover more about the legendary experts who rode ocean waves with exceptional finesse at the Surfers' Hall of Fame.

You can find this place at Pacific Coast Highway and Mainstreet intersection, near Huntington Surf & Sport.

Here, you can pay tribute to the people who have impacted the culture and industry of surfing.

You can check out the hand and footprints of different surfing superstars, including Andy Irons, Shawn Stussy, Bethany Hamilton, and the newly inducted Brett Simpson.

Visitors can also take pictures with the majestic statue of Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing.

Spend the Day at the Surfers' Hall of Fame!

Dive into the History of Surfing at the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum

Exterior of the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum
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After you visit the Surfers' Hall of Fame, you can gain more knowledge about fascinating surfing history by heading down to the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum.

This museum was founded by Natalie Kotsch, a woman who has never surfed but was inspired and motivated by the warm spirit and lively vibes she felt in the city.

When you visit this museum at the corner of Olive and 5th street in downtown Huntington Beach, you can find an extensive collection of surfing artifacts.

Entrance to the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum
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This is also where the world's largest surfboard, 42.5 feet, is on display.

You can also check out different memorabilia, like antique surfboards, that are significant to the history and culture of surfing.

If you're looking to explore the wonderful world of surfing, the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum is most certainly the right place!

Giant surfboard displayed in front of the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum
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Spend Quality Time with Loved Ones at Huntington Central Park

The grounds of Huntington Central Park
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Take a walk, exercise, or relax with your friends or family at Huntington Central Park.

Spanning 356 acres, this park is the largest park owned and managed by the city of Orange County.

You can bring all of your loved ones to Huntington Central Park because this place has something for everyone.

This park includes Central Park West and Central Park East.

Trail at Huntington Central Park
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You can check out the dog park at Central Park West or dine at a lake-view cafe.

On the other side, at Central Park East, you can read at the library, bond with your kids at the playground, or explore the open nature areas all around.

Aside from this, there are also fishing areas, an exercise course, and lakes within the park.

Anyone will surely enjoy and have a memorable experience visiting Huntington Central Park.

The lake of Huntington Central Park
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Feed Your Imagination and Creativity at the Huntington Beach Art Center

Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for contemporary and historic artworks at the Huntington Beach Art Center.

First opened in 1995, the Huntington Beach Art Center (HBAC) is an ideal space for expressing and exploring creativity.

The HBAC provides artists and community opportunities to experiment, learn, and experience art as a community art and cultural center.

The center offers a wide range of affordable art, movement, and music classes in its studios.

Here, you can check out the breathtaking art exhibitions with works created by local, regional, and even national artists.

The Huntington Beach Art Center hosts six exhibitions annually, so if you are planning to visit the city more than once, you can expect new artwork each time.

Take a Trip to a Bavarian Village at Old World Village

Buildings along Old World Village
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Dine on German delicacies and purchase products from international shops without having to leave the city at Old World Village.

Old World Village is a dining, entertainment, and shopping center that has served tourists and locals in Huntington Beach for more than 45 years.

With walkways made of cobblestones, roofs with red tiles, and buildings decorated with European murals, this place will surely transport you to another time and place.

A restaurant at Old World Village
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When you visit Old World Village, you can choose to dine among a wide range of international cuisine restaurants.

Aside from this, you can also shop from specialty stores and score one-of-a-kind items.

If you visit the city from September to October, do not miss the lively Oktoberfest festival held here annually.

A church at Old World Village
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Appreciate the Local Flora and Fauna at Shipley Nature Center

Entrance gate of Shipley Nature Center
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Explore 18 acres of a beautifully restored California habitat at Shipley Nature Center.

Shipley Nature Center first opened its doors to the public in 1974.

It was named after the former city mayor, Donald D. Shipley, who had always envisioned a place that shows what California looked like a century before.

With its large area, this center houses eight different habitats.

Trail at Shipley Nature Center
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Some areas you can explore when you visit the center include Redwood Grove, Blackbird Pond, and a woodland filled with Oak trees.

The center also has a 1,500-square-foot building that boasts numerous exhibits on wildlife and ecology in the locality.

You can also find more than 200 birds when you visit the center.

If you are looking for a family-friendly destination that is both exciting and educational, this place is perfect for you.

Play with Your Kids at Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park

Bring your youth back as you jump, hang, and slide down the playground equipment at Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park.

Harriett M. Wieder Regional Park is a four-acre park developed with a design that harmonizes with the surrounding 30-acre natural environment.

They used native plants and artistic yet subdued materials to build some of the park's facilities, including the walkways, parking spaces, benches, and playgrounds.

The park is also eco-friendly since it collects rainwater and irrigation water, which refills groundwater through a bioswale mechanism.

You can bring kids or younger relatives here and have fun chasing after each other at the playground, using the exercise equipment, or just relaxing and enjoying the scenic sights.

Get a Glimpse of the History of Huntington Beach at the Newland House Museum

Exterior of the Newland House Museum
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If you are curious about the history of the Huntington Beach area, then you must pay a visit to the Newland House Museum.

The Newland House Museum is a preserved home initially built in 1898.

It is maintained carefully by the Huntington Beach Historical Society, the oldest home in the community.

Initially owned by William and Mary Newland, this residence has welcomed many renowned guests throughout its history, including Mark Twain.

You can visit this farmhouse to take a peek into the Newland family's everyday life and discover more about how life was back then in the city.

Reconnect with Nature at the Secret Garden

Butterfly on a flower at Secret Garden
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Go bird watching, meditate peacefully, or enjoy the breathtaking scenery at the Secret Garden.

Established in 1992 as a xeriscape to showcase drought-tolerant plants, the Secret Garden is a beautiful and quiet area where anyone can visit to appreciate nature.

The garden is currently being maintained by the Huntington Beach Tree Society and kindhearted volunteers dedicated to preserving its beauty.

A vibrant poppy at Secret Garden
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You can visit the Secret Garden easily when you come to Central Park since it is just behind the Huntington Central Park Library.

Here, you can check out the different flowering plants and tall trees as you relax while listening to the quiet chirping of the birds.

See Horses in Action at Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center

Visit the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center (HCPEC) and watch nearly 400 majestic horses trot around with their riders.

Based on 25 acres of lush land just two miles from the beach, this center boasts multiple arenas, gorgeous nature trails, and a rustic wedding venue.

When you go to this equestrian center, you can find Horse Play Rentals, an establishment where you can rent and ride horses on trails.

You can ride your horse on a 30-minute or hour-long trail and explore everything the park offers.

If you are looking for a venue for your simple wedding, birthday celebration, or any other event, you can go to the Red Barn.

The barn is also inside the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center.

Take Pictures of Rare Birds at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Flock of bird over Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
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If you are a photographer or an avid bird watcher, you must visit the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

When you first see the reserve, you might think it is just a wasteland, but this is not the case.

This spot is known for its birds and wildlife and is one of the best birding spots in the country.

As a 1,300-acre estuary, these grounds attract flocks of birds that migrate the Pacific Flyway between North and South America.

Snow egret at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
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Almost 200 bird species pass annually by the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, including rare and endangered birds.

If you are lucky, you may spot a rare white pelican.

Bring your binoculars and camera so you can see different majestic birds in their natural habitat.

A type of bird at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
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Go Shopping with a View of the Beach at Pacific City

Exterior of Pacific City
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Have a shopping experience like no other when you satisfy your retail therapy needs at Pacific City.

Located on the Pacific Coast Highway, this shopping and lifestyle center provides all of the guests with unobstructed views of the beach.

You can enjoy shopping, dining, and even watching a movie at this outdoor mall while glancing at the gorgeous oceanfront view.

Night scene at Pacific City
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This center also houses fresh restaurant concepts and some of today's newest clothing retailers and lifestyle stores.

Whether you want to go on a shopping spree, try artisan ice cream, or chill at one of the many patio areas while enjoying the view, Pacific City is a great place to visit.

Engage in Friendly Competition at the Huntington Beach Disc Golf Course

Play a unique and thrilling sport with your friends at the Huntington Beach Disc Golf Course.

The Huntington Beach Disc Golf Course is the only course in Orange County designated for playing disc golf.

It is on the west side of Goldenwest Street and sits between Talbert Avenue and Ellis Avenue, right in Central Park.

The course, established in 1977, spans about 5,649 to 6100 feet, giving players a lot of space to enjoy playing disc golf.

Although the game's rules are similar to golf, you do not need to worry about not knowing how to play because disc golf lessons are available here.

You can also rent the area to play with your whole family and friends or book the course for any event.

Final Thoughts

When people think about Huntington Beach, the first thing that comes to mind is the city's many beaches.

Now that you know some of the best things to do in Huntington Beach, California, there are endless possibilities for places and activities to enjoy.

Add these must-see places to your Huntington Beach itinerary.

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