Huntington Beach California is one of America's great beach communities. Safety, beauty and old fashioned fun are what visitors expect and find when they travel to Huntington Beach. Established in 1904 for Henry Huntington, the industrialist who buitl an empire and wealth in California land holdings, Huntington Beach got its name for his agreement to extend his electric rail system (the Red Car) to this beach community from Los Angeles. Tent camping and tent cities dotted the landscape, along with oil derricks spewing clouds of smoke into the skies above the Pacific Coast along this beachfront. Anything but serene, the scene looked eerily like some futuristic nightmare of girders and towers in a science fiction film depicting a bleak future of polluted skies.


The black gold produced on and offshore looked and smelled like money, so they said. Even today, offshore derricks dot the ocean-scape. Tourists sometimes call to ask if the beach is ugly because of the rigs. Though you can see the offshore oil platforms in the distance, they do not obscure the fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean, its golden sunsets and Catalina Island, which float 22 miles offshore and is visible on most clear days. If anything looks large and looming, you'll notice most often the ships lined up to unload their cargo in the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The mulit-billion dollar industry at two of the busiest ports in the nation sits a few miles away from Huntington Beach with its west-facing beach, beautiful Huntington Beach Pier and funky, 5-block Main Street shopping and dining district.


Main Street is anything but upscale. It is swimsuits, surfboards, ponytails, sandals, suntan lotion and even tattoos. There are outdoor kiosks, outdoor dining tables on the sidewalks, cars cruising by, bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, doggies, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas. Main Street is real USA. From a dog riding a skateboard to kids sipping Starbucks mocha blends, this downtown region is where it's happening.


Stores have names such as HSS (Huntington Surf and Sport), Jack's Surfboards, Jack's Girls, Jack's Garage, Diane's, CatWalk, Sakal Surfboards, Rockin Fig Surfboards, Beachcomber Surf and Skate. If you think there's a lot of surfing in this town, you could be correct. Yet most of these shops don't limit themselves to the surf genre. Sunglasses, shoes, sandals, shirts, shorts, pants, jackets and caps are but a few of the the items that fly out the door in popularity and sales. With hometown hero Quicksilver and manufacturers such as Roxy nearby, Huntington Beach has gained a reputation as a leader of action sports clothing. Crossing over from specialty market items to mainstream clothing lines, athletes on televised programs are largely responsible for introducing the Huntington Beach and Southern California lifestyle to the likes of Hollister, a clothing company from the midwest that broadcasts live images of the Huntington Beach Pier in its clothing stores elsewhere. 


You may never know when you walk down the street in Huntington Beach that the person next to you is a famous athlete or appears in a sitcom. In Huntington Beach, there's so much creative talent that much of it is taken for granted or simply ignored. 


The foods along Main Street Huntington Beach maintain popular appeal or you won't see them next year. With rents in the thousands of dollars monthly, a restaurant will quickly make or break it on Main Street. Hot breakfast meals, burgers and sandwiches, a bit of Mexican food, sushi, some Greek and Italian, pizza and ice cream are all available on Main Street. The day crowd comes, plays, eats, shops and goes home by 9. Then there's a slight lull for an hour or so until the night crowd migrates into the bars. Popular drinking and dining spots include Inka Grill, Tuna Town, Aloha Grill, Momo's, Hurricane's, Longboard Pub, Huntington Beach Beer Company, Arriba Baja Cantina, Fred's Mexican Restaurant, Spark Woodfire Cooking and several others.  At the Huntington Beach Pier, Duke's and Chimayo at the Beach serve up great meals and good drinks and spectacular daylight and sunset views of Huntington City Beach.  There's nothing more entertaining than to take your friends from out of town to one of these restaurants. For more casual faire at the end of the pier, dine at the red-domed Ruby's Diner. This restaurant features bright red booths reminiscent of the Happy Days show and the era of the 1950's with its bobby socks. Served at Ruby's are great burgers, french fries, salads, and ocean views.


For beach burgers, cheese chips, falafels and lots of soda, go to Zack's. You can sit on a patio deck near Pier Plaza. With an umbrella to shade you, dine and watch the people go by. Further south is Dwight's, another local favorite that has been serving up popular treats such as the frozen banana dipped in chocolate on a stick. Dwights also has tables, usually located out in the sand.


If you don't believe that life can be grand in HB, think about the possibilities awaiting you when you exit concrete and hit the sand. The sand is soft, warm and normally clean. Beach operations for the City of Huntington Beach drive huge machines that sift the sand nightly. Glass bottles and glass items are prohibited on the beach so people don't cut themselves. When you arrive on the sand and try to walk with your shoes, get ready for an uncomfortable experience as they fill up like bathtubs with sandy particles. Once you remove your shoes, then you have officially arrived at the beach. The final indoctrination is the ocean experience. You must get your feet wet by walking right up to the water and letting a wave wash over your toes. It usually doesn't float softly like the breeze. In Huntington Beach, the waves are hard to guess. The do come at you and you must be prepared to take a side step so they don't rush up your legs and hit your clothes, getting them wet. The water in the region rarely reaches above 70 degrees and usually feels quite refreshing. At a low of around 56 degrees, it can even feel cold.  While colder than the East Coast, the ocean waters have less tendency to form into hurricanes. To see even a warning of a hurricane or tornado is rare. And while there's moisture in the air, it is usually much drier than its Eastern counterpart. Humidity typically ranges around 30 percent. While it can become more humid and does so from time to time, it becomes a source of discussion for the West Coast Southern Californians who are so spoiled, they rarely see rain.


How would you like to live in a place with one set of clothing for all your needs. Furry boots are worn as fashion but are not needed for protection. Huntington Beach experiences an occasional frost or freeze in the winter months but it is more common to see kids riding bicycles in short on Christmas or New Year's Day.  The subtleties of weather become of great interest to locals. Will June Gloom extend into July or will the heat spell come in October as predicted.   Even this temperate, beautiful paradise of moderation has experiences extremes and though they come for maybe a day or week  at maximum, they drive visitor traffic to the beach.  Here's the key: When it is 90 degrees in Huntington Beach, it's 110 degrees somewhere in L.A. That's when people flock in their cars, hoping for relief at the Pacific Ocean.  The safest clothing to bring on a trip to Huntington is a short sleeve shirt or blouse, a pair of slacks, some shorts, some tennis shoes and sandals and a sweater or jacket. Oops, don't forget the sun visor or plan to buy one. What we recommend is that you bring a minimum of items and some space in your suitcase. You will have fun shopping and buying something very tropical, colorful or cool. Wear it while in town and when you take it home, you have a souvenir of your trip. 

Well, that's about it. Do you have any questions? Do you need help figuring out what to take and what to see in Huntington Beach?  Since we anticipate your needs, we are making a list and answering it to help you out. Half the fun of a trip is anticipation.


Question:   How far is Huntington Beach from major airports?   Answer: Huntington Beach is approximately 10 miles from Orange County's "John Wayne" Airport, an airport designated with the code SNA serving the United States. You can rent a car at Orange County Airport or take a Super Shuttle or taxicab, and Hotel Huntington Beach actually provides free shuttle rides to their hotel. Best yet, they will give you rides to and from the beach per arrangement and request. They are located approximately 3.5 miles from the beach. Two other airports serving the city are Long Beach Airport, served by Jet Blue, and Los Angeles International Airport, LAX.


Question: What hotels are on the beach in Huntington Beach. Answer: Technically, one might qualify as being on the beach, though you really must walk over its bridge passing above Pacific Coast Highway to reach the sand. It is the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa. Others facing the ocean are the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort (tremendous ocean view rooms), Best Western Huntington Beach Inn (closest chain hotel near the Huntington Beach Pier, offering ocean view rooms and suites) and several independent, small hotels, Sun 'n Sands, and Surf Inn.


What budget hotels are available in Huntington Beach?  We consider hotels normally under $100 and more in the $75 - 100 range as budget these days. Though we don't guarantee that you'll find rooms for the price we just stated, we think you might find rooms on off season at a reasonable rate at Hotel Huntington Beach, Howard Johnson, Beach Inn, Comfort Suites, Huntington Suites, Best Western Regency Inn, GuestHouse Inn and Extended Stay America. Also try 777, Pacific View and Ocean View. Pacific View and Ocean View are known to fluctuate a bit more in price.


Here's the deal: 777, Pacific View and Ocean View look like they are in Sunset Beach. They are on the east side of busy Pacific Coast Highway (like all beach hotels in Huntington Beach) but they are also nearly 7 miles from the Huntington Beach Pier.  The touch the northern border of the city next to Seal Beach. Though the beach is directly across the street beyond four rows of houses, you can't see much of it.  The tract across the way is a gated community called Surfside. You can get to the beach quite easily by walking only 2 to three blocks.  You step out of your hotel, walk past Sam's Seafood to the stoplight with water tower house at Anderson and cross over Pacific Coast Highway to Sunset Beach, the ungated beach community in the unincorporated Orange County.  You can also drive over to the beach if you like. The parking there is free but limited during summer months and special events.


What are the hotels on the ocean side of Pacific Coast Highway? Those hotels are in the unincorporated Sunset Beach. The two largest properties are Ramada Ocean View at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Warner and Econo Lodge. Not luxurious, these hotels are OK. They do offer location, location and provide the beach outside the hotel property. If that's what you seek, you might want to sacrifice the 4 Diamond rating and get convenience.


Question: How far is....Los Angeles (35 miles), Disneyland (18 miles), Fashion Island (8 miles), Huntington Library (40 miles), Universal Studios Hollywood (45 miles).

Question: What are the beach hours or curfews in Huntington Beach? Answer: The beach directly at the Huntington Beach Pier is called Huntington City Beach. It is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Huntington Beach Pier is open until midnight. The beaches beyond the pier area north of Beach Boulevard and south of Golden West Street are owned and operated by the State Parks. They are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.  They are called Huntington State Beach and Bolsa Chica State Beach.


Question: What are the fees and what is there to do at the beach? Answer: There is no admission fee to the beach, though parking is charged at a daily rate inside the lots. Daily prices are around $10 - 12. Parking meters outside some beaches charge $0.25/ per 10 minutes.


Question: Where can I take my pet? Answer: Only one hotel in Huntington Beach accepts small pets. Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort has a policy of accepting pets 10 pounds and under.