Huntington is a one-stop shop for outdoor pleasures by OC beaches. If you forgot to pack beach gear, you can rent umbrellas, beach chairs, volleyballs and other essentials from Zack’s, just north of the pier. Just south of the pier on the Strand, friendly Dwight’s Beach Concession, around since 1932, rents bikes, boogie boards, umbrellas and chairs. Huntington Surf & Sport also rents boards and wet suits.
Huntington Beach for Children
If you want a break from the beach scene, Huntington Central Park, 3 miles north of downtown, is a green suburban retreat with a disc golf course, down-and-dirty adventure playground featuring a rope bridge and cable slide, and two little lakes with walking paths. For a thoughtful examination of local flora and fauna, including abundant bird life, stop by Shipley Nature Center, which has kid-friendly exhibits on conservation efforts and a self-guided wetlands nature trail. Older kids may enjoy the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
For newbie surfers, Zack's offers lessons. If you're an experienced surfer, keep in mind that surfing in HB is competitive. Control your longboard or draw ire from local dudes who pride themselves on being ‘aggro.’ Surf north of the pier.
Cycling & Skating
You can toss a frisbee on the beach for endless hours, or you can try the Huntington Beach Disc Golf Course, the only one in the OC.
Little Pocket, Big Rewards
North of central Huntington Beach is a 3-mile-long strip of sand favored by surfers, volleyball players and fishers. Bolsa Chica State Beach stretches alongside Pacific Coast Hwy between Huntington Dog Beach to the south and Sunset Beach to the north. Even though it faces a monstrous offshore oil rig, Bolsa Chica (meaning ‘little pocket’ in Spanish) gets mobbed on summer weekends. You’ll find picnic tables, fire rings and beach showers, plus a bike path running north to Anderson Ave in Sunset Beach and south to Huntington State Beach.
The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is 1450 acres of restored marshland and an environmental success story, with lots of trails open to visitors.