Top Attractions for First-Time Visitors


It goes without saying that no trip to Huntington Beach would be complete without spending time at the beach! Huntington City Beach runs for over eight miles between the Huntington Beach Pier to the north and the Santa Ana River Jetty to the south. In addition to swimming, bodyboarding, and sunbathing, popular activities here include surfing, beach volleyball, and fishing from the pier. The wide sandy beach has plenty of facilities like restrooms, showers, snack bars, and volleyball courts. There’s a bike path along the sand for cruising as well as paved pathways for walking or jogging. With its casual atmosphere and laidback vibe, the beach here is ideal for first-time visitors.


Nicknamed “Surf City USA,” Huntington Beach is famed for its excellent year-round surf conditions, especially at the Pier south of Main Street. Even if you’re not an experienced surfer, you can take lessons from one of the local surf schools like Corky Carroll’s Surf School or Toes on the Nose. These schools provide all the necessary gear and will have you up on a board riding waves in no time!


When you want a break from the beach, head inland to browse the shops and boutiques in downtown Huntington Beach. Main Street is home to a nice selection of clothing stores, gift shops, art galleries and cafes. Bella Terra is an outdoor luxury shopping center with high-end stores and restaurants. The nearby Huntington Beach Pier area also has lots of dining, nightlife, and shopping options.

Eating Out

Visitors to Huntington Beach will enjoy a diverse range of excellent dining options. For fresh seafood, check out restaurants like Duke’s Huntington Beach which serves Hawaiian fusion dishes steps from the ocean. Other local favorites include traditional Mexican at Sancho’s Tacos, juicy burgers at Fred’s Mexican Cafe, and Pier Plaza’s Ruby’s Diner for classic diner fare.

Huntington Beach Pier

No trip to Huntington Beach is complete without a stroll down the iconic Huntington Beach Pier. At 1,850 feet long, it’s a great spot to soak in views of the Pacific, watch surfers catch waves, and browse shops and restaurants. Nearby, you’ll also find the International Surfing Museum and the Volcom skate park.

Sunset Beach

Just north of Huntington Beach lies the quiet community of Sunset Beach. It’s known for great swimming beaches, beach cottages, and excellent sunset viewing. Stop by the quirky Captain Jack’s Restaurant for seaside dining and don’t miss breezy walks along Anderson Street leading to the beach.

Seal Beach

South of Huntington Beach, charming Seal Beach exudes a quaint small-town vibe. Main Street offers cute boutiques and eateries, while Seal Beach Pier is great for catching magnificent sunsets. Visit the bay’s walkway bridge for birdwatching and stops at waterfront spots like Walt’s Wharf.

Long Beach Aquarium

Just a short drive south, the renowned Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach makes for a memorable outing. Highlights include getting up-close to sea lions, watching sharks and rays swim overhead in tanks, and observing colorful coral reef exhibits. It’s an interactive way to learn about marine life.

Newland House Museum

Gain insight into Huntington Beach’s local history at the Newland House Museum. Built in 1898, this Queen Anne Victorian house provides a glimpse into turn-of-the-century life in the city. Historic furnishings, exhibits, and a historic garden await you at this charming museum.

Huntington Central Park

For a scenic urban green space, head over to Huntington Central Park located inland from Beach Blvd. Spanning over 350 acres, it contains botanical gardens, a playground, sports fields, picnic areas, and the Shipley Nature Center. It’s a nice spot for an easygoing stroll or picnic lunch away from the hustle and bustle of the shoreline.

Pacific City

Pacific City is an exciting new oceanfront development with unique architecture housing restaurants, shops, entertainment, and accommodations. Must-see attractions include Lot 579 Food Hall with its array of eateries, Bear Flag Fish Co for locally-sourced seafood, and the incredible beach views from the public plaza. It captures Huntington Beach’s quintessential laidback coastal vibe.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Nature lovers shouldn’t miss the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve located just south of Huntington Beach. This restored coastal wetland is teeming with wildlife and offers walking trails, birdwatching, and breathtaking ocean vistas. It provides an up-close look at a vibrant coastal ecosystem.

How to Get Around Huntington Beach

Public Transportation

While having a car makes getting around easiest, Huntington Beach does have some public transportation options. The Orange County Transportation Authority runs buses throughout Huntington Beach and to neighboring beach communities. The closest stop to downtown Huntington Beach is the Pier/Main bus terminal. Buses can take you up and down Pacific Coast Highway and to other O.C. attractions.

Taxis and Rideshares

For shorter trips within Huntington Beach, taxis or rideshares like Uber and Lyft are handy options. Rates are reasonable, especially when splitting costs between a few people. This works well for getting to evening dinners or nightlife spots downtown when you don’t want to drive.

Charter Buses

For large groups visiting Huntington Beach together, renting a charter bus is a convenient transportation option. Charter buses can pick your group up directly from LAX airport or your Orange County hotel. They provide door-to-door service around Huntington Beach and make it easy to travel together to attractions, restaurants, and events. Booking a charter bus takes hassles like parking and navigation out of the picture so you can just sit back and enjoy your time in Surf City USA. Contact Huntington Beach Party Bus Company at 323-380-3988 for help arranging group transportation during your Huntington Beach getaway.

Ready to Get Started?

With its laidback vibe, sun-soaked beaches, and welcoming atmosphere, Huntington Beach is the perfect sunny SoCal destination for first-timers. Use this guide to help plan your visit and take advantage of convenient transportation options like charter buses if traveling as a group. However you choose to spend your time, Huntington Beach offers an amazing California beach vacation!