A February 2005 trip
to Huntington Beach by VickiFunes
Quote: Surfing, swimming and sunning are only a few of the activities you can enjoy while visiting Huntington Beach. In this journal, I'll describe some HB activities, and maybe you'll find something you'd like to try!
Hotel | "Huntington by the Sea"
Huntington-by-the-Sea is a privately-owned campground in Huntington Beach. Its rates, depending on the particular space, run from $40 to $60 in the off-season (approximately November to April) and $45 to $75 during the summer. Yes, that's expensive, but the nearby state beaches charge nearly as much and have fewer amenities. Huntington-by-the-Sea has an attractive club house with a pool table, TV, and dining tables (for the occasional get-together). There's a large swimming pool and hot-water spa. The large, clean bathrooms have toilets, sinks, and individual shower/dressing booth combos. There is an on-site laundry and pay phone. All sites have full hookups.
The downside--it's ugly. With beachfront property at a premium, they just paved over the whole campground and used every square inch for RV spaces. (No tents allowed!) You get your camper spot, one car-parking space, and a small patio--that's it. (If you like grassy plots, you'll have to head further inland, as all the beach camps are tightly spaced.) Plus, there's no camp store or markets close by.
More good points: across the street at the beach you'll find fire rings and equipment rentals (bikes, skates, and surf boards) and (seasonal) food concessions. Plus, you get the same close beach access and view that you'd pay $200+/night for at the nearby waterfront Hilton! The other beachfront camp in HB is at Bolsa Chica State Beach. Sites there cost $29 to $39 in off-season and $34 to $44 during the summer. You'll have direct beach access, restrooms, and food stands, but no other amenities. It, too, is basically just a concrete parking lot. During the off-season (November to March), Huntington City Beach opens a campground in one of its parking lots near the pier. The cost is $40/night, again, with no amenities except for the usual beach restrooms and concession stands. Still, it's by the beach!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 15, 2005
Huntington-By-The-Sea RV Park
21871 Newland Street
Huntington Beach 92646
Attraction | "Kayaking at Huntington Harbor"
Your first stop should be at Peter's Landing Marina. There you can walk behind the marina buildings and take a visual overview of the harbor. You'll see hundreds of private watercraft moored in their slips. You'll see waterfront homes whose doors border on canals. (Most homeowners in this section own boats, which they keep tied up right at their homes.) The canals passing these homes are where you'll be kayaking. There are five man-made islands in this area, all connected by waterways, which will offer you a calm-water boating experience. While you're at Peter's Landing, you might wish to dine at JDee's Landing, a steak and seafood restaurant offering both indoor and outdoor dining with harbor views. Or, you can arrange to take a Pacific Ocean sport-fishing trip while you're there, too.
Several stores near Peter's Landing rent the kayaks and canoes, plus the required life vests. Try Sunset Yacht Rentals at 16862 Pacific Coast Highway or Malibu Sports at 16910 PCH. Rentals can be by the hour or by the day. Motorized rubber rafts are also available.
Actually, even if you're not interested in kayaking, a trip to Peter's Landing is an enjoyable outing. You can stroll along the harbor watching the beautiful pleasure boats and snapping photos. Hey, if you're up for it, another fun idea might be to bike to Peter's Landing from the HB pier, rather than take your car. The beachfront bike path continues north from the pier, all the way past Bolsa Chica State Beach and into the Huntington Harbor area. It's enough biking to fill your whole afternoon, yet it's suitable for beginners because the bike route stays flat. Heading north from the pier (towards the harbor), the wind will be in your face and you'll get tired from pedaling against the wind perhaps. But, heading back to the pier, the wind will push at your back and it'll be smooth sailing! Question: Can you leave the concrete path and bike in the surf? Answer: Yes, but it will rust the metal parts of your bike if you do it often enough (but, it's really fun!).
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 14, 2005
Northwest corner of Huntington Beach bordering Seal Beach and Sunset Beach
Huntington Beach, California
Attraction | "Boomer's Family Fun Park"
You might ask, "Why would kids with the Disney parks and Knott's Berry Farm in their backyards want to go to a relatively small place like Boomers?" The answer is this: It has different activities than they can find at the larger parks, and they like experiencing the variety. If you pass Boomers on I-405, the first activity you'll see you'll see is Boomer's miniature golf.
There are two courses, both beautifully landscaped. Waterfalls pour over rock cliffs, ponds create hazards for the golf balls, and streams meander amongst the tall, decorative palms. At night, hundreds of colored lights provide a festive atmosphere. The mini golf courses abut I-405--they're so close that once, when my son was a teen, his golf ball hit a passing semi truck when he overshot a hole! Adjacent to the golf area is a large game room. Inside, you'll find all sorts of video games, pinball machines and skeeball. Next, you'll see a small area with rides. There's the Rio Grande Train, the Tiger Mike (mini) Roller Coaster, a Ferris wheel, and the Samba Balloons (hot-air balloon-shaped ride cars that circle a center hub.) Adults can ride the Ferris wheel and the train, but the others are just for kids. Next to the rides, you'll find a play structure (similar to the ones you'll find at many McDonald's and Burger Kings, except larger.) For $20, you can buy a wristband that will give you unlimited admission to all the above mentioned activities--and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the price is only $10!
There are other attractions not included in that basic price. There are bumper boats that float in a pretty, blue lagoon. There are go-karts, which kids drive along a concrete road (with no center track to keep them on course). There are batting cages for kids and adults who want to practice their swings. Finally, there's Boomer's Cafe, which mainly features pizza, but also has other fast food, such as corn dogs and fries. There are ALSO games in the café, which aren't included in the price of the wristband, but which ARE free if you order a pizza (and use the tokens they give you with your order. Additional tokens may also be purchased.) When I took my grandson to Boomers, he just loved it (even though he'd already been to both Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm on the same trip)! Like I said before, kids love variety, and Boomers offers this.
16800 Magnolia St.
Huntington Beach, California 92708
Attraction | "Strolling on Huntington Beach Pier"
What's there to do on the pier? Let's pretend that you first walk all the way to the end of the pier. There, you'll find the red-roofed Ruby's Diner, a retro-style eatery with sweeping ocean views from many of its booths. Ruby's offers typical diner-style meals in the $7 to $15 price range. You'll find varieties of hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, and fried-fish platters. Ice-cream desserts are a focus here, from the 14+ flavors of malts and shakes (made from scratch with real ice cream) to banana splits and brownie sundaes. They have a kid’s menu, and when I visited with my grandson, they promptly gave a mini-box of four crayons to him so that he could draw without getting bored while awaiting his food! Will Ruby's have a crowd? That depends. Summer weekends at mealtime - yes! Midweek at 3pm, probably not. But, if you have to wait, you can stand out on the pier and enjoy the ocean view--an outdoor loudspeaker will call you when your table's ready!
Once you finish eating and stroll back inland, you might want to watch the fishermen. If you wish to join in, the "Let's Go Fishin'" bait shop on the pier rents fishing equipment! Strolling farther, you'll come to the Surf City Store that carries HB logo products. Souvenirs start at $2 for trinkets like surfboard-shaped refrigerator magnets, starfish, or sand dollars. More expensive items are zip-front sweatshirts for $33 or surfboard-shaped clocks, around $25. Priced midway between those extremes are souvenirs like mugs, hats, and tees, all beach-themed. Another store on the pier is the Kite Connection. You can find kites starting around $14, or drop $300+ for a pro model! These are kite specialists who can offer helpful advice, plus they give free lessons!
As you arrive back at the pier's beginning---on the Pacific Coast Highway---you'll come to Duke's, a classy restaurant featuring Hawaiian and Pacific Rim dishes in the $15-ish range. It's named after Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian "Father of Modern Surfing," who is also honored with a statue nearby. (Just look across the street--it's in front of a surf shop.) On most weekends, the HB crafts fair holds session at the pier's plaza. You can find surf- and beach- related art, photography, home decor, and clothing at this unusual fair. Lastly, just below the pier (take the stairway down), you'll find Zack's Beach Concessions. At Zack's, you can rent bikes (by the hour or day, from $8 to $45), surfboards, skates, fins, beach balls, umbrellas... whatever you need to complete your dream day at the beach!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 14, 2005
Huntington Beach and Pier
Huntington Beach, California
Pacific Shoreline Marathon
21500 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Huntington Beach, California 92648
The beach itself is wide and long, with plenty of room for your group on even the most crowded days. Yet, especially in fall, winter, and spring, it can also be the setting for an isolated, romantic sunset stroll along the shore.
The concrete beach path stretches for miles. It's a great place to people-watch as you jog, bike, or skate. At one time or another, I've seen dogs pulling their skateboard-riding owners, dogs in the child seat of bikes, wind-skaters (it's like wind-surfing) and wind-skateboarders, bikes with arm (instead of foot) pedals, parent-child bicycles built-for-two (with the front half tall for the adult and the back half of the bike small for the child), people in wide-tired wheelchairs made for rolling along in the sand, teams of cyclists in colorful matching spandex uniforms... well, the list could go on and on.
Not in the mood for sports or swimming? There's a long concrete fishing pier with a Ruby's Restaurant (‘50s diner-style) at the end. As you stroll towards the restaurant, you'll have a great view of the surfers and kite-flyers below on the beach, and of the fishermen hauling in their catches alongside you on the pier.
Weekends bring the cutest crafts bazaar, which features surfing- and beach-related handmade items. Though it's not too large, you will not find a more unique crafts fair!
Across the street from the pier is the little downtown area that's been built to satisfy the strolling window-shopper. You can find various restaurants and shops, all with a beach-town atmosphere.
Of course, you won't want to miss seeing the surf shops. Even if you don't surf, it's fascinating to look at the gear. Plus, one prominent surf shop has footprints of famous surfers in front of it, a la Graumann's Chinese Theater, and another has a surfer's "walk of fame," reminiscent of the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.
Luxury accommodations are available at several hotels across from the beach. Less-expensive motels are available in Huntington Beach a bit more inland, and also closer to the Orange County theme parks.
There's also a dog-beach for pet owners! If you don't have a dog, it's still fun just to go and watch other people's pets frolicking in the waves--obviously having the time of their lives!