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7777 Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach An open air shopping center with restaurants, theaters, a variety of stores, and salons. Bella Terra hosts regular events as part of their Kids Club program with regularly scheduled family events, crafts, and story times. They host many other events including live music and celebrations in the Pavillion Plaza. Big name stores in the Bella Terra shopping center include Barnes & Noble, REI, Kohls, Old Navy, Burlington Coat Factory, and Cost Plus World Market. Choose from a variety of restaurants like Cheesecake Factory, Island’s, King’s Fish House, Solita, and the Public House.
Huntington Beach has gone by a few names over the years, including Shell Beach, Pacific City, and even the nickname Gospel Swamp for a period in the 1900s when it was home to rollicking tent revivals. But the name that stuck was Surf City USA. (And that’s official — the Huntington Beach visitors bureau owns the trademark.) Home to some of the best surf breaks in California, Huntington Beach’s reputation was cemented in 1925 when a Hawaiian surf legend first dipped his board in the waters there. Today Huntington Beach is home to the US Open of Surfing, the largest surfing competition in the world, and the International Surfing Museum. Resorts and upscale dining have sprung up here, but Surf City USA remains unpretentious and is still best enjoyed sans shoes.
John Wayne Airport (SNA), the gateway to Orange County, is closest to Huntington Beach at 10 miles away. Next in line is Long Beach Airport (LGB) at 15 miles, and finally Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at about 37 miles away. A car is nice for exploring the city and surrounding destinations but not required. Taxis and rideshares are easy to find, and you can also hop on Orange County Transportation Authority buses, which travel nine routes throughout the city.
Huntington Beach enjoys warm days in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit year-round. November through February can bring cooler temperatures in the 50s, and July and August can occasionally spike into the 90s, but generally you will be greeted by weather befitting the city’s beachy reputation. Pack layers anyway, as nights can be cooler, and you may want a cozy wrap for those evening bonfires.
The city’s five beaches spread along 10 miles of uninterrupted Pacific coast shoreline. At Huntington City Beach — where it's not uncommon to see professional surfers showing off their chops in the waves — there’s something for everybody. The beach is loaded with such amenities as public volleyball courts, outdoor showers, and restrooms, making it easy to camp out all day. You can break up an afternoon of lounging and swimming with a walk along the historic 1,850-foot-long pier (which boasts a combo burger joint and tiki bar at its tip). In the evening, cozy up around one of the first-come-first-serve bonfire pits.
Over 200 species of bird call this 1,300-acre coastal estuary home, including peregrine falcons, burrowing owls, and white-faced ibis, wading birds with a dramatic, sword-like beak perfect for probing salty marshlands for prey. Even American bald eagles put in guest appearances here. There are four miles of hiking trails in the park, punctuated by scenic outlooks. A small interpretive center hosts exhibits on the ecology of the park.
Run by an enthusiastic volunteer team, this museum chronicling surf culture has a funky, homegrown feel. The museum’s holdings include a surfboard that belonged to a famous Hawaiian surfer, the world’s longest surfboard (according to the Guinness World Records), and a surf-rock legend’s guitar — which was stolen and then returned in 1989. The museum also hosts classic surf movie nights.