Huntington Beach with Kids (The Ultimate Surfer Town)

California’s Pacific Coast is lined with darling beach towns, each with its own flavor and stretch of beach. For the ultimate surfer town, take the family to Huntington Beach, a.k.a. Surf City USA. Craving a laid-back beach vacation? Check out these eight fun things to do in Huntington Beach with kids.

Surfers at sunset in Huntington Beach, CA
Surfers at sunset in Huntington Beach, CA (Photo credit: Wirestock,

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1. Soak up the surfer vibe.

Huntington Beach celebrates all things surfing. The Surfer Walk of Fame spans the town’s Main Street. Plus, Huntington Beach is home to the longest stretch of uninterrupted beach in California.

Dean Ormsby Torrence, of the surf music group Jan and Dean, is a proud Huntington Beach resident. This duo co-wrote their number one national 1960s hit “Surf City USA” about this very town with Jan and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

Surfer mosaic art at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
Surfer mosaic art at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Find statues around downtown featuring the likeness of surfers like Duke Paoa Kahanamoku. This Olympic swimmer is known as the Godfather of Surfing for bringing the sport from Hawaii to the mainland. But what really makes Huntington Beach feel like Surf City USA is the surfer vibe that permeates the town.

Madison Fisher, of Huntington Beach Marketing and Visitors Bureau said, “Surfing is what Huntington Beach is all about. But it’s not just the act of surfing. It’s the culture and laid-back attitude that’s everywhere in our town.”

Scarlet Paolicchi of Family Focus Blog and Kimberly Tate of Stuffed Suitcase pose with their daughters before their surf lesson with Toes on the Nose
Scarlet Paolicchi of Family Focus Blog and Kimberly Tate of Stuffed Suitcase pose with their daughters before their surf lesson with Toes on the Nose (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

2. Take surf lessons in Huntington Beach with kids.

Of course, there’s no better way to understand surf culture than by grabbing a board and catching a wave. Toes on the Nose Surf Shop provides professional instruction to anyone aged 6 and older. Wetsuits and surfboards are provided. Stand-up paddle boarding lessons, kayak tours, and fishing charters are available, too.

Rent bicycles to explore the beach boardwalk in Huntington Beach with kids
My son riding a rental beach cruiser along the Huntington Beach Boardwalk (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

3. Ride beach cruisers along the Huntington Beach Boardwalk.

There’s no better way to explore Huntington Beach with kids than from the seat of a beach cruiser. The 8.5-mile cement path that stretches along the Pacific Coast Highway provides a pretty way to take in ocean views.

Stop along the way for a taco or ice cream cone from one of the beachfront food stands. Watch an eclectic bunch of residents playing drums, beach volleyball or hacky sack as you pedal.

You can rent bicycles of all sorts from Toes on the Nose. Training wheels are available for young children. You will find other bicycle rental companies along the boardwalk as well.

Beach cruisers in front of a surfboard mural in Huntington Beach, California
Beach cruisers in front of a surfboard mural in Huntington Beach, California (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

4. Visit the International Surfing Museum.

To learn more about the history of surfing and legendary surfers like Duke Kahanamoku and Corky Corral (known as the first professional surfer), head to the International Surfing Museum. Watch videos of surfers hanging ten on giant waves, listen to some classic surf tunes, and take a look at surf memorabilia and art.

The International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach with Kids
The International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

5. Dine surfside.

Like everything else in town, dining in Huntington Beach tends to be casual. Named for the famous surfer, a favorite local spot is Duke’s, located just before the Huntington Beach Pier. Choose from fresh fish and seafood, steaks, sandwiches, and salads with a Hawaiian flair. Kids dine on standard favorites on the keiki (kids) menu. You simply MUST save room for a slab of Hula Pie for dessert, a fudgy ice cream concoction available in three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and mint.

Pete's Sunset Grille ~Huntington Beach with Kids
The chef prepared a special train of hummus and veggies to tempt our kids at Pete’s Sunset Grille (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

You’ll find some of the best food in town at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. Pete’s Sunset Grille is a casual option that boasts healthy yet tasty fare for adults and kids. Their “famous” fish tacos are quite good but ask for the guacamole on the side if you don’t want your tortilla to fall apart.

Watertable is the hotel’s fancier dining option for date night. It offers a fabulous weekend brunch buffet and daily breakfast.

Fountain at Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
Fountain at Huntington Beach Resort & Spa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

6. Spend the night in Surf City USA.

Huntington Beach would make a lovely day visit. However, to truly unwind and soak up the town’s mellow vibe, make reservations at a seaside resort. The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is a grand place to stay. With waterslides, several on-site pools, fireside s’mores, and summertime dive-in movies, this hotel is a destination unto itself.

One of the many pools at Hungtington Beach Hyatt Resort & Spa ~ Huntington Beach with Kids
One of the many pools at Huntington Beach Hyatt Resort & Spa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

For spa lovers, the Pacific Waters Spa is an absolute must. After your treatment, you may find it hard to leave outdoor the Spa Grotto with three pools among lush landscape.

While mom and dad relax at the spa or beach, kids ages 3 to 12 will have a ball at Camp Hyatt. Expect the usual kids camp crafts, games and movies. With your approval, staff will even take your children to the pool for a swim.

Super hero day at Huntington Beach Resort & Spa's Camp Hyatt ~ Huntington Beach with Kids
Super hero day at Camp Hyatt (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

7. Build an impressive sandcastle.

Every Saturday afternoon, Hyatt Regency guests are treated to complimentary sandcastle building lessons from Dig It! SandCastles. These are no ordinary sandcastles, either. You will feel like quite the supreme artiste after crafting one of these sandy creations.

Huntington Beach sandcastle ~ Huntington Beach with Kids
Dig It! SandCastles lesson (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

8. Enjoy a beachside bonfire.

You must enjoy a beachside bonfire during your visit to Huntington Beach with kids. The town is renowned for its plentiful fire pits that dot its shores. You can’t reserve a fire pit, per se. You will need to camp out much of the day to nab one of these concrete pits for your bonfire pleasure.

Huntington Beach sunset
Huntington Beach sunset (Photo credit: appalachianv,

If you’re a guest of Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, you can hire the hotel staff to do the waiting for you! They will also provide firewood, fire-making and maintenance, beach chairs, blankets, hot chocolate, and all the fixings for s’mores. The smoky smell of a fire mixed with the gooey taste of marshmallows and the sound of ocean waves make such sweet vacation memories.

The Pacific Coast in California
The Pacific Coast in California (Photo credit: haveseen,

Explore More of California

Dreaming of a California vacation? Take a look at our recommendations for the best California family vacation destinations now!

Water lovers will want to see our list of the best kid-friendly beaches in California, too.

As a mom who lived in America’s Finest City for 15 years, read my tips for the best things to do in San Diego with kids.

For roller coasters, water slides, entertaining dinner shows, and more — see this comprehensive list of fun things to do in Buena Park.

Things to Do in Huntington Beach, CA with Kids

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Would you like to visit Huntington Beach? Want to share additional fun things to do in Huntington Beach with kids? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: My son and I were hosted by Visit California and Hyatt Regency during one of our visits to Huntington Beach, CA. All opinions are mine, as always.

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  1. Huntington Beach sounds like the ideal California beach destination! We have been wanting to plan a beach vacation in California for a long time but I wasn’t sure where – I think it will be Huntington Beach when we can finally do it!

  2. The statue in the photo is the naked surfer, not Duke. The Duke statue is on the corner of Main and PCH outside HSS

  3. Lovely place to visit this summer. Ruby’s diner’s location is just perfect. I would want to have my meals there. Dinner would especially be great, watching the sunset while having a hearty meal. We have to include Huntington Beach in our travel plans for the summer.

  4. THis looks like such a fun place to visit. I bet my kids would have a blast. Maybe next year we can go.

  5. I love the beach and would jump at any chance to be near one. Huntington Beach looks like a lovely place to visit. I live far from there but I can always plan a trip with the family. My sons would love the surf activities!

    1. I think it’s so great to get kids involved in activities like surfing from a young age!