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Huntington Beach with Kids – The Ultimate Surfer Town

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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.

Huntington Beach with Kids ~ Huntington Beach, California (a.k.a. Surf City USA) is THE ultimate surfer town!

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Soak Up the Surfer Vibe

Huntington Beach celebrates all things surfing. Dean Ormsby Torrence, of the surf music group Jan and Dean, is a proud Huntington Beach resident. The 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. Find statues around downtown of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, an Olympic swimmer who is known as the Godfather of Surfing for bringing the sport from Hawaii to the mainland. 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.

Surfers waiting to catch a wave in Huntington Beach, California ~ Huntington Beach with Kids

Surfers waiting to catch a wave in Huntington Beach, California (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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.”

A statue of Duke Kahanamoku, the Godfather of Surfing ~ Huntington Beach with Kids

A statue of Duke Kahanamoku, the Godfather of Surfing (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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 age 6 and older. Wetsuits and surf boards are provided. Stand-up paddle boarding lessons, kayak tours, and fishing charters are available too. Interested in learning more? Read about my Toes on the Nose surf lesson now!

Surf Lesson with kids in Huntington Beach ~ Huntington Beach with Kids

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)

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 hackey sack as you pedal.

Rent bicycles to explore the beach boardwalk in Huntington Beach with kids

Rent bicycles to explore the beach boardwalk in Huntington Beach with kids (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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

Beach cruisers in front of a surfboard mural in Huntington Beach, California ~ Huntington Beach with Kids, Surf City USA

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

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

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 can choose from 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.

Ruby's Diner is perched over the ocean on this pier ~ Huntington Beach with Kids

Ruby's Diner is perched over the ocean on this pier in Huntington Beach (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

My kids got a big kick out of the 1940’s-style Ruby’s Diner, perched over the ocean's waves at the tip of Huntington Beach Pier. Wash down hearty diner fare for breakfast, lunch, or dinner with one of their handmade milkshakes.

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.

Pools and fountains abound at Huntington Beach Resort & Spa ~ Huntington Beach with Kids

Pools and fountains abound at Huntington Beach Resort & Spa (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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. Plus, staff will even take your kids to the pool for a swim, with your approval. Read reviews of this hotel on TripAdvisor.

Super hero day at Huntington Beach Resort & Spa's Camp Hyatt ~ Huntington Beach with Kids

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

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

Learn how to make an impressive sandcastle in Huntington Beach (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

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 is especially beautiful at sunset ~ Huntington Beach with Kids

Huntington Beach is especially beautiful at sunset (Photo credit: appalachianv, Depositphotos.com)

If you're a guest of Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach, though, 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 of the fixings for s'mores. There's something about the smoky smell of a fire mixed with the goo of marshmallows that make such sweet vacation memories.

Would you like to visit Huntington Beach with kids? Let us know in the comments below?

A Note from The Travel Mama: I first came to Huntington Beach in 2011. My son and I were recently hosted by Visit California and Hyatt Regency during a return visit. All opinions are mine, as always.

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About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. I have to admit I am very biased towards Huntington Beach. This is where my wife grew up and where her family still lives. It’s so much fun to take our kids down there now, especially with a free place to stay!

  2. I love beaches! And so do my kids! We always get away to some beach or the other every weekend, without fail. Well now I know where my next weekend is going to be! Thanks for the article!

  3. I LOVE Huntington Beach!! I have been here before and I fell in love with the surfer-dude relaxed vibe!

  4. The shops are neat, too. I found a little dried seahorse in one of them.

  5. That surfing picture of Huntington Beach is stunning. Great shot!

  6. I love Huntington Beach! I’ve been to that Ruby’s probably 20 times and everytime get the pancakes… Nice beach cruisers! I found the pics on google and came here from there. That pic made me wanna head up that way from where I live in SD and go for a ride. See you on the beach

  7. robin rue says:

    That sounds like such a fun place to visit with the kids. I would love to go someday.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Robin – Huntington Beach is SUCH fun with kids! I hope you can take the family someday!

  8. That looks like so much fun! I really want to take a trip with the family and learn to surf now!

  9. Spending some time in the water sounds super nice there! I like the idea of taking some surf lessons and doing some biking!

  10. Pam Wattenbarger says:

    The picture of the pier in the sunset is beautiful. I am so ready for a beach vacation.

  11. My husband is from the Southern California area, so we are very familiar with the Huntington area. My kids consider it one of their favorite beaches since the waves are always perfect for boogie boarding.

  12. It looks like a fun place to have some good family fun. That’s the type of places that I like to visit. I will have to look into Huntington Beach a little bit more.

  13. I’ve always wanted to spend some time in California exploring. My Mom enjoys visiting there. I have heard that their beaches are great.

  14. I love Huntington Beach! I totally remember going there in college! I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf – so fun!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Meagan – I hope you’ll give a surf lesson in Huntington Beach a try! The feeling of catching a wave really is pretty spectacular!

  15. I would love to visit Huntington Beach with my family! I know my husband would be in his glory getting to do surf lessons with out son. That little hummus and vegetable train was adorable!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I hope your family can enjoy the surf lessons…and the hummus train in Huntington Beach soon!

  16. This looks like an exciting destination! I love the pictures and the warm-weather activities this place has to offer.

  17. Huntington Beach and surfing are both on my bucket list! Looks like another trip is in order!

  18. 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!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

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

  19. Michelle Waller says:

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

  20. I lived near Huntington Beach as a kid, but only remember going to the beach and the pier. I didn’t realize there was so much to do there!

  21. Annemarie LeBlanc says:

    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.

  22. This looks really beautiful. It would be nice to take the kids here for a vacation. I love that it’s open to surfing as well. That’s going to be really fun!

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