Huntington State Beach is located in the City of Huntington Beach in Orange County. The 121 acre state beach is a popular destination for water enthusiasts of all ages and draws hundreds of thousands of visitors year round. Huntington in a great place to surf, swim, sunbathe, fish or just watch the sun set. Average summer temperatures range in the high 70s, while winter brings slightly cooler mid-60-degree weather. Morning fog is common. There are volleyball courts, basketball courts, fire-rings for bonfires and a multi-use trail. A paved beachside trail runs for 8.5 miles between Huntington and Bolsa Chica State Beaches, with the 3.5-mile Huntington City Beach wedged between them. Huntington was gifted to the state in 1942 and became a California state beach in 1963.
Surf City USA
In 1910, city founder Henry Huntington hired Hawaiian-born surfer George Freeth, the “father of modern surfing,” to demonstrate the ancient Polynesian art of riding waves on a long wooden board at Huntington. He surfed using heavy Hawaiian surfboards ranging from 10 to 16 feet long. The sport grew more popular in California after Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku surfed at Huntington Beach Pier in 1925. The first West Coast Surfing Championship was held at Huntington in 1959. Surfing became widespread in the early 1960s and surfboards continually evolved to become shorter, lighter and more maneuverable. The sport of surfing crested in Huntington Beach and it became known as “Surf City USA.” It is now the home to the Surfer’s Hall of Fame, the International Surfing Museum, and hosts the U.S. Open of Surfing; the world’s largest annual surf competition.
Huntington State Beach is a premier spot for surfing. Between late spring, summer and into the fall, Huntington receives all swells directly from the South; making for prime waves. When the surf breaks in shallower water, it causes incoming waves to form a desirable curled shape as they crest. Due to the Santa Ana River Jetties located at the southern end of the beach, large sandbars extend across and upcoast approximately 1 mile. These sandbars shift dramatically during the spring and summer seasons thus creating dangerous conditions. Surf at this beach often breaks very steep, rapid and hollow. Novice surfers are not encouraged to surf at this location. Shortboards are highly recommended.
Swimming is allowed at Huntington State Beach with lifeguard services available. Ocean currents can be extremely dangerous at this beach creating large rip currents. Aquatic rescues are more than common and the probability of drowning for a non-swimmer in unguarded water is likely. Swimmers are advised to take extreme caution, remain close to shore and in front of a lifeguard tower. Huntington tends to be less breezy than nearby upcoast locations, nevertheless can be cold at times.
Huntington is a popular place for surf fishing. Anglers can catch perch, corbina, croaker, cabezon and shovelnose guitarfish. Grunion Run events are scheduled during the summer and draw crowds for bare-handed fishing. This State Beach does permit surf fishing as long as there are no nearby swimmers. A valid CA Fishing License must be displayed as required.
Huntington State Beach is the home of “California Least Terns,” an endangered species and is a nesting sanctuary of the “Snowy Plover,” a threatened species. Once-endangered “California Brown Pelicans” can often be seen skimming the shoreline. The Snowy Plover Reserve is located at the southern end of the beach between Talbert Channel and the Santa Ana River. Trespassing is prohibited and dogs are not allowed on the sand or anywhere near the Reserve. Across from the state beach is the 114-acre Huntington Beach Wetlands, operated by the Department of Fish and Game.
This state beach provides large fire rings for “bonfires” across the beach. These fire rings are on a first come- first serve basis. Large fires are permitted as long as wood pallets are not used. Bonfires can remain until 2130 HRS; at that time all visitors must exit the state beach. The beach entrance closes at 2100 HRS, and the state beach officially closes at 2200 HRS.
Note: Huntington State Beach is for day-use only; camping is not permitted.
Aquatic safety at Huntington State Beach is provided by the California State Parks Lifeguard Service. Lifeguards patrol the beach year-round while lifeguard towers are staffed roughly Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.
Huntington State Beach extends two miles from Beach Boulevard south to the Santa Ana River on the Newport Beach boundary.
Address: 21601 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92646 (mailing address for Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beach)
Our 200 fire rings are first come first serve, unless reserved with a picnic area (click here for more information).
NO charcoal grills allowed. Coal and wood may be used in the fire rings only. You may bring your own propane grill but it must be at least 18" off the ground. Propane grills can be put anywhere on the beach behind the line of Lifeguard Towers.
NO alcohol allowed, unless approved with a Special Events Permit (please click here for more information).
NO balloons or piñata type items allowed on the beach, please help us keep our wildlife safe from eating these items.
NO enclosed tents, ez-ups and open tarps only.
NO dogs on sand, they can be on a leash on the multi-use trail (bike path) only. For information on Service Animals in State Parks, please click here.
RVs: NO pop-outs/awnings allowed. You may bring your RV but you must be inside it or on the beach. Each parking space must be available for a paid parked vehicle at all times.