Huntington Beach, California has a cute nickname, Surf City USA. The thing is, Huntington Beach may have branded itself Surf City USA but the city has also earned it. Huntington Beach boasts over 8 miles of uninterrupted beach that requires voter approval prior to any beach construction and the consistent waves are some of California’s best for surfing. Plus the city hosts the annual World Surfing Championships. It has a long history of hosting surfers, including turn of the 20th century great Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku. It’s also home to international surf brand Quicksilver. Surfing is in the veins of this quintessential Southern California beach town.
When in Surf City USA the only reasonable thing to do is to learn how to surf. The friendly folks at Toes on the Nose, located at the Hyatt Huntington Beach have top-notch surf instructors who will not only get new riders up on a Soft-Top board but will make it a fun time as well.
The surf instructor who taught my six-year-old son was patient, kind and brought his passion for the sport shine as he made the entire experience super fun for my kid. By the end of the hour lesson my son was riding a tiny wave and was so excited he seemed to catch the stoke for surfing along with it.
Downtown Huntington Beach hosts the International Surfing Museum. The small two-room space is devoted to the history and culture of surfing. In the museum you will find early 20th Century wooden plank surfboards, surf posters from competition and other surf related memorabilia.
Duke’s in Huntington Beach is the California outlet of a Hawaiian based chain of restaurants. Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku introduced the sport of surfing to the mainland in Huntington Beach in 1925. Duke’s the restaurant serves a combination of Classic California and Hawaiian cuisine and hearty cocktails. Don’t forget to order the Duke’s famous decadent Hula pie. It’s a concoction that includes macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream and a sprinkling of macadamia nuts and is gigantic. The restaurant overlooks the famous Huntington Beach Pier and you can watch the surfers from your table.
The downtown of Huntington Beach offers lots of shops, with a heavy emphasis on surf/skate related gear and beachwear. Havaianas, the Brazilian flip-flop brand, has an outlet right on Pacific Coast Highway where you can design your own sandals. At the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street you will find the Surfer’s Hall of Fame, a similar installation to the Grauman’s Chinese Theater Walk of Fame in Hollywood. In HB you will find the names of surfing greats like Laird Hamilton, Andy Irons, Kelly Slater and a host of others who have contributed to the sport.
Sometimes the simplest pleasures can keep kids entertained for hours. A number of Huntington Beach hotels have swimming pools and some, including the Hyatt Huntington Beach, have hot tubs and water slides. If you stay at one of these lodgings, there really isn’t a need to go anywhere else for some good clean fun. The great thing about the Hyatt’s kid kingdom next to the three water slides is that there is also a poolside bar for mom and dad.
Don’t let the fact that Ola’s Mexican Kitchen is located in an outdoor mall fool you. The food is legit, the margaritas strong and the place hosts a hopping weekend scene that is perfect for Southern California flavored people watching. Ola’s makes a classic mole, enchiladas with a tasty homegrown sauce and all the other Mexican favorites. Be sure to make a reservation otherwise you are in for a long wait on the weekends.
The beach at Huntington Beach allows for bonfires in strategically placed fire pits all along the shore. Gather up some friends, wood and those s’mores and enjoy the sweet sounds of the Pacific, the warmth of the fire and the delight in knowing that you have had a perfect Southern Californian day.
The Hyatt Huntington Beach is a centralized resort getaway. Located only a few miles from downtown Huntington Beach, you can toggle back and forth from a resort holiday to a beach town one in minutes. The 18 acre beach front resort offers multiple pools, multiple hot tubs and a family centered pool, hot tub area that features three water slides, poolside bar and snack service. When you check in, the front desk gives you a coupon to get supplies for s’mores to be enjoyed later at a beach bonfire.
The Hyatt’s main restaurant, Watertable, serves classic California cuisine that emphasizes fresh ingredients with local flare. Their tasty breakfast provides plenty of fuel for a fun-filled day, but not heavy enough to require a mid-morning nap.