What’s it like in Surf City, U.S.A.? Huntington Beach is world-renowned for surfing, sunshine, and beach-side lounging, but there’s so much more to do in this Californian city.
Huntington Beach is 35 miles south of Los Angeles and 90 miles north of San Diego. Although there are plenty of activities to do in Huntington, its surrounding areas provide plenty of entertainment to keep you busy for a long time.
Huntington Beach has a population of 196,514, making it one of the largest cities in Orange County. There are many elementary school and high school options to choose from in the city, with school-run events around town depending on the season.
Because Huntington is close to Los Angeles, there are also several famous individuals living in the area. If you are lucky, you can even catch some famous surfers in their element.
One of the most famous activities to do in Huntington Beach is to watch the U.S. Open of Surfing. This surf competition draws surfers and onlookers from around the world and also displays a concert stage for entertainment after the surf competition.
If you are considering moving to Huntington Beach, CA, this guide can help you understand the area.
Here is what living in Huntington Beach is like.
Weather in Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach has pretty typical Californian seasons. The hottest months are June-September and the coldest months are November-February.
The summers are warm and dry and the winters are mild and wet.
Huntington Beach falls and springs are also a bit chilly if there is a cloud layer because the marina fog is typically heavy around these times. If the sun breaks through the clouds, however, you can find sunbathers even in the dead of winter.
It is not usual for Huntington Beach to drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit in any season. December, on average, does not drop below 49 or 50 degrees and the summers experience up to 80 degrees.
If you are relocating to Huntington Beach from a cold state or a place that is prone to snow, you can confidently leave behind the snow gear or trade it in for a light jacket and some swim trunks.
Surfers usually surf throughout the whole year even though the Pacific Ocean is relentlessly cold in the winters.
The coldest water temperature in Huntington Beach is 56.5 degrees Fahrenheit in March. The hottest water temperature is nearly 70 degrees in July.
Although the winter and spring ocean temperatures are quite chilly, surfing in any season is doable with a wet suit and booties.
Living in Huntington Beach Neighborhoods
It is important to know about the neighborhood that you are moving to before you make the big decision. Several factors can influence your move, such as demographics, public transportation, school availability, amenities, and the local community.
Huntington Beach has 42 different neighborhoods across its 26 square-mile city limits.
Orange County is known for having some of the most expensive edifices in California. There are also a plethora of more affordable houses that are a bit more inland.
The upscale neighborhoods include Huntington Harbor, Brookhurst Street, Beach Boulevard, Surfside, Ellis Avenue, and Hamilton Avenue. Here, you will find houses that sit right on the ocean and cost upwards of a million dollars.
Most of the celebrities in Huntington Beach live in some of these neighborhoods.
Huntington Beach is a very low-crime area and the neighborhoods are, therefore, safe during the day and at night. The total crime rate is 6% lower than the national average and the violent crime rate is 36% lower than the national average.
The Huntington Beach local authorities pride themselves on their city’s safety year after year.
Families and children also love the various clean parks throughout the city, where you can always find family picnics or children playing.
Huntington Beach city offers public bus transportation and rail freight service. The bus service is offered through the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) sector with nine routes throughout the city.
Major bus companies such as Greyhound and Trailways also provide transportation into Huntington Beach.
Additionally, you may get around the city with the Uber and Lyft rideshare apps.
The demographics of Huntington Beach residents are 69.7% White, 19.1% Latino, 12.9% Asian, 1.4% Black, and 7.7% of two or more races.
Huntington Beach Schools
If you are relocating to a new city, checking that the schools in your new town’s district are up to par is essential. There are 35 elementary schools in Huntington Beach and five high schools, which gives parents plenty of options to choose from.
There are two school districts in Huntington Beach, Huntington Beach City School District and Ocean View School District. These two districts educate Huntington students from kindergarten to eighth grade.
There is also a private kindergarten through eighth-grade school called Pegasus School. This school is nationally recognized as a blue-ribbon institute and offers both specialized and religious-based schooling.
Middle schools are not limited to Huntington Beach and they are among the top in the nation.
Of Huntington Beach’s five high schools, Huntington Beach High School is ranked among the top and even has an Academy for the Performing Arts. Ocean View High School is another top school that has an International Baccalaureate Program for students to excel.
Huntington’s high schools make sure that each of their students grows creatively and intellectually and is fully prepared for college before they graduate.
There is only one community college located in Huntington Beach, Golden West College, but there are 106 colleges within 50 miles of Huntington Beach. Orange Coast College is in the neighboring city of Costa Mesa and is also a competitive choice.
California State University, Long Beach is the closest four-year university to Huntington Beach. Chapman University and Concordia University in Irvine are also within driving distance and both have competitive university credentials.
Other community colleges in the area include Santa Ana College, Coastline Community College, Cypress College, and West Coast University Orange University.
If you plan on relocating to Huntington Beach with children or want to continue your higher education yourself, there are many options for educational institutions both in the city and its surrounding areas.
Huntington Beach Employment
The residents of Huntington Beach are both educated and well-off financially. Many careers available are white-collar jobs, so skilled individuals will have an easier time finding employment.
The unemployment rate in this city is 5.5%, which is 2.4% less than the national average.
There are many big-named and excellent-reputation employers in the Huntington Beach area. The aerospace and defense corporation, Boeing, employs more than 4,500 locals.
Boeing is the top employer in Huntington Beach, and the second largest is Quiksilver.
This Australian brand is a surfwear and surfboard manufacturer and employs 1,200 Huntington locals.
Other employers include Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach Hospital, and Cambro Manufacturing.
If you are looking to relocate your business to Huntington Beach, contact the city chamber of commerce to learn more about the regulations and how your business will mesh with the city.
Huntington Beach Activities
The main activity to partake in Huntington Beach is going to the beach. There is a multitude of beach activities for adults, children, and families alike.
Many individuals from all over California and the U.S. visit Huntington Beach to enjoy the California sunshine at the beach. You can lay your towel down on the 8.5 miles of shore that Huntington has and get a nice suntan.
Don’t forget to bring your volleyball because Huntington also has nets up year-round on either side of the pier. Get there early to play with your friends, or if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to participate in a beach volleyball tournament as well.
Another fun activity is fishing right off the Huntington Beach pier. Anyone ages 16 and older are allowed to fish off of the pier with a fishing license.
Most fishers here catch bluegill, carp, channel catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and rainbow trout.
Renting a boat is also an option at Huntington Beach and proves to be a spectacular time for both families and couples alike. Boat rental places often also carry paddleboards and kayaks.
Huntington Harbor is a popular spot for paddleboarding and kayaking, as it is less intense than on the open ocean.
Many people come to this beach from other states solely to surf. Huntington’s nickname is Surf City for a reason. This beach boasts great surf year-round and world-famous surfing competitions.
The Pacific Ocean waves are strong and unforgiving, however, so be prepared for a challenging day out on the waves if you do decide to rent a surfboard.
Every September, the SoCal Film Fest is hosted in Huntington Beach. This is an indie movie festival that offers screenings, workshops, a panel of celebrities, and celebrity guests.
Huntington Beach has two state beaches. Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beach see the most sunbathers in Huntington.
Bolsa Chica State Beach has several fire pits available for bonfires, but they are pretty popular, so we recommend getting there early in the day to snag a pit.
Parking here is about $15 in the state beach parking lot, but you can also look for nearby parking on the street for free.
There are restrooms at the beach, but you must bring your own soap or hand sanitizer.
Dogs are also allowed on the bike/walking trail but not allowed on the sand. Trailers and RVs are allowed in the parking lots but only up to 40 feet.
There is also a Bolsa Chica Visitor Center with interpretive displays and 50 campsites at this state beach with full hookups.
Bolsa Chica is a great spot to visit while you are in Huntington Beach.
Huntington State Beach is a 121-acre area and is a popular destination for water and beach enthusiasts. There are volleyball nets, basketball courts, fire rings for bonfires, and a day-use walking and biking trail.
The paved trail is 8.5 miles long and runs between the two state parks. This is a great trail to bike when you’re bored of sunbathing and are itching for some exercise.
The Huntington Dog Beach is one of the only beaches in Southern California that allows dogs. It is a part of Huntington State Beach and is 1.5 miles long for dogs to run free and experience the ocean.
There are public restrooms here, two pay parking lots with handicap ramps, a grassy area with picnic tables, drinking fountains, and doggie waste bags to clean up after your pup.
Most dogs are off-leash here, so prepare accordingly before you bring your pooch for a swim.
U.S. Open of Surfing
If you are considering moving to Huntington Beach, then you cannot miss the Huntington Beach U.S. Open of Surfing. It is the world’s largest surf competition and draws thousands of tourists and surf enthusiasts from around the world.
The week-long celebration commemorates the history of surfing and skateboarding and onlookers can watch both professional surfers and skaters for free.
The event is located at the Huntington Beach pier and you can even watch the surfers up close and personal from standing on the pier above the competitors.
The event lasts for about a week and draws in thousands of visitors, so we highly suggest getting to the event early and finding headache-free parking.
Booths of games and free merchandise are set up on the sand near the competition for visitors to remain busy when the surf competition is taking a break.
Alcohol and other food and refreshments are also sold in pop-up booths on the sand for hungry beachgoers. The U.S. Open of Surfing is a big water sports festival that celebrates the amazing ability of world-famous surfers.
At the end of the competition, there is also a concert series with famous bands each year. Bands such as Modest Mouse, MGMT, Grouplove, and more have all played at the festival.
The concerts at the Huntington Beach U.S. Open of Surfing attract hundreds if not thousands of individuals, so be prepared for a big crowd.
This event is a must for Huntington residents, but keep in mind that the parking situation might be a bit hectic around this week of events.
Living in Huntington Beach isn’t exactly cheap. The average resident income in Huntington Beach is $95,000 per year. The average home price is about $1.2 million.
The average income is sufficient to live on, but the cost of living isn’t cheap in Huntington Beach. It’s best to have a successful and high-paying job when living in Huntington.
The area is a bit pricey and is 31.7% more expensive than the rest of California.
A typical price of renting a one-bedroom, non-beach-front apartment in Huntington is about $1,700 a month. A 3-bedroom apartment right in downtown Huntington will cost about $3,750.
Basic utilities will run about $150 a month.
Renting a Huntington Beach house is typically more expensive than renting an apartment. A 3-bedroom house will cost about $3,000-$7,000 a month.
Huntington Beach restaurants are also on the expensive side and an average meal will typically cost $10-$15.
Restaurants in Huntington Beach
When relocating to a new city, it is important to check that your new hometown has plenty of eatery options. Downtown Huntington has an array of restaurants suited for everybody.
Sugar Shack Cafe is a well-loved cafe dating back to the 1960s. Located on Main Street, Sugar Shack is a casual eatery with delicious comfort foods.
They are known for their breakfasts, surfing memorabilia, and an inviting atmosphere. We recommend the breakfast burrito, the pancake short stack, and Michelle’s Special.
Duke’s Huntington Beach is a seafood restaurant located right next to the Huntington pier. Established in 1998, Duke’s is one of the most popular restaurants in the city.
It has an oceanfront view and sits in front of the bike path, which makes for good people-watching. Duke’s offers both indoor and outdoor dining as well as dine-in and take-out options.
The restaurant pays homage to one of the most famous surfers in the world, Duke Kahanamoku. The most popular dishes here are the Hula pie and freshly caught seafood.
Sandy’s Beach Shack is a beachfront American restaurant. It is located inside the Pierside Pavilion shopping mall.
Sandy’s offers stunning views coupled with delicious Californian dishes.
The most popular menu items are the steakhouse tacos and the pesto pasta.
You can never go wrong eating at a BJ’s Restaurant. This chain restaurant is all over the United States and they have perfected every one of their menu items.
A customer favorite menu item is BJ’s deep-dish pizza topped with sundried tomatoes. They have even invented their own food called a Pizookie.
A Pizookie is a warm, soft-baked cookie with vanilla ice cream on top. They come in a variety of flavors and many customers visit the restaurant for dessert alone.
Shopping in Huntington Beach
After a cool dip in the ocean, walk around the many shops at Huntington Beach. The whole downtown area of this city is lined on either side with shops.
Did you forget to bring a bathing suit? No problem! Huntington has plenty of bathing suit stores, along with surfboard shops, candy and chocolate shops, fashion clothing stores, and more.
Retail therapy soothes the soul almost as much as the fresh sea air does. Outside shopping in Huntington offers the perfect blend of nature and retail. Main Street is filled with souvenir shops and vintage boutiques.
Some Huntington Beach retail areas include Downtown Huntington, Pacific City, Bella Terra, 5 Points Plaza, Old World Village, Fashion Island, and South Coast Plaza.
At Plaza City, you can find Urban Outfitters, Free People, Tommy Bahama, and Brandy Melville.
Downtown Huntington is where you will find most of the city’s surf shops and souvenir stores.
Bella Terra has a movie theater, a wine garden, Ulta Beauty, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, and a Kohl’s. It was also recently remodeled and now embodies a Spanish flair.
South Coast Plaza is a typical shopping mall with restaurants, a children’s corner, entertainment sectors, and plenty of stores.
A few stores at this establishment include Anthropologie, Bath & Body Works, Chanel Fine Jewelry, and Kate Spade New York.
There are enough activities in Huntington Beach to keep you occupied during your stay in the area. In case you want to wander outside, however, we will provide you with some activities to do in Huntington’s surrounding areas.
In case you want to explore more of California’s coast, the nearby beaches of Newport and Balboa are within a few minutes drive from downtown Huntington.
You can take the ferry from mainland Balboa over to Balboa Island and explore the tiny island of million-dollar homes, ride the Ferris wheel, or try one of their world-famous frozen bananas.
Los Angeles is also only 35 miles from Huntington. There are countless activities to do in the big city including visiting the Hollywood stars, hiking around the Hollywood sign, driving to the observatory, eating at a world-famous restaurant, seeing a Broadway musical, and so much more.
Lastly, we recommend taking a trip to the nearby city of Long Beach once you are living in Huntington Beach. Only 15 miles away, Long Beach is famous for windsurfing, Halloween festivals on the Queen Mary Ship, and the Grand Prix race.
There are also many eateries around Long Beach, making this side trip from Huntington Beach a day well spent.
Moving to Huntington Beach
Huntington has clean neighborhoods that are guaranteed to be safe, plenty of schools to choose from for your children, and many activities to keep you and your loved ones busy.
Who wouldn’t want to live so close to the beach? You can spend your whole weekend surfing, sunbathing, or shopping at one of the many plazas around the city.
Living in Huntington Beach is worth every penny. Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions about this great destination.