Whether you want to stroll for seashells, ride waves, or build sand castles, our list of amazing beaches will guide you to your new favorite coastal playground.
Photographer Jean-Claude Winkler/Getty Images
Huntington fought a legal battle with Santa Cruz for the right to crown itself “Surf City, U.S.A.”—and won. It really does have a mellow surfer vibe; Dr. Beach calls it the “No. 1 family surf beach in the United States.”
Eat: Join the locals for breakfast at the comfy Sugar Shack (714/536-0355 or hbsugarshack.com). Then join the tourists at Duke’s (714/374-6446 or dukeshuntington.com). You’ll pay for the ocean view, but it’s worth it.
Shop: Walk past the giant Huntington Surf & Sport (714/374-6266 or hsssurf.com) at the pier and down the block to the Billabong surf fashions at its sister store.
Local secret: Ocean vistas along the 1½-mile nature trail at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (714/846-1114 or bolsachica.org) can soothe away your stress.