One of two beaches that stake claim to the name Surf City USA, Huntington Beach has sand for every activity under the sun and great walking areas. Stroll through the outdoor shopping area with baby or take in a surf contest or expo, held south of the pier.
Atmosphere: While beachgoers there do chill occasionally, Huntington attracts active people who surf, play volleyball or run on the boardwalk. Upscale mall-like chain stores and local shops and restaurants support the laidback surf culture, yet seem clean and safe.
Parking and Entrance: For easy beach access, park in the pay lot at the foot of the pier or in the parking structure on Main Street. If it’s early, you might be able to find free street parking a few blocks north. If you’re just grabbing your toddler a Jamba, there is also metered parking near the shopping area.
Nice Walks and Views: A cement pathway with small grass areas parallels Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), and a wide boardwalk for bikes and pedestrians is right off the sand.
Activities for Toddlers: Take your fearless toddler to Dog Beach, on PCH between Seapoint Avenue and 21st Street, where he can run in the waves with his canine friends. While this is not a spot to park for the day (due to cleanliness), it is quite a sight complete with a kiosk selling Dog Beach merchandise.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms and showers are at the pier and just south.
Perks for Parents: A building right on the beach houses a surf school for those who want to experience the legendary Huntington Beach surf. Volleyball nets are also set up. Plan your trip around one of the many sporting expos or contests held south of the pier and get a chance to catch your idols doing their thing.
Where to Stay with Kids: The Waterfront Beach Resort has children’s activities and is walking distance to Main Street and the beach.
Baby-friendly Restaurants: Eat breakfast all day at The Sugar Shack Café on Main Street. This inexpensive local restaurant takes to-go orders, in case baby is past her naptime.
What Else to Do: International Surfing Museum (small, but interesting to a certain crowd); disc golf course in Huntington Central Park, kayaking in Huntington Harbor, bird-watching or nature walks in Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.