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8 Reasons to Visit Huntington Beach in Winter

Ok, so who isn’t craving a little surf, sand and vitamin D when the temperature starts to dip?! We may have found the BEST destination for a little Californian adventure during the winter season. Huntington Beach, or Surf City, USA as it is affectionately called, is bursting with family-friendly fun throughout the entire year. We spent four days in December discovering Huntington Beach’s spectacular coastline – read on to find out why we’re telling everyone why they should visit Huntington Beach in the wintertime!

Huntington Beach in Winter

Table of Contents
8 Things to Do in Huntington Beach in Winter

1. Experience surf culture

There’s a reason that Huntington Beach is officially known as Surf City, USA. Huntington Beach is THE place to experience surf culture in California! Whether you’re a beginner looking to test the waters, a surf pro ready to shred the raddest waves or a spectator looking to watch from the sandy shores, Huntington Beach has a year-round swell that draws people from all corners of the world. No matter the season, you’ll find the water full of surfers! Sign up for surf lessons, (both Reub and Ollie had an absolute blast with Rocky at McKinnon Surf and SUP Lessons!), check out the local surf shops, take in a world class surfing event, walk along the greats at the surfing hall of fame, and make sure you visit the International Surfing Museum for a taste of surf history. You can’t miss the world’s largest surfboard, a massive 42 ft long, 1300 lb board. And yes, it has been ridden!

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2. Cruise the 10-mile Path

Not only is Huntington Beach’s 10-mile coast a surfer’s paradise, but you can experience the entire coast by foot or bike. There are five different beaches to visit with beautiful stretches of sand, stunning surf, playgrounds, fantastic cafes, and so much more. We rented a family pedal car from Zack’s By The Beach (tons of rental options to pick from!) and we had a blast cruising up and down the coast, people watching, dog watching and taking in the California sun. The kids were literally on cloud nine the entire time, it was the best family activity! Huntington Beach is extremely walkable, (other than the last day, we didn’t drive anywhere!) so you can also explore by foot.

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3. Visit the iconic Huntington Beach Pier

Don’t just admire this iconic, Insta-worthy spot from afar, take a walk down Huntington Beach Pier – one of the longest piers on the West Coast! Watch as pro surfers ride waves right beside you. The endless surf rolling in is mesmerizing to watch and the pier gives you such a cool perspective. Check out one of the many shops, admire the ocean views, listen to live music, and soak up the spirit of Huntington Beach!

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4. Skating at the Paséa Hotel & Spa

One of the most unique things we experienced in Huntington Beach was ice skating at Paséa Hotel & Spa. Imagine being in a t-shirt, ocean breeze blowing through your hair, the sunset erupting into an explosion of pink and orange, the palm trees silhouetted against the vibrant sky. Not a scene where you’d expect to find an ice rink, right?! During the holidays, the Paséa Hotel & Spa turns its event lawn into an outdoor rink, adorned with a massive, spectacular Christmas tree, outside lights, music, an outdoor bar, reserved fire pits, and more. SO much fun!

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5. Have a beach bonfire

Sit back on comfy Adirondack beach chairs around a cozy fire and roast some s’mores on the beach! As the sun set one balmy evening, we headed down to the beach in front of our resort for a private beach bonfire. Thanks to Waterfront Adventures, we had our own beach butler tend to a fire for us while we were provided with refreshments and – the best part – s’more making ingredients! It’s the perfect evening activity as the nights cool down in the wintertime. If you’d prefer a free option, you can find more than 500 fire pits across three of Huntington Beach’s beaches that are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis.

6. Eat and shop till you drop

The food and coffee scene is SO good in Huntington Beach, you have your pick from true Californian fare (think delish health food!) to laid back diners, burger joints, world-class seafood, family-friendly Italian, and so much more. Our faves were Philz Coffee and Sur Coffee for coffee and breaky, Jan’s Health Bar for smoothies and salads, Banzai Bowls for açai bowls, Handel’s for ice cream, Sugar Shack Cafe, (a laidback surfer hangout!) and Bluegold for a contemporary seafood experience. Huntington Beach has shopping dialled IN with the genuine surf shops that you can find along Main Street, fun souvenir shops filled with cool surf memorabilia, and many unique boutiques. 

We really loved the outdoor Pacific City mall, we ended up hanging out here tons! It’s such a cool area to walk through with its outside seating areas, variety of both high-end and affordable shops, delish eateries, ocean views, events, (we even snuck in a visit with surf Santa!), and fun photo ops (there are some really cool murals). You MUST check out Bella Sophia Chocolates for a taste of the most phenomenal hand-painted chocolates you’ll ever find (they’re *almost* too pretty to eat!)

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7. Enjoy the resort life

Sit back and relax, you’re at the beach! Huntington Beach has no shortage of beautiful, world-renowned resorts that dot the beaches and boast breathtaking views of the sparkling pacific ocean. Based on your budget and the amenities you’re looking for, you have your pick within walking distance of the Huntington Beach pier and shopping at Pacific City. We stayed at the Waterfront Beach Resort which is a lovely, luxury resort with a prime, oceanfront location. The kids had a blast enjoying the resort’s two pools, hot tubs, waterslides and outdoor games. Plus there’s private cabanas, fire pits, on-site dining, (the Cabo Waco Beach Club and Surf Hero Market were particularly convenient and accommodating for kids!), Rooftop Lounge for panoramic views, (Orange County’s highest coastal rooftop), and so many other amenities and activities. Enjoy Surf City right from your doorstep, or sit back on your balcony and take in the sunset right from your room.

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8. Bonus: Visit Disneyland!

Have some extra time? There’s so much to see and do in Surf City, USA but fun fact: you’re literally 30 minutes from Disneyland! Huntington Beach is the closest beach to Disneyland so if you find yourself with an extra day or two, zip off to the Happiest Place on Earth. The Disneyland Resort includes Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and the Downtown Disney entertainment district so based on the time you have, you have your pick of Disney related fun.

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The winter weather in Huntington Beach is generally mild and pleasant. Average temperatures range from the high 40s to mid-60s Fahrenheit (about 8-18 degrees Celsius). It's cooler than summer but still comfortable compared to many other places.

Absolutely! While it may be too chilly for swimming, the beaches in Huntington Beach are open year-round for activities like walking, beach volleyball, or just enjoying the scenery.

Winter can be a great time for surfing in Huntington Beach. The waves are often larger and more consistent, attracting surfers of all skill levels. However, the water is colder, so a wetsuit is recommended.

Yes, winter is a prime time for whale watching in Huntington Beach. This is when gray whales migrate, and there are many tours available that offer a chance to see these magnificent creatures.

For indoor activities, you can explore the Huntington Beach Art Center, visit local museums, enjoy dining and shopping at Pacific City, or check out the local libraries and community centers for events and activities.

Winter is generally considered the off-peak season, so you might find more affordable rates for hotels and rentals compared to the summer months.

Huntington Beach is famous primarily for its excellent surf conditions, earning it the nickname "Surf City, USA." It's known for its long, wide sandy beaches and consistently good wave breaks, making it a popular destination for surfers from around the world. Additionally, its classic Southern California vibe, complete with a scenic pier, beachfront dining, and a vibrant community culture, adds to its fame. The city also hosts prestigious surfing competitions, such as the US Open of Surfing, which draw large crowds every year.

Yes, Huntington Beach is a great destination for tourists. It offers a variety of attractions beyond surfing, including beautiful beaches for sunbathing and swimming, a lively downtown area with shops and restaurants, outdoor activities like biking and beach volleyball, and scenic spots like the Huntington Beach Pier. The city's laid-back atmosphere combined with its range of amenities makes it a popular spot for both domestic and international travelers.

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