If you follow me on social media you will be fully aware of my love of California. Not only that, my love of Surf City USA, Huntington Beach. I could quite easily tell you everything you need to know about this West Coast hotspot, whether it’s where to eat and drink, or simply the best areas to check out on your visit. But the one thing I tend to find people ask me, can I still visit if I don’t surf?, or will I have anything to do if I don’t surf? Whilst surfing is a huge part of Huntington Beach’s heritage and still very much a core part of this location, there are so many other activities you can do when you take a visit there.
With that non-stop blue sky and sunny days, you can totally understand why Californians are often spotted outdoors being active. Why wouldn’t you be?! Unlike the unpredictable weather here in the UK, 99% of the time the weather in California is going to be glowing. The opportunity to exercise outdoors instead of finding yourself cooped up inside, it’s just a no-brainer for many, so what can you actually do in Huntington Beach, other than surf?
We got into paddle boarding a few years ago, and I absolutely love it. After initially getting over the, how am I ever going to stand up, and battling my way over choppy seas on a paddleboard in Greece, I was now a relatively confident paddle boarder. With this in mind, I was absolutely delighted to be invited by the family run company, OC Paddlesports, for a session around Huntington Harbour. This totally beats paddle boarding around my local canal, not only because of clean waters and the weather that goes hand-in-hand with being in California, but you also get a sneaky cruise around what would otherwise be, a closed gated community of houses that each back onto the water. Honestly, if you love a bit of real estate or like to see peoples boats, this is extremely fun! The team at OC Paddlesports HB set us off with a map of the area, (which I do suggest you hold on to because the areas do start to look very similar after a while), allowing us to go off and explore for hours.
Not only is this a great workout but it is such a fantastic activity you can do with your fellow travel companions. I highly recommend planning your route before you set off, you can even stop off at little coffee shops along the way. P.s. look out for their adorable little pup, Elsie who comes to greet you on arrival
Check out them here – OC Paddlesports
One thing that is for certain, in California you will always see runners out on the beach! Huntington Beach has a great coastal path you can utilise, taking in that much needed fresh sea air and freedom as you soak in the beautiful view. However if you fancy getting a medal for doing a run in Huntington Beach, you can take part in their annual Surf City USA Marathon. A running route that takes in all the key spots of HB. This is on my bucket list of races, I hope to head back and check this one off next year! If you fancy a run to train for, with a variety of distances, not just a marathon, this could be the one!
If you fancy running in Huntington Beach, but sandy runs aren’t for you and you’re not into doing a race, then you have to check out the trails of Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. I will say this is a place you’ll find lots of dog walkers, and it can get busy, so I’d suggest early morning for a jog in this spot. You can get a great 3 mile run in here, but it does get a lot of traffic so be sure to plan ahead.
Register for the Surf City Marathon here – it takes place 23rd February 2023
There is a park at Huntington Beach? Yes there is! Most people think of Huntington Beach as just a beach, and whilst it does have gorgeous sandy landscape, there are other recreational areas of this coastal Cali hotspot, including a central park. This delightfully green area allows a number of activities including a dog park, playgrounds and even restaurants. However one activity that is allowed and would be an excellent option to try, is horse riding! There are numerous specific pony trails, and local equestrian centres offer tours and rides so you can head off and explore this great part of Huntington Beach.
We have driven along the Pacific Highway on numerous occasions and always said, ‘would love to cycle this’, and finally we got to take a ride during our last trip. We’d got our bikes with us after our Ironman Indian Wells race, but you can hire bikes locally depending on what sort of bike you want. The first thing I’ll tell anyone wanting to go out on bikes, the roads are not the same as the UK so I’d only suggest doing this to confident cyclists, if you just want a cycle along, but keep it off road, take the beach path. Many hotels provide beach cruisers you can take out so you can take a leisurely ride there.
Back to riding along the PCH, it was absolutely incredible. Drivers in the US seem to expect cyclists, which is great and their bike lanes are actual lanes! They have plenty of space because roads in the US tend to be wider than the UK. You do need to be confident and sometimes we had to cross multiple lanes, to which I’d always suggest going out with a group. Once you get out of the built up traffic areas, you can reach spots that you’d easily miss if you were driving.
Pick up bike hire here and here and if you’re looking for help in finding a route to follow, visit Visit Surf City USA (HB tourist board – located next to RipCurl shop), for help on finding where to go.
P.s if the roads aren’t for you, pick up a beach cruiser and head along that wonderful beach path! It’s a lot of fun!
With skateboarding being brand new to the Olympics in Japan, this legendary sport is finally getting the recognition it deserves for all the talent it takes to become good. In Huntington Beach you not only have a smaller skatepark to ustilse, there is also the legendary Vans Off the Wall Park, with an immaculate layout and an incredible design, there are plenty of options available for skateboarders. However, if you’re more a skateboarding viewer than a participant like me, you’ll be thrilled to know that they do have various competitions happening where you can catch the pros showing us how it is really done.
P.s if you’re a fan of the Vans Series, don’t forget the 7 day celebration of surfing, aka the Vans US Open takes place in Huntington Beach this year July 30, 2022 – August 7, 2022
There are so many volleyball nets at Huntington Beach, you may recall me interviewing HB-local Olympian, Kerrie Walsh-Jenning with the opening of these nets back in 2018. Beach volleyball is such a fun workout and definitely a must-do if you’re in Huntington Beach! If you do want to use these nets, they are free for use and it is essentially a first-come, first-served basis when it comes to using them. Fear not, If you don’t have all the equipment there are local shops that you can rent/buy balls to use.
Activities and more
The backdrop of Huntington Beach definitely makes for an incredible location for an active person, you quite honestly have such a selection of activities to chose from, you could start each new day and do something different. For me, I discovered how much I loved paddlboarding around the Huntington Harbour, something I’d do daily if I lived there. Another thing was find new running routes, that there is more to explore, which the same goes with cycling. The list is endless. So whilst Huntington Beach is very much surf city, that is just a small part of it, there is so much more.