One of the biggest states in the country, California is a gold mine for explorers and travelers from all walks of life. From amazing beaches to life changing and defying trails like the Pacific Crest to state of the art wineries – this is definitely a one of a kind destination that should be on everybody’s wanderlust bucket list.
I had wanted to travel to California for a while but always put it off for when I had more money saved or planned it for a little longer, this trip happened on a whim and this made it that much sweeter. The morning I bought those tickets I had woken up with a surge to explore, to follow my mind`s desire – my hibernating inner self had woken up restless and was telling me to not hold back. It was the best feeling ever, literally liberating, and the cost of those tickets ended up being the best cash I ever spent in my life, this taught me a lesson.
Huntington Beach charmed me from the moment I arrived. Part of famed Orange County, this is not your typical California seaside city. Here you will find a very laid back, carpe diem sort of lifestyle among people. It is also one of the most populous seaside cities in the OC territory. The extensive beach (almost 10 miles) and very big patch of sand reminded me of other paradise beaches like Copa Cabana, although Huntington could just be bigger than the latter. You will only realize how massive the beach feels when you stand looking to the open sea from the sidewalk or the pier itself. It is nothing short of overwhelming. You can smell the ocean and feel the breeze from blocks away, and everything relates to the Mexican influence in the region (as is the case for most of southern California) and it`s strong surf culture. The US Open of Surfing is held annually on the south side of the pier attracting thousand of tourists each year, they flock to the city to watch the world`s pro surfers take on the big waves. Note – I was not brave enough to wonder into the ocean, especially near the pier where the waves can reach an off season peak of 3 feet.
Surf city has probably one of the most outdoorsy and active life styles, throughout the day you can catch people strolling by the beach on the massive beach promenade (almost every beach has a beautiful pier and landscaped side walks with plenty of space for walking, running and general exercising), playing beach volley on the sand or heading to the beach with their surf board in tow. They are very warm and welcoming people, always with a smile ready to greet you.
Must be true what they say about the sun always shining in California.
During the seven days we spent exploring what we could of the southern part of the biggest state ever (seriously, anywhere is at least an hour away from where ever you are), we hung out on the beach, spent a day in LA, stopped by Venice beach on our way back, went to a very cool sort of sunset party in Palos Verde’s Terranea resort, spent a night in Las Vegas (only four hours car ride from Huntington Beach – worth the trip), enjoyed the best and most spectacular sunset of my life, watched an international surfing competition at Trestles beach a popular hot spot for surfers and beach goers. Check out some of my favorite captions:
Mulholland Drive has a specific viewpoint known as the ‘Hollywood Bowl Overlook’ that offers a cool view of the Hollywood Sign complete with a historical placard and LA`s skyline, plus driving Mulholland Drive is an LA experience in itself. Head over to the Griffith Observatory (also one of the filming locations for the massively Oscar nominated LA LA Land movie) and you will also have access to a great view.
It was a quick trip and there are many more places that I want to go back for . If you are ever heading that way make sure to pack light – a light spirit, an open mind and willingness to explore this great and multicultural state. Make sure to check out National parks such as Yosemite or the sandy paradises like Santa Monica to urban hubs like San Diego or Los Angeles. There is something for everyone in California. Take your pick and bon voyage!
Here I will list some of the places I visited if you are ever interested – but please, feel free to explore as your heart desires.
Ruby`s Shake Shack – The food is amazing and it comes with a bonus bird’s eye view of Laguna beach. A very short drive from Huntington, the diner is located right off the Highway where you can park your car and walk up to the window to place your order. Sit on one of the pick nick style tables on the observation deck or sit on one of the high chairs overlooking the beach. If I had to describe this place with one word, I would chose deliciously breath tacking.
7703 E. Coast Hwy, Newport Coast, CA 92657
Fred’s Mexican Cafe – Local chain serving a menu of Mexican food & margaritas in a funky, festive setting. Located right across from Huntington beach and pier, this is a go to spot for casual drinks and great Mexican food in laid back environment where there is a tiki bar and stone fire pits on the outside deck if you are looking to catch the amazing sunset over a coronita or two. Tip: the burritos are very big, so if you are not that hungry, share it.
Pierside Pavillion, 300 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Phone: (714) 374-8226
IN `N` OUT BURGUER – Classic California-based burger chain serving burgers, hand-cut fries & thick shakes. Most famous for its home made style burgers, the lettuce patty is what impressed me most impressed – point in favor for originality. Pretty decent sized burgers, it is not a California trip if you do not stop for a bite at one of this chain`s thousand locations throughout the state.
Nelson`s at Terranea Resort – A casual spot for Californian revelry, the oceanfront patio with fire pits and a recycled-wine-bottles bar make this a perfect spot for a Saturday night out with the family (this is a kid friendly place) and friends to watch the sunset over live music performance and a glass of wine or two. I loved this place – bonus no cover charge, you only pay for what you eat and drink and only a short drive from Huntington.
I hope you find this post helpful if you are ever headed that way, it is my longest post to date. There are so many pictures and memories I wanted to share, but hopefully you will have enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Make to sure to follow for updates and let me know what you thought, comments are always welcome!
Thanks for stopping by,