As the home of The Beach Boys, one of the most iconic American bands of all time, it’s no surprise that Huntington Beach is such a popular place to live and hang out. After all, what’s the point of being in California if you’re not planning on spending some of your time on the beach?

From its unique boardwalk, art gallery, historic district, and world-class surf, it’s no wonder that Huntington Beach is considered one of the most picturesque cities in America. Let’s take a quick look at the top 10 things you need to know about the beach town before you die.

Top 10 Things To Know About Huntington Beach

1. The name ‘Huntington Beach’ comes from its beachfront landholdings – originally bought by a wealthy industrialist named Henry Huntington in 1886. Despite its somewhat secluded location, the area was once heavily populated by Native Americans. The tribe would hunt and fish here, as would Henry Huntington and his guests. The land was deemed ‘uninhabitable’ by the US Post Office in 1944, and a new community, named Pacific Beach, was founded here in the ‘50s.

2. The first public library in Orange County was built in 1923, and is considered one of the most important cultural buildings in Southern California. Its construction was overseen by prominent San Francisco architect Julia Morgan. It was named after Marjorie Merriweather Post, widow of William Mellon Post, who gave the post office land for its construction.

3. Julia Morgan designed the Central Library in 1910, and went on to design hundreds of other public buildings in her prolific career. This particular structure still stands today, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Its opening and closing times are published annually in the local newspaper. The library is also home to the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, which presents dance and music performances as well as film and interactive exhibits for people of all ages.

4. The Santa Ana River forms the city’s northern border with Orange County, and serves as the watershed between the Pacific Ocean and the Great Southern L.A. Basin. The river flows into the Pacific Ocean through an elaborate network of canals and ponds. It is considered one of the most scenic and well-maintained rivers in the country. Unfortunately, recent years have seen the river ravaged by pollution and overdevelopment.

Surfing Is Back

5. If you’ve visited one of the coastlines of the western United States, then you’ve probably already fallen in love with the perfect waves that California surfers have been creating for nearly a century. With each new year, the love for surfing grows deeper, as fans discover the joys of catching perfectly shaped waves. If you’re visiting the Golden State, then you simply must give surfing a try; the variety of waves and the stunning coastline make it one of the best places in the world to hang out and surf. If you’re not a skilled surfboarder, however, you might find it difficult to maneuver the water’s strong currents. If this sounds like you, then be sure to check out some surfing classes before your visit ends.

Surfing In California

6. If you’re a fan of the beach and of surfing, then you’ll undoubtedly be drawn to the coastlines of Southern California – where some of the best surf spots in the world can be found. The area’s most famous surf spot is probably Beachwood Drive, known for its giant surfing waves and perfect beachside location. Other incredible surf spots include Point San Diego, which is home to an endangered species, the California condor; and the famous Malibu Beach. The waves here can reach up to 12′ high, which makes surfing quite an adventure! If you’ve never tried it, then one of the best places to start is at the Surfers Paradise Beach in Queensland, Australia – the Mecca of surfing in the southern hemisphere. This particular spot is famous for its lighthouse, which provides the surfer with a perfect view of the approaching waves. Be sure to make a stop in the city of Huntington Beach, where you can get all the necessary equipment to enjoy a day of surfing the California coastline. If you love spending your time on the beach, then California must be declared as your new permanent residence.

Beachfront Housing

7. Back in the 1930s, Huntington Beach was a quiet village – a true oasis in a region that was slowly beginning to transform into a major metropolitan area. This was mainly due to the construction of a new airport near the city, which quickly became one of the biggest employers in Orange County. These days, a typical day in Huntington Beach starts with a walk along its beachfront – a 2-mile stretch of coastline that continues well past the city limit and into the Pacific Ocean. The beach is lined with palm trees, making for a beautiful, tranquil setting. In the summer, life here seems almost surreal – with people sunbathing, swimming, playing volleyball, and walking their dogs along the shore. Most notably, the area is thick with joggers, cyclists, and in-line skaters – making it one of the most active communities on the entire California coast. In addition to the beach, the region is also home to a beautiful boardwalk, which leads to a fun shopping area and restaurants.

8. During the winter months, the beach is often deserted – with some families skipping their morning walks in favor of staying indoors. The winter holiday season in Huntington Beach is relatively quiet, too, with people staying indoors, playing games, and enjoying the ambiance of the snow. Even in the winter, the beach is accessible via public transport; frequent trolleys stop at the city’s various beaches, providing easy access to those who can’t or don’t want to walk. In most cases, you’ll need a car to get around the city – to find the restaurants, galleries, parks, and other amenities that make the city so appealing. During the day, the air is filled with the roar of automobiles and trucks, as people commute to work and school. At night, the streets become ghost towns as everyone tries to get some shuteye before heading out for the evening.

Boardwalk Entertainment

9. Every year, the city opens its boardwalk to the public for a five-day stretch in mid-July. The event, which is named ‘Beachboard Week’, draws thousands of people daily, making it one of the biggest attractions in Orange County. During this period, the city closes down certain streets to create a pedestrian zone – with food vendors, performers, and even some carnival games and rides available for those who want to have a fun-filled afternoon. As a result of this event, the city’s annual boardwalk celebration, and the beaches beyond, become hotspots for casual dining, shopping, and socialising. In addition, the event features a parade down Main Street, where local businesses, elected officials, community groups, and organizations showcase their best floats and marching bands. The festival also raises funds for local nonprofit organizations and causes.

Museums, Art Galleries, And Attractions

10. Finally, let’s not forget about the museums and galleries in Huntington Beach. The city’s annual art festival features over one hundred exhibitors from around the world, and promotes contemporary art and artists. The festival, which is usually held in the second half of October, draws crowds of people, making it one of the biggest attractions in Orange County. There are also several other museums and galleries located here, as well as the Orange County Museum of Art, which is one of the largest and most visited art museums in the country. In addition, the city’s annual Beach Art Gala, held in December, exhibits works by well-known and emerging artists. In the past, the event has attracted some of the biggest names in the industry, including Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. This year’s edition will mark the twentieth anniversary of the event, and will likely draw even more attention and interest to the city.

As you may have guessed, with each new year comes new attractions and new things to do in Huntington Beach. It doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to finding things to do in California in the summer – especially when you are a fan of the beach and of surfing. The list of things to do in Huntington Beach is endless, and it may take a while to discover them all.