Surfers from around the world will gather for the Vans US Open of Surfing competition in Surf City USA. So, grab your wet suit and board Travel Freaks, in this week’s Wild Wednesday column we’re headed to  California for surfing, and to explore the Top Ten Things To Experience in Huntington Beach. 


(photo via Melody Schubert)

Raised in California, I awoke in the morning’s to the surf report on the radio. My friends and I didn’t own a board, but it didn’t matter. Surfing was part of our California heritage, and if the waves were good we knew we’d catch So. Cal’s best surfer’s in action along PCH – the Pacific Coast Highway. From Malibu down to Huntington Beach to Black Beach in San Diego, these water warrior’s glided along the waves, seemingly without effort, then slipped into the curls, and we could only imagine what they felt as the water surrounded them. Would the wave crush them? Then, miraculously, they appeared on the other side unharmed.

Down in Huntington Beach in June of 1914, George Freeth was among the surfers to ride the waves, and 100 years later Surfer’s from around the world anticipate the challenge of the annual US Open of Surfing. Huntington Beach, known as Surf City U.S.A.. is celebrating 100 years of surfing, so make plans to join the festivities on July 26ththrough the 3rd of August when the top surfer’s gather to compete in the world’s largest surf competition and lifestyle festival; The Vans US Open of Surfing competition. This week long festival challenges surfer’s, and includes skateboarders, BMX riders, music, entertainment, and thrilling moments for fans on the beach.

(photo via Rachel Volbert) 
Huntington Beach is all about surfing, and there are more shops dedicated to the sport here than anywhere else along the coast. So, if you’re looking for the perfect board, crafted by a pro, Huntington Beach is the place to look. Walk along the shore, and you’re stepping in the sands of time where the surfing legend’s like Duke Kahanamoku, the Hawaiian “Father of Surfing” brought surfing in Huntington Beach into the headlines, and is now he is remembered with a dramatic bronze statue.

Whether you’re joining the US Open of Surfing competition or just cruising along PCH looking for a classic California landmark to mark off your bucket list, Huntington Beach offers more than expected. And, here are the Top Ten Things To Experience on your trip:

The Top Ten Things To Experience In Surf City USA

10. Grinding In Vans Off The Wall Skatepark


(photo via Vans skatepark) 

If you’re looking for action out of the water, you’ll find it at the Vans Off the Wall Skatepark. From skateboarders to BMX riders, this skatepark provides a full out series of rails, boxes, and bowls to test your skills on. And, the park’s lit up at night for a cool evening of riding seven days a week. Looking for gear? Check out their Jack’s Garage Skate Shop, and you’ll find everything you need for your board, and a snack bar too.

9. Festive Events Year Round In Huntington Beach

The 4th of July is this weekend, and is a great time to visit Huntington Beach for fireworks and a parade. There are a full schedule of free events happening in downtown Huntington Beach, at Huntington Central Park, and by the Huntington Beach Pier to attend. Car buffs will enjoy the Huntington Beachcruiser Meet Classic Car Show, then there’s the Pacific Islander Festival, Civil War Days, Duck-A-Thon, and of course, the US Open of Surfing that draws surfer’s from around the globe.

8. Tuesdays Are Surf City Nights

After a day at the beach, save time to attend the weekly Surf City Nights street fair that takes place on Tuesdays from 5 pm to 9 pm. They shut down the streets to traffic and take over Main Street, where you’ll find street performers, a variety of food vendors, a certified farmers’ market, plenty of sidewalk sales and shops to browse, and musicians who keep the beat rolling throughout the evening. This event is also filled with activities for children to enjoy, including a balloon artist, magicians, musical groups, face painting, a bubble man, inflatable slides, and a petting zoo.

7. Get In Your Exercise

Forget the gym at your hotel; get out and walk, skateboard, roller blade, or bike along the 8.5 mile long paved beach path. On the weekends, and Tuesday evenings take advantage of the free bike valet at Pedego in downtown Huntington Beach. They’ll take care of your bike while you’re free to join the festivities at the Surf City Nights street fair.

6. Fishing On The Famous Huntington Beach Pier

At a length of a 1,856 feet, the Huntington Beach Pier longest recreational pier on the West Coast. Pick up some bait and supplies from Let’s Go Fishing on the pier and cast your line; there’s no fishing license required. Since the pier opened in 1904 it has continued to be popular fishing spot. Visit Kite Connection for professional kite lessons, take a stroll and watch the colorful sunset, or stop in for a bite to eat at the iconic Ruby’s Diner at the Pier’s end.

5. Visit The International Surfing Museum

To embrace the history of the sport visit the International Surfing Museum, located at 411 Olive Avenue in downtown Huntington Beach. You’ll find a board used by Duke Kahanamoku, Bruce Brown’s camera, which he used to film The Endless Summer, and other memorabilia that brings the story of surfing legends to life. The International Surfing Museum also host the Surfin’ Sundays Summer Concert Series in downtown and at Pier Plaza. The Welcome Center is free to visit at ISM, although, they do ask you make a $3 per person donation to explore the museum.

4. Attend The Thursday Night Art Walks

Hosted by the International Surfing Museum, the Huntington Beach Art Walks take place on the 3rd Thursday of the month. Gather friends and family for a creative night out discovering what’s new on the local art scene. It’s a ideal night to meet and mingle with locals, sample a delicious selection of menu items at local restaurants, take a romantic stroll along the beach, or gather around the bonfire rings on the beach and roast some marshmallows.

3. Tweet The Tweeters At Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

There are over 200 species of birds to see at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. With miles of trails to explore you could spend an afternoon soaking in the beauty of nature. Later, explore the new Wetlands and Wildlife Care and Education Center at the Huntington Beach Wetlands, or join a late for special education program at Shipley Nature Center in Huntington Central Park and learn about California’s native plants.

2. Step Into The Flip Flops Of Surfing Icons At The Surfers’ Hall of Fame

Check out the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in front of Huntington Surf and Sport in downtown Huntington Beach. Legendary surfer’s have made their mark on Huntington Beach, and in concrete; don’t be shy – snap a few photo’s when you find one of your favorite surfers.

1. Be A Beach Bum For A Day

You’re in Huntington Beach; Surf City USA, so you’ll have no problem finding a professional surfer to give you a few tips. Slip into a wet suit, and paddle out on a board into the wild blue, and catch a wave. Or, grab a towel and the sun screen, and enjoy a day splashing in the waves. Play beach volleyball on one of the free courts, cook out in one of over 500 bonfire rings, or catch up on your reading while the kids build a sand castle. Throw a Frisbee with Fido at the Huntington Dog Beach. And, don’t forget to save time to snap photos of the surfers, kite flyers, or a selfie soaking in the California sunshine with the tagline’s – Sweet Surf City USA – Wish You Were HERE!

Plan Your Visit To The Surf City U.S.A


(photo via Huntington Beach)

To explore upcoming surfing events, area attractions, festivals, dining, and getaway options for your trip go to Visit Huntington Beach or call 800-729-6232.

Wild Wednesday Facts:

  • Surfing legends Duke Kahanamoku, and George Freeth put Huntington Beach in the surf spot light when they started shredding the waves there in the 1900’s. And, you can check out the current surf conditions in Huntington Beach via their live surf webcam
  • Huntington State Beach and Bolsa Chica State Beach earned a five-star rating from the Natural Resources Defense Council for the cleanest beaches in California.
  • Among the top beaches for surfing in California are Huntington Beach, Malibu Beach, and Black’s Beach.

Will you visit Surf City USA?

With a passion for travel and creativity, Journalist and Photographer, Melody Schubert let’s her imagination guide her as she explores the world. For her, everyday is an opportunity to embrace something new, and explore intriguing and overlooked destinations that express the heart of a region, and share these discoveries with readers of Travel Freak. She is also Editorial Executive for USA Travel Magazine - where she shares more of travel interests.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here