Have you ever been inside a Hollister, and they have those live cameras of beaches going on inside? Well those beaches they show are actually the infamous Huntington Beach in Southern California. With rolling waves, joyful people, and all the coolest spots to grab a bite at, Huntington Beach was an absolute blast! What more would I need? This is our third and last trip of our California road trip – what did we get ourselves into this time?!
I am breaking my Southern California road trip into three posts for each of the main stops…Greater Palm Springs, Temecula and Huntington Beach. If you are looking for another California road trip blog post, check out my post about my adventures in Gold Country….California Road Trip – Gold Country.
Huntington Beach aka Surf City, USA
Surf City, USA aka Huntington Beach is situated in a sweet spot between Los Angeles and San Diego. Families, dogs, surfers, and sunbathers are welcomed with open arms to enjoy this beautiful and fun-filled beach. All year long, the weather is as if we are perpetually in a perfect world where it is only summer. The sun is always shining and the ocean always stays pretty mild! This makes it one of the best beaches in Southern California to offer pure relaxation and unlimited outdoor activities. And that is just the beaches! I haven’t even begun to talk about the awesome foodie places that lie within the city with their taco trucks and fancy restaurants. Between the pier and in-land areas, you will always find something fun to do and a beautiful sunset to wrap the day up with.
If you are looking for help planning your next trip, check out my travel resource guide.
Stay at Pasea Hotel & Spa
While I was in Huntington Beach, I stayed at the fabulous Pasea Hotel & Spa. They did such an amazing job about me feeling super comfortable and appreciated as a guest! Their customer service was top-notch. With oceanfront views of sandy beaches and being right where I needed to be amongst everything, this was the perfect hotel to stay at. With space for special events, weddings, and conventions, you can bring the office meeting to Huntington if you really needed to. And they have an amazing restaurant, Tanner’s, as well as a café for all your coffee shop vibe needs.
Spa treatments at Aarna Spa
Oh, did I not mention that I was treated like the royalty I’ve always wanted to be?! I had the more relaxing spa treatment at Aarna Spa that is located in the Pasea Hotel. With 8 different rooms to accommodate everyone’s spa needs, you will never run out of options for finding your perfect balance of luxury. From deep tissue massages, revitalizing salt scrubs, and facials that can tame any skin type – you are in for a world of serenity, my friend. Personally, I had a (much-needed) massage and I never wanted to leave.
Pasea Beach Cruiser Bike Rentals
This hotel is amazing. They have beach cruiser bike rentals for guests to ride around in and explore the beach. These are perfect if you don’t want to keep throwing money down for an Uber and to really get involved with discovering all that Huntington Beach has to offer. You get to be on the beach and boardwalk where there are the cutest shops and places to eat. I highly recommend renting one of these if you’re feeling adventurous to get out there and explore.
A special thank you to Brendan Williams for joining me on this trip and taking photos.
#WineWednesday Yoga at Aarna Spa
Have I told you how much I loved this the Pasea Hotel? There was a freakin’ WINE. WEDNESDAY. YOGA. WHAT. Isn’t that amazing?! What more could I ask for, yoga and wine at one of the most beautiful hotels I have stayed at. I mean, they could add puppies. Just sayin’.
Surf Lesson with Toes on the Nose
This was probably one of the coolest shops I’ve ever visited in California. So this place is a surfing shop, yes. But they also offer some amazing experiences! We took surfing lessons with them which was such an adventure! They also do this SUPER COOL THING where they offer “adventure packages” and have Sunset Service that includes S’mores on the beach with butler service. Check out Toes on the Nose if you visit!
Southern California Road Trip Vlog
Check out my Southern California road trip vlog below or on YouTube directly for better quality.
Sunset Beach Bonfire & S’mores
Speaking of S’mores – more, please! We got an awesome bonfire package from Waterfront Resort where we were able to sit out on the beach, eat as many S’mores as we wanted, drank hot chocolate, and get to watch yet another beautiful SoCal sunset over the water.
Where I Ate in Huntington Beach
Dinner at Ola Mexican Kitchen
Y’all, it’s called “Mexican food with a view” for a reason. With enticing California Mexican food like enchiladas, taco of the month specials, and margaritas that can get anyone dancing, I didn’t think Ola Mexican Kitchen could get any cooler. With their two locations, they are situated near the beaches to give their customers some of the prettiest views that a restaurant could give. The word “Ola” in Spanish means “wave” and it means “life” in Hawaiian. Between those two cultures collabing to create some authentic beach food, you’re not going to want to miss this place if you are in Long Beach or Huntington Beach.
Breakfast at Tanner’s Huntington Beach
Surf inspired. Sustainable cuisine. Wow, just when I didn’t think this hotel could be any more perfect, I went to their in-house restaurant, Tanner’s. Inspired by the diversity of culture in Southern California and especially within Huntington, Tanner’s brings dishes created from the surf cultures plus everything they see in between. Their contemporary cuisine has brought food critics from around the world to this place to try some unique flavors to be placed in front of you. Everything is made in house, and they even have seasonal favourites! They have pumpkin and pecan sticky buns (for the Fall season only), incredibly beautiful and tasty acai bowls, and lemon & ricotta pancakes!!! YUMMY! Did I mention it is also a rooftop bar? Perfect for an elegant date night.
Lunch at Pacific Hideaway
Between the colourful and cheeky decor and being “part international beach shack,” there is a lot to love about Pacific Hideaway. Their dishes are all inspired by a hybrid of Latin America, the Hawaiian islands, and the beaches of SoCal. The sophisticated, beachy vibe of the joint makes you feel like you are in the midst of fine dining, but also comfortable enough to come in straight from surfing. Of course some local favs include their taco selections as well as their tuna poke. Don’t feel like being too adventurous? The Hideaway Burger with their secret house sauce is honestly one of the best you will have!
Dinner at Bluegold
This fun little beach bungalow once was used as a trading outpost! At Bluegold, you feel comforted by the beautiful and peaceful location situated next to the beach while completely excited to try everything on their menu! Their raw bar is filled with seafood that fills the soul – oysters, shrimp, and lobster are all part of this fresh and tasty section. They also offer land favourites like ribs, lamb chops, and chicken! Not to mention, they have an incredible selection of pizza you can choose from!
Breakfast at Watertable
Inside of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort, we enjoyed our last little breakfast at the Watertable. What better way to start your day than to enjoy the cool ocean breeze along with a yummy breakfast?! With everything on their menu locally sourced, you can taste the freshness in every bite of whatever you order. You can opt for the breakfast buffet where there is anything that the heart could imagine or you can order some Watertable classics like lavender french toast or avocana bread!
And now we close the chapter of an amazing road trip around Southern California. This has been such a memorable and crazy trip – I’m just so grateful I was able to do something this cool! Between running around in wine country to hitting the beaches to just enjoying this awesome desert (and its sunsets!), nothing has been short of perfection! What are you waiting for? Book your next time to SoCal and see what all that fuss is about. Because I can tell you one thing, I’ll be there again VERY soon! Until next time, Cali!
Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.