The dawn sky has barely begun to brighten as the first surfers zip up their wetsuits and jog towards the Pacific Ocean. They pad barefoot across the soft, biscuit-hued sand and paddle, bellies on boards, towards the cresting waves.
From my hotel room balcony, where I sit with hands clutched around a mug of freshly brewed coffee, they look like wriggling, long-limbed beetles or slick seals. I’m not the only one watching. Dog walkers (and dogs) stand and stare, while others line the edges of the long, skinny pier, leaning against the rails or sitting with their legs dangling over the water.
The sky, a slowly lightening cornflower blue, billows with candy-floss clouds, adds a delicate drama to the scene, and hints at another near-perfect day in Huntington Beach. This is Surf City USA, a spot that draws wave-seekers of all levels from beginner to pro. It’s also a pretty perfect place for those who prefer to watch from the dry, warm sand, kayakers who paddle around the stilts of the pier, and anyone who believes year-round sun and fun equals a good time.
In short, this is classic Southern California, embodying everything that’s so timelessly appealing about the coastal, SoCal lifestyle. It’s sunglasses on and shoes off (unless they’re flip-flops). The best hotels in Huntington Beach reflect this laid-back vibe, whether you prefer to immerse yourself in breezy luxury or simply want somewhere breezy and comfortable to lay your head (and store your surfboard).