Lisa Corson
Heirlooms and Hardware

Surf City USA draws a crowd with posh hotels, indie boutiques, and plenty of adventure–even for landlubbers

Robin Rinaldi  – August 7, 2018

Pull off the Pacific Coast Highway, pick your spot, and spend the day on the sand: That used to be the MO for this stretch of Orange County. With almost 10 miles of coastline, it’s still a magnet for pro surfers and wading toddlers alike. The difference? The once-dingy (by O.C. standards, anyway) Huntington Beach has become as inviting as those sparkly Pacific waves. In fact, there’s a lot more to the waterfront than, well, water–like restaurants that put the average sea-shack burger to shame, miles of bike lanes, and a shopping center that serves as an open-air town square. Sure, you could still spend all afternoon on a towel, but bring a cover-up that’ll let you hit the streets in style.

9 A.M. Start off at Portola Coffee Roasters ( in the gleaming Lot 579 food hall, where joe is served on tap and the croissants hail from L.A. darling Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

Lisa Corson

A Pedego Electric Bike

10 A.M. Why crawl along in traffic when you could whiz up the coast on a bike? Rent a motor-assisted cruiser from Pedego Electric Bikes ( and steer north on the paved Huntington Beach Bicycle Trail, stopping at Huntington Dog Beach ( to watch off-leash pups playing in the sand.

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11:30 A.M. Continue north past Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve (, keeping an eye out for osprey soaring above the protected wetlands. Another mile-plus brings you to SeaLegs at the Beach (, an offshoot of a local wine bar that puts a chic spin on an old concession stand. Lunch on shrimp nachos, then plant yourself on a lounger before returning south.

Lisa Corson

Shrimp Nachos at SeaLegs at the Beach

1:30 P.M. Take a break from the sun with a Ginger Renewal treatment at Aarna Spa ( in the two-year-old Pasea Hotel. After being exfoliated, massaged, and wrapped, hit the eucalyptus steam room.

4 P.M. Down the street, Pacific City ( mall specializes in Surf City USA’s second-favorite sport: shopping. An open-air design and palm-lined walkways lure visitors to SoCal faves like Irene’s Story (, a trendy boutique with boho jumpsuits and dresses, and Heirlooms and Hardware (, a rustic home outfitter where Joseph and Jessica D’Ambra share original designs and antique finds from their travels.

6 P.M. Enter swanky Bluegold and proceed to the back room, where 30-seat LSXO ( serves Vietnamese favorites by chef Tin Vuong of the much-loved Little Sister outposts. Studded with pork belly and prawns, and served with bean sprouts and greens, the crunchy rice-flour crepe is so good you’ll forget to Instagram it.

Lisa Corson

Surfboard Fins at Lot 579

7:30 P.M. End back at Lot 579, where Popbar ( serves up gelato, sorbet, fro-yo, and more. After all, it wouldn’t be a day at the beach without an icy treat.

PERFECT NIGHT Across the street from the waves, the renovated Kimpton Shorebreak Resort offers beach supplies, a daily wine hour, and s’mores around the firepit. From $209;

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