Weekend Getaway: Huntington Beach
Just a short jaunt from LA, Huntington Beach is decidedly OC. Picture suburban-feeling developments, big, beautiful houses, and long stretches of beach, plus a relaxed summer vibe that seems to last all year long. Still an up-and-coming destination, Huntington Beach makes a sweet weekend getaway if you're looking for some warmer-than-SF summer weather and a little R&R.
Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa
The only Orange County beachfront hotel with direct beach access, the Hyatt's rooms offer stunning Pacific Ocean views. The hotel is home to so many restaurants, shops, and amenities that you could easily spend the whole weekend without leaving the grounds. But if you do decide to leave, it's only about a mile's walk along the beach to the main drag.
Sushi on Fire
Be prepared for a long wait if you go during dinner time. This sushi joint with a clubby atmosphere may be one of the hottest spots in town. Order the Refreshing roll (with jalapeño and lemon), and enjoy the free miso and hot sake.
This quaint family joint has been around since 1967 and it's exactly what you'd expect from the name of it. The tight, diner/kitchenette-like space opens up to large patios in front and back. Expect another wait here. Go before 11 am, and you'll likely get a table in 20 minutes or less. Order the breakfast special (2 pancakes, an egg, and 2 slices of bacon = the perfect salty-sweet combo) and a Surf (half hot chocolate, half coffee with a big dollop of whipped cream).
Wellness Consultation and Spa Treatment
Book an appointment with wellness consultant extraordinaire Linda Shaw, a unique offering at the Hyatt that's definitely worth the money. Shaw will determine your "fitness age" based on a series of tests (remember the sit-and-reach from elementary school?) and bone density and BMI calculations. Follow your workout with a massage at the Pacific Waters Spa, a sanctuary modeled after Spanish estates. And whether you're a kid or not, be sure to check out the resort's water slides, many pools, and hot tubs.
Grab a bike (or a surrey) from one of the many spots along the beach, including Wheel Fun Rentals and Dwight's Beach Concession.
Test your balance in Huntington Harbor on a stand-up paddle board from OEX Sunset Beach, and then see if you're good enough to take it out on the open water.
At night, the drag of beach between the Hyatt and main street is ablaze with groups and parties enjoying the beach after dark. Go early to snag a fire pit, and have some G-rated fun with s'mores and hot chocolate.