The closest beach to Disneyland and various other family attractions, Huntington Beach, California offers approximately 8.5 miles of beautiful Pacific oceanfront. Well-known for its mild climate, blue water, and prime surfing, Huntington Beach is often referred to as Surf City. Huntington Beach vacation rentals vary from cozy in-town cottages and spacious homes on the beach to uptown apartments, and modern condos. Here, you can meander through the boardwalk shops or have brunch at a local café. Go biking, hiking, and swimming, or spend the evening on a sunset gondola ride. This guide highlights 11 vacation spots near Huntington that are worthy of attention.

1. Main Street Huntington Beach

waves of the ocean
Source: Flickr / Ron Kroetz

Main Street in Huntington Beach is where all of the action happens. If you like to fish, you can rent some poles and go fishing from the pier, or head to Huntington Central Park and have a barbecue with friends and family. The Shipley Nature Center is the perfect place to learn about the flora and fauna of the region, or head to the Old World Village to find a variety of gifts and souvenirs. If you’ve brought your pet along to your vacation rental, you can treat him to the Huntington dog beach, which is reserved just for animals and their companions.

2. Newport Beach

two women on paddle boards
Source: Flickr / joey zanotti

Newport Beach is located just to the south of Huntington. This stretch of beach has two separate piers for fishing, and you can find an old-school amusement park complete with a Ferris wheel. Meander through the Orange County Museum of Art, which features a collection of both modern and contemporary works, or go for a nice long walk at the Environmental Nature Center, which offers 3.5 acres of trails and habitats. There’s also boating, surfing, swimming, volleyball, and biking directly near the water.

3. Costa Mesa

air lift ride
Source: Flickr / Jameziecakes

Home to the Orange County Fair, Costa Mesa is the perfect place for vacation rentals for those who enjoy being near the center of everything. When staying here, you can walk to nearly everything from restaurants to shopping. The city is often referred to as the City of the Arts. Visit the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for a musical, take in a show at the South Coast Repertory Theater. If you would rather be outside, travel to Fairview Park for hiking, running, biking, and even horseback riding.

4. Sunset Harbor

two white vessels
Source: Flickr / Chris Jepsen

Sunset Harbor vacation rentals are located in Anaheim Bay. There are five different marinas here, so you can bring your boat or rent one for a day on the water. Take a surfing class at one of the local surfing schools, or sign up for a day-long Elkhorn Slough Safari. You can also go kayaking, or if you are in the mood for adventure, schedule a skydiving lesson and hit the blue skies.

5. Laguna Beach

surfer in action
Source: Flickr / Brian

If you want to spend the majority of your vacation on the water, head south from Huntington to Laguna Beach. The main beach features a boardwalk that leads to a beautiful garden, which is ideal for a picnic lunch, and if you are in the mood for something new, the Crystal Cove State Park is an underwater park where you can scuba dive to beat the heat.

6. Seal Beach

red train
Source: Flickr / Orange County Archives

Seal Beach is a popular stretch of the ocean located on the westernmost coast of Orange County. Here you can find the landmark Red Car Museum that sits between two of the city’s busiest streets – Electric Avenue and Main Street. Escape your vacation rental to play a round of golf or to rent a bike and explore the area. Take a walking food tour or spend the day at a local spa.

7. Long Beach

people walking near the lighthouse
Source: Flickr / Ian D. Keating

One of the biggest attractions when staying at a vacation rental in Long Beach is the Aquarium of the Pacific. There are 19 major habitats and 32 focus exhibits, which makes this the perfect place to spend the day. Stretch your legs and go biking at the Long Beach waterfront where you can climb to the top of the lighthouse or rent a bike and travel along the trails. You’ll find a dog beach, a convention center for meetings, or take a water bus along the shore at the Shoreline Village.

8. Sunset Beach

beach huts

Crabbing is a popular activity on Sunset Beach. This stretch of beach is located along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. Restaurants range from International Cuisine to sub shops and wine tasting boutiques, you can also opt for a tiny dinner house for fresh seafood and steaks. The annual Sunset Beach Art Festival is held every Mothers Day weekend, and there are plenty of shops to satisfy any shopaholic.

9. Fountain Valley

people at the seashore
Source: Flickr / dirtyblueshirt

Fountain Valley is an affluent suburb located directly adjacent to Huntington Beach. Here you will find spacious vacation rentals, many in gated communities with pools and other amenities. Play tennis, go shopping, running, or take a morning walk near the center of town. This area lies close to the beach where you can spend the day collecting seashells, sunbathing, or grab a paddleboard and skim the waters.

10. Corona Del Mar

ocean rocks
Source: Flickr / Kent Wang

Located near Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar is the perfect location for vacation rentals with access to Huntington Beach. If you love gardens and flowers, spend the day walking through the Sherman Library and Gardens, or purchase souvenirs and gifts at Roger’s Gardens. Little Corona Beach is a small stretch of beach that is ideal if you want to avoid the crowds or opt for the Corona Del Mar State Beach where you can play volleyball, go windsurfing, or take a swim.

11. Anaheim

Disney Castle
Source: Flickr / Selbe Lynn

Just to the northeast of Huntington is Anaheim. This large city is home to Disneyland, the Anaheim Angels MLB team, and the Ducks hockey team. Spend the day inside at the Anaheim indoor trampoline park, or visit the Flightdeck Flight Simulation Center and see what it feels like to spread your wings.