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Huntington State Beach for Families: A Relaxing Slice of Sand Off Brookhurst

Huntington State Beach for Families: A Relaxing Slice of Sand Off Brookhurst

Visiting Huntington State Beach is a great way for families to show your support for the California state park system.

I find it’s worth the drive for the kids to get a great ocean and beach experience, even though I live a fair distance away.  

This beach is ridiculously wide and you often have views of Catalina Island!

Directions to the Brookhurst Entrance: The state beach is huge. I like to visit the south section reachable by Brookhurst. Exit Interstate 405 in Fountain Valley at Brookhurst (SOUTH) and head toward the beach. Get into the middle lane as you approach Pacific Coast Highway. Brookhurst leads directly into the State Beach parking lot. [Alternate is to take the 405 to the 55 towards Newport Beach and then head north on Pacific Coast Highway to Brookhurst.] Sometimes the Brookhurst entrance is closed and you will have to make your way 1 mile north to the Magnolia entrance and drive back to Brookhurst once inside the parking lot. MAP to Huntington Beach State Park

Recommended by: Nancy


  • Easy parking in a dedicated lot
  • Flat and easy walk (although a bit long) on a mostly paved pathway from parking lot.
  • Very easy to view kids playing in water
  • Lifeguards
  • Waves break way out so kids can play close in without fighting big waves
  • Great for sandcastles and water play
  • You can ride your bike along the bike path that runs parallel to the beach and then turn in to park your bike at the “bike lock area” where the paved path ends
  • Lots of fire pits – firewood only (no pallets)
  • On a clear day, you can see Catalina Island in front of you, Huntington Beach Pier to your north and Newport Beach Pier to your south

Be Aware:

  • Sand can get hot on the walk back – wear your flip-flops
  • Must PAY to park $15/day or use your annual state parks pass
  • ALWAYS keep an eye on your children in the water
  • Advise kids never to turn their back on ocean and always watch the waves. Teach them to pick a point on shore (like your beach umbrella) so they can keep track of their location since the current can pull them one way or the other.
  • I tend to stay away from the Santa Ana River outlet because of possible water quality issues.
  • On busy weekends, the parking lot can be close.
  • It can be ultra-windy here and you can get sandblasted.


  • I purchased the California State Parks pass for $195. It’s a hang-tag placed on my rearview mirror. I like this because I can switch between cars – or use it when I visit with friends. I’m SURE I’ll be visiting 16+ plus state parks and beaches in the next year. Probably more since I’ve got the pass. Here’s a list of all the places the pass will gain you day use access.
  • It’s $15 day use fee if you don’t want to buy the yearly pass.
  • Snack bar with ATM that sells firewood along with all the food items
  • Use the restrooms before you go. They are located near the snack bar before the walkway to the beach. Better yet, go before you leave home.
  • Bring a beach umbrella from home and wear your sunscreen and hats. Don’t forget your sunglasses.
  • Beach volleyball courts, picnic tables, and fire pits
  • Official Huntington State Beach website (links to webcam and brochures)
  • Official City of Huntington Beach website


Friday 25th of July 2014

If $15.- is too much for you, you can always park along Brookhurst St, and if that's full, pull into adjacent streets like Wood Island Ln, Leilani Dr etc. Google it on the map. I did it last summer with two year old twins where I just loaded up the stroller with towels and change of clothes and walked to the beach that Michele is describing above in her blog. The walk didn't take me long (8 min?) and I welcomed the exercise.


Thursday 6th of June 2013

$15 is too much


Tuesday 18th of June 2013

Funny you say that -- I think $15 is not enough. How much do families pay for Disneyland? There are still fire pits to be cleaned, trash to be collected, lifeguards hired to protect swimmers, and restroom cleaning, etc. And since it's in the state park system there are other parks who may not get as many visitors, but need the funds to stay maintained. We just need to make sure State Parks uses the money responsibly for operations and to keep parks open.

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