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Looking eastbound down the famous Huntington Pier. Photo: Luke House

The Inertia

Editor’s Note: this article is presented by our partners at Visit Huntington Beach.

For lovers of beachside recreation, Huntington Beach is the perfect place to enjoy a warm, sunny day, no matter the time of year. Aquatic environments traditionally have less polluted air, more sunlight, and a coastline that typically encourages an active lifestyle. Even if you don’t surf or swim, there are plenty of opportunities to walk, cycle, or roll along the beach.

Activities aside, just spending time near the ocean does wonders for our mental and physical health. Research has shown that “blue spaces,” tend to induce a positive mood and reduce stress. These sources of nature encourage a meditative mindset by keeping us in the present moment, whether we’re in the water or simply observing from shore.

The City of Huntington Beach is striving to make the benefits of the ocean accessible to all, especially members of the disabled community. Public Works, Marine Safety, and Beach Maintenance, along with charitable organizations such as the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs and Warriors with Hope, are revolutionizing how individuals using wheelchairs, mobility walkers, strollers, canes, and other assistive devices can experience this beautiful region.

The city of Huntington Beach has installed Mobi-Mats to improve accessibility for visitors with disabilities, parents with strollers, and others with limited mobility. Photo: Visit Huntington Beach

One innovative feature are the beach’s two Mobi-Mats, which provide convenient shoreline access along Huntington City Beach. These easy-to-spot, blue paths rest atop the sand, and stretch all the way down to the particular day’s high tide mark. Made completely from recycled water bottles, Mobi-Mats prevent wheeled devices from sinking into the sand and encourage stress-free maneuvering. The mats are located at Sixth Street, on the north side of the pier, and between First and Huntington Streets, on the south side.

A notable figure making waves in the local community is avid waterman Rocky McKinnon. A former professional surfer and shaper, McKinnon has developed an adaptive surfing program that introduces those with physical disabilities to the Pacific Ocean’s waves. His one-of-a-kind, 14-foot chair board is ideal for hour-long tandem surfing or chair-boarding lessons, both of which are accompanied by skilled safety professionals.

Rocky McKinnon and Emily Rowley share a moment of stoke during a surf lesson. Photo: Diane Edmonds

Huntington Beach checks all the boxes for a grand day out. Following are The Inertia’s go-to spots when visiting Surf City, U.S.A.

ABLE Roasters. Founded by partners Anthony Palmeri and Adeel Asif, ABLE Coffee Roasters was born from the dream to offer employment to individuals with disabilities. After working in a classroom that taught vocational skills to students with Autism, the pair realized that graduates were having a difficult time assimilating into the workforce. They decided to create their own company to employ not only their students, but all individuals who were actively looking for work. Cruise by 7451 Edinger Avenue, Suite 115 on the way to the beach for a coffee and some delicious baked goods.

Harbor House Café. Known for never closing, Harbor House has been serving coastal California patrons since 1939. Day or night, this traditional roadside surf diner is adored by locals and newcomers and is famous for good food, excellent service, and attractive décor. If you’re visiting on a busy weekend, keep in mind that seating is first come, first serve so be sure to plan in advance.

Ola Mexican Kitchen. Just a stone’s throw south from the pier, Ola’s first-to-market culinary concept is the best place to catch a sunset while enjoying gourmet Mexican fare. Fun fact: “ola” is Spanish for “wave” and Hawaiian for “life,” which are both interchangeable words in Huntington Beach. The lobster and shrimp enchiladas, topped with tomatillo cream sauce and sour cream, is our favorite.

The Longboard Restaurant & Pub. Originally constructed in 1904, this Main Street icon is the oldest remaining building in the city of Huntington Beach. Restored to its original condition in 1990, The Longboard is a great spot to unwind after a long day and catch a game on TV.

Sea Legs at the Beach. For those that want to kick off their shoes and slide into some flip-flops, you’ll feel right at home at Sea Legs. Found in the heart of Bolsa Chica State Beach, this wine and cocktail bar offers eclectic summer concerts and is fun for all ages. The main entrance is located at 17851 Pacific Coast Highway. During the peak months of summer, beach parking can be limited; however, there is a traffic circle where patrons can be dropped off via ride share.

Sancho’s Tacos. An epic burrito right across from the 6th Street parking lot on the north side of Huntington Beach Pier… what’s not to like? Sancho’s Taco’s is a local staple, with menu options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to fuel surfers up, pre-session, or post. There’s a reason it’s featured on our list of the best post-surf breakfast burritos in southern California.

Oh, and if you’re in need of a place to stay, our friends at Visit Huntington Beach have go you covered.  Check out their extensive list of overnight accommodations, including oceanfront getaways, pet-friendly hotels, RV campgrounds, and more!


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