The small town of Sunset Beach, recently annexed by Huntington Beach, boasts a wide, sandy beach and a green belt that runs through the quiet residential area. With dive bars, steakhouses and a few shops to peruse along Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Beach is great for a day trip from Huntington Beach.
Atmosphere: Families enjoy the beach, small playground and grass area; the beachy dive bars close by attract a different crowd. Stop by the big farmer’s market and swap meet to get a feel for the locals.
Parking and Entrance: Park at the south end of the beach in the lot or on the long residential street, S. Pacific Ave. Beach access is between houses, and you can walk right on to the sand.
Nice Walks and Views: Walk along the green belt one block east of the beach and stop to let baby play in the grass. Look north across the expanse of sand for a picturesque view.
Activities for Toddlers: The really wide beach allows for sand play without a chance of getting wet. The small jungle gym, like one you’d find in a backyard, provides some opportunity for climbing.
Bathrooms: Bathrooms are set back from the beach behind the lifeguard stands.
Perks for Parents: The green belt has a bike path, so bring along your bike and equipment to secure baby.
Where to Stay with Kids: Since Sunset Beach is so small, you may want to stay in Huntington Beach for more options. However, Bolsa Chica State Beach and RV campground is just south of here, and is right on the beach. Travelodge Ocean Front in Sunset Beach would be OK for a one-night stay. Free breakfast and Wi-Fi.
Baby-friendly Restaurants: Many restaurants along PCH like Harpoon Harry’s and Captain Jack’s are not suited for children. If baby falls asleep in her car seat, try Roman Cucina, an intimate, casual Italian place with free corkage on Wednesday nights.
What Else to Do: Drive a few minutes to Huntington Beach to browse an expo, catch a contest or go shopping.