Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California, located 35 miles southeast of Downtown Los Angeles. The city is named after American businessman Henry E. Huntington. The population was 189,992 during the 2010 census, making it the most populous beach city in Orange County and the seventh most populous city in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2018 population was 200,641.[13] It is bordered by Bolsa Chica Basin State Marine Conservation Area on the west, the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Westminster on the north, by Fountain Valley on the northeast, by Costa Mesa on the east, and by Newport Beach on the southeast.

Huntington Beach, California
City of Huntington Beach[1]
Aerial view of Huntington Beach, at Brookhurst Street & Pacific Coast Highway, in April 2008


Location of Huntington Beach in Orange County, California
Huntington Beach
Location within Greater Los Angeles
Huntington Beach
Location in the state of California
Huntington Beach
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°41′34″N 118°0′1″W
Country United States
State California
County Orange
IncorporatedFebruary 17, 1909[3]
Named forHenry E. Huntington
  TypeCity Council/City Manager[4]
  City council[5]Lyn Semeta, Mayor[6]
Patrick Brenden
Kim Carr
Barbara Delgleize
Jill Hardy
Erik Peterson
Mike Posey
  City attorneyMichael E. Gates[7]
  City treasurerAlisa Backstrom[8]
  City clerkRobin Estanislau[9]
  Total32.12 sq mi (83.20 km2)
  Land26.94 sq mi (69.77 km2)
  Water5.19 sq mi (13.43 km2)  16.10%
Elevation39 ft (12 m)
  Rank4th in Orange County
22nd in California
  Density7,493.47/sq mi (2,893.42/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
  Summer (DST)UTC−7 (PDT)
ZIP codes[14]
92605, 92615, 92646–92649
Area codes562, 657/714
FIPS code06-36000
GNIS feature IDs1652724, 2410811

Huntington Beach (locally called "Huntington") is known for its long 9.5-mile (15.3 km) stretch of sandy beach, mild climate, excellent surfing, and beach culture. The ocean waves are enhanced by a natural effect caused by the edge-diffraction of open ocean swells around Santa Catalina Island. Swells generated predominantly from the North Pacific in winter and from a combination of Southern Hemisphere storms and hurricanes in the summer focus on Huntington Beach, creating consistent surf all year long, hence the nickname "Surf City".[2]


The area was originally occupied by the Tongva people. European settlement can be traced to a Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto, who in 1784 received a Spanish land grant of 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), Rancho Los Nietos, as a reward for his military service and to encourage settlement in Alta California. Nieto's western area was reduced in 1790 because of a dispute with the Mission San Gabriel, but he retained thousands of acres stretching from the hills north of Whittier, Fullerton and Brea, south to the Pacific Ocean, and from today's Los Angeles River on the west, to the Santa Ana River on the east.

The main thoroughfare of Huntington Beach, Beach Boulevard, was originally a cattle route for the main industry of the Rancho. Since its time as a parcel of the enormous Spanish land grant, Huntington Beach has undergone many incarnations. One time it was known as Shell Beach, the town of Smeltzer, and then Gospel Swamp for the revival meetings that were held in the marshland where the community college Golden West College can currently be found. Later it became known as Fairview and then Pacific City, as it developed into a tourist destination. In order to secure access to the Pacific Electric Red Car lines[15] that used to criss-cross Los Angeles and ended in Long Beach, Pacific City ceded enormous power to railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington, and thus became a city whose name has been written into corporate sponsorship, and like much of the history of Southern California, boosterism.

The original Huntington Beach Pier was built in 1904 and was originally a 1,000-foot-long timber structure.[16][17] Huntington Beach was incorporated on February 17, 1909, during the tenure of its first mayor, Ed Manning. Its original developer was Huntington Beach Company (formerly the West Coast Land and Water Company), a real-estate development firm owned by Henry Huntington. The Huntington Beach Company is still a major land-owner in the city, and still owns most of the local mineral rights. The company is now wholly owned by the Chevron Corporation.[18]

At one time, an encyclopedia company gave away free parcels of land (with the purchase of a whole set for $126) in the Huntington Beach area.[19] The lucky buyers got more than they had bargained for when oil was discovered in the area, and enormous development of the oil reserves followed. Though many of the old reserves are depleted, and the price of land for housing has pushed many of the rigs off the landscape, oil pumps can still be found to dot the city.

Huntington Beach was primarily agricultural in its early years with crops such as lima beans, asparagus, peppers, celery and sugar beets. Holly Sugar was a major employer with a large processing plant in the city that was later converted into an oil refinery.

The city's first high school, Huntington Beach High School, located on Main Street, was built in 1906. The school's team, the Oilers, is named after the city's original natural resource.

Meadowlark Airport, a small general-aviation airport, existed in Huntington Beach from the 1940s until 1989.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (82.6 km2). 26.7 sq mi (69 km2) of it is land and 5.1 sq mi (13 km2) of it (16.10%) is water.

The entire city of Huntington Beach lies in area codes 657 and 714, except for small parts of Huntington Harbour (along with Sunset Beach, the community adjacent to Huntington Harbour), which is in the 562 area code.


Huntington Beach has a borderline semi-arid/Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk/Csb), gradually changing for the second to the west and south due to its low precipitation. Although areas such as Huntington Central Park and northern Bolsa Chica usually fall into the first climate type, thus being the boundary of the cool summer Mediterranean climate on the west coast of North America, except for elevated portions in the southern end of the state.[20] The climate is generally sunny, dry and cool, although evenings can be excessively damp. In the morning and evening, there are often strong breezes that can reach 15 mph (24 km/h). Ocean water temperatures average 55 °F (13 °C) to 65 °F (18 °C). In the summer, temperatures rarely exceed 85 °F (29 °C). In the winter, temperatures rarely fall below 40 °F (4 °C), even on clear nights.[21] There are about 14 inches (360 mm) of rain, almost all in mid-winter. Frost occurs only rarely, on the coldest winter nights. The area is annually affected by a marine layer caused by the cool air of the Pacific Ocean meeting the warm air over the land. This results in overcast and foggy conditions in May and June.

Climate data for Huntington Beach, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 87
Average high °F (°C) 63
Average low °F (°C) 50
Record low °F (°C) 29
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.1
Source: Weather Channel[22]

Natural resources

Construction of any kind on the beach is prohibited without a vote of the people, allowing Huntington Beach to retain its natural connection to the ocean rather than having the view obstructed by residential and commercial developments.

Between Downtown Huntington Beach and Huntington Harbour lies a large marshy wetland, much of which is protected within the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. A $110 million restoration of the wetlands was completed in 2006.[23] The Reserve is popular with bird watchers and photographers.

South of Downtown, the Talbert, Brookhurst and Magnolia Marshes, which lie across the street from Huntington State Beach, had restoration completed in 2010.[24]

The northern and southern beaches (Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach, respectively) are state parks. Only the central beach (Huntington City Beach) is maintained by the city. Camping and RVs are permitted here, and popular campsites for the Fourth of July and the Surfing Championships must be reserved many months in advance. Bolsa Chica State Beach is actually a sand bar fronting the Bolsa Bay and Bolsa Chica State Ecological Reserve.

The Orange County run Sunset Marina Park next to Huntington Harbour is part of Anaheim Bay.[25] It is suitable for light craft, and includes a marina, launching ramp, basic services, a picnic area and a few restaurants. The park is in Seal Beach, but is only reachable from Huntington Harbour. The Sunset/Huntington Harbour area is patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff's Harbor Patrol.[26]

The harbor entrance for Anaheim Bay is sometimes restricted by the United States Navy, which loads ships with munitions at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station to the north of the main channel.


Historical population
Est. 2018200,641[13]5.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[27]


The 2010 United States Census[28] reported that Huntington Beach had a population of 189,992. The population density was 5,959.1 people per square mile (2,300.8/km²). The racial makeup of Huntington Beach was 145,661 (76.7%) White, 1,813 (1.0%) African American, 992 (0.5%) Native American, 21,070 (11.1%) Asian, 635 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 11,193 (5.9%) from other races, and 8,628 (4.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 32,411 persons (17.1%). Non-Hispanic Whites were 67.2% of the population in 2010,[12] compared to 90.8% in 1970.[29]

The Census reported that 189,102 people (99.5% of the population) lived in households, 487 (0.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 403 (0.2%) were institutionalized.

There were 74,285 households, out of which 21,922 (29.5%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 36,729 (49.4%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 7,685 (10.3%) had a female householder with no husband present, 3,804 (5.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 4,386 (5.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 504 (0.7%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 18,489 households (24.9%) were made up of individuals and 6,527 (8.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55. There were 48,218 families (64.9% of all households); the average family size was 3.07.

The population was spread out with 39,128 people (20.6%) under the age of 18, 15,906 people (8.4%) aged 18 to 24, 54,024 people (28.4%) aged 25 to 44, 53,978 people (28.4%) aged 45 to 64, and 26,956 people (14.2%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.6 males.

There were 78,003 housing units at an average density of 2,446.5 per square mile (944.6/km²), of which 44,914 (60.5%) were owner-occupied, and 29,371 (39.5%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.4%. 115,470 people (60.8% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 73,632 people (38.8%) lived in rental housing units.

During 20092013, Huntington Beach had a median household income of $81,389, with 8.9% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[12]


At the 2000 census The population density was 7,183.6 inhabitants per square mile (2,773.9/km²). There were 75,662 housing units at an average density of 2,866.8 per square mile (1,107.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.2% White, 0.8% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 9.3% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 5.8% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 14.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 73,657 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.2% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 34.9% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $76,527, and the median income for a family was $94,597. Adult males had a median income of $50,021 versus $33,041 for adult females. The per capita income for the city was $40,183. About 5.1% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.


Huntington Beach sits above a large natural fault structure containing oil. Although the oil is mostly depleted, extraction continues at a slow rate, and still provides significant local income. There are only two off-shore extraction facilities left, however, and the day is not far off when oil production in the city will cease and tourism will replace it as the primary revenue source for resident industry.

The city is discussing closing off Main Street to cars from PCH through the retail shopping and restaurant areas, making it a pedestrian-only zone. Other shopping centers include Bella Terra, built on the former Huntington Center site, Pacific City which opened in 2015, and Old World Village, a German-themed center.[30]

Huntington Beach has an off-shore oil terminus for the tankers that support the Alaska Pipeline. The terminus pipes run inland to a refinery in Santa Fe Springs. Huntington Beach also has the Gothard–Talbert terminus for the Orange County portion of the pipeline running from the Chevron El Segundo refinery.[31]

Several hotels have been constructed on the inland side of Pacific Coast Highway (State Route 1) within view of the beach, just southeast of the pier.

Huntington Beach contains a small industrial district in its northwest corner, near the borders with Westminster and Seal Beach.

Huntington Beach contains a major installation of Boeing, formerly McDonnell-Douglas. A number of installations on the Boeing campus were originally constructed to service the Apollo Program, most notably the production of the S-IVB upper stage for the Saturn IB and Saturn V rockets.

Huntington Beach is also home to the headquarters of Cambro Manufacturing, an international foodservice equipment company, with two manufacturing facilities in the city.[32]

Surf City USA trademarks

While Huntington Beach retains its 15-year trademark of Surf City Huntington Beach, the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau filed four applications to register the "Surf City USA" trademark in November 2004. The idea was to market the city by creating an authentic brand based on Southern California's beach culture and active outdoor lifestyle while at the same time creating a family of product licensees who operate like a franchise family producing a revenue stream that could also be dedicated to promoting the brand and city. A ruling by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released on May 12, 2006, awarded three trademark registrations to the Bureau; nine additional trademark registrations have been granted since this time and ten other Surf City USA trademarks are now under consideration.[33] One of the first products the Bureau developed to promote its brand was the Surf City USA Beach Cruiser by Felt Bicycles in 2006. The product has sold out every year in markets worldwide and created demand for a second rental bicycle model that will be marketed to resort locations across the globe starting in 2009.[34] The Bureau now has dozens of other licensed products on the market from Surf City USA soft drinks to clothing to glassware. As of April 2008, the Bureau had more than 20 licensing partners with over 50 different products being prepared to enter the market over the next 18 months.[35] Four of the Bureau's registrations of the trademark are now on the principal register and the remaining ten trademark applications are expected to follow. The Bureau is actively considering registration of the Surf City USA trademark in several different countries and anticipates a growing market for its branded products overseas in coming years.

An ongoing dispute between Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz, California over the trademark garnered national publicity in 2007 when a law firm representing Huntington Beach sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Santa Cruz T-shirt vendor.[36] A settlement was reached in January 2008, which allows the Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau to retain the trademark.[37]


The downtown district includes an active art center, a colorful shopping district, and the International Surfing Museum. This district was also the home of the Golden Bear from 1929 to 1986. Originally a fine dining restaurant opened by Harry Bakre in 1929, the Golden Bear became a nightclub in 1963 and hosted famous-name entertainment until it was demolished in 1986. The list of artists who performed there includes BB King, Janis Joplin, Steve Martin, Charles Bukowski, The Ramones and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The Huntington Beach Pier stretches from Main Street into the Pacific Ocean. At the end of the pier is a Ruby's Diner. The Surf Theatre, which was located one block north of the pier, gained fame in the 1960s and 1970s for showing independent surf films such as The Endless Summer and Five Summer Stories. The Surf Theatre was owned and operated by Hugh Larry Thomas from 1961 until it was demolished in 1989. A newer version of The Surf Theatre is now closed, but the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum has preserved its memory with ongoing screenings of surfing movies once shown at a Huntington Beach theater and the original metal SURF sign. Another surfing-related attraction in Huntington Beach is the Surfing Walk of Fame.[38]

Top employers

According to Huntington Beach's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[32] the principal private employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Boeing 3,827
2 Zodiac Aerospace 709
3 Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach 641
4 C&D Aerospace 555
5 Cambro Manufacturing 550
6 Huntington Beach Hospital 527
7 Wal-Mart 462
8 No Ordinary Moments 421
9 Huntington Valley Healthcare 381
10 Harbor Distributing 350
All other employers 101,477

BJ's Restaurant & Brewery is also based in Huntington Beach.[39]

Arts and culture

Special events

Many of the events at Huntington Beach are focused around the beach during the summer. The U.S. Open of Surfing is featured on the south side of the pier. Huntington Beach is a stop on the AVP beach volleyball tour. A biathlon (swim/run) hosted by the Bolsa Chica & Huntington State Beach Lifeguards takes place in July, early at dawn. The race begins at the Santa Ana River Jetties and ends at Warner Avenue, Bolsa Chica State Beach. Huntington Beach Junior Lifeguard day camps are held which teaches pre-adolescents and adolescents ocean swimming, running, and first-aid medical knowledge.

In addition to the beach-focused events, the Fourth of July parade has been held since 1904.[40] The Huntington Beach Film Festival takes place every February.[41]

The inaugural Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow, featuring the Breitling Jet Team and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, was held October 21–23, 2016.[42]

During the winter, the annual Cruise of Lights Boat Tour is held in the Huntington Harbour neighborhood. This is a parade of colorful lighted boats as well as boat tours to view the decorated homes. In February of each year since 1996, the Surf City USA marathon is held with over 20,000 runners.[43] The annual Kite Festival is held just north of the pier in late February.

Huntington Beach hosts car shows such as the Beachcruiser Meet and a Concours d'Elegance. The Beachcruiser Meet is held in March, attracting over 250 classic cars displayed along Main Street and the Pier parking lot.[44] A Concours d'Elegance is held at Central Park in June and benefits the public library. An informal "Donut Derelicts" car show occurs every Saturday morning at the intersection of Adams and Magnolia Street.

Surf City Nights is held every Tuesday night during the year. The Tuesday Surf City Nights is a community-spirited event that features a farmer's market, unique entertainment, food, kiddie rides and a carnival atmosphere. Surf City Nights and the Downtown Huntington Beach Art Walk are presented by the Huntington Beach Downtown Business Improvement District (HBDBID) and the City of Huntington Beach. The Tuesday night Surf City Nights event takes place in the first three blocks of Main Street from Pacific Coast Highway to Orange Avenue.


Huntington Beach is the site of the world surfing championships, held annually in the summer. The city is often referred to as "Surf City" because of this high-profile event, its history and culture of surfing. It is often called the "Surfing Capital of the World", not for the height of the waves, but rather for the consistent quality of surf.

The city's Ocean View Little League won the 2011 Little League World Series championship, beating Japan 2–1.

Surf and beaches

George Freeth was the first person to surf in Huntington Beach with a demonstration on June 20, 1914. Freeth had been demonstrating surfing in southern California as a promotion for the city by Henry E. Huntington. Duke Kahanamoku started surfing in Huntington Beach in 1925 and helped popularize the sport. The first surfboard shop, which was located underneath the Huntington Beach Pier, opened in 1956 by Gordie Duane.[45]

Apart from sponsored surf events, Huntington Beach has some of the best surf breaks in the State of California and that of the United States. Huntington Beach has four different facing beaches: Northwest, West, Southwest, and South. Northwest consists of Bolsa Chica State Beach with a length of 3.3 miles (5.3 km), the West consist of "The Cliffs" or "Dog Beach", Southwest is considered everything north of the pier which is operated by the City of Huntington Beach. South consists in everything south of the pier which primarily focuses on Huntington State Beach (2.2 Miles), which almost faces true South.

Bolsa Chica State Beach is operated by the State of California, Dept. Parks & Recreation, and the Bolsa Chica State Beach Lifeguards. The beach is very narrow and the sand is very coarse. Bolsa Chica tends to have better surf with NW/W swells during the winter season. During the summer months the beach picks up south/southwest swells at a very steep angle. Due to the bottom of the beach, surf at Bolsa Chica tends to be slowed down and refined to soft shoulders. Longboards are the best option for surfing in the Bolsa Chica area.

"The Cliffs" or "Dog Beach" is also another popular surf spot. This segment of Huntington Beach is so named because dogs are allowed around the cliff area. Beach is very restricted and often is submerged with high tides. Surf at this location tends to be even bigger than Bolsa Chica during the winter and often better. During the summer most of the South/Southwest swells slide right by and often break poorly. The best option is to take out a longboard, but shortboards will do at times. Dolphins have also been sighted in this area.[46]

Just north and south of the Huntington Beach Pier are some well defined sandbars that shift throughout the year with the different swells. Southside of the Pier is often a popular destination during the summer for good surf, but the Northside can be just as well during the winter. Around the Pier it all depends on the swell and the sandbars. Shortboard is your best option for surfing around the Pier.

South Huntington Beach, also known as Huntington State Beach, is where all the south swells impact the coastline. Huntington State Beach is operated by the State of California, Department of Parks & Recreation, and Huntington State Beach Lifeguards.[47] This beach is very wide with plenty of sand. Sandbars dramatically shift during the spring, summer and fall seasons, thus creating excellent surf conditions with a combination South/West/Northwest swell. Due to the Santa Ana River jetties located at the southernmost end of the beach, large sandbars extend across and upcoast, forcing swells to break extremely fast and hollow. Best seasons for surfing at this beach is the summer and fall. The best option for surfing in this area is a shortboard.

Huntington Beach is also a popular destination for kite surfing, and this sport can be viewed on the beach northwest of the pier.

Huntington Beach is the host city of the National Professional Paintball League Super 7 Paintball Championships. The NPPL holds its first event of the year traditionally between the dates of March 23 through March 26.

Huntington Beach also hosts the annual Surf City USA Marathon and Half-Marathon, which is usually held on the first Sunday of February.

Parks and recreation

Huntington Beach has a large central park, known as Huntington Central Park. Central Park is located between Gothard and Edwards Streets to the east and west, and Slater and Ellis Avenues to the north and south. Dedicated on June 15, 1974, Huntington Central Park is the largest city owned park in Orange County with nearly 350 acres (140 ha).[48] The park is vegetated with xeric (low water use) plants, and inhabited by native wildlife. Thick forests encircling the park are supplemented with Australian trees, particularly Blue Gum Eucalyptus, a high water use plant.

The Huntington Beach Public Library is located in Central Park in a notable building designed by Richard Neutra and Dion Neutra. It houses almost a half-million volumes, as well as a theater, gift shop and fountains. The library was founded as a Carnegie library in 1914, and has been continuously supported by the city and local activists, with new buildings and active branches at Banning, Oak View, Main Street, and Graham. The library has significant local historical materials and has a special genealogical reference collection. It is independent of the state and county library systems.

The park is also home of Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center, a top class boarding facility that also offers horse rentals to the public, with guided trail rides through the park. There is also a "mud park" available for kids. The world's second oldest disc golf course is available in the park, as are two small dining areas, a sports complex for adult use, and the Shipley Nature Center.

The Bolsa Chica Wetlands, contains numerous trails and scenic routes. The wetlands themselves have been connected with the ocean again, in effort to maintain its previous, unaltered conditions.

Huntington Dog Beach

Huntington Dog Beach is located in the 1.5-mile (2.4 km) stretch between 21st and Seapoint streets. This is the only area where dogs are allowed on the beach in Huntington Beach. Dog Beach is free to the public.[49] Dog Beach is very popular so visitors should expect the beach and parking lot to be somewhat congested during the summer months and weekends.

The Orange County Register consistently names Huntington Dog Beach as the best dog park in Orange County.[50] Some popular events that take place at Dog Beach are Surf City Surf Dog[51] and So Cal Corgi Nation Beach Days.[52]

Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach works to keep the beach clean and safe. This 501(c)3 non-profit organization was founded in 1997 and has a five volunteers who serve on the board. The mission statement of the Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach, taken from their website, is as follows: "to protect and preserve access to the beach for dogs and their people, as well as to promote responsible dog ownership in order to make our canine companions welcome members of society."[53]

The society receives no public financing and relies completely on private donations from dog-lovers who value this public good. This non-profit provides many valuable services that minimize the impact of the negative externalities caused by dog waste and unfriendly dogs which must be addressed in order to protect the environment and keep visitors safe. One of the main reasons dogs are not usually allowed on beaches is that owners do not pick up after them. Doggie waste bags are provided for free (over 3,000 are used per day during the summer) and dog owners are encouraged to immediately dispose of their dog's waste in one of the many trash cans provided. Additionally, the society organizes a beach cleanup every Sunday where volunteers help clean up trash.[54] To keep visitors safe, aggressive dogs are not allowed and dogs must be kept under control at all times.

The society also creates positive externalities by providing the public with valuable information on their website. This information includes, but is not limited to, rules to keep dogs safe, tips for introducing dogs to the beach for the first time, warnings about the danger of dogs drinking ocean water, and information about nearby RV parking and dog-friendly hotels.[55] Prospective visitors should be aware of the policy regarding leashes: "Under existing city ordinance, dogs must remain leashed. However, for the past several years only unleashed, potentially dangerous dogs have been cited or removed."[49] One important exception is that leashes are always required when entering and exiting the park to ensure safety near PCH.


Local government

The following table shows the current and former mayors of Huntington Beach:[56]

Mayor Name Years served
64th Mayor Lyn Semeta 2019-2020
63rd Mayor Erik Peterson 2018–2019
62nd Mayor Mike Posey 2017–2018
61st Mayor Barbara Delgleize 2016–2017
60th Mayor[57] Jim Katapodis 2015–2016
59th Mayor Matthew M. Harper 2013–2014
58th Mayor Donald F. Hansen 2011–2012
57th Mayor Joseph J. Carchio 2010–2011
56th Mayor Keith B. Bohr 2008–2009
55th Mayor Gilbert J. Coerper 2006–2007
54th Mayor Jill S. Hardy 2004–2005 & 2014–2015
53rd Mayor Catherine T. Green 2003–2004 & 2009–2010
52nd Mayor Constance J. Boardman 2002–2003 & 2012–2013
51st Mayor Deborah A. Cook 2001–2002 & 2007–2008
50th Mayor Pamela L. Julien Houchen 2000–2001
49th Mayor David P. Garofalo 1999–2000
48th Mayor Shirley S. Dettloff 1997–1998
47th Mayor Ralph H. Bauer 1996–1997
46th Mayor David A. Sullivan 1995–1996 & 2005–2006
45th Mayor G. Victor Leipzig 1994–1995
44th Mayor Linda L. Moulton-Patterson 1993–1994
43rd Mayor Grace H. Winchell 1992–1993
42nd Mayor James W. Silva 1997–1992
41st Mayor Peter R. Green 1990–1991 & 1998–1999
40th Mayor Thomas A. Mays 1989–1990
39th Mayor Wesley M. Bannister 1988–1989
38th Mayor John P. Erskine 1987–1988
37th Mayor John A. Kelly Jr. 1983–1984 & 1986–1987
36th Mayor Robert P. Mandic Jr. 1993–1994
35th Mayor Ruth E. Finley 1981–1982
34th Mayor Ruth S. Bailey 1980–1981 & 1984–1985
33rd Mayor Donald A. MacAllister 1979–1980 & 1983
32nd Mayor Ronald Q. Shenkman 1978
31st Mayor Ronald R. Pattinson 1977–1978 & 1978–1979
30th Mayor Harriett M. Wieder 1976–1977
29th Mayor Norma Brandel Gibbs 1975–1976
28th Mayor Jerry A. Matney 1973–1974
27th Mayor George C. McCracken 1971–1972
26th Mayor N. John V.V. Green 1969–1970
25th Mayor Alvin M. Coen 1968–1969, 1972–1973 & 1974–1975
24th Mayor Jake R. Stewart 1966–1967
23rd Mayor Donald D. Shipley 1964–1966, 1967–1968 & 1970–1971
22nd Mayor Robert M. Lambert 1962–1964
21st Mayor Ernest H. Gisler 1960–1962
20th Mayor Earl T. Irby 1958–1960
19th Mayor Victor Terry 1956–1958
18th Mayor Roy Seabridge 1952–1956
17th Mayor Vernon E. Langenbeck 1950–1952
16th Mayor Jack Greer 1948–1950
15th Mayor Ted W. Bartlett 1946–1948
14th Mayor Marcus M. McCallen 1938–1942
13th Mayor Willis H. Warner 1936–1938
12th Mayor Thomas B. Talbert 1934–1936 & 1942–1946
11th Mayor Elson G. Conrad 1931–1934
10th Mayor Samuel R. Bowen 1928–1931
9th Mayor C.G. Booster 1926–1928
8th Mayor Lawrence Ridenhauer 1924–1926
7th Mayor Richard Drew 1922–1924
6th Mayor Joseph Vavra 1919–1920
5th Mayor W.E. Tarbox 1917–1918
4th Mayor Matthew E. Helme 1916–1917
3rd Mayor E.E. French 1914–1916 & 1918–1919
2nd Mayor W.D. Seeley 1912–1914
1st Mayor Ed Manning 1909–1912 & 1920–1922

According to the city's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city's various funds had $295.6 million in revenues, $287.7 million in expenditures, $1,046.6 million in total assets, $202.8 million in total liabilities, and $87.1 million in cash and investments.[58]

The structure of the management and coordination of city services is as follows:[58]

City department Director
City Attorney Michael E. Gates[7]
City Clerk Robin Estanislau[9]
City Treasurer Alisa Cutchen
City Manager Fred Wilson
Deputy City Manager Ken Domer
Community Relations Officer Julie A. Toledo
Director of Community Services Janeen Laudenback
Director of Finance Lori Ann Farrell
Fire Chief David Segura
Director of human resources Michele Warren
Director of Information Services Jack Marshall
Director of Library Services Stephanie Beverage
Director of Community Development Open
Police Chief Robert Handy
Director of Public Works Travis Hopkins
Deputy Director of Economic Development Kellee Fritzal


In the California State Senate, Huntington Beach is in the 37th Senate District, represented by Republican John Moorlach. In the California State Assembly, it is split between the 72nd Assembly District, represented by Republican Tyler Diep, and the 74th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Cottie Petrie-Norris.[59]

In the United States House of Representatives, Huntington Beach is in California's 48th congressional district, represented by Democrat Harley Rouda.[60]

According to the California Secretary of State, as of October 22, 2018, Huntington Beach has 118,552 registered voters. Of those, 47,978 (40.47%) are registered Republicans, 34,049 (28.72%) are registered Democrats, and 30,794 (25.98%) have declined to state a political party/are independents.[61]

Huntington Beach city vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2016[62] 43.28% 40,980 49.65% 47,007 7.07% 6,689
2012[63] 40.86% 37,093 56.37% 51,166 2.77% 2,512
2008[64] 45.15% 42,622 52.47% 49,528 2.38% 2,251
2004[65] 38.80% 35,206 59.90% 54,343 1.30% 1,182
2000[66] 38.53% 31,800 56.63% 46,742 4.84% 3,998
1996[67] 36.72% 28,044 51.07% 39,004 12.20% 9,320
1992[68] 31.16% 27,648 41.54% 36,867 27.30% 24,227
1988[69] 31.33% 24,544 67.51% 52,878 1.16% 906
1984[70] 24.77% 17,985 74.05% 53,772 1.18% 860
1980[71] 22.88% 15,967 66.22% 46,206 10.90% 7,602
1976[72] 35.77% 20,526 62.51% 35,870 1.72% 988
1972[73] 27.57% 15,142 68.25% 37,483 4.18% 2,298
1968[74] 31.06% 11,199 61.30% 22,107 7.64% 2,755
1964[75] 49.18% 10,168 50.82% 10,509


Huntington Beach is the home of Golden West College, which offers two-year associates of arts degrees and transfer programs to four-year universities.

Huntington Beach is in the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which includes Edison High School, Huntington Beach High School, Marina High School, and Ocean View High School in the city of Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley High School in the city of Fountain Valley, and Westminster High School in the city of Westminster.

The district also has an alternative school, Valley Vista High School, and an independent study school, Coast High School.

Huntington Beach High School, which is the district's flagship school, celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2006.

The city has four elementary school districts: Huntington Beach City School District with 9 schools and Ocean View School District with 15. A small part of the city is also served by the Fountain Valley School District and Westminster School District.

Huntington Beach is also home to The Pegasus School, a nationally recognized blue ribbon school.

Brethren Christian Junior/Senior High School is a private independent school with about 400 students living within 25 miles (40 km) of the school.

Huntington Christian School is a private K–8 school in the city

Grace Lutheran School is a private K–8 school in the city.

Lycée International de Los Angeles previously had its Orange County campus in Huntington Beach.[76]


The city was featured in the TruTV series Ocean Force: Huntington Beach. Also, the city is mentioned in the Beach Boys song Surfin' Safari, in Jan and Dean's Surf Route 101 and in Surfer Joe by The Surfaris.

Live cameras are set up at the Huntington Beach Pier and shown on screens at the California-themed Hollister apparel stores. The store pays the city for the cameras, with the money used to fund marine safety equipment. The cameras are also used by lifeguards.[77]

The public television station KOCE-TV operates from the Golden West College campus, in conjunction with the Golden West College Media Arts program.

Two weekly newspapers cover Huntington Beach: The Huntington Beach Independent and The Wave Section of the Orange County Register.[78] .


Most Huntington Beach households have at least one car. In 2015, only 2.6 percent of Huntington Beach households lacked a car, which decreased slightly to 2.2 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Huntington Beach averaged fully two cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.[79]

Notable people






Fire protection in Huntington Beach is provided by the Huntington Beach Fire Department. Law enforcement is provided by the Huntington Beach Police Department. Huntington Beach Marine Safety Officers and its seasonal lifeguards are recognized as some of the best in the world with a top notch safety record.[130] It has an active Community Emergency Response Team training program, that trains citizens as Disaster Service Workers certified by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a part of a free program run by the fire department's Office of Emergency Services.

Emergency services are also provided at State Beach locations. Peace Officers and lifeguards can be found at Bolsa Chica and Huntington State Beach. Such services consist of: aquatic rescues, boat rescues, first aid and law enforcement. All services are provided by the State of California, Dept. Parks & RecreationConfusing; beginning of this sentence implies that the city is responsible for state beach law enforcement & lifeguard duties. This is not the case, except on a mutual-aid request basis..

In 1926, the Santa Ana River dam failed, and flash-flooded its entire delta. The southern oceanic terminus of this delta is now a settled area of Huntington Beach. The distant dam is still functional, but silting up, which is expected to reduce its storage volume, and therefore its effectiveness at flood-prevention. The flood and dam-endangered areas are protected by a levee, but lenders require expensive flood insurance in the delta. There have been serious discussions to eliminate the need for flood insurance and this requirement has already been waived in some areas and may one day no longer be considered a credible threat.

Since it is a seaside city, Huntington Beach has had tsunami warnings, storm surge (its pier has been rebuilt three times), sewage spills, tornadoes and waterspouts. The cold offshore current prevents hurricanes. The Pier that was rebuilt in the 1990s was engineered to withstand severe storms or earthquakes.

Large fractions of the settled delta are in soil liquefaction zones above known active faults. Most of the local faults are named after city streets.

Many residents (and even city hall) live within sight and sound of active oil extraction and drilling operations. These occasionally spew oil, causing expensive clean-ups. Large parts of the developed land have been contaminated by heavy metals from the water separated from oil.

The local oil has such extreme mercury contamination that metallic mercury is regularly drained from oil pipelines and equipment. Oil operations increase when the price of oil rises. Some oil fields have been approved for development. The worst-polluted areas have been reclaimed as parks. At least one Superfund site, too contaminated to be a park, is at the junction of Magnolia and Hamilton streets, near Edison High School.[131]

Sister cities

Huntington Beach has the following sister city relationships, according to the Huntington Beach Sister City Association:[132]

See also


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Further reading

  • Heywood, Mike (2008). Century of Service: A History of Huntington Beach. ISBN 978-1-60643-981-4.
  • Urashima, Mary F. Adams (2014). Historic Wintersburg in Huntington Beach. Charleston, South Carolina: The History Press. ISBN 978-1-62619-311-6.
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