Southern California is definitely a warm welcome to families seeking to travel with multitude of activities in mind, from snowboarding the mountains of big bear lake to finding their way down the pacific coast just hours away- watching surfers riding a perfect barrel. Illuminated under the orange tinged pacific sun setting in the horizon is the wonderful Santa Monica pier with a glowing ferries wheel ride as it gently transition to a cooler evening vibe.
Disney is just an hour away, lego land park and a roller coaster ride at knots berry farm is not that far either. Southern California is definitely perfect for families with children. But what if you just want to soak in the pacific sun, walk the shorelines, wake up to the sound of gentle waves and seagull squawk at your footsteps. A wonderful alternative to enjoying the pacific coast with the family is riding the bike trail from Huntington beach to Bolsa Chica state beach.
The Huntington Beach Bike Trail will take you from Huntington beach to Bolsa Chica state beach in a 3-4 mile easy bike route with small up hills and plenty of picnic tables along the way. The perfect view of the ocean and gentle ocean breeze is a wonderful compliment to your easy afternoon or early morning activity. Exercise has never been this inspiring and fun with wonderful vistas and the ocean view panning across your bike path.
where did we stay
We stayed at the Hyatt regency Huntington beach resort and spa with an easy access to beach parking and the Huntington bike trail. The hotel is close to many wonderful choices of restaurants and grocery stores like Walmart and Target. It is an easy walking distance to the pier and the beach.
Patriot point overlooking the pacific ocean
Travel light and gears used
I continue to use my favorite steel road bike with an attached toddler rear seat similar to this Schwinn bicycle rear mount for my then 3 year old daughter. I use a pannier bag to store miscellaneous picnic supplies and other useful things. My son brought his own bike on this trip, and an additional bike for my wife. We use the tyger auto 3 bike trunk mount to carry all three bikes on the minivan. We leave the bikes locked together on the bike rack attached onto the minivan overnight in the parking lot. We’ve never encountered any problem or gear stolen on our many stays here. The all day and overnight parking fee is $15 and has an overpass bridge that takes you to the hotel.
top: loaded two bikes on the rack, my son’s bike in the trunk of the car | bottom: our parked bikes at the Huntington Beach park
Picnic, park and swimming
in between the bike ride are a few wonderful play parks for the kids with swings and slides like the Huntington Beach park 1000 feet from the Huntington pier. About 1 miles down are the picnic tables at Patriot point overlooking the pacific ocean. Enjoy a wonderful snack and bring out that picnic blanket to enjoy the fresh air as you prepare a sandwich or two for the kids. Soak in the pacific sun and cycle onward for a magnificent view and enjoy a nice and easy afternoon walk at the Bolsa Chica Conservancy. There are plenty of beautiful birds and wildlife’s to see here so bring out those binoculars and put on generous amount of sun screen for the whole family if you are planning to do the whole 4 mile loop around the reserve.
Of course there is no beach without the swimming so be ready to bring a few extra dry clothes and better yet a nice wet suite for the kids to keep them warm. Bring a lightweight microfiber towel to fit in your pannier bag. Don’t forget the water and some snack bars while you cycle. It is very easy to forget to eat and a combination of cold air can get you to drop your blood sugar fast. Plan ahead on what to bring!
We have been coming back here on many weekend getaways with family and friends. It continues to be one of our favorite outdoor activities to do as a family. I chose this place to celebrate my birthday during the pandemic to enjoy the beach and to reconnect with nature. It’s never been so refreshing to go to the beach and enjoy the air and the euphoria it brings. A nice bon fire at night and s’mores are a sweet treat for children and grown ups alike. Sun shade, beach chairs and towels during the day at the beach are also provided by Hyatt regency’s wonderful staff.
If you find cycling fun and perfect activity for the family like we do, California has a wonderful season pass for day use state parks to enjoy with many bike trails. Visit the Golden Poppy vehicle day pass to learn more. Here are other wonderful resources you can visit for cycling: rails to trails, komoot.com, warmshowers.org. I hope you continue to enjoy the outdoors and paddle through the beautiful vistas along the way as you build beautiful lasting memories with your family- one pedal at a time! Watch our short video below.
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