One of my Huntington Beach California pier photos was licensed by Travel Channel for an article titled “Best Budget Beaches”. Good stuff. Southern California can be ultra expensive but there are also some reasonable options.
Huntington Beach pier is awesome and, well, free. Get there early enough and catch the sunrise over Orange County. During the day it’s crowded so it’s a great time for people watching and especially checking out the surfers by the pier. Head to the end of the pier and grab some food at Ruby’s Diner. Ruby’s is a 1940’s style diner with some good classic burger and shake grub. At night there is almost always an amazing beach sunset. Head down the road to one of my favorite places, El Ranchito Mexican restaurant, and get some great fish tacos and Cadillac margaritas. Wander South on Pacific Coast Highway and check out Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and some of the other great oceanfront beach cities.
The article is at: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/beaches/articles/best-budget-beaches