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Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

New Jersey
Level Contributor
195 posts
1 review
4 helpful votes
Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

Hi...my family and I (kids 20 & 15) will be starting out in West Hollywood area visiting tourist spots, then moving on to San Diego to visit zoo and Coronado. For our final leg of the trip, I'm debating whether to stay at Loews SM or Hyatt Huntington Beach. We want to relax and sit by pool and beach for last two nights. Which hotel????

Pros for Hyatt are loungers on beach, while SM pro is being by the pier. Are the two areas completely different??

Thanks

West Hollywood...
Level Contributor
33 619 posts
48 reviews
223 helpful votes
1. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

I'm not sure that being by the SM Pier is a big benefit but I guess that depends how much you like Carnival games.

The two areas are a little different from one another. Huntington has more of an Orange County feel to it (laid back). Both are popular tourist destinations (as well as destinations for locals) so you'll see crowds at either one but, to me, if relaxing is your thing, I'd go with HB .

Edited: 8 years ago
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
165 851 posts
8 351 reviews
4 263 helpful votes
2. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

They are somewhat different,

Santa Monica is a major residential area so traffic intensity is higher. Its a good place for night life, power building, bike rides, Venice Beach cafes, and the pier.

Huntington Beach is a more relaxed beach area and more family friendly.

Its easy to go on whale watching tours or take a day trip to Catalina. A nice day drive would be from Huntington Beach to Balboa Island Fun Zone to Crystal Cove State Parks to Laguna Beach to Dana Point.

If you drive west you can do Queen Mary and the aquarium. Its harder to do these things if you were staying on the west side.

If you want night life though its easier to do in Santa Monica especially 3rd street promenade area

http://www.santamonica.com/santa-monica-neighborhoods/downtown-santa-monica-third-street-promenade/

There is also more shopping.

Both are unique and special areas to go to.

I prefer Huntington Beach myself as its more relaxed and its also possible to go to Downtown Disney at night if you do want some night life.

Huntington Beach is also easier for hot dog roasts, and so forth. I also like the Fun Zone boat at Newport Beach area to see the mega yachts and mega mansions there.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g580459-d3347798-Reviews-Fun_Zone_Boat_Company-Balboa_Island_Newport_Beach_California.html

With your age - its a harder call on which one you would be better. If you had a younger family, I would choose Huntington Beach. At your age, it depends what they want to do.

I would put the Pier as a lower level item on which one to choose. Its fun for a couple of hours - but in my humble opinion - a bit overrated. I think you will see that range of opinions also on the review site so you might want to read those and decide for yourself.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g33052-d104238-Reviews-Santa_Monica_Pier-Santa_Monica_California.html

Edited: 8 years ago
Corona del Mar...
Level Contributor
76 449 posts
380 reviews
726 helpful votes
3. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

>>>Pros for Hyatt are loungers on beach<<<

The Hyatt Regency doesn't have lounge chairs on the beach they have standard beach chairs like in the photo below.

http://huntingtonbeach.regency.hyatt.com/content/dam/PropertyWebsites/regency/hunrh/Media/All/Hyatt-Regency-Huntington-Beach-Resort-and-Spa-P367-Beach-Bonfire.masthead-feature-panel-medium.jpg

And while they say they have lunch delivery available, they don't have a regular service on the beach like a beach hotel would or like they have pool side. The beach is across Coast Highway and a parking lot from the hotel.

https://goo.gl/maps/22rxT2iSCED2

While I think I'd choose the Hyatt for its great pool for your kids, I would not choose it because of the beach chairs.

4. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

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Huntington Beach...
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5 857 posts
418 reviews
463 helpful votes
5. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

As a long time resident of Huntington Beach, I'll support the local beach. Widest and longest sand beach on the USA Pacific Coast. The Pier is a major draw to the downtown area, and one can do lunch at Ruby's at the western end of the Pier, one can watch surfers practice their skill and thrills on their boards, etc. There is an excellent restaurant, Duke's at water's edge of the Pier and there are numerous restaurants along Main Street. My fav is Fred's Mexican Café! Here is a T/A list of best restaurants near the Pier: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurants-g325…

But, most of all, I like the HB Pier because it is on the storied PCH (but so is Santa Monica)!

6. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

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Huntington Beach...
Level Contributor
5 857 posts
418 reviews
463 helpful votes
7. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

>then moving on to San Diego to visit zoo and Coronado.

Depending on traffic, a very popular phrase in Southern California and the LA Metro, Huntington Beach is potentially several hours closer to your next destination, San Diego.

Safe travels!

Corona del Mar...
Level Contributor
76 449 posts
380 reviews
726 helpful votes
8. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

>>>There is an excellent restaurant, Duke's at water's edge of the Pier and there are numerous restaurants along Main Street. My fav is Fred's Mexican Café!<<<

Duke's is "nice" not excellent and I think Sandy's Beach Grill downstairs is better. Fred's is downright average Americanized Mexican food. There is much, much better Mexican food in HB and nearby.

New Jersey
Level Contributor
195 posts
1 review
4 helpful votes
9. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

Thank you all for your replies :))

Manhattan Beach...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
Level Contributor
25 099 posts
3 reviews
7 helpful votes
10. Re: Santa Monica vs Huntington Beach

We stay at different Hyatt resorts. The beaches are open to all, and hotels cannot claim space to set up lounges on the public beach, nor do they have food and beverage service like they do around the swimming pools.

At the Waikiki Hyatt, you check out sand chairs, like the photo in the link above, from the pool deck with a couple beach towels. You carry them across the street to the beach where you want to position yourself. HB is very wide, if you want to be at water's edge it's a further trek in the hot sand.

At the end of your time you pack up the chair and towels and return them to the pool kiosk.

We enjoy relaxing at the pools at the Hyatt HB with beverage and food service when we go for our weekend visits. The staff is always friendly.

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