This West Coast Beach Has Great Year-Round Weather To Escape A Brutal Winter

If you loathe cold weather, you're not alone. If you're determined to ditch chilly temperatures, even temporarily, there's a solution: pack your bags and head to Bolsa Chica State Beach in Orange County, California. Bolsa Chica is a quintessential Southern California beach located on the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach.

Its shores were filled with trash at one point, earning it the name Tin Can Beach. In 1961, California purchased it and transformed it into a destination for fun outdoor adventures. Yes, even in the winter. From December through April, temperature highs in Huntington Beach hover around the mid-60s.

That said, visitors to the three-mile beach can swim, surf, and surf fish. For those worried about water safety, fear not; lifeguards are present all year. Prefer to stay dry? There is an 8.5-mile paved trail at Bolsa Chica that can either be walked or biked. It's also accessible for wheelchair users. Likewise, dogs are welcomed on the path but must be kept from the sand. For sports enthusiasts, there are volleyball and basketball courts nearby. 

Without question, Bolsa Chica is the place to soak in the sun and SoCal's signature Mediterranean climate. It's open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., and full-day parking is available for $10 in the winter. While Bolsa Chica is an easy day trip for locals, those traveling far from home can camp on the beach.

RV camping at Bolsa Chica State Beach

Bolsa Chica State Beach is a great California camping spot to enjoy the region's balmy winter weather. But there is a catch: to camp at Bolsa Chica, you must have an RV. Camping via tent is prohibited. There are 50 campsites that can accommodate trailers up to 40 feet. Six of these are wheelchair accessible, and all have electrical and water hookups.

At the time of this publication, camping at Bolsa Chica starts at $60 a night, and a reservation can be made online. Eight people can occupy one campsite, and if you plan on camping during the winter when it's the off-season, you can stay for up to 14 consecutive days. Note that check-in time is at 2 p.m., check-out is at noon, and using drones and generators is not allowed.

Bathrooms and showers are also available, and the campground has fire pits that all Bolsa Chica visitors can use, not just overnight campers. Thus, if you see an empty one, claim it before someone else does. The same can be said about the picnic areas and barbecue grills.

Bolsa Chica has onsite establishments, including SeaLegs at the Beach and Beach City Provisions, that offer meals and snacks. Unfortunately, they may be closed depending on when you visit. At the time of publication, SeaLegs at the Beach is set to be closed for the winter until late March 2024.

Explore the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

For something a little different, check out the nearby ecological reserve. It's located directly across from the beach and is another must-do in Huntington Beach. The reserve is a marshy 1,400-acre paradise that visitors can explore for free via many hiking trails. Moreover, an array of wildlife, including rabbits, lizards, and 321 species of birds, can be found at the salt marsh and might be spotted by lucky visitors. 

Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed at the reserve. The trails are open year-round from sunrise to sunset, and parking is free. The reserve also has an interpretive center with exhibits and animals on display. It's open Mondays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. the rest of the week.

However, you can't leave Bolsa Chica State Beach without seeing the Huntington Beach Pier and Downtown Huntington Beach. While you're there, walk the length of the pier for its coastal views. For a nice meal and some shopping downtown, Pacific City is an outdoor mall that overlooks the ocean.

Per OpenTable, one highly rated restaurant in Pacific City is Nardò Italian Restaurant, which serves pasta dishes and Neapolitan pizza. The pier, downtown, and Pacific City are less than a 10-minute drive from Bolsa Chica State Beach.