Huntington Beach on Highway One is a small town yet it has wide-open soft sand beaches, a vibrant beach life – even at night – that’s egged on by a sunny Mediterranean climate. This is a surfing city with steroids. Whereas most would walk their dogs, here they surf their dogs.

And as it is just 35 miles from Los Angeles, Huntington Beach is so worth a stopover when you visit California. It’s self-proclaimed nickname “Surf City USA” is so apt. It all started when real-estate developer and railroad magnate, Henry Huntington, brought the Hawaiian-Irish surfing star, George Freeth, to town to give demonstrations.

Fifteen years later legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku moved here and Huntington Beach achieved iconic status as a surf destination.

The West Coast Surfing Championships, now known as the US Open of Surfing, have been held here. Yet anyone can do it and everyday enthusiasts grab their surfboards and head into the sea. Medium-sized waves roll in and out so consistently that all you have to do is remain poised on your surfboard and the next thrill will be along momentarily.

Get there in September (this year on 18th) for the annual Surf City Surf Dog event where dogs compete in a surfing competition.

But if surfing is not for you Huntington Beach can offer so much more.

It is in a fantastic location in the heart of town and just steps away from the beach. It comes with its own high end very fancy spa, retail outlets a couple of pools (one gated outside pool), several fountains and a walkway to the beach. Rates start at $255, but check for specials.

For something a little smaller but just as vibrant is the Shorebreak Kimpton. It has a boutique atmosphere, a courtyard where you can enjoy s’mores and games and it’s within a minute’s stroll from the pier.

An early morning hour of yoga on the soft sand is a brilliant way to start the day especially as those meditative yoga moments are accompanied by the calming sway of the waves.

To arrange this experience nip into the Hyatt Regency Huntington where Toes on the Nose retail outlet is located. Don’t miss this.

Must lunch at Pete’s Sunset Grille. You don’t have to go far for a casual but appealing lunch experience inside or al fresco at Pete’s Sunset Grille. This colorful restaurant is themed with surfing and beach memorabilia and located in the Hyatt Regency complex.

There’s a creative menu – pulled Pork, crispy slaw and bacon Bourbon and Pineapple Sriracha Glaze Salmon. There’s lots on the drinks menu including cocktails but at lunchtime draft beer just seems the right thing to order.

Must take a private harbour cruise

Prince Charters offers private harbour cruises guided by a licensed captain. Choose between a restored classic wood boat (up to 12 passengers) or a vintage yacht (up to 30 passengers) and sail around Huntington Harbour.

Just imagine the cool ocean breeze ruffling your hair under the watch of the glorious Californian sun lighting up the harbour views. Add a glass of craft beer, wine or a glass of champers to hand and some great background music.