How Safe Is Huntington Beach for Travel?

Huntington Beach, United States
Safety Index:
78

Huntington Beach, California, is aptly named “Surf City, USA” with swells year-round, drawing experienced and novice surfers to the beautiful Pacific Ocean waters.

It doesn’t have the higher costs and sophistication of nearby Newport and Laguna Beaches, but it’s a destination in its own right.

It attracts families for its low costs, high value, and community safety.

This is the laid-back beach culture many searches for when they plan a Southern California trip.

The first thing you notice when you arrive in Huntington Beach is the murals around town.

From intricate paintings on walls to pebble mosaics to ceramic tile art, you can’t help but stop and enjoy the expression of art that dominates the landscape.

From there, your choices in Huntington Beach can take you on whale watching tours, a casual stroll around Pacific City shopping and dining neighborhood, down the Barrel Trail for a taste of the local brews, or to a beachside cabana watching it all happen as you drift in and out of a nap.

Huntington Beach is ranked as the #15 Best Beach in the United States by U.S. World and News Report.

11 million people visit Huntington Beach, California, each year, and as you read on you’ll see why.

Warnings & Dangers in Huntington Beach

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : LOW

There's a low overall crime risk here. The crime rates are lower than the national average. The mild weather year-round is a huge bonus. People here are casual and laid-back. 230 Police Officers patrol the area using cars, ATVs, motorcycles, and helicopters, in addition to those who walk around.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

There's a low risk of riding in a taxi or rideshare. All forms of transportation are governed by the city and/or state and require a permit. According to a 2018 tourism report, less than .05% of people used a taxi to get here and 9% of visitors from outside California used rideshare. 20% of people opted to get a rental car for their visit.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Based on just population vs. crime data reports from the FBI, there's a one in 66 chance of being a victim of theft. When you add in the visitor numbers, that chance goes to one in 370. This is medium risk. The main concern is the crimes of opportunity, like when people leave their bags on the beach to jump in the water, or don't keep a close eye on a purse in a restaurant. Simple safety steps can lower your rate dramatically.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW

The San Andreas fault line runs near the Los Angeles metro area, so there's always a chance of an earthquake. It's common for this area to feel a little ground shaking happening. Wildfires in other parts of California can cause air quality concerns. Tsunamis are also possible and the city is certified "TsunamiReady" by the National Weather Service. Now all that sounds scary, but there's still a low risk any of that is going to happen during your trip. It's just good to be prepared for the possibility of a worst-case scenario.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : LOW

There's a low risk of mugging. While the theft rates are a little higher, check out the robbery rates. It's just one in 1857 based on population vs. crime data. Add in the tourist numbers? Chances go to one in 10,424.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM

Los Angeles is the second-largest metro area in the country, so it's going to come with a higher risk of terrorism threats in general. We're going to call it a medium risk. There is no imminent threat, so don't let that hinder your travel decision.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

The Huntington Beach Police Department has a whole unit dedicated to investigating financial crimes and scams. Scammers might try to prey on young travelers that flock to this area or the elderly who visit, but police are quick to respond if that does happen. We're going to call it a low risk because there's not a gross trend of scam crimes happening, but police will be quick to respond should a scam happen.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

There's a low risk for women traveling here. With so many female-oriented activities like spas, shopping, dining, girlfriend-getaway packages, this is a city that caters to all travelers. Crime trends don't show women being more likely to be a victim of a crime. That said, you still don't want to go walking down dark alleys or unfamiliar streets alone at night.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

There is a low risk since the water meets or exceeds state and federal guidelines, but you do need a heads up about a few things you might find in the tap water. The City of Huntington Beach details some tap water oddities.

Safest Places to Visit in Huntington Beach

You can shop, dine, surf, and explore so many unique locations in Huntington Beach.

Pacific City is the newest neighborhood with shopping and dining on the Pacific Coast Highway with breathtaking unobstructed beach views.

There are five beaches in the city of Huntington Beach and one of them is a dog beach.

The best surfing waves are said to be near the Huntington Beach Pier.

You can take surfing classes and then join the large crowds of surfers in the water.

If you aren’t up to hang ten, you can live vicariously through the Huntington Surfing Museum, where you’ll see the world’s largest surfboard, among other pieces of surfing history.

The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is a great place for a run, walk, or stroll to watch the wildlife.

This 1400-acre land includes wetlands, marshes, lowlands, and mesas.

Check out Huntington Harbour to escape the crowds of beach tourists.

This seaside village is a great place to rent a kayak or SUP or grab a casual meal.

Placess to Avoid in Huntington Beach

The neighborhood of Oak View is nicknamed the “Slater Slums” and gets a reputation as being the bad part of town.

This one-square-mile neighborhood is an underserved community trying to clean up its act.

Crime rates have gone down in recent years.

It’s a mostly Latino community.

You don’t have a reason to visit this part of town, as it’s not a tourist draw.

You will see homeless people throughout the tourist areas and they might ask you for money.

You should not give them any money and instead donate to a homeless shelter if you are so inclined.

Orange County leaders are trying to give homeless people more options for housing and opportunities to get off the streets, but as with any city, it’s a work in progress.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Huntington Beach

  1. Huntington Beach is not in any way connected to the city of Huntington Park. The two locations are 26 miles apart. Huntington Park is more inland while Huntington Beach is on the water.
  2. Surfing isn’t just for people here. Every September, the city hosts the Surf City Surf Dog competition. Dogs surf the waves while tourists enjoy the show for free. There is a dog beach in Huntington Beach, so bring your four-legged friend to see if he or she might have a surfing dog in them.
  3. Plan to spend about $90 a day on food, drinks, shopping, transportation, and activities. This will help you budget how much money you bring each day and will keep you from overspending and thieves from seeing large wads of cash or a bulky wallet.
  4. You don’t have to dress up in this casual community. As one resident said in a social media forum, “Even my pastor wears a Hawaiian shirt to church.” Shorts, tank tops, and sandals are fine. There is a lot of walking to do, so make sure the shoes you wear can handle a day on your feet.
  5. There are more than 500 fire rings in Huntington Beach. You can’t reserve them and they are first-come, first-served. Most beaches are open from 5 am – 10 pm in the area, and fire rings can be used at any time during those open hours. You can buy firewood nearby.
  6. You might see a coyote in Huntington Beach. The city does have a Coyote Management Plan and if you see a coyote, report it. Should a coyote get a little too close for comfort, the advice is to make as much noise as possible and scream “GO AWAY COYOTE!” This is called hazing and it should make the coyote run the other way.
  7. Use caution when crossing the street. In 2021, 11 pedestrians were killed, 8 in 2020, and 7 in 2019. While this walkable city has plenty of crosswalks, both pedestrians and drivers need to use extreme caution in and around these crosswalks.
  8. Don’t use a drone over the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. In May of 2021, a drone crash led to 2000 Elegant Tern eggs being abandoned. You need a special use permit to use a drone here or you could face steep fines.
  9. If you rent a car, don’t drive with the music too loud. If your music can be heard more than 50 feet away you risk getting a ticket.
  10. The city has a curfew for juveniles and parents can be held accountable if they know their child is breaking curfew. The law is that no minors are allowed in a public place or business between 10 pm and 6 am. The establishment could face fines too. The only exceptions are if the minor is with their parents or guardian.

So... How Safe Is Huntington Beach Really?

Surfing is more dangerous than the streets of Huntington Beach.

The crime statistics break down like this:

  • Violent Crime: 1 in 403
  • Property Crime: 1 in 50
  • Theft: 1 in 66
  • Robbery: 1 in 1857
  • Aggravated Assault: 1 in 403.

Those numbers just take into consideration the population of Huntington Beach before tourists get there.

Here’s how it breaks down with the tourist numbers averaged in.

  • Violent Crime: 1 in 2262
  • Property Crime: 1 in 283
  • Theft: 1 in 370
  • Robbery: 1 in 10,424
  • Aggravated Assault: 1 in 2262

This is a busy tourist area, so there will always be crimes of opportunity.

Follow the basic safety steps for any tourist town, like locking your car and keeping belongings out of sight, don’t leave bags unattended, don’t flash money around, and don’t give private information to strangers.

There are downright dangerous parts of the Los Angeles metro area.

This isn’t one of them.

How Does Huntington Beach Compare?

CitySafety Index
Huntington Beach78
Atlanta58
St Louis58
Los Angeles56
Oakland57
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63

Useful Information

  • Visas - You just need a Visa when you arrive at customs in the port of entry or airport. You'll need a valid ID to drink alcohol and rent a car or boat.
  • Currency - Only the U.S. Dollar is needed here. Bring about $100 a day for your activities, and use a credit card when you can instead of a debit card as it provides more protection in case of identity theft.
  • Weather - The temperatures here don't change much throughout the year. The coldest average high is 62°(F) and the coldest it gets is 43°(F) in January. Average lows are usually around the 50s or 60s throughout the year. The average highs don't even break into the 80s, so it's about as perfect of a mild environment as possible. Bring a jacket or hoodie for those evening beach breezes. Don't forget the sunscreen.
  • Airports - John Wayne Airport (JWA) is the closest airport to Huntington Beach. It's 10 miles west. One note about John Wayne Airport—due to noise ordinances, the flights must take off fast and steep, so it can feel more like a rocket launch than an ascension. JWA has made the "scariest airports" list because of this. It's not dangerous, it's just a little jarring if you've never taken off from here before. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is 36 miles northwest and Hollywood Burbank Airport is 50 miles northwest.
  • Travel Insurance - You'll want travel insurance because this is a dream beach vacation and if anything gets in the way, you'll want to make sure your trip is protected so you'll be able to visit soon. You'll be riding those waves in Surf Town USA before you know it.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Huntington Beach Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 14° C
Feb 14° C
Mar 15° C
Apr 15° C
May 17° C
Jun 18° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 21° C
Sep 20° C
Oct 19° C
Nov 16° C
Dec 14° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
181718181920222323222018
Low
°C
10101112141618181715129
High
°F
646364646668727373726864
Low
°F
505052545761646463595448

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