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Huntington Beach Central Park

Location: Huntington Beach: Boxed by Edwards Street, Ellis Avenue, Gothard Street and Slater Avenue; Golden West Street runs through the center, as does Talbert Avenue and Central Park Drive. For a helpful map, visit the city’s Web site listed below.
Cost: Free! (but Frisbee golf costs $1)
For ages: All

Right in the heart of the historic city of Huntington Beach is a 350-acre park jam-packed with fun and adventure. It’s practically a theme park, there’s so much to do.

Get there early and enjoy a relaxing breakfast overlooking Huntington Lake at the charming, cottage-style Breakfast in the Park (breakfast and lunch served). Then grab your binoculars and stop by the Nature Center for a free brochure noting some of the 228 species of birds in the park and spend the morning bird-watching. Midday you can spend some time on one of the park’s four tot lots, check out the horses at the equestrian center, then head over to the disc golf area, where a round of Frisbee-golf can be played for $1 (there’s even a no-frills “pro shop” with discs on sale).

Cross Golden West and visit the other half of the park: You can saunter around Talbert Lake with your binoculars, check out “Dog Park” (don’t miss the path to the gated area – it has little doggy names carved into the stepping stones) and afterward grab lunch at the charming Park Bench Café, where – if you have your pooch along – he can order a bowl of Kibble off the menu and enjoy it in the Doggie Dining Area while you and your kids enjoy your own lunch.

If you’re interested in some educational pursuits, catch a play at the Huntington Beach Playhouse (tickets run about $10 – $13) or visit the city’s Central Library, with its pools of water, fountains, light and foliage overlooking Talbert Lake.

Where to park: There is plenty of free parking all around the park.

What to bring: Sunscreen, water bottles, binoculars for the nature walk, picnic lunch (unless you want to eat at one of the two cafés, which is fun, too), cash for Frisbee golf or snacks. Great place to bring your dog. Great place for strollers, bikes and scooters. Model boats are welcome in the lakes. Fishing is welcome with a fishing license.

Best time to go: Anytime.

For more information: 714-536-5486, Surf City website, or Shipley Nature Center website 

Do you ever go to Huntington Beach Central Park? What are your favorite things to do there?

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