Situated between Los Angeles and San Diego on the Pacific Coast Highway, is still the quintessential Southern California “Surf City” Jan & Dean sung about in 1963. Featuring 10 miles of uninterrupted beaches and an average of 281 days of sunshine a year, the city, like many of the coastal enclaves in these parts, its 199,223 residents (as of 2019), and the 11 million yearly visitors it welcomes benefit from the Mediterranean climate.
Like everywhere else, the summer highs have been on an upward trajectory. But for the most part, the area experiences warm sunny summers in the 70s to 90s, mostly mild winters where locals rarely see the mercury dipping below 40 degrees, and minimal humidity year-round. Average annual rainfall, a bulk of which drops between December and March with February being the wettest month, is less than 12 inches. Spring and fall also boast warm enough days for travelers to partake in biking, hiking, inline skating, beach volleyball, and other active endeavors and balmy and brisk enough nights to strike up a bonfire and roast some s’mores. (Some of the hotels employ beach butlers who can handle the set-up and fetch the ingredients for the gooey dessert.) As for actually getting in the big blue, August is your best bet as it usually heats up to around 69 degrees. If you prefer a polar plunge, jump in in February when the average drops down to 59 degrees.
The gorgeous weather, sandy setting, and an abundance of surfers create a laidback atmosphere that can be enjoyed year-round. Spring and summer are the high seasons and are a good time of year to vacation here, especially if you’d like your trip to resemble the lyrics of famous surf rock songs. This guide to the weather and climate by season should help you pick the right time of year to bliss out at the beach.
Fast Climate Facts
- Hottest Month: July (75 F / 23.9 C)
- Coldest Month: January (43 F / 6.1 C)
- Wettest Month: February (2.7 inches)
- Sunniest Month: July and August (11 hours of sunshine per day)
- Windiest Month: December (7.9 mph)
- Best Month for Swimming: July or August (average sea temperature of 67.7 F)
Officially nicknamed Surf City USA, it's the home of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing (typically held in late July/early August), the Surfing Hall of Fame, and the International Surf Museum. No matter the time of year, there will be boarders bobbing just off the shore trying to catch the perfect wave as there is consistent year-round swell at the five distinct beaches. Surfline forecasters say Huntington Beach is "singularly the most consistent wave zone in all of Southern California" and "the number one surf town in America." But conditions are affected by weather, mainly the Santa Ana offshore winds, and it continually changes. If you plan to paddle out, call (714) 536-5281 for the organization's daily size-up of the swells and visit its website to look at live cams.
Summer in Huntington Beach
This is when the beach town shines brightest, helped by an average of 11 hours of sunshine a day and temperatures in the 70s to 90s. It’s the warmest, driest time of the year and the Pacific, while still chilly, logs its highest water temperatures. This is common knowledge, so you will not be the only one attempting to escape to the seaside. The beaches, and any hotel, bar, or restaurant alongside them, will be substantially more crowded.
What to pack: Naturally, you should bring swimsuits, sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, wetsuits, sunscreen, and anything else you need to have fun in the sun and sand. Even off the beach, board shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops are like uniforms. You’ll also likely want a light coat or sweater for the evening. Remember, as you go inland, like say to Disneyland or shopping at the Irvine Spectrum Center, the temperature jumps up pretty staggeringly—anywhere from five to 20 degrees—without coastal winds or the ocean acting as a natural temperature stabilizer. Consider cooling buffs, personal misters/fans, and tank tops for excursions to attractions.
Average Temperatures by Month
June: 73 F (22.8 C) / 63 F (17.2 C)
July: 75 F (23.9 C) / 65 F (18.3 C)
August: 75 F (23.9 C) / 63 F (17.2 C)
Fall in Huntington Beach
Other than pumpkin patches cropping up and PSLs being added to Starbucks’ menus, there aren’t a whole lot of concrete signs that autumn has arrived. The weather is still warm and dry enough, sometimes even at night, to stroll the sand or the pier, take a cruiser out for a spin on the eight-mile multi-use beach trail, or eat outside on a restaurant patio. The ocean starts to cool a little in September and drops to the low 60s by November. There are a few hours less sunshine daily and overcast mornings tend to pop back into the picture in October.
What to pack: This is 100 percent still flip-flop weather. Although, to be fair, it is always flip-flop weather in the Golden State. Layering is essential in the fall. Board shorts, hoodies, flannels, and slip-ons are also quite commonplace. Most bars and restaurants keep it casual, making jeans and short-sleeve button-ups acceptable. If you want to step up your game, midi skirts, jumpsuits, Hawaiian shirts, and blazers (paired with denim, of course) are the way to go. Forgo ties unless you want to be mistaken for a politician.
Average Temperatures by Month
September: 77 F (25 C) / 63 F (17.2 C)
October: 77 F (25 C) / 61 F (16.1 C)
November: 70 F (21.1 C) / 55 F (12.8 C)
Winter in Huntington Beach
This is the coldest time of year but still relatively mild compared to Midwest, East Coast, and Canadian winters. (That’s why the region is extremely popular with snowbirds from our neighbor to the north.) In terms of daytime temperatures, December is the coldest month, but January tends to experience slightly more frigid nights. And by frigid, we mean low 40s. A bulk of the year’s average rainfall also happens between December and March. January and February are typically the only months that receive more than two inches. Remember, if you venture inland, it will likely be five to 10 degrees colder.
What to pack: What goes into your suitcase for a winter sojourn to Surf City will likely depend on where you reside. For Californians, Arizonians, and folks from tropical places, 40-degree weather is cold, and they’ll need a puffer, heavy jacket, scarves, beanies, and sweaters, especially at night. UGGs and sweatshirts or fleeces are great for walks on the beach or post-swim. But if you’re from Minnesota and you just suffered through multiple snowstorms in a row, this type of weather might still call for celebration…and shorts. Umbrellas are useful for many as this is the time of the heaviest rainfall, but Seattleites and Portlanders generally scoff at California’s modest downpours and eschew umbrellas for raincoats.
Average Temperatures by Month
December: 63 F (17.2 C) / 49 F (9.4 C)
January: 65 F (18.3 C) / 43 F (6.1 C)
February: 64 F (17.8 C) / 46 F (7.8 C)
Spring in Huntington Beach
Spring, as a whole, is a great time to visit thanks to blooming plants, clearer skies, and warmer temperatures, but March often stays chilly and rainy (1.76 inches average). The morning marine layer tends to hang around, and like other coastal enclaves in Southern California, May gray and June gloom can cramp beach-day plans. They can work in your favor, however, if you are headed to area theme parks where you often have to stand in lines without shade cover. It's also a great time to wander around the 1,300-acre Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve as you can cover more ground and snap better photos when the blazing summer sun is in hiding.
What to pack: Sneakers are a must to take advantage of all the outdoor activities the area has to offer or to tackle queues at Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm. Bring warm comfy clothes to sit by the farm pits at various beaches or walk home from dinner. You'll likely still want swimsuits as many resorts heat pools in spring, and if you're going to try surfing, bring a rashguard or wetsuit. Or figure out where to rent one because most people want one after a few minutes in the Pacific.
Average Temperatures by Month
March: 65 F (18.3 C) / 52 F (11.1 C)
April: 68 F (20 C) / 55 F (12.8 C)
May: 72 F (22.2 C) / 59 F (15 C)
|Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours|
|Avg. Temperature||Avg. Rainfall||Avg. Daylight|
|January||65 degrees F||2.07 inches||10.2 hours|
|February||64 degrees F||2.68 inches||11 hours|
|March||65 degrees F||1.67 inches||12 hours|
|April||68 degrees F||.72 inches||13.1 hours|
|May||72 degrees F||.13 inches||13.9 hours|
|June||73 degrees F||.07 inches||14.4 hours|
|July||75 degrees F||.02 inches||14.1 hours|
|August||75 degrees F||.02 inches||13.4 hours|
|September||77 degrees F||.17 inches||12.4 hours|
|October||77 degrees F||.38 inches||11.3 hours|
|November||70 degrees F||.96 inches||10.4 hours|
|December||63 degrees F||1.82 inches||10 hours|
Visit Huntington Beach. "Visitor Information." 2020.
Unite States Census Bureau. "QuickFacts Huntington Beach." 2019
City of Huntington Beach California. "Visitors."
Weather Spark. "Average Weather in Huntington Beach."
Surfline. "Spot Check: Huntington Beach Pier." 2020.
Visit Huntington Beach. "Plan Your Visit: Weather." 2020