Skip to main content

A Detailed Guide to Bolsa Chica State Beach

A Detailed Guide to Bolsa Chica State Beach

Experience the best of California's coast at Bolsa Chica State Beach. Surf, bird-watch or fish to your heart's content. Team


3 min read

June 21, 2023

Located in Huntington Beach, California, Bolsa Chica State Beach is a popular destination for those who love the sun, sand, and surf. This beachfront state park stretches across three miles of the Pacific coastline, boasting a serene and tranquil atmosphere unlike any other.

Bolsa Chica State Beach resides on a sandbar sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Bolsa Bay, the latter being home to the famous Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. This combination of beachfront and wetland environments makes it a unique destination offering both water sports activities and nature exploration.

History of Bolsa Chica State Beach

The history of Bolsa Chica State Beach spans centuries, with the area initially inhabited by the native Gabrielino-Tongva tribe who used the land for fishing and hunting. Later, the Spanish missionaries discovered the region in the 18th century, and the area went through various ownership hands during the Spanish and Mexican eras.

The modern history of the beach as a state park began in the mid-20th century. The State of California purchased the beachfront land in 1961, making it officially a state beach. Since then, it has been a haven for locals and tourists alike, attracting more than a million visitors annually.

When to Visit Bolsa Chica State Beach


Springtime at Bolsa Chica State Beach brings mild temperatures, making it an ideal time for visitors looking for a relaxing beach experience without the intense summer heat. Nature enthusiasts should make a point to visit during this season as the adjacent wetlands burst into life, offering an excellent opportunity for bird-watching.


Summer is the peak season at Bolsa Chica. The weather is warm and perfect for beach activities like swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and picnicking. Please note that the beach can be crowded during this time, so arriving early is advisable if you want a good spot. If you're interested in grunion runs, the summer nights can offer a chance to witness this unique spectacle.

Bolsa Chica State Beach is nice all year, so whatever season you visit will be a visual showcase.


Autumn presents an equally exciting time to visit. The summer crowds dwindle, and the temperatures are still comfortable for beach activities. Also, the sunsets during this time are particularly stunning, making evening strolls along the beach a must.


Winter visits are for the more adventurous souls, as the Pacific waters can be quite chilly. However, this is an excellent time for surfing, as winter storms generate larger waves. Plus, the tranquil atmosphere and the sparse crowd make it a peaceful getaway for those seeking solitude.

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

How to Get to Bolsa Chica State Beach and Fees

Located approximately 5 miles north of downtown Huntington Beach, Bolsa Chica State Beach is easily accessible by car. The beach is situated along the Pacific Coast Highway, a route famous for its stunning coastal views. Visitors can input "Bolsa Chica State Beach" into their GPS for straightforward directions.

Upon arrival, visitors will need to pay a vehicle day-use fee, which is typically $15 but can increase up to $25 on holiday weekends. Pedestrians and cyclists can enter the park for free. Annual passes are available for frequent visitors, offering a more economical choice. For those using public transportation, the OCTA bus line services the area, and the nearest stop is at Pacific Coast-Warner. From there, it's a short walk to the beach.

No matter what time of the year you decide to visit, Bolsa Chica State Beach promises a delightful beach experience filled with nature's wonders, a touch of history, and a variety of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.

Top 5 Things to Do at Bolsa Chica State Beach

Enjoy the scenery of Bolsa Chica State Beach, which will greatly enhance your time visiting.

1. Surfing the Waves

As a premier destination for surfing, Bolsa Chica State Beach offers ample opportunities for wave-riders, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro. With its consistent break, it's an excellent place to learn and refine your skills. You can either bring your own gear or rent from the local surf shops nearby. If you're new to surfing, you'll find surf schools offering lessons right on the beach.

2. Bird Watching at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve

Adjacent to the beach lies the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, a wetland that hosts hundreds of bird species throughout the year. With its significant ecological value, birdwatchers will find this place a treasure trove. Don't forget your binoculars as you might spot rarities such as the endangered California Least Tern or the Reddish Egret.

There's plenty of good birdwatching to do at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

3. Fishing from the Jetty

The southern end of Bolsa Chica State Beach features a jetty that provides a perfect spot for fishing. Common catches include perch, corbina, and California halibut. Keep in mind that while fishing is allowed year-round, a California fishing license is required for those 16 and over.

4. Exploring the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center

For those interested in learning more about the natural and cultural history of the area, the Bolsa Chica Interpretive Center is a must-visit. Here, you can explore exhibits on local wildlife, Native American culture, and the area's historical significance. It's a great place for families, offering an educational and entertaining experience for kids and adults alike.

5. Beach Volleyball

With multiple courts available, Bolsa Chica State Beach is a fantastic place to enjoy a game of beach volleyball. The courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so gather your friends and start a friendly match amidst the beautiful beach backdrop.

With its variety of recreational activities, stunning natural beauty, and rich history, Bolsa Chica State Beach truly has something for everyone. Whether you're catching a wave, watching a rare bird, casting a line, learning about local history, or spiking a volleyball, you're guaranteed a memorable experience. So pack your beach bag and set off for a day or even a weekend at this fantastic Californian gem.

Need help with a home improvement project? Get a free quote today!

Enter Your Zip Code

Enter Your Zip Code

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We're committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that's just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section