Why the popularity? The term indicates that there is a surfing culture and vibe that's highly visible in sports, shops and even local arts.
But the regular tourist coming to visit Huntington Beach really only wants to know about the options for beach vacations or day visits.
There are four beaches and one portion of a beach that's called "Dog Beach" that comprise the one big sand playground called Huntington Beach. They go from south to north:
What makes life a bit confusing is that parking fees can vary from beach to beach and if you're planning an event which requires a permit, you will contact different agencies, depending on which beach you select.
Also good to know is that Sunset Beach has no fire rings while the other three beaches do. And of course, lots of people want to see and experience the pier and downtown shops. For that preference, you're best beach option is visiting Huntington City Beach.
All four beaches have volleyball courts and nets and public restrooms. The beach that has no skate or bike path is Sunset Beach.