Surfside is primarily a residential community with townhomes and houses either on the beach (in A row) or close in rows B & C. There's a small post office where residents get their mail, and there is also a small playground for kids, located directly on the sand. The public can visit and use Surfside beaches, but you do have to park outside the gates and walk on the sand to gain access to the beach. It's easy enough, and there's a wall with a rules & regulations sign that lets you know where Surfside begins on the beach.
Surfside receives many of its services from Seal Beach and is considered part of that city's bounds, even though an ocean channel separates the two, accessible by a bridge spanning the channel on Pacific Coast Highway.
Though the gates are up and you can't drive into the complex, the beach is a public beach that you can access by parking in Sunset Beach.
For tourists, there are some rental properties in Surfside that make for great vacations. Most tourists visiting nearby hotels on Pacific Coast Highway-- Ocean View, Pacific View, prefer to wander over to Sunset Beach beaches for relaxation.
One of the landmarks of little surfside is Taco Surf, a tiki / Mexican restaurant where you'll find a full cocktail bar, affordable meals, a casual atmosphere, and live entertainment on weekends.
The location is a popular spot for wind and kitesurfing, and unbeknownst to some, there's a sign or two that offers rules of the beach etiquette. Beach-goers are asked to make way and steer clear of launch areas where these adventuresome surfers are permitted to go within their zone. Since only a sign or two is posted, few pay attention and do tend to wander into the area. It can be slight dangerous, however, so proceed with caution.
As you trek the Surfside beach away from the water tower house and toward the Naval Weapons facility, you move out of the windsurfing zone and can find the beach as Surfside quite mellow and seldom crowded.
As of this posting the parking at Sunset Beach is free. But if Huntington Beach acquires Sunset Beach and makes it part of "HB", (nearly a sure bet,) all bets are off about finding free beach parking!