Surf fishing; CA fishing permit required
Check with lifeguards for safe swimming
Surfing, Surf Fishing, Hiking, Bird Watching, Picnicking
Restrooms, Outdoor Showers, Picnic Tables, Trails, Beach Wheelchairs
$15 day pass fee for standard vehicles; senior discounts and annual passes are available
Ample parking near the beach
El Matador Beach
California state beaches are amazing, and Bolsa Chica State Beach is no exception! This beautiful Orange County destination is popular for many reasons. In this guide, we'll share everything you need to know, from popular activities to answers to common questions.
If you're looking to enjoy the sunshine, picturesque scenery, and fun beach activities, Bolsa Chica is a must-visit!
Bolsa Chica State Beach History
Long ago, locals called Bolsa Chica State Beach "Tin Can Beach" because tin cans and other litter lined the beach. In the late sixties, the government planned to situate a power plant off the beach's coast on Bolsa Island.
The plan was ultimately abandoned because the state couldn't come up with the capital to fund the project. In 1960, it became a state beach a part of the California state park system.
About Bolsa Chica State Beach
Situated between Huntington Beach and Sunset Beach, Bolsa Chica Beach boasts 3 miles of stunning shoreline. You'll find the Pacific Ocean on one side of the beach and the Santa Ana River on the other.
Today, Bolsa Chica State Beach is one of California state parks that's a popular destination for California locals and visitors looking for a less busy beach to relax and enjoy water activities.
There's something for everyone at Bolsa Chica State Beach, from surfing and sunbathing to surf fishing and birdwatching. The beach boasts a pristine ocean, expansive sand, and many amentities.
The park and beach also has a campground, picnic areas, a paved bike path, and sports courts. It's easy to spend an entire day or an extended camping trip here. Given its location across the Pacific Coast Highway from the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, visitors can also enjoy bird watching, hiking, and taking in the diverse scenery.
Because of the beach's proximity to Huntington Beach, it gets the same prominent waves that surfers are looking for. Meanwhile, it's an excellent spot for local fishing when the waters are more gentle. Beachgoers also enjoy watching the sunset, sunbathing, and building sandcastles.
Lifeguards are on the beach year-round, with lifeguard towers staffed from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
How to Get There
One of the best parts of Boca Chica State Beach is how easy it is to get to. It's located in Huntington Beach, California and extends from Warner Avenue to Golden West Street on the Pacific Coast Hwy.
Coming from Los Angeles, you'll take the I-405 freeway south until you reach Beach Boulevard. Then, follow Beach Boulevard until you get to the parking lot for the state beach.
There are also a few public transportation options available. The Orange County Transit Authority operates a bus that goes from Los Alamitos to the beach, and there's also a shuttle that runs from Huntington Beach station.
Where to Stay
If you're looking to spend the night in the area, there are many hotels and vacation rentals just north and south of the beach on the Pacific Coast Highway. There's also a campground at the state park.
Camping at Bolsa Chica Campground
As we mentioned, there's camping at the state park. If you're traveling with self-contained RVs or trailers, we highly recomend this experience. At the campground, you can find electric and water hookups, fire rings, and a multi use trail. Leashed pets are welcome at the campground.
Note: Tent camping isn't permitted at the campground.
Bolsa Chica State Beach Review
Overall, Bolsa Chica State Beach is one of the best sandy southern California beaches. It's wide and clean and offers picture-perfect scenery. There are also countless amenities, making for a relaxing day by the ocean.
If you enjoy surfing, swimming, sunbathing, or boogie boarding, you'll enjoy Bolsa Chica State Beach. It's a nice place to view wildlife, hike, and bike, too. There are also visitor centers that have displays and exhibits year-round.
If you're looking for even more to do nearby, you can visit the bustling downtown Huntington Beach. The Huntington Beach bike trail is also fun.
If you're looking for an all-around great California state beach, we highly recommend checking out Bolsa Chica!