By Melissa, from our trip in July
I’m writing this from the sand. Waves and chatter of other beach goers in the background, salty breeze on our burned skin. We found a shady spot under the pier today since we got stupidly sunburned yesterday and are enjoying just sitting. Sitting with our eyes closed. Him listening to a podcast, me writing.
Originally when planning our 15th anniversary trip, I had thoughts of England and Scotland. I had dates picked out. I had destinations and itineraries in mind. I also had no idea when we would get pregnant. Or how to make childcare for three small kids over a week long vacation actually work. And luckily I didn’t actually book any of my plans. Because 2020. Pandemic, twins, you know, just lots of surprises. So we made impromptu plans to go to the beach. Just for a weekend. Just to get away. Just to be us for a minute.
Because We Are Parents
It has been SEVEN years since we’ve taken a beach trip that didn’t involve ludicrous amounts of preparation, sunscreen, beach toys and wet sand in all the creases and crevices. Philip has mentioned more than once how he had forgotten how much he enjoys just relaxing on the beach. I mean, who wouldn’t? But since having kids, we have had to keep two sets of eyes on them at all times. Especially since we have a very overly friendly child who has been known to venture off down the beach when she saw a dog she wanted to say hi to. Or the time in Florida that she walked “to go find mom” around the back side of the condo building we were staying in and didn’t let anyone know. You see what I’m saying? Hawk eyes on that one at all times.
So as we tried to think of where to go that would be a relaxing place that could be a quick and easy trip, we landed on Huntington Beach. We have visited and stayed in Newport, just ten minutes south, many times, and always ventured up here for a delicious meal or some shopping. But never have we stayed here. And man, I’m so glad we did.
Huntington has a few more hotels right on the beach than Newport, making it ideal for a quick stay. It also has amazing restaurants, fun shopping at cute surf shops, and and a very laid back vibe that is really fun. Not to mention it is a quick 25 minute Uber from the Orange County airport!
Booking with Points
When initially booking the trip, I started looking at where we could go and stay using points. Because of course I did. The getting here was easy. Southwest was offering $49 flights, which translates to roughly 3200 points each way. That is a smoking deal! Then on top of that, once Philip qualified for the Southwest companion pass, we were able to cancel my ticket and add me as Philip’s companion and I got to fly for just the cost of taxes and fees, which equals exactly $11.20. Not too shabby!
Then as I was looking for a place to stay, I just wanted walkability to restaurants and right by the beach. Aaaaand if of it was a little swanky, I wouldn’t mind. That’s not too much to ask, right? 😉 Since this was the trip that was our unofficial 15th anniversary trip, and also likely the last trip we will take before bringing two tiny and needy humans into the world, I was okay spending a smidge more (points) on this stay. I figured that if there was ever a time to splurge, it would be on a two night trip, sans kids, where we could really appreciate the comforts of a resort.
I looked at using my Marriott or Hyatt points but couldn’t find exactly what I was hoping for. So instead I used Chase ultimate rewards points and started searching. We ended up at the Paséa Resort and Spa and we couldn’t be happier with our stay. I will say that there was a daily resort fee that we had to pay, but paying less than $80 for two nights in a hotel that normally goes for $400ish a night didn’t seem too unreasonable.
Our room was gorgeous. The location was right on the Pacific Coast Highway and directly across from the beach, as well as a short walk to Main Street where we love to shop and eat. Right next to it is a new shopping center called Pacific City that had shopping and restaurants also. And good heavens, the service was outstanding and the perks were awesome. I mean, free flip flops to use and take home? Beach chairs and towels to check out and use daily? YES PLEASE. We would 100% come back and stay again, though I will say that it was very much a couples room. I can’t speak to the rooms with two beds, but ours was definitely geared to a romantic stay.
So if you are going to Huntington Beach anytime soon and need a sexy place to stay, I would highly recommend the Paséa! So lovely. But regardless of where you stay, here are a few places to eat also.
Favorite Food Options
-Sugar Shack. We have been coming here for YEARS. Every time we go to Newport in the summer, we end up driving up to Huntington most, if not every morning to eat here. Their French toast is my favorite on earth. Their breakfast burritos are the size of small infants. Do you like omelettes? They’ve got you covered there too. And their Kepler’s is a version of eggs Benedict that I can really get behind. And rest assured that we got every single one of those things in the two days we ate there. Seriously, there hasn’t ever been something that we didn’t like from there.
We also tried a few new places this time, most of which were pretty good, but one place we really enjoyed was Burnt Crumbs. It is a sandwich shop with really awesome and unusual combinations that we found to be delightful. Philip got a fried chicken sandwich with mashed potatoes gravy on it that he was obsessed with. I tried a spaghetti sandwich that was really unusual but super good. And their French fries were delightfully salty, and is there anything better than really salty fries? Not really.
Our last quick bite of our trip was a little shop called Ice Creamton. They advertised Dole pineapple soft serve and I just couldn’t not try it. News flash, it was incredible. Philip got a churro ice cream sandwich that was as amazing as it sounds. And what’s even better is that they made the churros fresh right then and there, so it was piping hot with ice cream melting on it. Goodness, it was delicious! Both of us were unexpectedly blown away by what we got. I had thought it would be a quick bite to eat and it ended up being a place that we would literally write home (or a blog mention) about.
When Can We Go Back?
It was seriously the best two and a half days. We slept and ate more than is probably healthy, but man did we enjoy ourselves! And I cannot recommend getting away without kids enough! We love love love our little stinkers, but it was nice to be reminded of what just US looks like. And gosh, we look happy.