A seaside city found in Coastal Orange County, Huntington Beach, California, is home to a population of around 195,000, as of 2006 estimates. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Seal Beach to the northwest, Costa Mesa to the east, Newport Beach to the southeast, Westminster to the north and Fountain Valley to the northeast. The city was incorporated in 1909, and gets its name because the original developer was a real estate firm owned by Henry Huntington, which still own much of the local mineral rights and some land in the city.
Huntington Beach makes up a total area of 31.5 square miles, with eight and a half miles of beach, popular worldwide for its surfing. The region was initially inhabited by the Tongva natives and Western settlement arose when Manuel Nieto, a Spanish soldier, obtained a land grant in 1784 for 300,000 acres as a reward for his military service. This land included what is now Huntington Beach. The beach is a maintained and cherished area, and construction on it is prohibited without first achieving approval by a vote of residents.
Annual median household income in the city was estimated at more than $80,000 in 2007. Two state parks, Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach, grace the northern and southern tips of the area. Between them, Huntington City Beach is operated by the town. The city sits atop a natural oil reserve that still is being extracted from, though to a lesser extent than in years past, with two off-shore facilities. The city’s downtown is home to an art center, a shopping district and the International Surfing Museum. It is home to such annual events as The U.S. Open of Surfing and Beach Games, a stop on the AVP beach volleyball tour and the SoCal Independent Film Festival. Smaller, community events include a biathlon swim/run in July, a Fourth of July parade, a Cruise of Lights Boat Tour and a Kite Festival in February.
The schools in the community belong to the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which includes six high schools. There are also several middle schools and more than two dozen elementary schools in operation as well, in addition to several private schools. Post-secondary education can be obtained at Golden West College, a two-year community college. For other research and media materials, residents can visit the Huntington Beach Public Library, located within Huntington’s Central Park.