Home to some 71 parks, Huntington Beach never fails adventurers in search of outdoor entertainment. From grass to sand to lakes to sea, Surf City houses the perfect park for just about any occasion. We've made it our mission to explore them all.
In our previous park post, we toured Main Street's romantic Farquhar Park—a welcoming retreat from the hubbub. Across Main sits Lake Park, frequented by lazing adults and romping kids. Though its name may be deceiving, given that a lake no longer exists here, the park offers manicured grounds for picnickers, benches for rests, a clubhouse for events and plenty of equipment for children at play.
Inhabited by bright hibiscus flower varieties, the five-acre park stretches from Main to Lake streets between 11th and 12th streets. Curbside parking is ample. A palm-tree lined, paved path leads visitors from Main into the park, pausing at a paved circle surrounded by benches, then continuing on to the spot where little ones drag their parents. Eucalyptus trees, picnic tables and pairs of trash cans also border the path, along with numerous small shaded and sunny pockets to where those seeking solitude can retreat. Leashed dogs are welcome.
Full of life on a weekday afternoon, the sandy play area features two jungle gyms, one with two slides and another with three. The larger set, presumably for larger youngsters, also comes complete with monkey bars. There's a swing set, too. Those seated near this side of Lake Park can watch kids at play or palms trees sway, and it's this area that originally lent itself to the park's name.
A small fly-fishing lake once filled the space now beloved by kids. While many HB parks are named after renowned residents, Lake Park was dubbed in honor of the small body of water. Purchased in 1912, Lake Park is the second oldest developed park in HB.
Beyond the late lake location, Lake Park Clubhouse provides 1,500 square feet of entertainment space as well as several long picnic tables and outdoor stainless steel cook tops. The HB Community Garden takes over the clubhouse at least once monthly to host board meetings and other special events.
Public restrooms, while hardly modern yet completely sufficient, add another item to the park's list of perks, as do its beverage offerings. A water fountain hydrates along the paved path near the clubhouse, and a vending machine slinging $2, 20-ounce bottles of water and soda stands near the bathrooms. The machine only accepts cash.
As we plunked down on a bench and absorbed the sweet smells of nature and equally sweet sounds of chuckling children, we found our list of cons for Lake Park quite lacking. Surrounded by charming homes and the low hum of residential traffic, the park retains an orderly beauty in downtown HB.
Lake Park is located at 1035 11th Street in Huntington Beach. Unlike most HB parks, there is no signage identifying Lake Park. Hours are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.