Best Residential Neighborhood (2010)

Sunset Beach

There's a reason this unincorporated community north of Huntington Beach fought to remain unincorporated: Who would want to change a damn thing about Sunset Beach? First of all, it's walkable, which is good because its thousand or so residents have to walk to the Post Office to get their mail; direct delivery is one of those modern conveniences that, charmingly, hasn't yet penetrated Sunset Beach. There is, of course, the gorgeousness factor—the waterfront-to-landmass-area ratio has to be in some record book—but more important may be the funkiness factor. There are a few good bars, a few quirky buildings, a few well-loved houses, all of which recall a time when you could wistfully put "sleepy" and "seaside" in the same sentence when describing coastal Orange County. Here's hoping that doesn't change when it officially becomes part of H.B. next year.

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