Can AI plan a day trip in Huntington Beach?
These days it seems there is an artificial intelligence bot for everything. Sites such as ChatGPT and DALL-E allow users to write out a prompt for the AI to complete. Prompts can range in complexity, from drafting an email to coding for a website.
While this technology might be useful in some circumstances, it’s not always accurate. This is something ChatGPT seems to be aware of. After I asked it to write an HTML code about ChatGPT it provided this response:
“Please keep in mind that while ChatGPT strives to provide accurate and helpful responses, it may occasionally produce incorrect or nonsensical answers. It’s always a good idea to verify information from reliable sources.”
Okay, so we shouldn’t rely on ChatGPT for everything. But what about the simpler things? Can ChatGPT plan a day trip?
If it works, it could take a lot of the headache out of having fun. As it is now, making an itinerary can mean a day of scrolling through travel articles, Google suggestions and Yelp reviews — with no guarantee that it’ll result in a fun day.
We put it to the test and fed the chat bot our question:
Give me a one day itinerary for Huntington Beach, California.
Here’s how it went.
A day in Huntington Beach planned by AI
“Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the local cafes or restaurants in downtown Huntington Beach. Some popular options include Sugar Shack Café or Pacific Hideaway.”
One of the first things on my mind, when it came to this itinerary, was if it was going to suggest real places. Sugar Shack Cafe is not only real, but a popular spot to be on a Friday morning. The menu was simple and the service was speedy. There was plenty of outdoor seating, which I’m always a fan of especially in a beach town. The interior of the cafe also adds to the Surf City USA aesthetic with plenty of pictures of surfers hanging from the walls as well as the main dining table made out of an old wooden board.
Typically when I’m looking for food suggestions I hop onto Google or Yelp and check the reviews and location. When I searched for breakfast suggestions in Huntington Beach on both sites, Sugar Shack Cafe was number 6 for both of them, which I typically wouldn’t click on unless the location was the most convenient from the map view. Google gave the top spot to IHOP, so points to AI for recommending a locally owned restaurant instead. – CB
I was happy with how budget friendly this suggestion was. Food can be an unexpectedly expensive component of a trip, and I always forget to budget properly for it when I’m traveling. No issues here: Our total for two people was $25.86, accompanied by speedy service and delicious food. -DE
“Visit the Huntington Beach Pier, an iconic landmark in the city. Take a stroll along the pier, enjoy the panoramic views of the coastline, and watch surfers and fishermen in action.”
Growing up in California I’ve seen my fair share of piers, but I love to see how they’re unique to each city. What I liked about Huntington Beach’s Pier was that there were a few street musicians performing. There were a few gift shops and at the end of the pier there was some construction happening for a new restaurant. It was a good amount of things to do, but also wasn’t super crowded, allowing us to find a spot to rest and watch the surfers. – CB
Surfers and fishermen were abundant, so shoutout to AI for knowing the real-life surroundings I might encounter at the pier.
However, the pier visit brought up my first criticism of the AI itinerary: The end of the pier was closed due to the above-mentioned construction. While not the end of the world, I advise that if you ask AI for a plan, double-check it for seasonal closures and construction. -DE
“Explore the International Surfing Museum located near the pier. It showcases the history and culture of surfing with various exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia.”
The International Surfing Museum was my favorite thing ChatGPT recommended we check out. We got to meet Terry O’Shea who works at the museum a few days a week. You could tell he loves what he does, especially when it means telling visitors about the giant surfboard in the parking lot that broke a Guinness World Record. – CB
I’m a California transplant, and a Colorado girl at heart. So when I noticed that we could walk from the pier to the museum, I had to give points to the chat bot for a walkable itinerary.
Plus, I would have never picked the activity myself, having never been on a surfboard. In reality, I found the museum really interesting. It caters to all sorts of interests that intertwine with the water sport, from fashion to art to history. -DE
“As the sun begins to set, make your way to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, located just north of Huntington Beach. This beautiful coastal wetland offers scenic trails where you can observe a variety of bird species and enjoy the serene surroundings.”
One thing ChatGPT might not be able to suggest but a travel blogger can? Bring a jacket. The reserve was windy which was a contrast in temperature from our earlier activities. Also wear walking shoes. The reserve isn’t something I’d think to search for when planning a trip to a beach town, but it was a nice change of scenery. We got to see some birds diving into the water and some speedy caterpillars. There was also signage throughout that provided information on the animals and had activities for kids. – CB
We had to get in a car (the agony!) to get here, but I totally saw ChatGPT’s vision. The reserve is beautiful and jam-packed with birds, a perfect way to end a day of people-centric activities.
One small note: I don’t know how “serene” a surrounding can be when part of it includes the Pacific Coast Highway, which skirts along the reserve. The beautiful bird noises are consistently intertwined with the not-so-beautiful car noises, but you can manage to escape it if you’re on the furthest end of the reserve. -DE
I think this technology can be fun and be a good way to draw inspiration for a trip, but I still think doing your own research is key.
I’m someone who likes to hear about other’s experiences when planning out trips, either through blogs, social media or asking friends and family for tips. While ChatGPT does provide good suggestions, it doesn’t replace the human experience and thinking of those extra details of what to wear, where to park or even your social battery. The full itinerary ChatGPT provided was packed, giving us three suggestions for the morning, three for the afternoon and three things to do in the evening.
The other thing ChatGPT doesn’t currently seem to account for is time-sensitive events. We spotted a few throughout our day such as Art Fair on the Pier and the 26th annual Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge Western Regional Competition. Had we known these events were happening prior, we probably would have re-evaluated which activities we ended up doing. – CB
ChatGPT is no local, but it did provide a variety of different activities that left me with a better understanding of Huntington Beach.
I think it’s better to pick and choose, as we did, from the suggested itinerary than attempt to do the entire thing. The full itinerary could get expensive (eating three times, surf lessons and drinks), it wasn’t always logical (why not group all of the beach activities together?) and time consuming.
But, overall, points to the bot for its walkable, budget-friendly and varied itinerary. We had fun. -DE
The full itinerary from ChatGPT
Prompt: Give me a one day itinerary for Huntington Beach, California.
Response:Certainly! Here’s a one-day itinerary for enjoying Huntington Beach:
Start your day with a delicious breakfast at one of the local cafes or restaurants in downtown Huntington Beach. Some popular options include Sugar Shack Café or Pacific Hideaway.
Head over to Huntington State Beach, which offers pristine sandy shores and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, dip your toes in the water, or simply relax and soak up the sun.
If you’re interested in surfing, Huntington Beach is known as Surf City USA. Consider taking a surf lesson or renting a board to catch some waves. There are several surf schools and rental shops along the beach that can help you get started.
Grab a quick lunch at one of the beachside eateries or head back to downtown Huntington Beach to explore the various dining options available. There are plenty of options ranging from seafood to international cuisine.
Visit the Huntington Beach Pier, an iconic landmark in the city. Take a stroll along the pier, enjoy the panoramic views of the coastline, and watch surfers and fishermen in action.
Explore the International Surfing Museum located near the pier. It showcases the history and culture of surfing with various exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia.
As the sun begins to set, make your way to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, located just north of Huntington Beach. This beautiful coastal wetland offers scenic trails where you can observe a variety of bird species and enjoy the serene surroundings.
For dinner, consider dining at one of the oceanfront restaurants in downtown Huntington Beach. Enjoy fresh seafood while taking in the stunning views of the sunset.
After dinner, if you’re in the mood for some live music, head to one of the local bars or entertainment venues in the area. The Main Street area often hosts live performances, and you can find a lively atmosphere with a variety of music genres.
Alternatively, you can choose to relax on the beach and watch the stars before calling it a day.
Remember to check local COVID-19 guidelines and any specific operating hours or restrictions for the attractions and establishments you plan to visit. Enjoy your day in Huntington Beach!