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Stay and Play: Where to Spend the Night and Surf in California

Hotel Solamar

Photo courtesy of the Hotel Solamar.

It's no secret that surfing is ingrained in the history and culture of California. You can't escape it, even if you aren't a surfer yourself, whether it's the myriad of surf shops along the coast or bicyclists riding down the street with a surfboard strapped to the side of their bike. However, for those who aren't experienced surfers, taking the sport up can be overwhelming. However, a few hotels along the California coastline are making it easier for those who want to test the surfing waters. Today we feature a few of California's best hotels that mix staying with surfing.

1. Hotel Solamar, San Diego. It's hard to argue the convenience of the Hotel Solamar, located in the Gaslamp Quarter, mere steps from Petco Park, and a few blocks from the San Diego Convention Center. However, don't take its location in downtown to mean that you'll need a car, as Coronado Surfing Academy takes care of getting you to and from the beach. Enjoy a couple hours of instruction, followed by lunch, and then some time to take on some waves of your own. The "Hang Ten, Then Hang Out" package includes transportation, lunch, and surf instruction for two from Coronado Surfing Academy

2. Dream Inn, Santa Cruz. Just a couple hours down the coast, this is the best option for those who just want an overnight trip from San Francisco. The perk of Santa Cruz's Dream Inn being that it's located right on the beach. However, conditions dictate where you'll be surfing. The Dream Inn's "Billabong Surf Experience" includes oceanview accommodations, two-hour surf lesson, Endless Summer DVD, and a card for 30% off the Billabong online store.

3. Hyatt Regency, Huntington Beach. Known to many as Surf City, surfing and Huntington Beach are synonymous with one another. The Huntington Beach Hyatt Regency is one of a few different Southern California hotels that make it easy for new and experienced surfers to catch some waves. Guests can inquire on-site about rentals and lessons, which includes private, semi-private, and group lessons. This is a good option for those who want a more customized experience. 

4. Pacific Edge Hotel, Laguna Beach. Located in the heart of Laguna Beach, Pacific Edge Hotel is just steps from the beach. While you typically need a car in Southern California, the location of the Pacific Edge Hotel puts everything within walking distance. As a Joie de Vivre hotel, like the Dream Inn, it offers the same surf experience through Billabong. 

5. Hampton Inn and Suites, San Clemente. Located halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, San Clemente is ideal for those who want to be away from the hustle and bustle of each city, while still a reasonable distance away. Surfing has a long legacy here, with many professional surfers having called San Clemente home at one time or another. The surfing package at the Hampton Inn and Suites includes two-night accommodations in a two-room suite, on-the-go breakfast, surf report, Southern California tide book, and discounted surfing lessons from San Clemente Surf Camp.