Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach is just steps from surf and sand. (Courtesy Pacific Edge Hotel)

Laguna Beach, Calif.
Surfin' Safari


You're under no obligation to actually catch a wave just because you visit Laguna Beach, an iconic seven-mile stretch of sea and sand in Southern California's Orange County. Most visitors are content to swim and soak up the warmth of the sun. But if you're so inclined, lessons with a champion surfer come with a money-back guarantee that you'll "get up"—surf slang for standing on the board on your first lesson (lagunabeachsurfinglessons.com, group lessons from $75 per person). If you can bring yourself to towel off and put your shoes back on, good vibrations can also be found in nearby Laguna Village, a prime spot for browsing quality art galleries and other shops—a reminder of the town's roots as an artists' colony.

Get There: Round-trip flights from New York to Los Angeles on JetBlue start at $336; round-trip flights from Chicago on Frontier start at $288.

Stay: Pacific Edge Hotel on Laguna Beach is right on the beach and walking distance from Laguna Village (647 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, pacificedgehotel.com, doubles from $140).

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