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Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California
Do: Surf Surfing is a favorite past-time of Californians and, as they say (sort of), when in California, do as the Californians do. There are dozens of beaches to choose from, but one of our favorites is Malibu Lagoon State Beach, a naturally-formed lagoon. Surfers will swoon over the steady, three to five foot waves, and beginners who may need a moment to calm their nerves and muster their strength can do some bird-watching -- the beach is a protected bird sanctuary with over 250 species of birds. Stay: Hotel Casa Del Mar This Santa Monica resort is just a short drive from the "gnarly" surfer beaches of Malibu like Lagoon State Beach, nicknamed Surfrider Beach. But if you're looking to catch some waves right away, no problem -- Casa del Mar is one of only two Los Angeles hotels directly on the beach.

Getting outdoors in Los Angeles:What to do and where to stay(1 of 5)