travel

Make the most of your California beach trip

By Corinne Purtill, for CNN

Published August 30, 2019

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You could travel the world, experts say, but nothing comes close to the golden coast of California.

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Here are a few tips for making the most of a beach getaway in the state that knows how to party.

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Wear a swimsuit

Nothing says "I'm not from here" like frolicking in the ocean in sopping shorts and a transparent T-shirt.

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California does, in fact, get cold. Plan appropriately

It's often a disappointing shock to tourists that even the Golden State has some very gray and chilly days. Check the weather before you book, and pack a sweatshirt.

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Keep an eye out for fins

There have been dozens of shark attacks off the coast since 2000, according to the Shark Research Committee. Most weren't fatal. If everyone else is getting out of the water, you probably shouldn't get in.

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Take a surf lesson

Surfing is a lot of fun, but you'll get a lot more out of sessions in the water after a surf lesson or two.

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Wear sunscreen

SPF 30 sunscreen is an essential beach bag item, even on cloudy days. Don't forget: The sun will still reach the spots you can't.

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Hit the boardwalk

California has great old-school style boardwalks with cotton candy and kitsch souvenirs.

Find your spot

Finding a spot that matches your surfing skill level is essential. Ask in the closest surf shop.

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Respect the vibe

Relax. Chat up the state's friendly locals, who are only too happy to pass on recommendations for surf spots and fish tacos.

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Corinne Purtill is a journalist who has reported from Greenland to South Africa, with a lot of stops in between.

This story was originally published April 2015, updated September 2016 and re-formatted August 2019.

See more CNN travel content at CNN.com/travel

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