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2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

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Though you could get an overview of Huntington Beach's surfing culture by simply hanging out at Huntington State Beach or checking out the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, you'd be remiss if you didn't sign up for a surfing lesson during your visit. Available at popular stretches of sand like Huntington City Beach, Huntington State Beach and Bolsa Chica State Beach, surfing lessons give you the chance to get your feet wet with the help of an instructor. Because there are multiple surf shops and schools offering lessons in private, semiprivate and group settings for travelers of all ages and skill levels, you'll have plenty of options to choose from, making it easy to find the right experience for you. The following are a few reputable companies that recent visitors and the local tourism board recommend for surfing lessons:

Toes on the Nose: While this outfitter in the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa may initially seem like every other Huntington Beach surf shop, it also offers surfing lessons by the pier for resort guests and other visitors interested in one-on-one instruction. According to previous participants, each private, one-hour session is led by a knowledgeable professional who will have you riding a wave in no time. Toes on the Nose lessons are available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. in summer and from 8 or 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter. Expect to pay $150 for one person or $130 per person for groups with at least two people; rates cover wetsuit and surfboard rentals during and after lessons.

Corky Carroll's Surf School: According to previous students, Corky Carroll's Surf School is the company to use if you want to learn how to surf at Bolsa Chica State Beach. Past participants loved how attentive the instructors were with helping them stand up on their boards. Plus, the surf school offers both private lessons year-round and kids summer surf camps, making it an excellent option for families. A private two-hour lesson with equipment rentals for one surfer costs $140 (reduced rates are available for additional students), while surf camp prices range from $200 to $400 per person, depending on the length of the classes. Lessons are available between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. in summer and by appointment in fall, winter and spring.

Banzai Surf School: Banzai Surf School is a great option for guests staying at The Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel thanks to its partnership with the property. Lesson options include private two-hour sessions, seasonal, 90-minute group classes and weeklong summer surf camps. Rates for private lessons – which are generally available from 7 a.m. to noon – start at $159 per student (discounts apply for private multiperson sessions), while fees for other services range from $79 per person for group classes to $390 per person for summer camps. All activity prices cover use of surfboards and wetsuits. No matter which option visitors choose, reviewers say they'll enjoy top-notch instruction at Huntington State Beach from friendly, patient guides.

Clint Carroll Surf School: Expect kind instructors and a memorable experience when you sign up for a surfing lesson with the Clint Carroll Surf School. Conveniently held at Huntington City Beach by the Hyatt and Hilton resorts, the private and semiprivate lessons from this operator come highly recommended by previous students. Each lesson includes instruction from an experienced guide, plus equipment rentals and hotel shuttle service to the beach (if needed). Private sessions will set you back $110 for one person or $169 per two people; meanwhile, group classes cost $70 per person. All two-hour lessons are bookable between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. year-round.

HB Surf School: If you want to learn how to surf from a former surfing professional, look no further than the HB Surf School. Founded and led by Bill Sharp, who previously coached the South African national surfing team, this surf school offers both private lessons and five-day kids summer camps at Huntington City Beach. Past participants loved the instruction they received from Bill and his staff, citing their thorough explanations and upbeat demeanors as reasons to book additional lessons. Standard lessons, which last 90 minutes and are available from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, cost $160 per person (discounted rates are available for additional students) and include the use of surfboards and wetsuits. Kids summer camp sessions, which cost $320 per child, also cover equipment rentals.

For additional information about the above companies, including how to book a surfing lesson, visit their official websites. You can also learn more about these and other operators on the Visit Huntington Beach website.

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#1 Huntington City Beach and the Huntington Beach Pier

If you've seen a photo of Huntington Beach, chances are it's of its main beach and famous pier. The beach's 3 ½ miles of gorgeous sands is a haven for professional surfers and volleyball players, and draws locals and tourists eager to learn how to surf and stroll the 1,850-foot-long pier. The impressive pier, which is one of the longest on the West Coast, is an excellent place to fish and catch a sunset. Meanwhile, the beach itself features all kinds of amenities, including fire rings for beach bonfires, restrooms with outdoor showers, an information kiosk, water sports equipment rentals and beach volleyball courts. When you need a break from the sand and sea, cycle along the Huntington Beach Bike Trail or explore Downtown Huntington Beach. Both sit within walking distance of the beach and pier.

According to previous visitors, the city's main beach and pier are two of its can't-miss attractions. Not only will you enjoy incredible ocean views (especially at sunset), but you'll also discover a laid-back ambiance ideal for relaxing outside. In fact, many highly recommend coming here to simply watch the surfers and walk up and down the pier. If you're hoping to avoid large crowds, past beachgoers recommended visiting on a weekday and outside the busy summer season. The beach also tends to get crowded during its annual events, so consider planning around popular events like the AVP Huntington Beach Open (in May), the Vans US Open of Surfing (in August) and The Great Pacific Airshow (in September).

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