And since that summer tradition went off without a hitch, it's time to try your luck with another: the full-on beach weekend.
Introducing the Santa Cruz Dream Inn, a freshly renovated classic and the only luxury beachfront hotel in California's original surfing town, open now.
After a few hairpin turns along the coast, past Devil's Slide and down Highway 1, you'll arrive at Cowell Beach and pull up to what feels like a surfer hangout from the ‘60s—a vintage 10-story oceanfront honeycomb of waterfront rooms and suites, each with private balconies or patios serving up Monterey Bay and Pacific Ocean vistas.
Since you like a bit of action with your relaxation, you'll want to include private surf lessons while booking your reservation. And because riding the waves—and the subsequent soak in the Jacuzzi—are sure to fire up your appetite, you'll want to settle under the canopy of handmade surfboards at the hotel's week-old Aquarius Restaurant and dig into some local Seabright Brewery Beer-Battered Fish and Chips.
End your night on the outdoor patio with a few gin-filled Windward Ho cocktails or the rum-spiked Boardwalk Rumble.
For the true beach experience.