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Huntington Beach, California: A Teen ParadiseBy Amy ParlapianoAs a sixteen year old, I speak for myself and other teens when I say a dream vacation can be anywhere, as long as a beach is involved. But with so many beaches in the world, how can one choose? Well, after visiting Huntington Beach, California last June with my mom, I think I found my perfect match.Officially known as “Surf CityUSA” (see, it’s so cool there’s even a song written about it), Huntington Beach offers just about every activity imaginable, whether you’re into surfing, shopping, rollerblading, biking, skateboarding, or beach volleyball. It’s a teenager’s dream.The first thing I saw as I walked along the beach was the giant pier that stretches more than 1,000 feet across the ocean. This bustling boardwalk iscrammed with people and dotted with cool shops, like a kite store. Few know that this pier was actually built over a century ago, in 1904, and has suffered through much destruction since then by natural disasters. Over 10 years ago, the pier was redone with new structural supports to be better suited for storms and earthquakes. One of the additions was a restaurant called Ruby’s Surf City Diner. It’sthe building with the red roof, all the way at the end of the pier, and it’s where local teens go for burgers, fries, sandwiches and salads. The portions are huge! You can sit by the window and listen to Beach Boys music blasting from the jukebox as you watch the surfers riding the waves below.The view from the pier is awesome and you can see just how breathtakingly beautiful it is here. Thesapphire ocean glistens in the sun as the sound of waves crashing fills your ears. Palm trees line the soft sand, while beautiful houses like the ones on TV’s The OC tower behind the beach. Speaking of The OC, many people may wonder how accurately the show portrays the area. Although I can’t speak for Newport Beach, where the show is actually set, I can say that Huntington Beach seems to be nothing likethe show. Of course, you do see gorgeous mansions, and there’s no doubt the area is wealthy, but the people I encountered didn’t show any snobbishness whatsoever. In fact, everyone here seemed really laid back, carefree; always friendly and smiling and ready to make their way to the beach. I guess they really have no reason to be unhappy when they’re living in a place like this!One of the mostappealing things about Surf City USA is that it’s an extremely active place. One of my personal favorite activities was bike riding up and down the 8 ½- mile strand that runs along the ocean. I hadn’t ridden a bike in years, yet it instantly became natural to me. I imagined how much fun my friends and I would have if we went together; we’d race our bikes up the hill, ringing our bells as we zoomedpast each other. Many Huntington Beach residents own their own bikes, but tourists can get them from one of the many rental shops along the beach. We rode up to Dog Beach, which is just as beautiful as the main beach by the pier, but with one slight difference: Dogs are allowed! It must be so nice having the option of waking up in the morning and walking your dog over to Dog Beach for a swim. If Ilived here, I’d bike every day -- looking out at the beautiful ocean as the wind blows at my back. It’s like paradise, except with a lot more to do!And of course, who could go to Surf City USA without taking a whack at hanging ten? Of course, I’m talking about Huntington Beach’s claim to fame: Surfing! On the day I surfed, the water was rough and the conditions not perfect, but my mom and I bravedit anyway. And it was most definitely worth it. After a quick training session on land from the instructors at “Toes on the Nose,” we were broken up into small groups and taken into the water. I wiped out about 100 times, but was unwilling to give up. I’d come so close to getting up on my board and then lose my balance at the last minute. On my one last try before our lesson was over, I finally...
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