Since the beginnings of its history, surfing is a past time that has captivated the minds and hearts of countless people, enthralled by the feel of warm sand and the crashing sounds of waves, surfers have been chasing the rush of the perfect surf for thousands of years, with surfing being an integral part of Polynesian culture as far back as the early 1600s and was first recorded in Tahiti by British explorers as far back as 1767. The art of surfing has grown as a sport with the turn of the century and the emergence of surf legends like the eccentric hotel baron Henry E. Huntington, who brought the ancient art of surfing to the California coast by hiring surf godfather and native Hawaiian George Freeth who would exhibited his surfing skills twice a day in front of the Hotel Redondo, booming a growing fandom in the United States. Another native Hawaiian, Duke Kahanamoku, spread surfing to both the U.S. and Australia by riding the waves after displaying the swimming prowess that won him Olympic gold medals in 1912 and 1920 and bring surfing into the mainstream consciousness of much of the modern world! Since those early days surfing has only grown as a sport and hundreds of thousands flock to beaches every year to experience the thrill of catching surf, and this is why we have bought you our guide of the Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US!
5. Rhode Island, New England
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US by area, but it makes up for its size with a big surf culture. New England is not typically associated with surfing, rather being viewed as a fall destination for leaf changes and winter escapes to its many colonial style towns and cities. However, for those seeking an east coast escape to the beach will be pleasantly surprised by the sweeping sandy shores of Rhode Islands and its many seaside towns!
Starring at our number 5 of Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US, the Rhode Island coastline is littered with beach and reef breaks that provide almost year-round consistency when it comes to riding conditions and beginners can expect waves that are manageable but still fun as well as beaches which have a variety of surf rental facilities and lifeguard areas. For experiences surfers that want something a little more testing, then hurricane season in Rhode Island can bring sizeable, barreling waves for those brave enough to try it, but be warned this is advised for experience surfers only!
Some of the more popular surf locations in Rhodes Islands include Dickies and Atlantic Beach which have a huge variety of facilities as well as perfect surf conditions for both beginners and intermediate surfers due to its large but manageable waves and the fact that many of the local surf shops will provide both rental and lessons for those seeking to learn! While for the more adventurous surfers Point Judith Lighthouse provides some of the hardest breaks and highest swell that any die hard surfer could ask for, providing a depth of locations for all levels of experiences!
Crowds and Conditions
Crowds in the region are varied as it is one of the most popular states for surfing on the North Eastern Coast and in the summer months of May to September you can expect large groups of surfers and more manageable and predictable surf conditions at many of the States Coastline surf spots, however for those seeking a bit more of a challenge and willing to brave the cold for it then the winter storm period is the time to go! Hurricane season provides huge swells and breaks that only the most adventurous surfers are willing to take on, while the lack of crowds means that you’ll have much of the coastline to yourself as you take on some of the largest breaks you’ll ever see!
The Atlantic Beach Hotel provides the perfect budget option for those seeking a comfortable and laid-back location with convenient access to the ocean as the beach sits just across the street! Atlantic Beach Hotel is the perfect location for your Rhode Island surf stay and the guestrooms are all very spacious and recently renovated. You can expect comfortable room and access to a huge variety of amenities including an indoor pool, fitness center, guest laundry and you can also enjoy meals at Ticket’s Bar & Grille. Atlantic Beach Hotel is conveniently located only 1 mile from Downtown Newport and the hotel will provide you with access to a shuttle bus service, giving you access to much of the region as well as the beach!
Atlantic Beach is a 40-mile car journey from Newport State Airport and will take you around 50 minutes by car along the coastal interstate, providing the perfect scenic journey to your surf destination! There are unfortunately no public transport routes so either a rental car or a taxi is your best option for getting there and a pre booked taxi will cost around $100 dollars for the journey! Check out the best flight deals.
4. Malibu, California
Number 4 in our Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US, Malibu, California – and the surrounding area are well known for its gorgeous beaches and the simple fact that is it one of the best surf locations that any town can offer. The unspoiled stretch of coastline and Californian style palm lined streets makes for a Hollywood style break with plenty of surf spots like Zuma Beach and Surfrider Beach providing conditions for all level of surfers. With plenty of seafood heavy restaurants and romantic seaside Inns and hotels, you can be sure of a relaxed break in this stunning location.
Malibu Point, packed with surfers, is an iconic surfing destination and has seen the boards of many surf legends grace its swells, the perfect location for intermediate surfers it has a huge variety of facilities, rental shops, restaurants and beach huts, ensuring that you will have every thing you need for your day on the swells of this legendary local. However, be warned the crowds are particularly heavy in this area and that can lead to a lot of congestion on the waves, make sure you do as the locals and don’t steal anyone’s turn on the swells!
Zuma Beach is also perfect for surfers that are seeking to take on some of California’s biggest waves and the area is chocked with surf schools if you are looking to improve your skills, the beach is long and provides a lot of area for you to set up on before you head out to take on the Cali surf conditions, and while it is popular with the crowds, the long beach provides plenty of room for surfers which are looking to take on the length of the wave!
Crowds and Conditions
This coastal city has a long surfing history, and there are spots throughout Malibu that are world renowned for surfing making it a popular visit for any keen surfer! You will typically find surfers on the water in Malibu about 150 days out the year, making it a consistent surf spot and in the early summer months you will find all level of surfers attempting to catch some swells while enjoying the highs of 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the best breaks take place from late summer to early fall when Pacific Ocean storms bring in large swells! Waves in the area are usually between two and four feet, unless there is a storm bringing once-in-a-lifetime waves which can reach has high as 20 feet, bringing out many local surf legends as well as challenging even the most experienced boarders!
The Surf Rider Hotel in Malibu, provides convenient access to one of the most popular beach spots in the world and will give you access to polished rooms and large comfortable suites in a stylish boutique hotel as well as access to facilities such as a spa and a rooftop cafe/bar with ocean views. The location is perfect as this plush boutique hotel is nestled along the Pacific Coast Highway and is a 3-minute stroll from the shops and restaurants of Malibu Pier, and only 6 minutes on foot from Malibu Lagoon State Beach, making it the perfect location for surfers wanting a luxury stay with other surf minded guests!
The nearest airport to Malibu is Los Angeles (LAX) and is a 35-minute drive from the Airport! You can also take a bus from Los Angeles to Malibu via Aviation Blvd which will get you to the beach in around 2 hours! Check out the best flight deals.
Alternatively, Amtrak operates a train from San Diego Old Town Transportation Center to Los Angeles Union Station hourly and tickets cost about $40 while the journey will take you nearly 3 hours!
3. Cocoa Beach, Florida
Cocoa Beach, Florida is not only a household name among surfers across the United States but is also the home of the world-famous surfer Kelly Slater. This beach has calmer waves that are perfect for beginners and long boarders and with a few different spots providing these kinds of waves, there’s no shortage of options on where to surf all on a single beach, meaning less crowds to compete with for that perfect swell!
Surf fanatics might already be aware that Cocoa Beach is home to the famous surf shop Ron Jon, this shop spans around 52,000 square feet and has been dubbed ‘one of a kind’ so it is well worth the visit, you can also grab a rental board from Ron’s and hit some of Florida’s best surf spots! Ron Jons also does Surf lessons if you are feeling a little rusty and need a quick refresher before hitting the waves of Cocoa Beach!
The sandy sea floor off Cocoa Beach provides nice and manageable waves for beginners while the areas locals are always accommodating and friendly, making it the perfect spot for a relaxing day out on the waves, while the area has a lot of parking facilities and restaurants just off the beach, giving you access to everything for a full day out! That’s our number 3 of Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US.
Crowds and Conditions
Cocoa Beach is a popular beach location and has temperate weather nearly all year round, making it one of the more crowded surf spots you will visit, but with friendly locals and a long beach you will always be able to find a spot on most waves! While the winter months of December to February provide the highest and most challenging swells, Cocoa Beach is fairly consistent with 3 to 5 feet high waves all year round, making it a great local all year round, which combined with the fact that average temperatures never fall below 60 Degrees Fahrenheit, there’s no reason not to put Cocoa beach as your next surf stop!
The Inn at Cocoa Beach is a beachfront hotel with classic country French ambience and provides guests with spacious and modern rooms with individual décor while all rooms have either a balcony or patio, providing guests with ocean views. You will have access to a variety of modern facilities such as a pool, gym, restaurant and bar while also getting access to free breakfast with your stay, meaning you’ll always be ready for a day out on the waves! The location is the unique point of this hotel as you are only a few steps away from the white sandy beaches of the Florida coast!
The closest airport to Cocoa Beach is Melbourne International Airport and it’s about 22 miles south of the heart of Cocoa Beach, which means it is roughly a 30-minute trip via US-1 N and Florida A1A N/S Atlantic Ave when going by car. Check out the best flight deals.
You can also take the number 26 bus which is around a 1-hour journey and will cost you only $26 for a one-way trip!
2. The North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii itself is one of the best places for surfing in the United States, but the North Shore of Oahu is perhaps one of the best spots in the entire world, starring at our number 2 of the Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US! Only an hour away from Waikiki, this stretch of coastline is home to several world-famous surf breaks include Pipeline, Rocky Point, Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach. The ‘Seven Mile Miracle’ is ideal for professional and experienced surfers, and during the winter months, surfers can enjoy the area stretching from Haleiwa to Turtle Bay where waves of nearly 50 feet aren’t uncommon and is part of the reason that the world’s best surfers head to the North Shore during the winter months. If you are new to surfing, it is the perfect spot to head for an unrivalled view of some amazing waves.
The area is dotted with surf facilities including rental huts and surf schools, as well as a huge variety of seafood and grill restaurants which will give you access to everything you will need to visit some of the most famous surf spots in the world! Breakpoint and Sunset beach provide some of the largest waves in the world and are perfect for experienced and hardcore surfers that are wanting to test there skills, while Puena Point provides great entry level surf break for the north shore, offering averages of four feet high waves on a lifeguarded beach, meaning you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy the surf of Hawaii!
Crowds and Conditions
While surf conditions in Hawaii are fairly year-round due to its temperate climate and regular wave conditions, the North Shore season is usually considered as taking place from October to March while the largest waves typically occur in December and January and that’s when most pros start to take advantage of the advanced wave heights, while the crowds are at there peak! This is also the time of year when the area host countless surf competitions which are great watching for those wanting to just take in the surf vibes!
The Tiki Moon Villas hotel and resort is the perfect location for enjoying both the Hawaiian culture as well as spacious rooms and beachfront bungalows which are modern, spacious and come with a private kitchen and patio, giving you everything you need to enjoy the legendary surf conditions of the Island! Tiki Moon gives guests access to a variety of facilities as well such as a pool and parking area, meaning you can rent a car so as to take in the other legendary surf locals of the North Shore!
Honolulu International Airport, which is about 23 miles from the North Shore is the perfect airport gateway to Hawaii and the journey from the airport will take you around half an hour by car, making it easy for you to grab a taxi or private car rental to one of the most famous surf locations in the world!
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1. Santa Cruz, California
The holy Grail of Surfing on the mainland, the original ‘surf city’ of Santa Cruz is quite possibly one of the best locations for surfing in the whole of California, if not the whole of America. This is our number 1 of the Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US! The area has a variety of locations that are perfect for all different levels of surfers and areas like Pleasure Point and Capitola Beach make for perfect surfing for beginners, with calm waves and a variety of surf rental shops and schools, while Cowell’s Beach and Steamer Lane offers surfing for the more experienced surfers with higher swells and more advanced breaks!
Many of the beaches in Santa Cruz are lifeguarded and have a huge variety of restaurants, shops and beach facilities that helps to make it one of the best surf beaches in the world, while the moderate climate and 11 surf breaks means that you can experience a variety of different surf types all year round! One of the best spots to visit is most certainly Pleasure Point which is one of the best-known surf spots in Santa Cruz and has some of the most amazing spots within it, including the Hook and Sharks Cove while the beach offers plenty of decent waves and has spots that are suitable for surfers of all abilities.
The Capitola Beach Suites is the perfect hotel for laidback surfers and offers a newly remodeled boutique hotel, located just a stone’s throw away from the beach, near the heart of Capitola! There rooms are modern and offer full ocean views with balconies, as well as a roof top terrace and bar and a parking garage with 24 hour security, meaning if you chose to hire a rental car to visit all the surf spots Santa Cruz has to offer you can rest easy!
If you are flying to Santa Cruz, you have a choice of two airports in the region. San Francisco International Airport is roughly an hour to 90-minute drive from the north of Santa Cruz while San Jose International Airport is around 45-minutes away. Check out the best flight deals.
A rental car or taxi from San Jose Airport will provide you the fastest route and will help you travel the 30-mile journey quickly, and if you chose to get a taxi it will cost you around $130 or you can travel by bus to the San Jose Diridon Station, and from there get the Caltrain or Rapid 55 express to the Santa Cruz Metro Centre, followed by a journey on the Metro 17 line, this journey will last a little longer, lasting between 2 to 3 hours but will cost you only around 50 dollars! But it is definitely worth it, since it’s the number 1 beach, of the Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US!
So there you have it, the Top 5 Best Beaches for Surfing in US, with all the information that you need so as to choose your next ocean getaway, giving you the chance to enjoy all the sun, sand and surf the United States has to offer!