Best Surf Destinations in the US - Go Wandering

Best Surf Destinations in the US

By Shannon Alfes |
Best Surf Destinations in the US
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Any surfer will tell you that there is seriously nothing like a day spent out on the water and getting consistent waves that break just right. The sun warming you from overhead, floating in the refreshing ocean, and the thrill of dropping into the perfect wave that you get to ride for what feels like eternity. If you’re a seasoned surfer or have been wanting to get into the sport for some time, it’s helpful to have good knowledge of beaches with some of the best waves so you aren’t wasting your time in less-than-ideal conditions.

Several spots throughout the US are world-renowned for their waves, from the East Coast over to the west and on the tropical islands of Hawaii. We’ve compiled a short guide for you below with some of the top places for surfing around the country, so keep reading to find out more!

Top Locations for Surfing

Outer Banks – North Carolina

On the East Coast of the US, the Outer Banks of North Carolina is easily one of the best spots for top-tier surfing. The unique layout of the region makes for incredible wave breaks along the coast from all directions. Another great aspect about surfing in the Outer Banks is that it caters to every skill level, so beginners and those that are more experienced can get their fix. Spots like Cape Hatteras and Kill Devil Hills are definitely ideal for the more skilled surfer while Corolla and Carova Beaches are awesome for families and those just starting their surfing journey. The Outer Banks is an extraordinary and stunning destination in and of itself, but the opportunity for shredding outstanding waves takes it to another level.

Malibu – California

There are amazing surf spots all over California, but Malibu certainly stands out as one of the top locations in the state. Surfrider Beach is without a doubt the most iconic spot in Malibu for catching waves – the long, peeling right-hand point breaks are spectacular for the longboarders out there. The consistent waves, gentle swells, and smooth rides make it an ideal spot for every level of surfer, but still incredibly fun for all. Surfrider Beach was even the first World Surfing Reserve, which is an organization that’s dedicated to the preservation of not only surf breaks around the globe, but also marine life.

The laid-back atmosphere and beautiful scenery of California’s southern coast only add to the experience, too. The area's rich surf culture, friendly community, plentiful surf schools, and world-renowned waves make Malibu a quintessential surf spot in the US. Surfer dreams come true in Malibu, so grab your board and head here for waves unlike anywhere else.

New Smyrna Beach – Florida

It’s difficult to pick the best spot for surfing in Florida, but New Smyrna Beach might just take the cake. Offering waves that appeal to surfers of all abilities, New Smyrna is on the Atlantic coast and is found just north of Cocoa Beach. The Atlantic swells paired with the sandbar that creates smooth, consistent, and rideable waves, this is truly a year-round paradise for surfers. New Smyrna is also a spot where you can drive your car right onto the beach and set up camp for the day, just be sure to get here plenty early and pay attention to the tides!

Ponce Inlet, also located near New Smyrna, also provides reliable breaks and is especially popular among local surfers. With its warm water, ample sunshine, and rolling waves, New Smyrna Beach should make it to the top of your list of surf destinations not only in Florida, but the entire East Coast.

Oahu – Hawaii

There’s nowhere quite like Oahu, Hawaii, when it comes to legendary wave breaks and magnificent scenery. Better suited for the experienced surfers out there, the island's North Shore is known for its large swells that roll in during the winter month. Iconic spots like Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay, are where the most skilled surfers test their abilities on some of the most challenging waves on the planet.

During the summer, the South Shore offers more mellow surf conditions, perfect for beginners and intermediate surfers. Oahu's surf culture is deeply embedded in its local lifestyle and has been since ancient times, so it’s crucial to treat the land, water, and people with the utmost respect. It’s safe to say that a trip to Oahu is on every surfer’s bucket list, because the waves here really do provide an incomparable time in a place that can only be described as paradise.

Narragansett – Rhode Island

Narragansett is arguably the top spot for catching exciting waves in New England. Since the state has a super irregular shape from the coastline being carved by glaciers thousands of years ago, this resulted in Narragansett having an ideal window for major year-round swells and close-to-perfect wind conditions. Though the water can definitely get quite cold outside of the summer months, it’s nothing that can stop a dedicated surfer with a quality wetsuit!

Natural beauty also abounds along the Rhode Island coast – you’ll find rocky shoreline, historic lighthouses, and beautiful beaches down the 400 miles of seashore. While the wintertime often boasts the biggest and best swells, you can expect some top-notch days out in the water no matter the season. The combination of remarkable surfing conditions and gorgeous surroundings certainly earns Narragansett a spot in our list of top surf spots in the country.  

Hitting the Waves this Summer

From the warm and inviting waters on the East Coast to the legendary breaks of the West Coast and the dreamy, mountainous destination of Hawaii, your next surf getaway is bound to be unique and filled with amazing scenery and unforgettable experiences. Each destination outlined here presents its own one-of-a-kind adventures and challenges, but they are all phenomenal in their own ways and offer waves that will keep you coming back for more. Whether you’re searching for your tallest swell yet with life-changing barrels or simply seeking the joy of a laid-back day on the water, these surf spots around the country promise unforgettable memories on the waves. Grab your board and dive into the diverse surfing destinations that make the US a true surfer's paradise.

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