Think surfing and the first place that comes to mind is Hawaii. Without doubt, the huge blue waves of the Hawaiian islands are iconic. The world’s most famous surf beaches are there, and ever since Gidget Goes Hawaiian was released in 1961, thousands of Americans have flocked to enjoy the surf scene here. The massive breaks on the North Shore haunt the dreams of surfers all over the world. If you’re already a very good surfer and want to try your hand on bigger waves, Hawaii is the destination for you.
It might be most famous for monster waves but less experienced surfers (and complete beginners) won’t necessarily be out of their depths on a Hawaiian surfing holiday. The beaches of Waikiki and Kauai are excellent beginner surf destinations, with smaller, more manageable breaks and the same atmosphere of sun, sand, and surf. Some places are only worthwhile in one season, but there is almost always good surf to be found somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands, winter or summer. There is just one downside to Hawaiian surf holidays- the crowds. Both the beaches and the waters are packed with surfers of all abilities.
California offers the best surfing in the continental US. There are big breaks at Mavericks, but most surfers and aspiring surfers will want to head towards Santa Cruz, Malibu, and Half Moon Bay. You won’t get the clear blue waters that Hawaiian travellers enjoy but the surf is still world class. Malibu has the reputation and it attracts surfers in huge numbers, but Black’s Beach near San Diego is just as good if you’ve got a little experience under your belt.
As with most surf destinations, winter brings bigger swells but that doesn’t mean you can’t go in summer. Small breaks are better for beginners, and more experienced surfers can use long boards to get the best out of less powerful waves.
North Carolina doesn’t have the same international fame as California or Hawaii. Nonetheless, there are actually some very good spots around Cape Hatteras. It’s the center of surf culture on the East Coast, and like any good surf spot, the Cape Hatteras area has its fair share of surf stores and schools to help beginners get started.
There are surf spots dotted all around the USA, from the gulf coast to Oregon. For complete beginners and less serious surfers, it’s often better to find less famous, local beach breaks rather than travelling long distances to one of the famous locations. Fame brings crowds and it’s a lot easier to learn to surf (and enjoy yourself) without them. Search for surf schools near your closest stretch of coast and you might be surprised how many you find. It’s not always necessary to pack your bags and head off to Hawaii. Sometimes, the best surf destinations are well kept secrets- uncrowded and little known, but just as good.
Jess Spate is a keen surfer, kayaker, and rock climber. When she’s not in the water or on the rock, she acts with a Marriott Time Share Resale consulting company and works for Timeshare Attorney. Like any good surfer she secretly believes her local break to be the best of all.