Nothing reawakens the soul than being surrounded by the vast ocean waters as you ride that perfect wave! 

Whether you are a seasoned surfer or a beginner, here are some of the best surfing destinations.


1. California

San Diego California surfer

From the chilly waters of the north to the idyllic seas of San Diego, California's coastline offers the perfect waves ideal for surfers of all levels. On top of that, the Golden State enjoys lots of sunshine all year round and has a legendary surf history.

In La Jolla, you'll find one of the state's most popular surfing spots, the Windansea Beach. The beach has been made famous by American surfer Woody Brown who first rode the waves here.

Here, the waves could reach a whopping 15 feet in summer, averaging 6 to 10 feet. It works well during the summer months, but because of the variation in headlands and reefs, it also has north swell surf during winter. 

About 30 miles north of San Diego is the Oceanside, another popular spot for surfing in California. It's a beach break featuring changing sandy bottom, making its surf extremely variable. There are left and right-hand waves, depending on which area of the pier you are on.

The best time to surf here is in summer with a west swell.

If you want to visit as many beaches as possible view our California road trip tips.


2. Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai beach

Kauai has been the breeding ground for some of the world's best surfers, producing numerous champions, including Andy Irons, a three-time world title holder.

The island is blessed with abundant ground swells and wind swells, which explains why Kauai gets high surf throughout the year. Depending on the time of the year, the best surfing locations in Kauai will vary.

Also known as the "Crown Jewel of the North Shore", the Hanalei Bay is a lovely crescent-shaped beach that offers the best surfing experience on the north shore. It enjoys favourable ocean conditions in summer, making it a perfect spot for beginners to learn surfing. However, the winter swells of Hanalei Bay are more suited for experienced surfers.

The shore break just before Princeville Resort has the ideal surfing conditions with cleaner waves. However, it is often crowded with surfers. Right across from the Kauai Marriott Resort, you will find a beautiful beach called Kalapaki Beach, another great surfing spot well suited for beginners. Break walls protect the beach from the nearby Nawiliwili Harbour, offering a favourable surfing condition.

If you plan on surfing in Kauai, one of the things you need to plan is your accommodation. While there are plenty of good hotels on the island, you might be interested in staying at one of the Pure Kauai North Shore vacation rentals, especially if you're travelling in big groups.


3. Maui, Hawaii

Maui, Surfer

Like Kauai, Maui also has its share of excellent beaches ideal for surfing. Professional surfers will do their stunts at Honolua Bay and Hookipa Beach during the winter wave season. In the east of Hookipa, there's Peahi, the island's most popular spot for those looking for big waves. In fact, it's dubbed the "jaws" due to its enormous waves. 

For first-time surfers, head to West Maui and South Maui, where you'll find less-intimidating surf spots, specifically on the beaches of Lahaina, Kihei, and Kaanapali. Stand-up paddle boarding might be a better option for beginners, which uses larger boards to stand upright on and a paddle to manoeuvre. 

Maui is also famous for windsurfing, another form of surfing. If you want to give windsurfing a try, you should head to Hookipa Beach on the northern shore of the island. The beach offers the perfect conditions for all forms of surfing, featuring north, west, and east swells. But beginners should be mindful of the occasional riptides and sharp rocks and reefs.


4. Portugal

Portugal beach surfers

Portugal has the Guinness World Record of having the largest wave ever surfed, so it comes as no surprise why it's a popular destination for a surfing holiday.

Nazaré is the prime spot for surfing along the Portuguese coastline. But there are many other excellent surfing spots ideal for beginners and experts.

The beaches on the northern coast of Portugal may not be as popular as those in the south and central parts of the country; however, Porto and the surrounding areas have good wave-riding spots. The water in this region is a bit colder, but that did not deter free-spirited surfers from enjoying its waves.

Meanwhile, Viana do Castelo, an arc-shaped beach surrounded by a gorgeous pine forest and grassy dunes, is another excellent spot for surfing. It has consistent onshore wind suitable for kite surfers and windsurfers. 

The waves at Portugal's central coast have gained the attention of avid surfers worldwide since the waves here are among the fiercest not just in Portugal but in entire Europe. But you'll still find plenty of beginner-friendly breaks here. And even if you are not into surfing, the beautiful beaches here are worth a visit.

It is recommend to learn some Portugese travel phrases before arriving, you'l get to impress the locals!


5. Kenya 


A entry which might surprise a few out there, but somewhere which deserves to be on our list.

There are lots of amazing wildlife destinations in Kenya and safari adventures in its diverse national parks, the country is also famous for surfing. In fact, surfing is one of the most exciting activities you can enjoy here. 

Since the coast is fully exposed to big swells coming from the Indian Ocean, this is where you'll find plenty of surfing opportunities. Malindi Bay, north of Mombasa, is a popular spot for beginners since it has small swells. This is one of the best cities to visit in Africa with a beautiful coastline.

In the south of Malindi, you will find Watuma Bay, which has a nice reef break. It's fun to surf here, although the waves can be inconsistent. Better surf in the morning while the wind is still not out to ruin the great waves. 

You might also want to combine your surfing holiday with volunteering in Africa which can be a life changing experience. Doing a volunteer project in Kenya is great for young adults. It's a wonderful way to gain insight into the incredible wildlife of Africa. You can find unique volunteer programs in Kenya, including wildlife conservation programs, reforestation efforts, medical support, and more.


Other Top Rated Locations

Some more popular places to go surfing which didn't quite make our top list include:

Have you ever been surfing to any of the places featured on our list? Or would you like to recommend somewhere else? Let us know in the comments section below.