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Where and when to go surfing in the US. Plus schools and camps

Where and when to go surfing in the US. Plus schools and camps

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Surfing in the United States must be on every wave sliders’ bucket list. The most famous surf hubs are the ones on the West Coast and they are associated with Californian sand beaches and palm trees but in reality the US has a lot to offer. From South California to North California — mind there is a huge difference in the water temperature.

East Coast surf is often associated with sunny Florida but as you will see there is a plenty spots to discover.

On average, water is on average colder than the one in Central America and Asia, but the rewards of paddling out in thick neoprene are outstanding.

Here is the selection of the best US surf sports state by state. There is also a list of surf schools on each spot, as well as the top surf camps in the country. But let's start with the surf capital of the US.

Surfing capital of the US

Huntington Beach is without a doubt a "Surfing Capital of the United States". The city offers one of the most consistent waves in California — hence the popularity of the spot. It’s hotspot for numerous surfing competitions such as US Open of Surfing and it’s a place where the legends like George Freeth, Duke Kahanomoku, Kelly Slater and Andy Irons have surfed at the both sides of the pier. Huntington Beach was officially named as the Surf City USA in January 2008, after a long trademark argument between the Southern California city and Santa Cruz.

With over 10 miles on sandy beach and numerous of post, the the north side of the pier have excellent rights and can handle big winter swell and the south side have some great left that run all the way through the famous pilings. SoCal surfers are friendly, but the place tends to get (not surprisingly) really busy — over 3.9 million visitors travel to Huntington Beach annually. Respect the locals and have some fun surfing those legendary waves!

Huntington Beach, California, weather forecast

Best surf spots in South California

Both sides of the Pier, Huntington, Huntington Beach, Orange County

The pier at Huntington State Beach is perhaps Southern California’s most famous surf spot. The north side have excellent rights and the south side great left.

General information

  • The best month to surf: December to February 
  • Water temperature: 13 to 16 °C (winter)
  • Best swell direction: SSE, S, SW

Best surf schools

Huntington beach weather forecast

Lower and Upper Trestles, San Clemente (San Onofre State Beach)

Take a hike from the San Onofre State Beach parking lot and you will find if the most impressive wave in the mainland. It’s a perfect left and right-hander that works for all levels and board types. In addition to Lowers and Uppers, check three other breaks: Cottons, Middles and Churches.

General information

  • The best month to surf: June to September 
  • Water temperature: 18 to 22 °C (summer)
  • Best swell direction: S, SW
  • Average board rental: $30/a day

Best surf schools

San Clemente weather forecast

Surfrider Beach, Malibu

Iconic and outstanding, Surfrider beach is a long right hand break and it is located between Malibu Pier and Malibu Lagoon. 

General information

  • The best month to surf: May to August
  • Water temperature: 18 to 22 °C (summer)
  • Best swell direction: S, SW, WSW
  • Average board rental: $40/a day

Best surf schools

Surfrider Beach, Malibu weather forecast

Kelly’s Cove, Ocean Beach, San Francisco

Located at the north end of San Francisco’s Ocean Beach, Kelly’s Cove is a consistent reef break that offers both left and rights.

General information

  • The best months to surf: October to March
  • Water temperature: 13 to 17 °C (September)
  • Best swell direction: SW and S
  • Average board rental: $30/a day

Best surf schools

Kelly's Cove, Ocean Beach weather forecast

Salmon Creek, Sonoma

This beach break is one of the most popular surf spots in the county and it’s sits right off Coast Highway 1.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to November
  • Water temperature: 13 to 17 °C (September)
  • Best swell direction: WSW
  • Average board rental: $15/a day

Best surf schools

Salmon Creek, Sonoma weather forecast

Moonstone, Humboldt County

Moonstone Beach is located right off the Highway 101 and sits at the Camel Rock. This beach break produces depending on conditions all sorts of waves — from tubes to lazy peelers.

General information

  • The best month to surf: March to April and September to November
  • Water temperature: 10°C (spring and fall) 
  • Best swell direction: W
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Moonstone, Humboldt County weather forecast

Best surf spots in Oregon

Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City

Located in the State Park exposed beach break have nice and mellow right and lefts suited perfectly for beginners and intermediates.

General information

  • The best month to surf: October to March
  • Water temperature: 8 to 11 °C (January)
  • Best swell direction: W, WNW
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City weather forecast

Otter Rock, Oregon North

Located in the Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park, this exposed beach break offers good rights and left for beginners and longboarders. 

General information

  • The best month to surf: October to March 
  • Water temperature:  8 to 12 °C (January)
  • Best swell direction: W
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Otter Rock, Oregon North weather forecast

Port Orford, Battle Rock

Winter swell will offer a good ride for shortboarder in this shore break that sits at the south end of the beautiful tiny little town.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to November
  • Water temperature: 10 to 13 °C
  • Best swell direction: W, SW
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Port Orford weather forecast

Best surf spots in Washington

Long Beach Peninsula

A classic beach break that has some surprises on a big swell day. Located on a white-sand beach and it’s 28 miles long — you won’t have hard time to find several breaks nearby.

General information

  • The best month to surf: October to March
  • Water temperature: 8 to 10 °C (January)
  • Best swell direction: W
  • Average board rental: $20/a day

Best surf schools

Long Beach Peninsula weather forecast

La Push

A decent beach break at the cove that works well on the mid tide. Located at the La Push Road on the Route 110.

General information

  • The best month to surf: May to August
  • Water temperature: 14 to 17 °C (August)
  • Best swell direction: SW
  • Average board rental: $20/a day

Best surf schools

La Push weather forecast

Westport/Olympic Peninsula

Close to Gray’s Harbour this spot is reliable break break that works the best on the N or E winds.

General information

  • The best month to surf: October to March
  • Water temperature: 7 to 9 °C (December)
  • Best swell direction: W, SW
  • Average board rental: $20/a day


Best surf schools

Westport/Olympic Peninsula weather forecast

Best surf spots in Florida

Ponce Inlet

A quick paddle across the inlet and you will find this nice right point break that offers long ride for goofy footers.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to March
  • Water temperature: 19 to 22°C (February)
  • Best swell direction: SE
  • Average board rental: $20/a day

Best surf schools

Ponce Inlet weather forecast

The Ghetto Pier

Daytona Beach Pier, a.k.a. The Ghetto Pier is the place for longaboarders to master their hang tens on a nice and long right break.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to February
  • Water temperature: 18 to 22 °C
  • Best swell direction: E
  • Average board rental: $20/a day

Best surf schools

The Ghetto Pier weather forecast

Cocoa Beach Pier

Home to 11-time world champion Kelly Slater this spot is a must-experience for all surfers out there. Waves can be found at the both sides of the pier.

General information

  • The best month to surf: November to March
  • Water temperature: 20 to 23 °C (February)
  • Best swell direction: SE
  • Average board rental: $20/a day

Best surf schools

Cocoa Beach Pier weather forecast

The Main Street Pier, Daytona Beach

Nicknamed the world's most famous beach, Daytona Beach, has one of the most popular break in the region. It’s a regular sandbar break and it’s a must-visit for the avid surfer.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to February
  • Water temperature: 18 to 22 °C
  • Best swell direction: NE
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Daytona Beach weather forecast

Best surf spot in Georgia

The Pier, Tybee Island, Georgia (2nd street)

Tybee is a 3 miles long island that has two main surf breaks, The Pier and North Beach. The pier is a right and left sandy bottom beach break.

General information

  • The best month to surf: June to November
  • Water temperature: 27 to 28 °C (August)
  • Best swell direction: SE, E, NE
  • Average board rental: $40/a day

Best surf schools

Tybee Island weather forecast

Best surf spots in South Carolina

Burkes Beach

A beach break where waves tend to break both ways depending on swell. Best during the hurricane season.

General information

  • The best month to surf: June to November (hurricane season)
  • Water temperature: 26 to 28 °C (September)
  • Best swell direction: SE
  • Average board rental: $30/a day

Best surf schools

Burkes Beach weather forecast

The Washout, Folly Beach

The most consistent spot in southern South Carolina is a pier break that offer both rights and lefts.

General information

  • The best month to surf: June to November (hurricane season)
  • Water temperature: 26 to 28 °C (September)
  • Best swell direction: SE
  • Average board rental: $30/a day

Best surf schools

Folly Beach weather forecast

Isle of Palm Pier

Long and sandy beach it has a break that works the best during hurricane season.

General information

  • The best month to surf: June to November (hurricane season)
  • Water temperature: 26 to 28 °C (September)
  • Best swell direction: SE

Best surf school

Isle of Palm Pier weather forecast

Best surf spots in North Carolina

Duck Pier, the Outer Banks, North Carolina

A popular surf spot over the years and has waves on both right and left size. Be careful and don’t surf too close to the pier.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to December
  • Water temperature: 26 to 28°C (October)
  • Best swell direction: S, SE, SW
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Duck Pier weather forecast

Kitty Hawk Pier

Close to Pelican’s Perch, Kitty Hawk is another pier and it can hold a proper size and works on all tides.

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to December
  • Water temperature: 26 to 28°C (October)
  • Best swell direction: SE
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Kitty Hawk Pier weather forecast

Kill Devil Hills

A fun wave to ride, this spot is about a half mile north of Avalon pier and it is located at the public beach (read might get busy on the holiday season).

General information

  • The best month to surf: September to December
  • Water temperature: 26 to 28°C (October)
  • Best swell direction: N
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf schools

Kill Devil Hills weather forecast

Best surf spots in Virginia

1st St. Jetty

Located on the beautiful Virginia Beach, 1st St. Jetty is one of the most consistent waves on the East Coast.

General information

  • The best month to surf: August to November
  • Water temperature: 23 to 25°C (August)
  • Best swell direction: ESE
  • Average board rental: $30/a day

Best surf school

1st St. Jetty weather forecast

15th St. Pier

A wooden fishing pier that is off the limit during summer time (surfing is prohibited) comes alive during winter time. When the conditions are right — south swells can even produce tiny little right barrels.

General information

  • The best month to surf: August to November
  • Water temperature: 23 to 25 °C (August)
  • Best swell direction: WSW

Best surf school

15th St. Pier weather forecast

Sandbridge Beach

A popular surf spot for Virginia Beach locals — has four different breaks all together: Little Island Pier, S-Turns, Rock Lane and the Market.

General information

  • The best month to surf: August to November
  • Water temperature: 23 to 24 °C (August)
  • Average board rental: $30/a day

Best surf schools

Sandbridge Beach weather forecast

Best surf spots in Delaware

Fenwick Island

An exposed beach break that works most of the times and is rarely crowded.

General information

  • The best month to surf: August to October
  • Water temperature: 22 to 25 °C (August)
  • Best swell direction: S, SE
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf school

Fenwick Island weather forecast

Bethany Beach

Another exposed beach break that offers both left and right-hand waves.

General information

  • The best month to surf: August to October
  • Water temperature: 22 to 25 °C (August)
  • Best swell direction: ENE
  • Average board rental: $25/a day

Best surf school

Bethany Beach weather forecast

Indian River

A great spot for longboarders — long waves can get big without being too heavy.

General information

  • The best month to surf: August to October
  • Water temperature: (August)
  • Best swell direction: S
  • Average board rental: $30/a day

Best surf school

Indian River weather forecast

Best surf camps in the US

Along with surf schools in the US you can find a huge variety of permanent surf camps on both coasts, but the main places are considered California (of course) in the West and Florida in the East. Let's focus on them.

Surfhouse, Encinitas, CA, is only two blocks from Beacon’s Beach in Encinitas, this chic hotel used to be s rundown motel – now fully-functioning surf powerhouse. Its 7-night all-inclusive stay is from $1,145.

Included

  • Surf lessons
  • Yoga
  • Surf guiding
  • Custom surf trips

Surf Diva, San Diego, CA, is located in the laid-back La Jolla Shores. Surf Diva has been serving as a surf camp for over 20 years and prides itself with high-quality teachers. Specialised classes for children, teens and women. Its 5-day full-time camp is from $650.

Included

  • Land lessons
  • Surf lessons
  • Beach games

Endless Summer Surf Camp, San Clemente, CA, is set up on the San Onofre State Park this surf camp have had students like Julia Roberts and Leo DiCaprio. Run by former member of the USA National Surf Team. Its 5-day over-night camp is from $1095.

Included

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Supervision for kids
  • Surfing equipment
  • Surfing instruction

Pure Life Surf School, Daytona Beach, FL, was established in 2009, this summer camp in Daytona Beach Shores is specialised for kids and adults and offers classes for all levels. Its 5-day half-day surf camp from $225.

Included

  • Yoga
  • Surf instruction

Jax Surf and Paddle, Neptune Beach, FL, is North Florida’s surf school offers not only surf classes but also paddle and fitness classes. Its 5-day half-day surf camp from $350.

Included

  • Surf instructions
  • Lunch
  • Snacks and refreshments
  • Theory class

School of Surf, Cocoa Beach, FL, is a small surf school at the famous Cocoa Beach (Kelly Slater’s home break) run by professional surfers. Its 5-day half-day surf camp is from $365.

Included

  • Surf instructions
  • Lunch
  • Theory classes

Wish you a nice break!

Surf calendar. Valerya Milovanova / Windy.app

Learn more about how to read the surf / swell forecast in a special Windy.app presentation with examples and tips from professional surfers with many years of experience of riding the biggest and best waves on the planet.

 

Text: Windy.app team

Cover photo: Ale Romo / Unsplash

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