Whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned pro, surfing enthusiasts all over can appreciate the beauty of California and its vast array of beach destinations. Ready to join the ranks and see what the state has to offer? Check our list of the 10 Best California Surf Spots below!
- Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz.
One of America’s top surfing destinations, Santa Cruz has even fought for the title of “Surf City, USA” (against our #6). It’s hard to go wrong with the numerous beaches here, but the legendary Steamer Lane is not one to miss. Though beginners or intermediate surfers should stick to spectating, watching the locals brave the conditions is worth it to any visitor.
- Rincon, Santa Barbara.
Another quintessential Cali surf spot; even the Beach Boys have sung about Rincon. One visit and it is easy to see why: No “fluff.” Just quality surfing.
- Trestles, Orange County.
A small hike takes you down to this OC beach where the water is the main attraction—similar to our #2, Rincon. If you want to surf and not get distracted by tourist traps, Trestles is your place.
- Scripp’s Beach, San Diego.
Hoping to get away from the crowds at more popular San Diego beaches (i.e., La Jolla)? Head on over to Scripp’s Beach for a welcoming atmosphere for even the newest surfers.
- Maverick’s, Half Moon Bay.
Though not always great for beginners, Maverick’s is an important stop on the “California Surf Tour.” Home of the Maverick Surfing Competition and a popular spot for local talents year-round, Maverick’s offers pros challenging terrain, and spectators hours of entertainment.
- Huntington Beach.
A Cali surf list isn’t complete without Huntington Beach: the true “Surf City, USA.” Consistent surf all year, pro competitions, and a rich history, Huntington has certainly earned its trademark.
- Surfrider Beach, Malibu.
If you want signature Cali wave-riding while staying close to Hollywood, Surfrider Beach is a thrilling area where both beginners and intermediate surfers congregate in large numbers to hit the water.
- El Porto, El Segundo.
A popular South Bay surf spot, El Porto has been referred to as a real-life example of “What out-of-towners envision when they dream of California life” (LA Weekly). This means picturesque waves, sunsets, and sand. Great surfing is the cherry on top. How can you go wrong?
- The Wedge, Newport Beach.
With a memorable name, “The Wedge,” this beach has earned its reputation thanks to large swells and the bodysurfers that attempt to take them on. Not many surf these waves (which can get up to 30-feet), but stop by and cheer on those that do—it’s a sight to behold.
- Linda Mar, Pacifica.
We’re rounding out this list with the famous Linda Mar Beach, which fills up every weekend with beginners and intermediate surfers looking to hone their skills. We like this spot for its proximity to San Francisco in general, and it’s also near Maverick’s (#5 on our list).
Know of a Cali surf spot we missed? Want to share your favorites? Let us know in the comments!