Thinking about going on a surf trip?
Here’s your guide to the ultimate surf road trip up the coast of California.
Road trips can come in an array of forms whether you are camping, couch surfing, or staying in a hotel. All you need for a surf road trip is your surfboard, wetsuit, some wax, a mode of transportation, and maybe some friends!
Pack up your car and get going! Our first stop is sunny San Diego located in the most southern part of California.
San Diego has a wave for everyone, from beginners to professionals.
If you are just getting comfortable on your board and in the water, La Jolla Shores and Pacific Beach are going to be the breaks for you. You can even take a lesson with HOKALI to learn all the tricks of the trade.
For the more experienced surfer, you can not miss out on your chance to surf Windansea or South Reef Cardiff. You might just find yourself surfing next to a pro! If you’re the more casual surfer and looking for a solid surf session, Tourmaline Surf Park and Ocean Beach are the places to go.
While you are in San Diego, you can expect good waves, warm water, sunshine, and good times!
As you drive north up the coast of California, your next surf stop is going to be Trestles, situated just between San Diego and San Clemente. This reef break doesn’t take a day off and pumps out 2-6 ft waves all year long.
Due to the configuration of the reef, paddling out is going to be a walk in the park; however, the actual walk to the beach is about a mile. While you are surfing at Trestles, be respectful to the locals, show your skills, and make the most of this awesome wave.
Now that you’re done at Trestles, you have a short ten-minute drive to T-Street in San Clemente. T-Street is well known as this break was surfed by many professionals in the 1980s and has continued to be the hangout for many great surfers in the area due to its perfect surfing conditions.
After surfing T-Street, you might want to chill out at San Clemente Pier. The waves here are going to be slightly smaller but still a fun ride and a good chance to surf with the locals.
You better start stretching because you still have a lot of surfing to do in Orange County!
Longboarders and beginners are going to want to start at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point while the experienced surfers can move to the south swells of Brooks Street in Laguna Beach and Crystal Cove State Park.
If you’re looking for a beach break next, the Corona Del Mar Jetty has awesome hollow waves for the perfect right.
Cruising into Newport Beach, you can’t miss out on going to The Wedge.
World-known for its waves that reach up to 30 ft tall, you might just want to watch rather than surf this epic wave. Your next stop is going to be anywhere from 54th to 56th Street’s hollow waves for a quality surf session.
If Newport Beach’s breaks seem a bit intimidating to you, 36th Street and Blackies, just north of the pier, are going to be the spots for beginners. You can expect a mellow left and a nice crowd.
Your next stop in Orange County is going to be Huntington Beach where the US Open of Surfing takes place every summer. Drawing surfers from all over, there’s a reason this place has been named Surf City USA.
The Huntington Beach Pier attracts mainly short boarders as the rides are shorter with a rounded peak. If you choose to paddle out here, expect some company as the Pier gets busy but don’t worry because there’s plenty of waves!
If the crowds are too much for you, venture slightly north to Goldenwest where you will find a comparable wave to the Pier but a lot less people.
You’ve made it through Orange County so now it’s time to surf in Los Angeles! Surfing might not come to mind when thinking about this city but these waves don’t stop for any celebrity. Start in Manhattan Beach, where there’s a consistent wave shape with both lefts and rights. If you’re looking for a good-sized wave in Manhattan Beach, El Porto’s beach break is known for big waves and barrels.
For the beginners, take a lesson at Venice Beach. Learning to surf here is perfect due to its calm conditions and sandy ocean floor. Your next surf stop in LA is going to be Malibu. First up in Malibu is Topanga Beach which is going to serve surfers of all skill levels.
Another great option while in Malibu is Surfrider Beach. Depending on where you paddle out, expect to find a ride for both long and short boarders. This beach is going to offer long rides and a variety of wave size.
Relax a little as you drive north to Ventura County as the waves here are guaranteed.
Start off at C Street for a nice and casual session. C Street offers multiple breaks so you won’t find yourself competing for a wave.
Beginners and longboarders can start at Faria Beach for point break rights and lefts. This is a great spot to stop along your road trip since it provides a campsite. As you make your way through Ventura and into Santa Barbara, make sure to make a stop at Rincon. While Rincon isn’t the most reliable wave, it may be one of the best waves according to Kelly Slater.
You’ve completed part one of your ultimate surf road trip! Make sure to check back next week for the best surf spots in California starting from Santa Barbara.