This summer, we’re all encouraged to get outside while still maintaining social distance. So, what better way to do that then head to the beach and jump on a surfboard? From beginner beaches to advanced monster waves, we’ve rounded up the best spots to surf on the West Coast.
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Keep an eye out for sharks, and other debris in the water. Mild waves, waist to head high, and almost never a crowd.
With waves breaking all around the peninsula, it’s a lovely spot for hearty beginners. Be careful about both riptides and sharks while in the water.
Tough to get to, but never any crowds. The water’s cold, and you have to watch out for sharks, but for solitary surfing in some beautiful scenery, it can’t be beaten.
Depending on the day, you’ll find either tunnel waves or slight waves ideal for longboards.
A local’s only beach for advanced surfers, the waves break in perfect tubes, and you’ll rarely find a crowd.
Good, reliable surf that’s perfect for beginners to get experience and still fun for more advanced surfers.
The surf’s always rough, but sometimes it can be the best on the coast. Surfers have to paddle out strong and watch out for waves that can pull them into the rocks.
A quiet beach with fun waves. Don’t be surprised if the scenery looks familiar; it’s the setting for The Goonies‘ last scene.
Northern Coast, California
Only advanced surfers should head into the water during a severe swell at Patrick’s Point; the waves go from 6-feet to over 20-feet fast. But the sparse beach crowd and low hazards in the water make it a prime surfing spot.
Wait for a low incoming tide to catch this spot at its best with reef break waves.
Bay Area, California
With mild crowds and beach break waves that can swell up to 20-feet, this beach area’s best suited for advanced surfers.
This surf spot is part of the O’Neill Cold Water Classic. There’s easy access, but the beach can get crowded, and locals dominate the point break waves. Surfers should have some experience before paddling out here.
A legendary big wave spot on the West Coast, right in Half Moon Bay. Only for advanced surfers, the hazards include the rocky reef bottom, riptides, and sharks. But worth the risk, as waves reach over 15-feet tall.
Paddle out at mid- or high-tide for fast waves. While there are sharks in the area, there’s never a crowd on the beach. Only surfers with experience should head into the water at RCA.
Central Coast, California
This spot can get busy with experienced surfers fighting over the big swells. Watch out for the jetty, if you miss a wave the backwash can force you into the rocks.
This empty beach with a sand bottom has reliable three to six-foot waves.
Plan a weekend of camping and hiking along with surfing this spot in Monterey. Keep an eye out for sharks, riptides, and seals in the hazardous waters.
The crowded beach is an excellent spot for beginner surfers to spend some time on the waves. There aren’t many hazards, but polluted water can be a problem.
Southern Coast, California
One of the best surfing spots on the West Coast, three areas with unique waves make up Rincon. The Indicator is the most exposed part of the break, but you can ride it all the way down the point to The Cove. The River Mouth is the most crowded, and beginners should head straight to The Cove.
The waves come fast, so only surfers with experience should head into the water at this beach-break surf spot.
The consistent waves and a small take-off area keep the waves crowded, but there are few hazards in the water, and the wave quality is the best at Trestles Beach.
These waves are suited for advanced surfers and shortboards. The deep underwater canyons at Black Beach that create powerful but unpredictable waves.
You’ll find classic California surfing, along with crowds at Huntington. There are plenty of hazards in the water, including jellyfish and riptides. But, when the rest of the coast is flat, you can still find a swell here.
Rough waves that can reach over 20 feet, but break with views of the beach.
No crowds and up to 10-foot waves, with few water hazards and a sand bottom at the shore.