Surfin’ USA: Discover the Top 10 Surf Spots in the United States

Written by Kimberley Lovato
Reading Time: 

   “Surfin’ USA: Discover the Top 10 Surf Spots in the United States”

Top 10 Surf Spots in the United States

The temps are rising, the swells are rolling and it is officially surf season in the USA. The sport has existed in one form or another for several centuries and can trace its origins to Polynesia. But it was in the early 20th century that surfing became a global phenomenon. Thanks to anthems like the Beach Boys’ 1963 hit “Surfin’ USA” and movies like “Gidget”, surf culture became a wildly popular pastime on the mainland too.

Hawaii and California are replete with surf beaches and pop-culture idol status, but they’re not the only spots in the country to hang ten. From Oregon to Florida to New York and even Texas and tiny Rhode Island, beaches have earned rip-curl reputations and lure wave warriors and wannabes to their laid-back shores.

Whether you’re a pro looking for a place to hang your wetsuit for a week or you want to turn your bucket list surf dreams into a reality, there’s a beach (and a beach hotel) waiting for you.

Here are 10 amazing spots to hang ten this summer around the USA.

1. Surfrider Beach, California

The history of Surfrider Beach is tied closely to the history of surfing itself, as it was one of the first places in the Los Angeles area where surfers rode the waves. Its legendary point break became popular surf spot in the 1950s and 1960s. Malibu is now more well known as a home to Hollywood movie stars and studio producers, but it still lives on as a surf Mecca for surf lovers too.

Where to stay:  The former 1953 motel turned retro-chic boutique hotel, The Surfrider , is located directly across Pacific Coast Highway (PCH in local parlance) from Surfrider Beach. With its laid-back spirit and barefoot luxury décor, The Surfrider captures the essence of California’s surf heritage. Its Roof Deck Bar & Restaurant is the spot to grab post-surf smoothies. You’ll also find an outdoor shower for washing off the Pacific Ocean salt, complimentary surfboards, wetsuits, and more. Need a lesson? Book one with local surf legend Malibu Pete.

2. Ditch Plains Beach, New York

The sandy Ditch Plains Beach, on the southeast end of New York’s Long Island just two miles east of popular Montauk, is beloved by surfers. Though waves are typically smaller than in places like Hawaii and California, they are consistent. Add to the mix the Ditch Witch food truck for salads, burritos, and wraps, and group or private kids’ lessons at the Sunset Surf Shack, and oh what a day is in store! A surf wheelchair is also available when lifeguards are on duty.

Where to stay: Amagansett’s Reform Club feels more like a friend’s well-manicured estate rather than a hotel, which might be why brands like Etro, Tom Ford, and Sotheby’s have held intimate soirées at this understated yet elegant inn. With only seven suites, three cottages, and a posh private four-bedroom home, the hotel offers laid-back luxuries such as complimentary beach cruisers for easy pedals to the shore, and in-room massages to soothe post-surf muscles.

Surfing on Cocoa Beach Courtesy of

3. Ponto Beach, CA

If you’re searching for a surf spot that will challenge advanced riders and invite learners into the water with ease then Ponto Beach (north and south) in Carlsbad is the SoCal spot. Located about 30 minutes north of San Diego, South Ponto’s stretch of untamed shoreline is one of the area’s wildest beaches, and the vast stretch of sand makes it a family-friendly place to set up surf camp, watch sunsets and enjoy the laid-back California lifestyle.

Where to stay: Watch the swells roll in from Alila Marea Beach Resort, perched atop a picturesque bluff in Encinitas, a quintessential surf town (with really good tacos). The hotel connects surf-curious guests to the local landscape and culture via amenities such as a collection of environmentally respectful surfboards curated with the help of legendary surfer and local resident Rob Machado. The hotel’s partnership with Fulcrum Surf School means you’ll be up on your board in no time, and an on-site surfboard butler delivers up-to-date knowledge and advice on the local surf scene.

4. Cocoa Beach, FL

Old Florida vibes, easy-to-ride waves, and warm temperatures year-round push legendary Cocoa Beach to the top of the country’s must-surf-beaches list. Located just 45 minutes from Orlando on Florida’s Space Coast, the cozy beach town offers surf-obsessed visitors a chance to learn about surf history and culture at the Florida Surf Museum tucked inside the Ron Jon Surf Shop (and school), and paddle out to surf breaks off the wide sandy beach.

Where to stay: Th whimsically-designed Four Points by Sheraton Cocoa Beach is just steps away from sunny Cocoa Beach, making it the ideal hangout for hanging ten on Florida’s east coast. Also on site is the Cocoa Beach Surf Company, a one-stop shop that will organize clinics and lessons, and carries their own branded surfboards, accessories, and cool apparel so you can look the part.

5. Doheny State Beach, CA

When the Beach Boys called out “down Doheny way” in their 1963 hit song, “Surfin’ USA”, they were no doubt crooning about the surf break at Doheny State Beach, just 10 minutes from the swanky boutiques and restaurants of Laguna Beach. Doheny is well-known for being a great place to learn, and experienced and newbies alike paddle to places referred to as Boneyard, Second Spot, and Creekmouth. An annual Doheny Surf & Art Festival celebrates the beach’s historic surf culture each June.

Where to stay: The Victorian-style Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa is walking to the beach, which means surf-seekers can BYOB (bring your own boards), rent them from the hotel, or sign up for surf lessons, surf camp or even surf therapy at nearby Wavehuggers.

Alila Marea Beach Resort Encinitas

 6. Waikīkī Beach, Oahu, Hawai’i

The island of Oahu offers more than 100 surf spots for all skill levels, and Waikīkī, with its stunning Diamond Head views, is a setting recognized the world over. Make sure to check out Waikīkī Wall, a pier (and surf location) where you can check out the beach and wave action, as well as take in views of the long stretch of sand that fringes Honolulu’s skyline.

Where to stay: Kaimana Beach Hotel‘s beachfront location at the edge of Waikīkī is the ultimate home away from home. The hotel’s new Surf and Shoot experience teams up guests with World Longboard Surfing Champion Kai Sallas and surf photographer Tommy Pierucki to shape a custom board, learn to surf Waikīkī’s famous breaks, and capture rad photos of you catching a wave. You can also take the hotel’s beach cruisers and explore the vibrant neighbourhood.

7. Narragansett Town Beach, Rhode Island

It might be the smallest state in the country, but Rhode Island earns its moniker as The Ocean State thanks to more than 100 beaches and 400 miles of coastline. Narragansett  is a popular summer getaway for its picturesque downtown, seaside strolling, and the town beach, considered one of New England’s best surfing spots. Enjoy private or group lessons from Warm Winds, training newbies and old pros for more than 20 years.

Where to stay: Each of the 16 suites and rooms at The Break sets a surfing mood with its bright and airy beach-chic décor. The boutique hotel is just a few minutes from the sand and has a heated pool, complimentary beach bags, towels and chairs, and vintage-style beach bicycles for easy cruising into town.

Looking for waves. Courtesy of

8. Indian Beach, Oregon

With more than 350 miles of coastline surrounded by impressive mountain and ocean scenery, Oregon is just right for beginners or experienced surfers who don’t mind a little chill with their thrill. Cold water and strong currents are the norm at Cannon Beach, a town about 80 miles from Portland. It gets a lot of love (and crowds) during the summer, but head just three miles north to Ecola State Park and Indian Beach, and you’ll find it more popular with local surfers than tourists thanks to its secluded location, park entry fee and consistent waves.

Where to stay: Just steps away from iconic Haystack Rock, the Ocean Lodge invites visitors to enjoy the simple pleasures of life on the coast, whether you surf or not. If you do, Cannon Beach Surf Lessons and Rentals is just a three-minute stroll away.

9. Surfside Beach, Texas

Texas might conjure more images of cowboys than surfer dudes, but the Lone Star State has surprisingly good surfing. Surfside Beach on the upper Texas coast is known for consistent waves, and with four miles of golden sand, it’s not a bad place to hunt for seashells, bird watch or sign up for lessons at Surfside Station, owned by lifelong Surfside Beach resident, Austin Campbell.

Where to stay: The Ocean Village Hotel has all you need for a beachfront surfing safari, including a two-bedroom suite with a full kitchen, and an onsite bar and grill for post-surf burgers and Gulf of Mexico seafood.

10. Orange Beach, Alabama

With only 60 miles of coastline, this southern state doesn’t’ scream “surf’s up”! But that doesn’t mean you won’t find waves to ride, especially at Alabama Point on Orange Beach, a popular spot for diehards in the know. Beach lovers will appreciate the sugar-white sand and warm water too.

Where to stay: Each of the 344 luxurious guest rooms at the Perdido Beach Resort comes with a private balcony and Gulf views. The hotel also has six cafes and restaurants, as well as an aquatic adventures center where water sport experts can hook you up with surf lessons. Head to Ron Jon Surf Shop to pick up the accessories you need to surf in style.

Author bio: Kimberley Lovato


Lead photo courtesy of Kaimana Beach Hotel
Kimberley Lovato
Kimberley Lovato writes about food, lifestyle, hotels, and adventure from California, but loves to hit the road in search of a good story. Her bylines have appeared in the New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, AARP, Virtuoso: The Magazine, Robb Report, HemispheresShondaland, Ciao BambinoCN Traveler and many other print and online publications. A lifelong Francophile, Kimberley spent several months a year sipping champagne and exploring  "l’Hexagone from her pied-a-terre on the Cote d'Azur. She’s also the author of a culinary travel book about the Dordogne region of France, which received a Gold Lowell Thomas Award from the Society of American Travel Writers.  When she’s not booking plane tickets or practicing French verb conjugation, she’s writing children’s books, sailing, hiking, cooking, and forever contemplating why it’s so hard to keep her basil plant alive. Instagram: @KimberleyLovato

Related Articles

EcoFeatured Articles USA
Sustainable Lake Tahoe: 5 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Adventure in the Sierra Nevada

Sustainable Lake Tahoe: 5 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Adventure in the Sierra Nevada

"Sustainable Travel in Lake Tahoe: How Responsible Tourism Can Save the Jewel of the Sierra Nevada" Visit Responsibly & With Manners Drink Tahoe Tap Minimize Driving Consider Visiting Outside Summer and Ski Season Volunteer Over-tourism and litter are not...

Top10 Travel Tips for 2023

Top 10 Travel Tips for 2023

Get the top 10 Tips to increase the awesomeness factor of your next Travel Adventure. You will also receive updates on new and amazing places to travel to.


Subscribe Now 


Become a BeSeeingYou Member

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Top10 Travel Tips for 2023

Top 10 Travel Tips for 2023

Get the top 10 Tips to increase the awesomeness factor of your next Travel Adventure. You will also receive updates on new and amazing places to travel to.


Subscribe Now 


Become a BeSeeingYou Member

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Top10 Travel Tips for 2023

Top 10 Travel Tips for 2023

Get the top 10 Tips to increase the awesomeness factor of your next Travel Adventure. You will also receive updates on new and amazing places to travel to.


Subscribe Now 


Become a BeSeeingYou Member

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Share This