If you are reading this article it means, you are either a surfing guru or a surfing beginner. If you are a surfing guru, just skip the first paragraph and move on to the next. Surging beginners, congratulations! You have now been to the surf shop online many times and selected your surfboard, your wetsuit and now are looking for the best surfing vacation possible.
This article is about identifying the best places to surf in the World – places to learn surfing, places for surfing gurus and places to party hard when the surf is down.
Surfing depends on nature’s benevolence (when the tides are high) that is why in this list we have also kept places where the waves are as consistent as possible, where the accommodation is affordable, food is great and the nightlife is excellent.
The best places for surfing vacation are listed below (in no particular order):
1. Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii
One of the most idyllic and beautiful towns in the Hawaiian chain is Hanalei Town, to the north shore of Kauai. The beach is lovely, with calm and clear water and not crowded at all. The Hawaiians living here have a strong feeling towards their ancestry – Polynesian. Maybe it this longing to their past which makes them great hosts when visitors come over to enjoy their town surfs with their surfboards on their shoulders.
Best surfing vacation for: Couples who also love a bit of history (Polynesian in this case). Also a great place for kids and teenagers – waves are gentle enough for children to wet their feet without getting soaked. As they gain courage they have more of the surfing fun.
Best to surf during: The best time to enjoy your surfing at Hanalei is from October to March.
2. Tofino, British Columbia
If you haven’t heard of British Columbia, then you need to know that it sits on the most beautiful place on Vancouver island. This town of harsh winters turns into a surfing paradise during the summers. In fact, it is said that it is the surfiest town in the west of North America – it had earned international acclaim as a top surfing destination when Tofino was named “Best Surf Town in North America” by Outside Magazine (2010). Tofino doesn’t provide the tropical atmosphere but wetsuits make sure you don’t feel the cold during surfing.
Best surfing vacation for: This is best suited for couples and hardcore surfers who like to push themselves to the limit. The water is a bit colder than in other places, so you need to be rugged to enjoy the surfs of Tofino.
Best to surf during: The best time for surfing in Tofino is from March to September. Winter sees the biggest waves but it is also the coldest – make your choice.
3. Taghazout, Morocco
Taghazout in Morocco is a premier surfing destination for both pros and learners. In fact, it is a surfing oasis bang in the middle of a long coastline peppered with rocks. Taghazout is a laid-back fishing village once known for its hippies. It has some amazing surf spots such as Hash Point, Panorama, Anchor Point, La Source, Killer Point and Mysteries. During the Moroccan summer holiday, a lot of domestic tourists also hop in for action along with a nice mix of French and Spanish surfers who come in for a surfing experience of a lifetime.
Best surfing place for: Surfing in Taghazout is best suited for couples and other serious surfers who like it tough. Not to mention the folks who love the mysteries of walking the streets of a Moroccan village.
Best to surf during: The best time (and reliable) to surf is from October to April, but one can still surf and have fun year-round.
4. Encinitas, California
Encinitas in California is one of the finest surfing places in the United States. Surfers who have been there consider the surf shops there to be the best – and why not after all these surf shops are the oldest in the country. If you are surf move fan, you will also love the fact that Encinitas has an 84-year-old theatre which regularly films surfing movies. As for most popular surf points, there is Seaside, Cardiff Reef, Swamis, and D Street where you can enjoy enough surfing fun.
Best surfing place for: Encinitas is best spot for a family with a taste for surfing. The American beach culture mixed with the Mexican twist provides for a great family vacation as well.
Best to surf during: The best time for surfing at Encinitas is when it is autumn, with favorable wind conditions and not-so-cold water temperatures.
5. Bundoran, Ireland
Those that love surfing agree that a surfer has to surf at least once in Ireland before they die – and Bundoran fits right in. This fishing village is centuries old offers difficulty levels of various kinds for all kinds of surfers. The water is a bit cold, which means the waves favor the brave. Of course, after the cold water surfing, you can always come down to the breweries and pubs for some warmth.
Best surfing place for: The hardcore surfer will love Bundoran. If you have just started surfing, we recommend you stay away.
Best to surf during: The peaceful period is from September to November, when it is less crowded. This is also the time when the water isn’t as cold as in rest of the year.
6. Florianópolis, Brazil
Brazil is the only country where surfing is popular throughout. Maybe it has to do with their 4,500+ miles of coastline or with the spirit of adventure ever Brazilian carries inside of him (or her). Florianópolis is Brazil’s capital or surfing and professionals and amateur surfers flock to this surf point regularly.
Florianópolis has 40+ different beaches to suit all kinds of surfers. For those who like to throw in a bit of post-surfing action, there is excellent nightlife as well in Florianópolis.
Best surfing place for: People who like to party hard and surf harder will be an ideal fit for this location. If you like to take it easy after an hour of surfing, this place isn’t for you.
Best to surf during: Florianópolis is good for surfing throughout the year, through November to February the surf eases out and goes smaller.
7. Byron Bay, Australia
Everybody knows that the best surfing nation in the world is Australia. Not many know that Byron Bay is the gateway to this great surfing nation. A bit rich, but true to heart Byron Bay attracts all kinds of surfers to town. It is difficult to find better waves for your surfing and a better atmosphere in any other location. The main wave, Pass can get crowded at times and hence it makes sense for pro surfers to try out the surf point called Broken Head.
Best surfing place for: Byron Bay is great for families.
Best to surf during: The swell is pumped up all the time, through June to September stands out as the best time to visit this surf town.
8. Nosara, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is no stranger to great waves so it is no surprise that it is one of the finest countries for surfing. The long winding beaches, the warm water, the lively atmosphere makes Nosara a surfer’s delight. Nosara is one of the few places with over 330 days per year of rideable or surf-able conditions.
Best surfing place for: All kinds of surfers will enjoy Nosara – starting from kids just trying out their surfboards to sun-burnt beer-guzzling surfers who trip on adrenalin.
Best to surf during: Costa Rica has two seasons, the dry and the rainy and it is great to surf during both the seasons. The only differences between the dry and rainy season are the crowd – during summers, the place becomes touristy.
9. Paia, Maui, Hawaii
Paia in Maui is full of shops, restaurants, yoga studios and surfers. There is a bit of windsurfing in Maui but we will leave that for later. Paia started off as a town resting on the sugarcane economy but is slowly moving towards becoming a surfing economy. Paia is a great place for surfing during winter and in summer it is good only for swimming or amateur surfers. If you are an amateur and land up here in winter when the surf is high, you should shift your focus to Paia Bay.
Best surfing place for: Paia in Maui is great for families because there is both entertainment and food to fit all tastes. If you love touristy centers, please stay away from this place.
Best to surf during: It is best to surf during November to March. Rest of the time, enjoy the atmosphere provided by the town.
10. Raglan, New Zealand
Raglan has a Maori influence and came into prominence as good surfing point when it got featured in Bruce Brown’s film on surfing titled “The Endless Summer.” As a surfer, you may be aware that the strongest and consistent waves are created between 40° and 49° south latitude of mother Earth. Raglan lies right inside this zone and hence offers a poetic surfing experience. If you are a beginner Ngarunui Beach is the best for you and if you are a professional then watch out for Manu Bay.
Best surfing place for: This town is not just about surfing. Besides hitting the surf, you can also enjoy activities such as mountain biking, windsurfing, kite flying, whale-watching etc.
Best to surf during: Though New Zealand gets its share of the waves throughout the year, a better time to go for this surfing vacation will be November to February. Do invest in a costly wetsuit because it can get cold in Raglan, New Zealand.
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