Some of the best surf towns in America include Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz in California, as well as Cocoa Beach in Florida. Other notable surf towns include Malibu and Santa Barbara in California, Haleiwa in Hawaii, and Montauk in New York.
Each of these surf towns boasts unique surf cultures and conditions, making them popular destinations for surfers and beachgoers alike.
Also read our guide to the best longboard waves in California.
Best surf towns in America
1. Huntington Beach, California,
Huntington Beach, California is a surf town that's deeply connected to the ocean and surf culture. Known as “Surf City USA,” the town offers some of the best waves on the West Coast, drawing surfers of all skill levels to paddle out and catch a ride. The warm waters and consistent waves make for a comfortable and thrilling surfing experience year-round.
For those seeking to immerse themselves in surf culture, Huntington Beach delivers. The town's annual U.S. Open of Surfing is one of the most prestigious surfing competitions in the world, attracting top talent and enthusiasts alike. The event transforms the town into a vibrant hub of surf culture, adding to the already electric atmosphere.
Plus, Huntington Beach isn't that far away from Disneyland.
2. Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz, California is a renowned surf town with a rich surfing history dating back to the 1950s, making it a must-visit destination for surfers and beach enthusiasts. The town's laid-back atmosphere and picturesque coastline have contributed to its reputation as a top surf spot.
For those looking to catch some waves, Santa Cruz offers some of the best surf spots in California, including Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. These locations are renowned for their consistent waves and challenging breaks, making them popular among experienced surfers.
Santa Cruz's surf culture is also a notable aspect of the town. The surf shops and cafes that line the streets provide visitors with the opportunity to immerse themselves in surf culture and experience the local scene. Watching locals tackle the waves is a unique experience that adds to the town's charm.
3. Cocoa Beach, Florida
Cocoa Beach, Florida is a prime surf destination on the East Coast, offering warm waters and consistent waves year-round. As the birthplace of world-renowned surfer Kelly Slater, the town has gained a reputation as a top spot for surfers seeking a fun and challenging ride.
Visitors to Cocoa Beach can also check out the famous Ron Jon Surf Shop, which has become a mecca for surfers and beachgoers alike. The shop offers a wide range of surf gear and apparel, as well as surf lessons for those looking to improve their skills.
4. Malibu – California
Malibu, California has been a surf destination since the 1960s and is known as one of the birthplaces of modern surfing. Its iconic Surfrider Beach has a reputation for some of the best waves in Southern California, drawing surfers from all over the world.
The beach is home to the Malibu Pier, which has been a popular surf spot for over 100 years. Surfers can catch long rides along the pier and enjoy the consistent waves, making it a favorite among surfers of all skill levels.
Malibu's surf culture extends beyond its beaches, with the town's laid-back vibe and stunning coastal views making it a popular destination for surfers and beachgoers alike. The town is home to a variety of surf shops, cafes, and restaurants, adding to its reputation as a top surf destination.
Malibu's reputation as a surf destination has also led to the development of several surf schools, offering lessons and rentals for those looking to learn or improve their skills. Visitors can also explore the town's other outdoor activities, such as hiking in the nearby mountains or enjoying a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway.
5. Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara, California is an awesome surf destination located just north of Malibu. It's home to some of the best surf spots in Southern California, including the world-famous Rincon Point.
Rincon Point is a sick point break that offers consistent swells and long rides, making it a favorite among experienced surfers. There are three sections to the point break – the Cove, the Rivermouth, and the Indicator – each offering a different surfing experience.
The town also has a vibrant surf culture and beautiful coastal scenery that add to its appeal. Visitors can check out the surf shops, cafes, and restaurants that line the streets or take lessons and rentals from the surf schools in town.
6. Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii
Haleiwa, located on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, is a legendary surf town that's a must-visit destination for surfers and beach lovers. It's home to one of the most famous surf spots in the world – the Banzai Pipeline.
The Banzai Pipeline is a legendary break that offers some of the most challenging and awe-inspiring waves on the planet. It's known for its powerful and dangerous waves that attract some of the best surfers in the world. Visitors can watch in amazement as surfers tackle these monstrous waves, providing an unforgettable surfing experience.
Aside from the Banzai Pipeline, Haleiwa offers a range of other surf spots suitable for surfers of all levels. From the beginner-friendly breaks at Chun's Reef and Laniakea to the challenging waves at Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay, there's something for everyone in Haleiwa.
7. Montauk, New York
Montauk, New York is a hidden gem of a surf town located on the eastern tip of Long Island. Despite being a popular summer destination for New Yorkers looking to escape the city, Montauk's uncrowded waves and small-town atmosphere make it an excellent spot for surfers looking for a more low-key surfing experience.
Montauk's surf spots are located along its beautiful coastline, with some of the most popular surf breaks including Ditch Plains, Turtle Cove, and Gin Beach. These spots offer a variety of wave conditions suitable for surfers of all levels, from beginner-friendly waves to more challenging breaks.
In recent years, Montauk's surfing community has been growing, with several surf schools and rental shops opening up in town. Visitors can take lessons from experienced instructors or rent surfboards and wetsuits for a day of fun in the waves.
Where is the best surf in the USA?
The United States is home to some of the world's best surf spots, attracting surfers from all over the globe. The best surf in the USA can be found in a variety of locations, ranging from the world-famous point breaks of Hawaii to the uncrowded waves of Montauk, New York.
Some of the most popular surf spots in the USA include the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii, Rincon Point in Santa Barbara, California, Huntington Beach in Southern California, and Cocoa Beach in Florida. Each of these locations offers a unique surfing experience, with a range of wave conditions suitable for surfers of all levels.
What states have the best surfing?
Several states in the USA have a reputation for having the best surfing, including Hawaii, California, Florida, and New York. Hawaii is widely considered to be the birthplace of modern surfing and is home to some of the world's most iconic surf spots, including the Banzai Pipeline and Waikiki Beach.
California is also a top surf destination, with world-famous surf spots such as Rincon Point and Huntington Beach. Florida is known for its warm waters and consistent waves, with surf spots such as Cocoa Beach and New Smyrna Beach attracting surfers year-round. New York is a hidden gem of a surf destination, with uncrowded waves and a small-town atmosphere that's perfect for surfers looking for a more laid-back experience.
What is the surfing capital of the United States?
The surfing capital of the United States is often considered to be Huntington Beach, California, also known as Surf City USA. The town has a rich surfing history and is home to some of the best surf spots in Southern California, including the famous Huntington Beach Pier.
Huntington Beach also hosts the annual U.S. Open of Surfing, one of the most prestigious surf competitions in the world. The event draws thousands of spectators and competitors each year, adding to the town's electric surfing atmosphere.
What is the biggest surf town in the US?
The biggest surf town in the US is difficult to determine, as it depends on how one defines “biggest.” However, some of the largest surf towns in the US include Huntington Beach, California; Santa Cruz, California; and Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Huntington Beach is home to over 200,000 residents and is a top surf destination in Southern California. Santa Cruz, located just south of San Francisco, has a population of around 65,000 and offers some of the best surf spots in California, including Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. Cocoa Beach, located on Florida's east coast, has a population of around 12,000 and is known for its warm waters and consistent waves.
What US state is known for surfing?
Several US states are known for surfing, including Hawaii, California, Florida, and New York. Hawaii is widely considered to be the birthplace of modern surfing and is known for its powerful waves and stunning natural beauty.
California is also a top surf destination, with world-famous surf spots such as Rincon Point and Huntington Beach. Florida is known for its warm waters and consistent waves, with surf spots such as Cocoa Beach and New Smyrna Beach attracting surfers year-round. New York is a hidden gem of a surf destination, with uncrowded waves and a small-town atmosphere that's perfect for surfers looking for a more laid-back experience. Overall, the USA has a rich surfing culture and is home to some of the best surf spots in the world, attracting surfers from all over the globe.