10 exciting surfing destinations around the world

July 14, 2022 | Surfing
Surfing: discover 10 unmissable surf breaks for your summer holidays | Photo: Siqueira/Creative Commons

Bikinis, baggy board shorts, and bleach-haired surfers taking on the big waves of Hawaii. The year 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the rom-com, girl-power-filled movie "Blue Crush."

What better way to ride the waves of nostalgia than to get out into the ocean this summer?

Below are some hot destinations for surfing, whether you are a beginner or have dreams of becoming a Pipe Master like Anne Marie.

United States

Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Besides being home to some of the world's finest white-sand beaches, Destin-Fort Walton Beach is great for learning to learn to surf, thanks to its warm, crystal-clear waters and soft sand for easy landings.

Whether a novice or expert, the seaside Destin offers a variety of surfing experiences.

Beginners can learn how to tackle the waves at Ride on Surf, a local surfing school led by certified instructors.

Experts can bring their surfboard or rent a paddleboard at Wet Inc., a leading Destin retail company.

Notable spots include Crystal Beach (for classic surfing with larger waves), Okaloosa Island (the preferred spot for resident surfers), and Henderson Beach State Park (spacious to accommodate all kinds of surfing, including windsurfing.)

Check out Destin Wakesurf, which offers easier waves to catch.

Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida | Photo: destinfwb.com

Laguna Beach, California

Montage Laguna Beach is nestled on a clifftop in the iconic surf town of Laguna Beach.

It's the birthplace of legends like Mike Parsons and home to surfing virtuoso Hans Hagen.

Each room at Montage Laguna Beach offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, and the resort offers various surf-inspired activities.

The most recent is through a partnership with Montage International and Adventure IO.

Guests can get surf and skimboarding lessons from the best in the business, Blair Conklin, who will help groups navigate the waves, provide surf and skimboarding instruction, and share stories of traveling the world with top pros.

If you prefer to surf on top of the water instead of in the waves, guests can learn how to ride an e-foil with professional surfer Chuck Glynn.

The experience best combines surfing, flying, and snowboarding through deep powder.

Also available at Laguna Beach are surfing lessons through the concierge with local surf shops and instructors.

At the gym, guests can surf without getting wet with Surfset fitness classes.

Long Island, New York

Long Island's shores are home to some of the top beaches in the United States, according to world-renowned geoscientist, coastal ecologist, and author "Dr. Beach."

And with varying topography across its 118 miles, many visitors and locals spend the summers wakesurfing the north shore's rocky New England-style coastline or catching record-breaking waves on the East End.

In Long Beach, a two-mile-long boardwalk is met with the white sand shores of the Atlantic.

Guests staying at The Allegria can enjoy complimentary beach access, grab a local brew from Bright Eye Beer Co., or connect with the certified professionals at Skudin' Surf for beginner-friendly surf lessons and day camps.

Seasoned surfers will want to head to Ditch Plains in Montauk, an area known for setting recording-breaking waves on the eastern seaboard.

Not far from here, Marram, the newest luxury hotel out east with laid-back luxury at its core, is encouraging guests to slow down and focus on life's simple pleasures - one surf lesson at a time.

The boutique hotel now offers surf lessons with world-class Engstrom Surf, owned by the Montauk-native Engstrom family.

And for those looking to hang loose in a non-traditional manner, the Northport natives behind Over the Top Watersports have everything you need to learn how to wake surf or water ski for an exhilarating day on the bay.

Similarly, Port Washington-based Long Island Boat Rentals offers wakeboarding, waterskiing, and tubing along with private yacht charters for sightseeing excursions on Long Island's iconic Gold Coast.

Long Island, New York | Photo: Yurasits/Creative Commons

Manhattan Beach, California

Visitors looking to maintain an active lifestyle on vacation will find all they need in this coastal enclave.

Known for its world-class surf, the International Surf Festival, beach volleyball, and laid-back vibes, this SoCal beach escape is an ideal locale for the fit traveler.

Look no further than westdrift Manhattan Beach for chic accommodations and access to sporty activities.

Beachgoers will love westdrift's brand-new partnership with GoSurfing, where they can learn to hang ten with private instruction from local experts.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Learn to surf in the birthplace of East Coast surfing.

The seaside resort community traces its board-based love back to 1912, and as the swell changes depending on the season and the weather, scoping out the ideal surf conditions has become an art form in its own right.

Ready to hit the waves?

Take some surf lessons, rent a board or carve one of your very own, and soak up the surf culture that reigns in this ever-popular beach town.

Virginia Beach also is home to the esteemed East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC), the longest continuously running surf contest in the world, and has produced a host of well-known wave riders.

The best of the best competes at this stop on the World Tour, including more than 200 of the world's top professional male and female surfers and an estimated 300 amateur surfers.

The eight-day contest celebrates its diamond anniversary in 2022.

Come meet the legends of Virginia Beach surfing, check out brand new murals and explore the coastal destination's laid-back water-based culture.

Virginia Beach, Virginia | Photo: Red Bull

Anguilla

Named a top 2022 travel destination, the beautiful Anguilla island in the eastern part of the Caribbean comprises several offshore islets and comes sun-drenched with some of the region's finest beaches and an abundance of outdoor adventures.

At onefinestay, Anguilla, luxurious accommodations come in full swing as its unique homes and villas are perfect for water enthusiasts.

Every stay is professionally managed to ensure guests receive support from a dedicated concierge team - including personalized unmissable experiences on the island.

Arrange a private surfing class or a group session to conquer the waves.

After a day of hitting the waves, have groceries delivered to you for a private picnic on the beach or arrange a private chef.

Guests can stay at properties such as Tequila Sunrise Villa, perfectly nestled on a quiet beach, or the beachfront Kishti Villas with breathtaking panoramic views.

Hong Kong

Adventurous types need to look no further than the outdoors of Hong Kong, with sea sports ripe for the taking.

Hong Kong is truly an urban city with a surf culture.

As a former fishing village, Hong Kong's soul is tied to the ocean, and surfing is also an extremely popular pastime.

A quartet of popular beaches - Tai Wan, Ham Tin, Tung Wan, and Sai Wan - make the stretch of Sai Kung known as Tai Long Wan.

Big Wave Bay is the heartbeat of Hong Kong's surf culture and, thanks to its easy accessibility, the most popular.

Pui O Beach is a place for beginners to catch smaller waves and savor stunning sunsets on golden sands on the lesser-known Lantau Island.

Big Wave Bay Beach, Hong Kong | Photo: Liang/Creative Commons

Mexico

Los Cabos, Mexico

The shores of Los Cabos are full of renowned surf breaks and are home to the Los Cabos Open of Surf.

At Montage Los Cabos, the luxury five-star resort located on the sweeping shores of Santa Maria Bay, travelers can partake in various surfing experiences and enjoy the resort's unrivaled position on the only swimmable beach in the destination.

Instructed by the best in the business, guests can learn the proper technique and etiquette to navigate waves like a pro.

One exclusive surf experience offered at the resort is Ride & Surf, a five-hour expedition showcasing Baja's outback and coastline.

In a UTV, visitors will take in spectacular panoramic views and be driven to one of Cabos' most secluded surf spots, where they can hit the waves with a surf pro on a Stewart surfboard.

Other inclusions in the offer are private transportation and complimentary refreshments.

Additionally, through a partnership with Bill Stewart, renowned surfer and father of the modern longboard, guests are invited to select from a custom fleet of boards that can be rented through Compass Sports, the resort's adventure sports outfitter.

Panama

Panama is home to the best year-round surf spots in Central America.

The nation features more than 1,500 miles of pristine coastline in both the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Bocas del Toro is located on the northern Caribbean side of Panama and offers some of the best surfing due to various surf breaks and consistent swells.

With an undeveloped landscape, it's a unique look at the country's natural wonders, such as bioluminescent waters and reef life.

Riviera Pacífica on the Pacific Coastline boasts white-sand beaches just a short drive from Panama City.

Chame and El Palmar are two popular surf spots offering long rides.

Playa Venao is a must-ride surf spot on the Azuero Peninsula, with consistent south swell and bi-directional breaks.

Panama is proud of its beautiful landscape and biodiversity.

The country is also focused on preserving its oceans and natural heritage, with 30 percent of its marine area protected.

South Africa

When you think of South Africa, images of safaris surely pop up. But it's been home to surfing for hundreds of years.

In the upcoming new book "Afrosurf," the authors add to the surfing narrative by sharing that Africa has over a 1,000-year-old surfing tradition that was founded in Ghana in the 1600s.

South Africa is home to the natural Roaring Forties, which creates stronger swells for serious surfers.

From casual to pro surf spots, hundreds of destinations along the coast attract worldwide visitors.

The Eastern shore hosts the Indian Sea, with warm and empty waters that are perfect year-round for all-level surfing.

Similarly, South Africa's intricate topography offers headlands along the coastline that creates strong surfing waves all year.

Jeffreys Bay, Elands Bay, Dungeons Long Beach, and Muizenberg are popular surfing destinations.

Portugal

Ericeira

Half an hour from the city center, the World Surfing Reserve in Ericeira is the best surf spot to enjoy big waves.

While visiting the restaurants in the picturesque fishing village, visitors can taste fresh fish right from the sea.

Ribeira d'Ilhas is also considered Europe's surfing capital.


Words by Lauren Wire | Account Supervisor at Finn Partners