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The Definitive Guide to North America’s Best Surf Spots

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Bucket List Worthy  

North America can take its pick of almost immeasurable coastline.

 

And with that comes an endless amount of opportunity to surf. No matter where you are—Mexico, U.S., or in Canada—there is somewhere pristine to rent a surfboard, put on a wetsuit, and hit the waves. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much you surf, and how well you know the breaks. All that matters is that you’re ready to face the next adventure, and get on that board.

In our latest guide, FlightNetwork has put together the authoritative itinerary of where and how to surf in North America. We visit spots like Oaxaca, in Mexico; British Columbia, in Canada; and ride the Californian sunset, in the U.S. All of these spots, be it surf shops, schools, or luxury resorts, bring something different to the table. And we promise that there is something out there for you. Whenever you’re ready to call the office and tell them you’re on holiday, let us know.

We’ll be here waiting for you.

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Check out these spots to surf in North America today:

 

United States

 

1. Blue Ocean Breeze Surf School (Hawaii) 2. House of Trestles (California)

 

3. Surf West PR (Puerto Rico)  |  4. Surfari Surf School (California)  |  5. Nancy Emerson School of Surfing (Hawaii)

 

6. The CaliCamp: Surfing With Friends (California)  |  7. Koloa Landing Resort (Hawaii)  |  8. Mary Osborne Surf Camp & Escapes (California)

 

9. Surfhouse (California)  |  10. Maui Surfer Girls (Hawaii)

 

11. Soul Surfing Maui (Hawaii)  |  12. Learn to Surf LA (California)  |  13. Walking on Water Surf School (California)

 

14. Santa Barbara Adventure Company (California)  |  15. Freedom Surf Camps (California)  |

 

Mexico

 

1. Puerto Surf (Oaxaca)  |  2. Scorpion Bay Hotel (Baja California Sur)

 

3. Lunazul Surf School & Shop (Nayarit)  |  4. Wildmex La Lancha (Bahia de Banderas)

 

 

Canada

1. Pacific Surf Company (British Columbia)  |  2. Surf Club at Long Beach Lodge Resort (British Columbia)

 

3. Nootka Wilderness Lodge (Vancouver) 

 

***

United States

1. Blue Ocean Breeze Surf School

Where: Oahu, Hawaii

When to Go: All-Year

 

Where else to begin but in Hawaii, a place that many have called the “birthplace of surfing”? Especially on Oahu, the island that is home to Honolulu, a stunning assortment of natural preserves, and, of course, beaches. That’s where Blue Ocean Breeze Surf School comes in. With its range of lessons for all skill types, from beginner to all-out pro, this surf school institution has paid tribute to the island’s unique location, which offers it a diversity of waves and breaks, since 2004. There are also yogas and pilates available as a warm-up, to get those who are new to the sport standing by the end of the first class.

Prices for lessons vary depending on age, and skill level. For more information, check out the website for the Blue Ocean Breeze Surf School here.

 

 

2. House of Trestles

Where: San Clemente, California

When to Go: All-Year

 

We’re going to leave Hawaii for a second (don’t worry, we’ll be back), and head down to San Clemente. What’s there, you might ask? Just a city in California that has produced more pro surfers per capita than anyone else. It’s there that you’ll find the House of Trestles, a surf-oriented hostel located on the city’s ‘Surfer Row,’ offering different surfer-themed rooms to stay in. (Ripcurl is one of them.) There’s plenty to do here, as House of Trestles is equal parts street art gallery, shared space, yoga studio, event hall, and skate park. Yes, that all happens here—in addition to surfing in a legendary setting.

Prices start at $29 for lessons. To book a room today, hit the House of Trestles website now.

 

3. Surf West PR

Where: Rincon, Puerto Rico

When to Go: November – April

 

People often forget that the United States has a little piece of the Caribbean in its own backyard. Welcome to Puerto Rico, home of some of the best warm-water surfing in North America. Its western shores offer shores that are to find anywhere else in the States, and Rincon is in the heart of that. There, you’ll find Surf West PR, a surf school amongst many that is esteemed for its variety of yoga activities, nearby restaurants, and access to cultural events. Don’t forget that aside from the surfing—which there is plenty of—you’re also in Puerto Rico. So, go have fun!

Get off the mainland today by visiting the Surf West PR website.

 

 

4. Surfari Surf School

Where: San Diego, California

When to Go: All-Year

 

Keep in mind that California is huge: it covers a majority of the length of America’s west coast, and so, there isn’t just one city to surf—in fact, there are dozens. But one of the few that rise to the top is San Diego, right near the Mexico border. Like other places in California, its location allows surfers to surf according to their expertise, with different points and breaks crashing along the city’s shoes. The Surfari Surf School, which is within walking distance of the beach, taps into that with a varied regimen available to patrons, as well as surfboard and wetsuit rentals, and free lockers and dressing rooms to use.

 

It’s open all year, from 9 to 5. Grab some lessons today starting at $55. To reserve, check the website today.

 

 

5. Nancy Emerson School of Surfing

 

 

Where: Oahu, Maui

When to Go: All-Year

Amongst those who visit Hawaii, Nancy Emerson is a legend amongst surf instructors, having overseen one of the longest-running surf schools on the islands. (If you’re wondering: 1973!) Located in either Oahu or Maui, prospective surfers or those looking to brush up on their skills have access to classes taught either by Nancy, or an instructor that was trained by her. Another perk: you get to meet her dog, Apache, too.

Prices vary depending on what you’re looking for: group surfs, private groups, etc. All details can be found on Nancy’s business website.

 

 

6. The CaliCamp: Surfing With Friends

 

Where: Dana Point, California

When to Go: March – November

 

We should’ve known that a debate was going to break out over who created surf culture. But Southern California has a good case going, especially down in Orange County’s Dana Point. That’s where you arrive for ‘camp’ at CaliCamp: Surfing With Friends. But first, you’ll be greeted at the airport by a guide, who will take you back to your surf lodge. Each day, your group is taken to the best surf spot at that time, and the rest of the day is spent riding waves to your heart’s desire. And yes, you may never want to leave.

Prices start at $142 a day. Groups can book their stay at the CaliCamp by going to the website here.

 

7. Koloa Landing Resort

 

Where: Poipu, Hawaii

When to Go: Spring and Summer

 

Now that we’ve hit Maui and Oahu, it’s time to head over to Kauai for some truly special surf. And where else but Poipu Beach, a surfers’ secret with havens like Acid Drops and Centers to catch the largest swells on the island. That’s where Koloa Landing Resort has set up shop, and their services go beyond just surfing (which you can, of course, still do). There are jet ski rentals, paddle-board games, offshore excursions to other destinations, and a pool to relax in after a long day of hitting the waves. So get the crew together, rent a surfboard, and get going—Kauai awaits.

To find out more details on booking and pricing, the Koloa Landing Resort website is your safest bet. Check it out today!

 

8. Mary Osborne Surf Camp & Escapes

 

 

Where: Ventura, California

When to Go: All-Year

 

We’re back in Cali, this time hitting Ventura. In between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, this small beachside city has a big surfing heart. The Mary Osborne Surf Camp & Escapes is the place to check out here, as they take advantage of the town’s varied seascape, with tides and breaks both for the newcomer, and the seasoned veteran. You’ll get to surf alongside the pros, like Mary Osborne, with individualized classes, group lessons, and even international retreats, should you go forward with your involvement.

Want in? Then head to the website today.

 

 

 

9. Surfhouse

Where: Encinitas, California

When to Go: All-Year

 

Heading south from Ventura is the city of Encinitas, which is sort of the place to be right now in surfing culture. Why? Because aside from the surf—which is renowned—it also has a standout craft beer scene, art world, and let’s just say the burritos are something to write home about. (And eat plenty of.) That said, Surfhouse is your go-to spot, with a surfing adventure company that has built experiences over time to perfectly match every skill level. In other words: they’ve got you covered.

Prices start at around $115 for the stay and surf. More information can be found on the Surfhouse website.

 

 

 

10. Maui Surfer Girls

Where: Lahaina, Hawaii

When to Go: All-Year

 

In what feels like a Beach Boys song, Maui Surfer Girls is exactly what it sounds like: a troupe of female instructors who are ready to get you surfing, whether it’s your first time ever, or in a while. And the setting is perfect for that: Ukumehame Beach Park is, perhaps, one of the most famous locales for surfing on Maui. That’s where your lessons will take place, each tailor-fitted to match your experience on the waves. The groups themselves are kept relatively small, in order to encourage individualized attention. So you’ll get plenty of wave time.

The group lesson itself is $89. But there is also a six-day women’s camp that goes for $1,950 a person. Interested? Then start your adventure to Maui on the Maui Surfers Girls website here.

 

***

 

Don’t miss out on these amazing destinations:

 

United States

 

1. Blue Ocean Breeze Surf School (Hawaii) 2. House of Trestles (California)

 

3. Surf West PR (Puerto Rico)  |  4. Surfari Surf School (California)  |  5. Nancy Emerson School of Surfing (Hawaii)

 

6. The CaliCamp: Surfing With Friends (California)  |  7. Koloa Landing Resort (Hawaii)  |  8. Mary Osborne Surf Camp & Escapes (California)

 

9. Surfhouse (California)  |  10. Maui Surfer Girls (Hawaii)

 

11. Soul Surfing Maui (Hawaii)  |  12. Learn to Surf LA (California)  |  13. Walking on Water Surf School (California)

 

14. Santa Barbara Adventure Company (California) |  15. Freedom Surf Camps (California)  |

 

Mexico

 

1. Puerto Surf (Oaxaca)  |  2. Scorpion Bay Hotel (Baja California Sur)

 

3. Lunazul Surf School & Shop (Nayarit)  |  4. Wildmex La Lancha (Bahia de Banderas)

 

 

Canada

1. Pacific Surf Company (British Columbia)  |  2. Surf Club at Long Beach Lodge Resort (British Columbia)

 

3. Nootka Wilderness Lodge (Vancouver) 

 

***

 

 

11. Soul Surfing Maui

 

Where: Maui, Hawaii

When to Go: All-Year

 

Not too far from Maui Surfer Girls in Ukumehame Beach Park is another great surf school option called Soul Surfing Maui. They’re proud to tell you that the waters around Maui are warm and beautiful all-year round, with a wave level for everyone. That’s why they offer group and private surf lessons, “boutique” overnight camps, all-inclusive surf lodge packages, and full-on day tours that take you around this beautiful place. So no, you will not get bored. (In case you were wondering.)

Lessons for three or more people cost $100 a person, but fuller packages start at $500. Sign your friends up today by heading to the Soul Surfing Maui website.

 

12. Learn to Surf LA

Where: Los Angeles, California

When to Go: All-Year

 

If you’re surfing in Los Angeles, then you’re probably somewhere near Santa Monica, with its legendary ‘Muscle Beach,’ eccentric boardwalk, and damn good waves. Its location is what makes Santa Monica what it is: the beach break allows for constant peaks, which, in turn, makes for great surf. If you’re looking to hop in, then pay Learn to Surf LA a visit. With its private and multi-level lessons, youth camp, and group discounts, it’s a stalwart of surf education in Santa Monica.

The lessons themselves go for $85. And FYI, parents: the youth camp is $325 a week. Ready to sign up? Then head to the Learn to Surf LA website here.

 

 

13. Walking on Water Surf School

Where: San Diego and Orange County, California

When to Go: June – August

 

Located in both San Diego and Orange County, CA, Walking on Water Surf School is different from the rest of the entries here, as it’s a Christian-inspired surf school. (Hence the name.) For those interested, that means each day starts with an opening prayer and devotional time before male and female students, ages 6-14, head out to shore to surf. Students will enjoy games, eat lunch with friends, hear from special guest pro surfers, and be able to participate in Bible study. Attention is paid to both beginner and intermediate surfers, in order for the children to develop their skills, and also, have a blast.

The lessons cost $70; the all-inclusive camp goes for $795. For more information on what they includes, then head to the Walking on Water Surf School website.

 

 

14. Santa Barbara Adventure Company

Where: Santa Barbara, California

When to Go: All-Year

 

If we’re doing a guide to best spots to surf in North America, then we couldn’t leave out Santa Barbara, that beachside paradise to the north of Los Angeles, CA. Many people say it has one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world—which means that surfing is a must. For those new to surf, you’re in luck: the waters in Santa Barbara are relatively calm, making it easy to learn how to surf undisturbed. At Santa Barbara Adventure Company, the experienced instructors will have your back, with a friendly, comfortable manner that will make the experience all the more enjoyable. Lunch and equipment is also available to patrons. Oh, and some incredible scenery, too.

Lessons start at $89, and details can be found on the Santa Barbara Adventures website here.

 

 

 

 

15. Freedom Surf Camps

 

Where: Los Angeles, California

When to Go: All-Year

 

We’re back in the City of Angels one last time on this list for the Freedom Surf Camps, which is also located along Santa Monica beach. It advertises the six surf spots available to surfers, like the famed Manhattan and Venice Beach. You’ll get to join the generations of surfers before you, who rode these shores to stardom, and made Los Angeles what it is today: a surfer paradise. Classes are available at all skill levels to both children and teenagers, while some lessons are safety-focused, or women-only. Those enrolled can order lunch in, or bring their own food. And everyone is encouraged to have fun, because, again, you’re in L.A.

It’s $95 a day for surf classes, and $425 for the week-long program. If you’re ready for Santa Monica, then head to the Freedom Surf Camps website.

 

 

***

Mexico

1. Puerto Surf (Oaxaca)

Where: Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca

When to Go: May – October

 

“Many places claim to be the world’s best surfing beach,” say the folks behind Puerto Surf, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, “but Puerto Escondido’s Playa Zicatela would make most wave-riders’ top tens.” And they may have a point: the Pacific coastline is a gem along this country’s gorgeous shore, inviting visitors from all over Mexico, and the world, to surf the waves. The 20-year-old Puerto Surf school is your perch for this, with lessons for everyone, no matter how many times you’ve surfed before, as well as yoga, massages, and a delicious breakfast to get your day going. Big waves, small waves, whatever—you’re here to have fun. And it’s Oaxaca, so please, eat the food.

The 7 rooms and classes are $25, with larger packages available to patrons. Check those out and much, much more on the website here.

 

 

2. Scorpion Bay Hotel

Where: San Juanico, Baja California Sur

When to Go: May – November

 

Ah, Baja California Sur. This Mexican peninsula is one of the country’s most famous landscapes, esteemed for its resorts, off-road adventures, fishing, beachfront access, cuisine, and—most importantly for this guide’s purpose—surfing. And for that reason, you’ll want to associate yourself with Scorpion Bay Hotel in San Juanico, which has been praised by magazines and websites for its extraordinarily long wave, perfect for longboards. Multi-level lessons are offered every day from the resort; once you return home from the waves, there’s a relaxing garden, A/C-ed rooms, and an authentic Mexican restaurant waiting for you. And before you ask, yes, there are cervezas.

Prices vary by season, and different room options are available to prospective surfers. Generally, the rates start at $75 per night for singles, and $110 per night for doubles. If Baja is calling you, then pick up the phone—here’s the website for the Scorpion Bay Hotel.

 

 

3. Lunazul Surf School & Shop

 

Where: Sayulita, Nayarit

When to Go: All-Year

 

Away from the resorts of Baja California Sur and the increasingly popular Oaxaca shores is Sayulita, a small beach town in Nayrait that locals call “magical,” mostly for its tiny surf break here. Surfers come to this lesser-known spot to get away from the crowds, and for intimate experiences with the water. It’s where Lunazul Surf School & Shop can be found, offering those who made it here a comfortable room to sleep, a locker room to store their equipment, and a rinse station to wash off the day. The town itself is home to authentic Mexican dishes, a number of lodges, art galleries, and live music. So surf, and stay a while.

It’s $60 for a private lesson, and $40 for group lessons. Longer stays cost more. To go where the surfers go, then check out the Lunazul website here.

 

 

4. Wildmex La Lancha

 

Where: Punta de Mita, Bahía de Banderas

When to Go: All-Year

 

And finally, we leave Mexico in one of the best of places: Bahía de Banderas, specifically Punta de Mita; a crossroads of multiple scenic beaches, where a number of great breaks are accessible by land, and within driving distance. Enter Wildmex La Lancha, a surf school and camp that is dedicated to keeping Punta de Mita beautiful, and clean. Each beach is different, and cater to a different vibe, crowd, and expertise. By the end, we’re sure you’ll have a favourite. (We know we do.)

Group lessons for two or more people cost $75 a person; private is more expensive, at $110. Check the website if you don’t want to leave Mexico either.

 

***

Canada

1. Pacific Surf Company

Where: Tofino, British Columbia

When to Go: All-Year

 

British Columbia isn’t the first place you think of when you hear the word ‘surf,’ but don’t let that discourage you. Especially when you see Tofino, a beautiful coastline town on the other side of Vancouver Island,Vancouver. The surfing experience here mixes the best of both worlds: Canadian mountains and forestry behind you, and original Pacific surf in front of you. Pacific Surf Company is nestled in there, offering patrons what makes Tofino great: its restaurants, its expeditions into the outdoors, and (the reason why you’re here) the surf! With three to five beach breaks available, there’s a wave for everyone.

Lessons start at $85. Upend your concept of where and how to surf today by visiting the Pacific Surf Company website here.

 

 

2. Surf Club at Long Beach Lodge Resort

 

Where: Tofino, British Columbia

When to Go: All-Year

 

But don’t go too far—the Surf Club at Long Beach Lodge Resort is another Tofino ‘must,’ located right on Cox Bay Beach, which is considered one of the best to surf in Canada. Surf lessons and rentals are open to everyone, and overseen by professional instructors who use quality gear. It’s especially popular during the winter, when storms cause swells to grow large, with great waves to longboard. Then, there are the facilities: a spa, a change room, a shower, a sauna, a hot pool, a restaurant, a bistro, and a cappuccino bar. Yes, a cappuccino is available to sip after you surf. And yes, this is paradise.

Private lessons go for $189, and larger packages are available upon demand. Want to find out more? Hit the Surf Club website today.

 

3. Nootka Wilderness Lodge

Where: Vancouver Island, Vancouver

When to Go: September – November

In our final destination, we head to a different part of Vancouver Island, for the Nootka Sound. That’s where the incredibly scenic Nootka Wilderness Lounge can be found. Although it might sound like a camping ground, it is home to both popular sports fishing, and some of the most undisturbed surf in the Pacific Northwest. There are twelve guest rooms available to patrons, as well as a dining room, lodge, and shared deck area to take in the day and nights. You’ll be able to meet other surfers, and hear stories of the day. Of which there should be plenty.

Prices start at $395 to stay at the Lounge. Ready to do BC the right way? Then start at the Nootka Wilderness Lounge website here.

 

***

Jump back to the best surfing destinations North America has to offer:

United States

 

1. Blue Ocean Breeze Surf School (Hawaii) 2. House of Trestles (California)

 

3. Surf West PR (Puerto Rico)  |  4. Surfari Surf School (California)  |  5. Nancy Emerson School of Surfing (Hawaii)

 

6. The CaliCamp: Surfing With Friends (California)  |  7. Koloa Landing Resort (Hawaii)  |  8. Mary Osborne Surf Camp & Escapes (California)

 

9. Surfhouse (California)  |  10. Maui Surfer Girls (Hawaii)

 

11. Soul Surfing Maui (Hawaii)  |  12. Learn to Surf LA (California)  |  13. Walking on Water Surf School (California)

 

14. Santa Barbara Adventure Company (California)  |  15. Freedom Surf Camps (California)  |

 

Mexico

 

1. Puerto Surf (Oaxaca)  |  2. Scorpion Bay Hotel (Baja California Sur)

 

3. Lunazul Surf School & Shop (Nayarit)  |  4. Wildmex La Lancha (Bahia de Banderas)

 

 

Canada

1. Pacific Surf Company (British Columbia)  |  2. Surf Club at Long Beach Lodge Resort (British Columbia)

 

3. Nootka Wilderness Lodge (Vancouver) 

 

***

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