Guest Post By: Joe Laing
Ever watch the surfers at the beach and wonder what it would be like to catch a tube and ride it all the way in? Stop dreaming and get your feet wet! There are easy-to-reach beaches in the USA that cater to beginners. These spots have local surf shops offering lessons and gear, and gentle waves that won’t leave you feeling pounded.
Grab your sunscreen—one of these six scenic, beginner-friendly surfing spots is waiting to host your next vacation:
Sea Isle City, New Jersey is an East Coast haven for beginning surfers, with eight designated surfing beaches and an endless supply of gentle rollers. You’ll also find plenty of outfitters offering surfing lessons and equipment rentals, so consider enrolling in a three-day surf camp to learn the basics. It may look hectic by the size of the crowds, but this smart seaside city planned their beaches by activity, so visitors don’t collide.
How to get there: Sea Isle City is easy to get to and is just a couple of hours south along the shore from New York City (and only 30 minutes from Atlantic City International Airport).
Folly Beach, South Carolina, 15 minutes from Charleston, is so laid-back you’ll think you’re in southern California. You’ll find a half dozen breaks offering consistent waves that are best ridden on a longboard. Surf schools are abundant, but book your lessons before you visit, as space is limited. Vacationers to Folly Beach praise the soft sand and unspoiled beachscape.
How to get there: Charleston International Airport is a 30-minute drive away, and Atlanta is about four hours west of Folly Beach on I-26.
Speaking of SoCal, La Jolla Shores beckons beginning surfers with predictable waves and a mile-long stretch of sandy beach. You’ll find parking close to the beach and friendly surf shops with instructors experienced in working with beginners. Visitors to La Jolla are close to all San Diego attractions, so plan an extended trip to this sun-washed coastal village.
How to get there: San Diego International Airport is less than 20 minutes from La Jolla Shores, or you can drive there from Anaheim in an hour and a half.
Sunset Point Beach, at the northern end of Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, California, is famous for long, smooth rollers that beginning longboard surfers will love. Surf shops in Pacific Palisades and nearby Santa Monica offer all the necessary start-up gear, so there’s no excuse for not making this your first California surfing experience.
How to get there: This Los Angeles area beach is easy to access with parking along Pacific Coast Highway. Pacific Palisades is 30 miles from Los Angeles International Airport, or if you’re driving in from the east, it’s about a four-hour drive straight west from Las Vegas on I-15.
For our next beginner surf spot, we’re heading south to Galveston Beach, Texas. This popular beach is blessed with consistent, small waves, making it perfect for the new surfer. Galveston Island is the quintessential beach destination, with plenty to experience off the water, too.
How to get there: Galveston Island is a 45-minute drive from Houston Hobby Airport, or if you’re traveling from New Orleans to Galveston, it’s a five-hour drive on I-10.
The final stop on our tour is Cocoa Beach, Florida. Not only will you find easy waves to conquer on a longboard, you can also take lessons from world-famous Ron Jon Surf School (Now that’s a T-shirt worth taking home!) There’s a classic Florida Space Coast feel here, so you’ll be sharing your days with fishers, kayakers, and beachcombers soaking up the sun.
How to get there: You’re about an hour away from Orlando International Airport at Cocoa Beach, or you can drive straight across the state two hours from St. Petersburg.
These six beginner-friendly beaches were handpicked to help you plan your first surfing vacation. Gentle waves, sandy beaches and friendly oceanfront towns—it’s a mix made in heaven for the soul who longs to surf.
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV, a nationwide RV rental company. Joe has been on the road working within the travel industry for over 20 years and greatly enjoys exploring the outdoors.
All images courtesy of El Monte RV