Catch a Wave at the Best Surfing Beaches in California
We're about to blow your minds with surfing vocabulary.
Whether you’re an amateur who has just gone through their hundredth wipeout of the day – and want to get back on the board – or you’re an experienced pro who has just slipped through the pocket of the whitewash, only to find a bunch of kooks in your way, you'll need somewhere with sand and water - bumpy, turbulent water, no less. So, we at Plum Guide will be looking at the best surfing beaches in California. And yes, as you may have suspected, we were absolutely showing off our surfing terminology: we hope you were suitably impressed, at least enough to read on. California has long been known as one of the world’s surfing hubs, but that doesn’t mean that all beaches are born equal with respect to this water sport.
The Pacific Ocean lining the western edge of such beauty spots as Venice and Malibu makes for some truly wonderful surfing conditions. And as it happens, we’ve got a great range of Plum Guide rental homes right across Los Angeles and San Diego where you can rest your board after a day on the waves.
El Porto, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles
This may sound a little like a cross between a Spanish marina and a busy New York urban sprawl, but it’s actually an archetypal Los Angeles surfing spot. Bigger waves smash the beach in fall and winter, bringing in some of the experts and pros. It’s also pretty close to the airport, meaning that many water sports enthusiasts will hang out here for one last ride on a wave before catching their flight. Once back on the strand, take part in the volleyball on the courts or simply relax and work on your tan on the white sand of the beach.
Ocean Park, Santa Monica, Los Angeles
It’s right at the end of Main Street, meaning you can spend a day surfing before rewarding yourself (as if the waves weren’t rewarding enough) with a trip to the shops in Downtown Santa Monica and Santa Monica Place. Dine somewhere sufficiently reputable and exclusive for your very deserving family and rub shoulders with the rich and famous in the likes of Tar & Roses, Water Grill Santa Monica and FIG restaurant. We wonder whether those big stars also spent a day surfing at the beach? Ah yes, surfing. We were distracted by all the shops, restaurants and celebrities around here. Ocean Park is one of the best surfing beaches in California for its break, so arrive early (perhaps even in time for sunset, dare we say it) to get your surf on.
Rincon Point, Santa Barbara
The charming city of Santa Barbara, in the northern peripheries of Los Angeles, makes for a perfect surfing spot a little away from the bright lights of the City of Angels. Known as the Queen of the Coast, Rincon Point makes for a particularly serene surfing spot, with little in the way of amenities (make sure to bring your own sandwiches). Revel in the authenticity and just get down to pure surfing, before embarking on a stroll along the beach to check out some of the exclusive houses here. Other top spots for surfing in the area include the Leadbetter Point, the Campus Point and the Channel Islands.
La Jolla Shores, San Diego
The hilly neighbourhood of La Jolla is one of the most vibrant and picturesque parts of San Diego. And it makes sense, given its name is Spanish for ‘The Jolly’. Not really, but wouldn’t that make for a great place name? Anyway, La Jolla Shores is one of the best surfing beaches in California, with its long and wide sandy strand that lies between rugged rocks. Rent a kayak and delve into the La Jolla Cave. It means The Jolly Cave in Spanish. Sorry, we’ll stop now. Lifeguards usually patrol the beach, making it safe to try some of your most ambitious tricks to impress your family back on the sand. Disclaimer: lifeguards can do nothing to quell the roars of laughter emanating from your smug kids. Enjoy a picnic (not sharing with anybody who laughed at your falls) on the grassy areas of the Kellogg Park.