10 Best Surfing Beaches in California | 2022 Reviews

Flo Farmer
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California is the place to be if you want world-class waves but you’re not quite sure where to find the best surfing beaches in California. If you’re a beginner surfer, you’re probably wondering where the best waves to ride for beginners are. And for those experienced with the sport, you want to know the fiercest waves to ride and where your favourite pro-surfers surf.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best surfing beach in California?

According to local surfers, average swells from the winter bring 5-foot waves to Cardiff Reef. The waves pick up in size and power throughout the summer months, and top out between 6-8 feet. Hawn, Rifles, and Cooks peaks offer the best conditions for beginners. Rifles is ideal for longboards and float boards, while Cooks is best for shortboards and high performance shortboards. Cardiff Reef is best for beginners and surfers looking for long waves and hollow barrels.

What beach has the best waves in California?

It depends on your skill level. Check out this list for the best big waves in California:

  • Mavericks (near Half Moon Bay)
  • Rio Del Mar Beach (Pescadero)
  • Crescent City
  • Malibu
  • San Francisco Beach
  • Santa Barbara Beach
  • Newport Beach
  • Dana Point
  • Huntington Beach
  • Black's Beach (Oceanside)

Which beach has the best waves?

As a surfer, you want to know which beach will provide the best waves for you and your friends. So, which beach has the best waves? It depends on the type of waves that you’re looking for.

Where can I surf in California for beginners?

If you are a beginner, it is best to learn to surf in Southern California. The waters are warmer and the waves are much mellower and bigger close to the shore.

Hang out in Santa Cruz; the surf is mellow and there are plenty of places you can rent surfboards and learn to surf.

If you are looking for a more laid-back, surfer vibe, consider Santa Monica. Big waves can be found a bit north in Malibu or if you want to stick around LA, try the South Bay.

If you want to catch the best waves, go to the north coast. Big Sur has huge waves, but there are not many good places to learn to surf here. If you want to learn in Big Sur and surf, but are not comfortable riding waves, you can learn in Monterey which is just north of Big Sur.


Even if you’ve never surfed before, you might want to make a quick 180 and try out a surf vacation.

This list of the ten best surfing beaches in California will provide you with an idea of some of the best waves in the Beach State.

From surfing beaches in San Diego to Los Angeles, we’ve got you covered. All it takes is the right teacher, which is what you’ll want to find when you’re planning your trip.

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