San Diego, California, is a great experience for a taste of authentic SoCal surf culture. You can surf at a beautiful and uncrowded spot in Carlsbad, ride waves in front of the quirky surf town of Encinitas, paddle out next to an amusement park at Mission Beach, or catch some real-deal, old school surf vibes at Oceanside, San Diego. The iconic San Diego has a break for almost every kind of surfer. There’s little excuse not to catch a couple of waves with the warm water, sunny weather, and wide-open beaches. Taking a surf lesson is a solid way to experience the beach lifestyle culture since it’s deeply entwined with the San Diegan lifestyle.
From surfing to hiking, biking, birdwatching, and diving, Carlsbad has something for almost every kind of nature lover. With tons of different playful breaks spread out along the coast, it’s easy for beginners to find their peak and score some waves all to themselves. Carlsbad’s clear water and mellow waves make this a place where surfers can hone in and advance their abilities. It is the place to take your surfing to the next level while enjoying the laid-back and friendly vibe of San Diego. Metered, street, and beachfront parking are available.
With its quirky beach-town vibe, Encinitas has a variety of different beaches. These surf spots are legendary, from wide-open stretches of sand to rocky coves and hidden gems. Spread-out breaks with consistent waves give surfers a chance to practice new skills and catch waves away from the crowds. Just 25 miles north of San Diego proper, Encinitas is home to much of the surf industry, and many surf brands and companies are based here. Encinitas’ relaxed atmosphere and super consistent swells may hint at why so many surfing professionals have laid down their roots in this town. Caution: once you visit, you may never want to leave! Metered, street, and beachfront parking are available.
Mission Beach, SD
Just over a mile in length, Mission Beach is a laid-back neighborhood that bustles in the summer and can be found empty in the off-season. Because of its proximity to Belmont Park, the oceanfront amusement park, Mission Beach can be pretty busy at certain times of the year. But, with a wide-spread stretch of surf breaks, it’s easy for beginners to grab a peak all to themselves and score a couple of waves. This iconic summer destination is filled with locals and visitors looking for that perfect day at the beach. It is an excellent place for beginners to build confidence and more advanced surfers to hone their skills on a forgiving break that offers consistent waves year-round. Metered, street, and beachfront parking are available.
Oceanside Beach, SD
With a rep for being one of Southern California’s most consistent surf spots, Oceanside is a real deal surf town that locals love, and tourists adore. With an old-school vibe, Oceanside is a great place for beginners to paddle out and score some waves. In the heart of Oceanside is Shaper’s Alley, an entire row of San Diego based surfboard shapers who make handcrafted surfboards and keep the old-school love of surf culture alive and pumping through the Oceanside’s heartbeat. Be sure to check it out and support any of the many local businesses while visiting! Metered, street, and beachfront parking are available.
Solana Beach, SD
In a charming seaside community, Solana Beach is a great surf town. Only a thirty-minute drive away from downtown San Diego, Solana Beach seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. With stunning vistas of oceanside bluffs and wide-open sandy beaches, Solana Beach is a great spot to take a surf lesson and escape for the day. The spread-out peaks and various breaks on the beach mean that there are waves for everybody. Score a couple of sets and then explore the Torrey Pines Natural Reserve and San Elijo lagoon. Solana beach is the ultimate destination for a nature lover and surf student.