California boasts a whopping 840 miles of coastline, with access to the Pacific Ocean at every turn. That means a lot of stellar surf year round with a vast array of spots unparalleled by anywhere else in the world. And the best part is, there are waves for beginners and pros alike. To narrow down your options, we’ve picked our favorite So-Cal spots to get you started. And since surfing takes a lot out of you, don’t forget to stop by and refuel by the pool at SLS Beverly Hills with some light fare by Chef José Andrés, on your way back in or out of the water.
El Porto (Manhattan Beach)
The northern break of Manhattan beach attracts flocks of surf enthusiasts and beach goers. This relaxed spot can be a little crowded for beginners, but if you time it right during a smaller swell you’ll be all good. And if the waves are overhead, the awesome selection of food trucks in the area are almost worth the trip alone. Pressed Juicery Food Truck has killer fresh juice or sample their vanilla almond milk; or for something more hearty hit up La Frite food truck for french style burgers.
Surfrider (how about: in Malibu), the quintessential California summertime point break is one of the hardest working and most reliable waves you’ll find. The right hand break is suitable for both long and short-boarders. This is also one of the original spots where Californian surf culture was established. That means Surfrider is a tourist mecca and the waters can get crowded, but it’s a great place to spend the day soaking up the scene.
Trestles (San Clemente)
Trestles is one of Southern California’s most popular south swells. It’s a good wave with long rides, and the Beach Boys even dropped a mention on their hit “Surfing USA.” The coastline wedged between San Onofre Power plant and the San Diego and Orange County Line attracts people from all over the world, but being that bit further out of LA city means you’ll be on the waves with some of the more committed surf enthusiasts. While Trestles can get crowded and geared towards high performance short board pro surfing, there’s also “Old Mans,” a short walk away and super beginner/longboard friendly.
Huntington Beach Pier
Huntington Beach Pier boasts nearly 9.5 miles of endless peaks to surf up and down the beach. Located in Orange County, Huntington Beach is a reliable surf spot with enough room for everyone. Nicknamed “Surf City,” it has the highest population for any surf town in California, which means good amenities and food. Home to the USA surf open, it’s also a highly recommended destination for all levels of surfers.