Peach Travel Guide: Your Guide to Northern California Surf Spots
Jan 03, 2024
Embark on a surf trip along the stunning coast of Northern California, where the waves call out to surfers of all levels and the surf culture blooms year round. Whether you're looking to learn to surf or you're a seasoned pro planning your next surf trip, this region offers a big range of spots tailored to every level. Don’t let the often foggy and overcast days fool you — Still key to pack a surf hat for year round sun protection as you explore the beauty of Norcal.
Here's our roundup of a few of our favorite surf spots for you to check out!
Beginner-Friendly Spots: Start Your Surf Journey
1. Bolinas Beach, Marin County
Gentle and Inviting: Bolinas Beach is a go-to spot for beginners and longboarders, and my personal favorite surf spot! The waves are welcoming and its one of the friendlier breaks in the bay area, making it a perfect place to ease into the sport in a safe and encouraging environment. Ideal for learning the basics and building confidence. We love to have a morning surf, and post up on the beach for a midday hang. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen and keep your surf hat on for extra sun protection!
2. Linda Mar Beach, Pacifica
A Welcoming Surf Scene: Known for its beginner-friendly waves, Linda Mar Beach is a perfect starting point for new surfers. Its a 30 min drive from SF and you can rent a board and wetsuit at the NorCal surf shop right on the beach, and grab a lesson too! Stick to the south end of the beach and work your way up to the north end if you want a heavier/more challenging wave. Heads up - it can get super crowded, especially on the weekends, so remember to brush up on your surf etiquette to ensure everyone’s safe and has a great time.
3. The Hook, Santa Cruz
Scenic and Serene: Nestled in a picturesque cove, The Hook offers gentle waves that are ideal for beginners. The spot provides a tranquil environment to learn and grow your surf skills while enjoying the scenic beauty of Santa Cruz. Heads up - it can get crowded here too, and be aware of your surroundings otherwise you may get yelled at by a grumpy local. Has happened to me more than once! Also, there’s often lots of seaweed so just watch out as your board can get caught and you get flung off the board!
4. Jack's, Santa Cruz
A Beginner's Delight: Known for its mellow waves, Jack's is another excellent spot for novices. Its forgiving waves allow beginners to learn at their own pace. Pro tip: if you’re rocking your surf hat, its super easy to spot yourself on the surfline cams to watch after your session!
Intermediate/Advanced Spots: Work on Your Surf Style + Test Your Limits
1. Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz
Surfer’s Paradise: Pleasure Point, with its variety of breaks, is an iconic spot for intermediate surfers looking to refine their longboarding or shortboarding skills. There are a few peaks to choose from, but just be mindful of etiquette here as people can get prickly!
2. Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz
Iconic and Challenging: A step up in difficulty, Steamer Lane offers more challenging waves. It's a great place for intermediate surfers to push their limits and advance their skills.
3. Ocean Beach, San Francisco
The City’s Surf Challenge: With powerful waves and strong currents, Ocean Beach is a spot for experienced surfers seeking an exhilarating ride. It's a perfect place to test your advanced surfing skills against the backdrop of San Francisco. Drive along highway 1 to scope out a spot- our personal favorite is staying up at North Ocean Beach! We use the windmills as a reference point as the current is strong and you can end up drifting super far from your original paddle out spot.
4. Fort Point, San Francisco
Surf Beneath the Golden Gate: Offering a strong left break, Fort Point is for skilled surfers who can navigate challenging currents and a rocky seabed. Surfing under the Golden Gate Bridge is an experience like no other, but this spot is notoriously territorial, so paddle out at your own risk!
Northern California's diverse surf spots cater to every level, from serene beaches perfect for beginners to legendary waves challenging even the most experienced surfers. These are our consistent go-tos, there are so many more fun waves to be had tucked away along the coast— more on those soon. Pack your surf hat, embrace the unique norcal surf vibes, and find your perfect wave along this magnificent coastline. Happy surfing! 🏄♂️🏄♀️🌊🧢