Best Surf Spots In New York: Long Beach, Fire Island, & Montauk

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We often think of taxis, traffic, and Times Square when thinking of New York. But, what we don’t think of, are beaches and surfing. However, New York has some great surfing spots, and the beaches are packed during the summer. Knowing where and when to surf in New York is essential for any surfer, beginner, or professional.

New York has some fantastic surf spots, stretching from the west end of Long Island to Montauk. You can find great locations for beginners and others that are perfect for professionals. Most beaches have surf shops to rent a surfboard. Some beaches have better surf in certain seasons.

You can read about the different beaches to go surfing at in this article, as well as the best seasons to go there. Additionally, you can find out which beaches are suitable for beginner surfers and which beaches you should avoid going to in the summer.

The Best Surf spots In New York

Before we discuss the best spots to surf in New York, you need to know a couple of things. Firstly, surfing is not legal everywhere. At Rockaway beach, for example, you are only legally allowed to surf in the following areas:

  • Between beach 68th street and beach 71st street
  • Between beach 87th street and beach 91st street
  • Between beach 110th street and beach 111th street

These areas in Rockaway Beach are the only places in Queens where you can legally surf. During the summertime, you must also adhere to the safety measures by lifeguards. You might want to know what other beaches close to New York City are good surfing spots for these reasons. Then, you can visit them when the crowds are too big at Rockaway beach.

There are three beaches worth visiting in New York apart from Rockaway beach. These beaches are Long beach, Montauk beach, and Fire Island. All these beaches have their unique charm and are surely worth visiting.

Surfing At Long Beach, New York

Long beach is an attractive surf spot due to the swells caused by the underwater Hudson Canyon. This canyon causes swells that make for good surfing. The best beaches to visit are Lido beach, where the first surfing competition was held, and Lincoln Boulevard, a place perfectly suitable for beginners.

There are a few places to hire surfboards and take surfing lessons in Long Beach, and this beach tends to draw a crowd in summer.

Surfing At Montauk, New York

Montauk is situated at the tip of Long Island and has some of the nicest surf spots in the area. According to the experts, Ditch Plains is the best place to go for an experienced surfer. The rocky bottom ensures an exciting surfing experience.

Turtle Cove is another good surf spot to try, as the waves can reach up to twenty feet on a good day. However, most locals tend to go surfing at Terrace due to the wonderful tubes produced by the sandy bottom at this beach. There are various places to hire surfboards and get surfing lessons if you are in the area.

Surfing At Fire Island, New York

Fire island is a bit longer drive, but the atmosphere and surf spots make it all worth the effort. Jetties and sandbars protect the beaches at Fire Island. However, this means that the waves can sometimes be unpredictable.

Locals recommend heading to Point O’ Woods, Smith Point, and Atlantique for a good surf. If you are more experienced and would like to ride faster waves, Ocean beach Jetties are also worth trying. Remember to hire a surfboard before getting on the ferry to Fire Island if you need to.

Apart from New York, there are also some great beaches to visit and surf at in New Jersey, such as Sandy Hook, Belmar, and Manasquan Inlet.

The History Of Surfing In New York

The surfing community in New York can be traced all the way back to 1912 when Duke Kahanamoku passed through New York on his way from Honolulu to Stockholm to compete in the Olympic Games. He introduced surfing to the New York Community at Rockaway beach. Rockaway Beach is still one of the most popular surfing spots in the city.

The surfing community blossomed in New York, and in 1960, New York’s first-ever surf competition was held at Lido beach. In 1965, the East Coast surfing competition was created and is still going strong to this day.

In 2012, much of Rockaway beach was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and it took a few years for the beach and boardwalks to be rebuilt. Rockaway beach holds a special place in the surfing history of New York, and thousands of surfers visit it each year.

However, there are also many other popular surf spots in New York. You might want to visit some of them after being at Rockaway beach.

When Is The Best Surfing Season In New York?

As you have likely noticed, beaches tend to be crowded in summer, making it difficult to get a good surf. As a result, many locals prefer to go surfing at other times of the year when beaches are less crowded.

Fall is an excellent alternative to surfing in New York, as the water and air temperatures are still fair, and the swells are good for surfing. At Long Beach, hurricanes might appear between June and November and peak from August to September. Although these swells don’t always appear, they sometimes last more than a week.

During winter, the beaches aren’t crowded, and regular swells are great for surfing. However, water temperatures can drop to just above freezing. Therefore, if you wish to surf in New York during winter, you need to have the right gear. This includes a hood, gloves, boots, and a 5/4 wetsuit.

In Spring, temperatures fluctuate drastically, and gloves are necessary until around May. Long Island often receives some south wind swells, making it a good spot for surfing in Spring.

In summer, you might consider heading east for a surf, as this road draws fewer crowds, making the surfing experience less stressful.

Whenever you decide to go, New York has something unique and exciting to offer regarding surfing. The best advice is to ask the local surfers. They will be able to give you the best advice on beaches to visit and things to keep in mind.


New York has a long surfing history and many beaches worth visiting for a surf. Although New York has strict laws regarding where you can legally surf, there are some great surf spots to visit on Long Island.

Surfing is possible in any season, but fall seems to provide the best weather and fewer crowds than summer. Remember to ask the locals for advice when visiting for a surf and note the tips they give you.