Best Surf Spots In San Diego, California

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All throughout the year, you are guaranteed to find surfers out on the stunning beaches of San Diego. This Southern Californian county is undoubtedly a surfing hotspot with a rich history and several spots that are considered favorites among the best in the game. With roughly 70 miles of exquisite, surfable coastline, San Diego is not to be missed.

San Diego undoubtedly offers one of the best surfing experiences in all of Southern California and the country as a whole. Its stunning beaches and warm waters cater to surfers of any skill level and are a favorite among the pros. Popular spots include La Jolla and Trestles, to name a few.

From embarking on your first attempt at riding a few waves to taking on the challenge of surfing at some of the pro’s favorite spots, San Diego is undoubtedly a surfer’s paradise. Combine that with arguably the warmest water along the Californian coast, and you are likely never to want to leave. Discover why San Diego should be your next surfing destination. 

Surfing In San Diego

The overall experience in San Diego is undoubtedly one of the best in all of California. A visit here will be met by friendly, welcoming people, pleasant weather, exquisite beaches with some of the warmest ocean water in the state, and a surf culture that is both exciting and highly alluring. 

Living in or even just visiting San Diego and not getting involved in the surf culture is like visiting a fine dining restaurant and only ever ordering a side salad. Many people say that if you visit San Diego, having never surfed a day in your life, you will leave with a zeal for catching the perfect wave.

San Diego is the place to be if you want to experience some of the best and most consistent waves in the United States. Professional surfers like Kelly Slater – a multiple winning world champion surfer – consider specific spots in San Diego to be some of their all-time favorite waves to ride. That in itself should be all the hype that you could need.

Even though some of the top surfers globally favor San Diego, what makes this place even better is that it is not only suitable for the pros out there. San Diego has more than a fair share of exquisite beaches that are perfect for learning how to surf, along with some of the best surfing lessons you can find in the state.

When To Go Surfing In San Diego

If you’re familiar with anything about the world of surfing, you will know that timing is everything in this sport. And that fact is especially true when it comes to knowing when the best time is to go surfing. Ultimately, the different times and seasons throughout the year can significantly affect the type of surfing experience you can expect. 

Thankfully, as previously mentioned, San Diego offers some of the most consistent surfing experiences in California, which is undoubtedly part of its massive appeal. However, you may want to be more specific about when to visit San Diego based on your particular level of experience and overall skill.

San Diego’s prime surfing season is considered to be during the late summer months to early fall, or roughly August to November. These months are considered by many to be the most consistent and favorable time of the year to enjoy San Diego’s waves, whether you are a novice surfer or have several years of experience on a surfboard. 

For the highly experienced surfers looking for more of a thrilling experience, as is the case with most surf spots, you will want to make sure to pay a visit to San Diego during the winter months. December to February sees the largest waves thanks to all the storms in Alaska; however, you can expect much colder water during this time.

The Best Surf Spots In San Diego

Now that you are more thoroughly acquainted with the overall surfing experience in San Diego – as well as the best time to pay a visit – let us assist you in planning your next surfing adventure by showing you some of the best surf spots in San Diego that you cannot afford to miss out on. 

La Jolla

As translated from the beautiful language of Spanish, La Jolla means “The Jewel,” and this area is precisely that. This iconic surfing area in San Diego is undoubtedly a favorite among the locals and is not to be missed out on if you are planning a visit. La Jolla is made up of a variety of incredible surf spots; here are three of the best to check out:


The only downside to this beautiful surf spot is that it is more often than not an extremely crowded area, and the need to compete for a chance at the waves might prove to be a little challenging. However, Windansea is considered home to some of the most consistent waves in all of San Diego, so if you get the opportunity to visit, don’t miss out. 

Black’s Beach

Without a doubt, Black’s Beach is far more suited to intermediate and advanced level surfers only. This spot unquestionably stands out as one of the best in San Diego, boasting some of the biggest waves in Southern California. Black’s Beach is guaranteed to provide a wild and thrilling surfing experience.

La Jolla Shores

Thankfully, La Jolla not only caters to the more advanced surfers out there but has more than enough to offer for less experienced surfers. La Jolla Shores is the perfect example of this. Arguably one of the most popular local beaches in San Diego, this is the ideal spot to learn and practice catching some easy-to-ride waves.


A list of the greatest surf spots in San Diego would not be complete without listing the location that Kelly Slater has called his favorite wave. Understandably, when a surfer of Slater’s caliber makes a statement like that, overcrowding is almost guaranteed at this epic spot. In fact, when the conditions are at their prime, you can easily expect around 100 surfers gathered here.

Trestles is undoubtedly one of the most thrilling waves in San Diego that demands a high level of skill and experience. If you’ve already gained a fair share of experience on a surfboard, you will certainly want to try out the waves at the playground of the professionals. 

Pacific Beach

One of the best parts about Pacific Beach is that it is widely known for the friendliness and hospitality of the locals. If you have ever traveled to various surf spots around California, you will know that “localism” is a common word that describes typically unfriendly local surfers. 

Pacific Beach is an excellent spot for beginner and intermediate-level surfers who are ready to enjoy a day out in the waves. The area is considered to be a student hub, so the atmosphere around here guarantees a good time overall.

Thanks to the soft and pleasant waves at Pacific Beach, it is a great spot to learn how to surf, with several excellent surfing lesson options available. This is a beautiful spot to experience, whether you are enjoying the waves for yourself or if you would prefer being a spectator on the nearby pier.


The pro surfers out there can’t have all the fun, so here is another excellent San Diego surf spot for beginners and intermediate surfers. Oceanside offers some gentle yet wonderfully surfable waves that are perfect for those who are looking to take their wave riding skills to the next level. 

Sunset Cliffs

As a final addition to our list, but by no means the last of San Diego’s epic surfing spots is the breathtaking surf spot known as Sunset Cliffs. A little further away from the typical city surf spots, this underdeveloped coastline area promises to be the surfing experience of a lifetime – not to mention the epic view. 

Strictly for advanced surfers only, the waves at Sunset Cliffs are guaranteed to provide a thrilling experience for the adrenaline-seeking wave riders out there. Reaching these waves can be an adventure in itself, but you will undoubtedly find the end result most rewarding.

Unfortunately, this is one of San Diego’s surf spots where you can expect to encounter an unpleasant level of localism. However, if you are able to endure a few unsavory looks, then you will undoubtedly come away with an unforgettable experience. 

Surfing Lessons In San Diego

Thanks to its near-perfect conditions and extraordinarily diverse range of surf spots, San Diego is undoubtedly one of the best places to take on a few surfing lessons. Regardless of whether you have ever set foot on a surfboard in your life or if you have a decent amount of experience riding waves, surf lessons remain one of the best ways to improve your skills.

One of the biggest things that separate the professionals from the amateurs is exercising the perfect technique of catching and riding a wave. As is the case with most sports, proper technique is absolutely vital. Learning from those who have years of experience is undoubtedly one of the best ways to take your surfing skills from average to excellent. 

San Diego has plenty of options for surf lessons, almost as many as there are perfect surfing spots! To help you to advance your surfing skills, we will show you some of the best options for lessons in San Diego.

Pacific Beach Surf Shop

The Pacific Beach Surf Shop has been teaching people the art of surfing for over 55 years. Each year they assist over 3500 people in taking their surfing skills to the next level. They offer lesson packages that cater to your specific needs, and each lesson is taught by highly experienced instructors, each with the highest level of safety certification.

You need to be at least five years old to take lessons with Pacific Beach Surf Shop. However, from there, all ages are welcome. Both private surfing lessons and a variety of group lessons are available for you to choose from. However, private lessons are always recommended for the highest level of attention to detail and the fastest rate of advancement. 

A private lesson with an instructor at the Pacific Beach Surf Shop will cost you only $105 dollars for a 90-minute class and includes all of your necessary surfing equipment. Group lessons start at $95 per person for groups of two, $85 per person for a group of three, and $80 per person for groups of four or more people. 

For more information about Pacific Beach Surf Shop and their surfing lessons, you can follow this link.

Pacific Surf San Diego

Another great option for surf lessons is Pacific Surf San Diego. With over 2000 five-star reviews on platforms like TripAdvisor and Google, Pacific Surf San Diego has an excellent reputation that speaks for itself. They cater all of their lessons to your specific needs, so whether you are a novice or already have the skills of a pro, they can help you to improve.

Pacific Surf San Diego offers lessons at a few of San Diego’s exquisite beaches, including Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach, and La Jolla Shores. Each of their certified instructors is highly experienced and are even qualified ocean lifeguards, making your overall safety a priority to ensure you have the best and most memorable time. 

For each of the lesson options with Pacific Surf San Diego, all equipment, including surfboards, leashes, wetsuits, UV protection, and rash guards, will be provided in your lesson. A 90-minute private class will cost you $119, $98 per person for semi-private lessons, and $89 per person for larger group lessons. 

For those between the ages of 7 to 17, you might also be interested in a multi-day surf camp. Enjoy a three or five-day surfing camp where you will be submerged in the world of surfing while learning other vital aspects like ocean awareness and water safety. These camps start at $297 per person. For more information about Pacific Surf San Diego and their surf lessons or surf camps, you can follow this link.


Overall, it is easy to see why San Diego should undoubtedly be on your bucket list for must-visit surf spots. The wide range of surfing spots on offer at some of the most breathtaking beaches unquestionably sets San Diego apart as a world-class surfing destination. Grab your gear and prepare for an unforgettable surfing experience!