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Best Surfing Destinations for This Year

Surfing Destinations

The beginning of a new year is the right time to make travel plans. But with so many perfect places to go, which are the best surfing destinations? This year, set out to discover these five spots where surfing can be intense and full of adrenaline or mellow and perfect for those who are still learning the sport.

Trestles, California, USA


Image via Flickr by digitizedchaos

Near San Clemente, California, the area known as Trestles includes five distinct spots for surfing: Church, Middles, Lowers, Uppers, and Cottons. Lower Trestles has become the best-known, but it’s also the most crowded, which means you have to be a good surfer to be there. Right next door, Uppers can be a better choice, as it’s uncomplicated and equally fun. To get to the beach, you have to walk through the San Onofre State Park and cross the iconic train line.

Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii


Image via Flickr by jdnx

From all the Hawaiian islands, Oahu is the most well-known — mainly because of places like Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, and Sunset Beach. But these are only three of about 100 breaks that exist throughout the island.

You may think that Oahu is a destination for experienced surfers, but Waikiki beach is, in fact, the best place to visit if you’re taking your first steps in surfing. And for a full experience of a Hawaiian surf trip, there’s nothing like spending a day visiting beautiful Honolulu and getting to know the city.

Popoyo, Nicaragua


Image via Flickr by over_kind_man

Nicaragua has become a surfing destination in Central America. If you’re looking for beautiful waves in hot water and a friendly local environment, Popoyo is where you want to go.

Here you’ll find a series of surfing spots ranging from beautiful breaks to reefs only accessible by boat. But be careful, as the heat can be dangerous. Know that the mid-day hours are most suitable for relaxing next to a swimming pool, in the shade, or inside your accommodations.

Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Image via Flickr by lakpuratravels

The south coast of Sri Lanka is well-known for the waves, but if you’re looking for a village where you can live and breathe surfing, then Arugam Bay is the place to discover. The site is ideal for various levels of practice. The waves run parallel to the moon-shaped beach and have several starting points, so the crowd spreads out and allows all surfers to have their chance to catch a wave.

Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

Jeffreys Bay

Image via Flickr by ReeSaunders

Though perhaps the most challenging location on this list, Jeffreys Bay is one of the top surfing destinations to discover this year.

At Jeffreys Bay, surfing can be demanding. You’ll have to deal with entrances and exits through slippery rocks, and the water is never warm. And though there’s always the possibility of seeing a shark, the odds of a safe time in the water are in your favor. If you can catch a sound wave here, you’ll ride your surfboard a long distance and the effort will have been worth it.

From the U.S. to Central America, Asia, or Africa, there are many extraordinary places to surf or learn the sport. Choose your favorite and have a great adventure!

Marlene On The Move

Marlene Marques

Marlene is the creator of Marlene On The Move. A journalist by profession, she created the blog to share her adventures around the world. It is not unusual for her to set off to discover new countries and cultures with a surfboard as luggage.




  • Lori

    Agree with you completely, Marlene. These are all great places for surfing. Planning Nicaragua this year together with Belize for some diving. It should be fun.

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi, Lori! I’m also going to Nicaragua this year 🙂 Super curious about the country, as it will be my first time. If you know any good tips, please let me know. Thanks!

  • Megan Indoe

    I have been wanting to learn to surf for years! Although when I do I don’t think I’ll be ready for the waves at these places yet! I am always fascinated by seeing some of the bigger wave destinations and watching the brave surfers out there too!

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi, Megan! You should give it a try. Don’t be scared because some of these places also have waves suitable for beginners. Try to talk to some of the local surfers about what’s the best place to learn, or, if you have any question about a location or a country, let me know. I’ll be glad to help. 🙂

  • Anu

    Wow, the Arugam Bay in Sri Lanka seems stunning. I have seen some people surfing in beaches near me in Goa but never tried it myself. Your post inspires me to try it sometimes.

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi, Anu! Thank you so much for your comment. You should try it if you have the opportunity. It’s a lot of fun!

  • Medha Verma

    I am not a surfer, unfortunately I lived most of my life in landlocked cities and got to see a beach only after I turned 20! However, I do remember visiting Waikiki Beach and seeing the surfers there and being totally in awe of their skills, the way they rode the waves and I thought to myself, I need to know how to do this! You’ve listed some pretty cool surfing destinations out here, and it’s so cool that you surf!

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi, Medha. Thank you so much for your message. I’m glad you’ve liked the post and my suggestions. You know, it’s never too late to try. 😉 There’s a lot of places suitable for beginners, and it’s a lot of fun. Hope you get to do it one day.

  • Paige

    I’m not a surfer, but I could be convinced to give it a go, if that meant I could try it out in these gorgeous-looking destinations! Sri Lanka was the most surprising destination to me. I’m not sure why, though, glad to be corrected!

    • Marlene Marques

      I totally agree with you, Paige. Sri Lanka was a pleasant surprise. Not only for the beaches and the waves but for all the cultural side of the country. I just have to go back one day. As for the surf, give it a go! I think you’ll like it a lot.

  • Archana Singh

    I don’t know surfing but reading your post I am enticed to experiment. The wave picture of Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka is so beautiful. I would love to go there.

    • Marlene Marques

      If you haven’t been to Sri Lanka, try to go one day. Besides the beautiful beaches and the excellent surf, it has an extraordinary cultural side. You’ll love it.

  • Eric Gamble

    Very cool. I wish these destinations were great for Kite Boarding too, though I am not the best. I would love to explore the surf scene in Sri Lanka and I bet the water is perfectly warm in Nicaragua. Surfing without a wet suit is heaven to me

    • Marlene Marques

      As for me, Eric. I’m from Ericeira, in Portugal, and the water is always cold! So being able to surf in warm water is paradise!!
      Sri Lanka is a beautiful destination and if you can visit it, don’t miss the opportunity. As for Nicaragua, it’s definitely one of the surf destinations this year. I’m going there in the spring, so I’ll be able to tell you more about the surf and that warm waters 🙂

  • Renata Green

    I’m not surfing so I cannot judge whether these are good or bad surfing destinations. But being a beach bum, I can judge that these are great destinations for just hanging out on the beach and play in the waves 🙂

    • Marlene Marques

      Absolutely, Renata. You don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy these beautiful beaches and countries. Thanks for your comment.

  • Claudia

    I tried to learn how to surf in Waikiki many years ago. It’s much harder than it looks! My kids have tried and loved in on Kauai, which has some great surfing beaches too. I’ve heard that Nicaragua has really matured as a surfing destination too.

    • Marlene Marques

      Hi, Claudia. Surf can be a little challenging at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s a lot of fun. Hawaii is such a magical place for this sport. As for Nicaragua, I’m going to travel there next Spring. Can’t wait to discover Nicaragua’s surfing potential. 😉

  • Adelina

    These all look great! I don’t know how to surf, but definitely would want to try it out at some point. There is good surf near me in Tofino, BC but the waters are so chilly. I’d definitely rather learn some warm place.

    • Marlene Marques

      Absolutely! Warm water is definitely a plus when you’re learning. 😉 Thanks for your comment, Adelina.

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