Surfing in Florida: 5 Favorite Surf Spots Worth the Trip
July 11, 2023 | Travel Destinations
Florida may not be the first place that comes to mind for surfing, but it turns out world-famous surfers grew up here learning to ride the waves in the Sunshine State. While places like Hawaii, California, and Australia are wildly popular surf destinations, Florida has some fantastic surf locations that are off the beaten path giving you a chance to spend less time in the queue and more time carving.
Surfing has come a long way since Tom Blake invented the hollow surfboard in 1926. Today, it’s one of the country’s fastest-growing water sports, and nearly 100 years later made its Olympic debut in 2020.
Our five favorite beaches in Florida stand out for their consistent wave quality, favorable wind and swell conditions, and natural or man-made features such as jetties or sandbars that create good surf breaks.
New Smyrna Beach
Located on the Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna Beach is known as the “Shark Sighting Capital of the World,” but it’s also renowned for its epic waves. The beach is one of the most consistently breaking wave spots for surfing in Florida, which brings all levels of surfboarders. It also brings beachcombers and families, so it can get pretty crowded.
Even though Florida waters are warmer than California’s, you’ll need cold water gear in the late fall and winter. Most surfers get by with a wetsuit top or spring suit. Thankfully, things warm up fast once spring hits when board shorts and bikinis are the clothing of choice.
Ponce Inlet, Daytona Beach
As the northernmost surfing destination on our list, Ponce Inlet is one of Florida’s beaches that take the brunt of winter months. You’ll likely find frigid water from January through March with water temps in the 40s and cold wind and air temps. Surfari offers a wide selection of wetsuits for sale and rent throughout the year.
Summer surfing at Ponce Inlet isn’t anywhere near as exciting as it is during August and September. Experienced surfers favor this spot during this time of year due to its powerful and challenging waves. It benefits from the natural shape of the inlet, which helps produce quality surf conditions.
Sebastian Inlet State Park
One of the most exciting places to surf in Florida is Sebastian Inlet; it’s widely regarded as offering the best surfing in Florida due to its massive waves and legendary surfers like Lisa Anderson and the Lopez brothers, who learned to surf here.
Its unique geography and jetty create sizable waves. The park is also home to dolphins and manatees, so be on the lookout for ocean wildlife.
An east coast gem of Florida, Juno Beach is known for its long rides and can be particularly good for longboarding, making it a popular surfing spot in the Sunshine State. The beach has crystal clear waters—think the Bahamas—and offers relatively mellow waves suitable for surfers of varying skill levels.
Juno Beach is less developed than other beaches on our list and features groves of coconut palms and seemingly endless dunes. Surfers closely monitor storm activity during hurricane season for the big waves. Otherwise, the waters here can be calm.
Known as the “East Coast Surfing Capital,” Cocoa Beach is considered by many to be the top surfing spot in the United States. It has consistent beach break waves that can get quite powerful, particularly during hurricane swells. Cocoa Beach is popular with sunbathers and surfers with its wide sandy beaches and numerous waterfront hangouts when it’s time to take a break from the sun.
Cocoa Beach is also home to the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop, a well-known landmark in the surfing community. Here you’ll find surfboard rentals, and if you need to brush up on your surf skills, head over to the highly-rated School of Surf.
Surfing in Florida
Florida has a vibrant surf scene and excellent surf spots, and the best times to visit vary depending on the region and specific surf breaks. However, the prime surfing season in Florida generally falls between late summer and early winter.
It’s important to note that weather patterns and surf conditions vary yearly, so it’s always a good idea to monitor surf reports, pay attention to local forecasts, and consult with local surfers or surf shops for the most accurate information.
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