8 Phenomenal Surfing Vacation Destinations

By: Angela Ayles

From devoted wave worshippers to newbie tourists looking for a little action, these breaks offer a thrilling vacation destination for anyone willing to brave the waves.


1. Barbados

Barbados is a Coral Island located far out in the Atlantic Ocean in the southern corner of the Lesser Antilles. Its location provides amazing breaks on all sides of the island, not to mention the gorgeous beaches you get to enjoy before and after paddling out. Barbados is the easternmost island in the Caribbean, meaning that a wave can travel thousands of miles without disturbance before it breaks on the island. Its numerous surf spots and powerful breaks make Barbados a surfer’s paradise.

Barbados 1

2. Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii

On the half moon bay that is Hanalei, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, you can enjoy breathtaking mountain views and rippling white sand beaches. Beginning surfers will find plenty of opportunities to hone their skills here, while experienced surfers will enjoy the challenge of the powerful waves and impressive swells.

Hanalei Hawaii

3. Encinatas, California

Beach bums and New Agers alike flock to Encinatas for the amazing beaches, hip culture, Mediterranean climate and legendary surf spots. Rocky bluffs jut out over the water and captivating white sand lines the shore. Surf culture rules in this hip beach town, but the real draw for surfers is the waves. From gentle beach breaks to wild waves for serious surfers, you’re sure to find a wave that beckons you in Encinatas.


4. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Summon your inner pirate, grab your surfboard and head to the Outer Banks for some of the most impressive swells on the East Coast of the United States. With its colorful history, stormy mystique and rolling waves, the beaches of the Outer Banks draw visitors from all walks of life. Experienced surfers and novices will find breaks to feed their adventurous appetites here.

Outer Banks North Carolina


5. Kennebunk, Maine

Perfect for families and wave worshippers alike, beautiful Kennebunk offers miles of white sand and breathtaking ocean views. Kennebunk is a wonderful spot for surfers of all experience levels. Its beach-breaks may not offer the most exhilarating swells, but it’s a great spot to catch a few waves while you kick back with friends and family, and the unequaled beauty of the Maine coastline is worth the trip.

Kennebunk Maine

6. Santa Catarina, Brazil

In the deep southern region of Brazil, Santa Catarina boasts some of Brazil’s most spectacular landscape and the nation’s best surf. Spectacular mountains and beautiful beaches beckon thousands of visitors to its awe-inspiring landscape. Its commanding waves have made it a coveted spot for national and international surf competitions. Wave seekers flock to Santa Catarina in summer for its powerful swells.

Santa Catarina Brazil

7. Jeffreys Bay, South Africa

In the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Jeffreys Bay is a wave hunter’s dream. Surfers from all corners of the globe come here to experience the break along the west side of the bay, which is considered one of the best right hand point breaks in the world. The fast, hollow, powerful surf break at Jeffreys Bay consistently provides some of the best surfing to be found anywhere in the world.

Jeffreys Bay South Africa
EpicStockMedia / Shutterstock.com

8. Pavones, Costa Rica

On the tip of Costa Rica lies one of the nation’s most famous surf breaks. Isolated and extremely remote, Pavones offers a powerful, if somewhat erratic, left point break that can be the ride of a lifetime. Getting to Pavones can be somewhat problematic, however, and the inconsistent nature of the surf may mean a long trip for nothing. If you plan on surfing Pavones, make sure you know the condition of the surf before you make the journey. If you are one of the fortunate ones for whom the stars align at Pavones, rest assured the experience will be worth it.