In the search for the best and most excellent surf spots, we move to the south-east coast of America.
Florida the warm state surrounded with the mighty waters of the Atlantic on the east and the Mexican Gulf on the west, and destination for travelers around the world.
But we can practically see you grabbing your Mr. Zog’s Sex Wax and saying “Where the waves at?”. No worries, we will get to that in a moment.
Here is what we are going to cover today:
- What makes a great surf location?
- Big Wave Surfing In Florida?
- Top 10 Surf Spots In Florida
- Reef Road
- Anastasia Island, St. Augustine
- Sebastian Inlet
- New Smyrna Inlet
- Ponce Inlet
- Daytona Beach AKA The Ghetto Pier
- Cocoa Beach Pier
- Ormond Beach
- Melbourne Beach
- Palm Beach
Before we move on, please Check out this video which shows some of the surfing Florida has to offer…
Ok, let’s get to the business. We’ll start by explaining what makes a great surf spot.
What makes a great surf location?
Have you ever wondered why dozens of surfers group together and fight for the same waves despite having the entire coastline to choose from?
The answer to this question is that when it comes to wave quality, not all beaches are the same.
Some beaches are simply better than others when it comes to surfing. We are going to mention some of the key characteristics that make a good surf spot.
The first characteristic is a swell window – does the beach have the proper geographical orientation to receive the full force of oncoming swells?
Another characteristic that makes a great surf location is unique geographical features. In other words, what is the natural layout of the beach.
Here are the most popular layouts that make a great surf location.
Beach Break – This is the most common type of surf spot. A beach break is a sand-bottomed surf zone with an open swell window. Swells approach the coast from deep water and rise as they reach shallow water.
Point Break – This is the best type of beach layout for 3 main reasons: high percentage of nicely shaped waves, each wave is predictable, and increased length or ride.
At point breaks, a swell traveling from the open ocean will always break first in shallow water. When a swell line approaches an abnormal point in the coast, the wave will uniformly peel along that point, creating perfectly shaped waves.
Next, we focus on big wave surfing in Florida.
Big Wave Surfing In Florida
Not to detract from Florida as a surfing haven, because it most certainly is that, but surfers looking for the next big wave have been known to ask – where are all the BIG waves?
Scientifically speaking, the wave sources occur too close to the shore, and therefore they lose some of their intensity that other locations seem to have.
Also, there are just too many islands that surround the peninsula that sort of block the waves, and prevent them from arriving large and potent near the Floridian coast.
Another reason is the long and shallow continental shelf.
With all of this in mind, you might think that Florida gets no surfing action whatsoever.
But (there’s always a “but”), don’t count Florida out that fast.
During the year, there are some dangerous wave builds that happen to grow in hurricanes (Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Bill and the Great Halloween Swell).
Floridian surfers will tell you that they know a few spots where you can actually catch some good waves and satisfying surfing around reefs.
The more experienced surfers, of course, know where to go.
Remember, it’s not always about the size of the wave, but the motion of the ocean.
If you are heading out, check out Amazon’s surf section, which has a lot of cool surf swag that you might be into.
Maybe you can’t really get to Hawaii or Australia right now, and, if not, you might want to feed your hunger for waves, here in sunny Florida.
Next, we review the best and most famous surfing spots that need to be checked out when you head to Florida.
Located in the super ritzy area of West Palm Beach, this is the place where the rich and famous come for a vacation or partying.
Yeah, but we’re not here to talk about fancy schmancy rooftop shindigs right now. What we need is, to know about those surf spots.
Well, Reef Road is also visited by surfers on a regular basis. Reef Road is known as Florida’s undisputed best big-wave spot. Thousand of big-wave aficionados from all over the world come to this amazing spot to try some of the best waves Florida has to offer.
That crystal clear water, and the warm temperatures are two reasons that the ideal surfing conditions are created here.
The large and cold fronts push through the state, and leave the swell going to sea off the northern part of Florida.
Reef Road is quite the popular and adored place in Florida by many visitors each year, so the crowd is almost always guaranteed.
Surfers complain that the parking is a big problem. There is no parking within a mile of Reef Road, where even unloading is not permitted.
The waves are known to build up steam like a freight train at a moment’s notice, so grab your board and get out there when the getting is good.
Moving on to the next beach from our list.
Anastasia Island, St. Augustine
Most people are surprised when they hear about Anastasia Island because they have the idea in their heads that tourists who come over would never think to do something as “dangerous” as surfing.
This place may be known as laid back and relaxed, where families play volleyball or beach tennis, but St. Augustine offers a good surf scene, and plenty of sandbars where you can relax and have a drink.
There are a few little nooks and crannies in St. Augustine, that most waves have only a few surfers out even in the middle of the day.
This spot is on the list for those who hate crowds in the water.
It’s a great place to surf, although sometimes the pier or Vilano across the inlet can get crowded.
The locals are quite friendly. Once you are done surfing, you can check the nation’s oldest city.
Unfortunately, there is no much attractions around the area. However, you will find some amazing restaurants and beach bars in St. Augustine beach area.
The beach boulevard is a very nice place to visit and safe for walking. Another great place for walking is the Anastasia state park, which is locate a mile up the beach.
On to the next one…
This spot is known for its bouncing wedge that bounds off the pier. It is known as First Peak.
Pass those sandbars in the area and give into the speedy, wedgy little pits at First Peak.
The waves here are more than good; surfers here are known to do roundhouse, wrap-arounds, cutbacks and airs.
If you want to visit First Peak, make sure you go early because the locals love this place, and there will be many of them.
Up north from the pier for a couple of miles, there are various sandbar nuggets.
Sebastian Inlets is a great place to take the family to. The beach is beautiful and the water is crystal clear. There are also some beach restaurants and beach bars where you can get great meals and cool cocktails.
Spanish House is pretty fun, although it is a continuation of the shifting sands that run along the Sebastian Inlet State Park.
New Smyrna Inlet
If you are new to surfing, you need to know that this place is also known as the spot where most shark attacks happen.
Maybe the outcomes aren’t fatal, but who wants to face a shark at all, while alone in the deep waters.
However, surfers are known to be crazy courageous people, so the waves are the main reason that makes them take the risk and enjoy the surf.
It is also worth mentioning that there is lots of life guards and rules that help protect the visitors form any lurking threats.
This is maybe the only Floridian surf spot with consistent waves. Those little rideable waves are easy to find pretty much any day.
The amazing news is that the lineup is wide open. Surfers describe the waves as nebulous, during its break on an outside sandbar.
Since waves aren’t so large in Florida, Florida surfers have learned to make the most out of what they’ve been dealt.
The beach is a wonderful soft to hard sand, which is ideal for driving, bicycling, walking or running.
The place sometimes get crowded but not unbearable. Parking is also hard to find and can sometimes be very expensive.
Shopping is typically for tourists. There is a lot of small stores where you can buy -shirts, swimsuits and related stuff.
New Smyrna Beach is located near Ponce Inlet and Daytona Beach.
Ponce Inclet is a residential haven for people who love nature, privacy, and great surfing waves.
Along with awesome waves, Ponce Inlet is best known for being home to Florida’s tallest lighthouse and a marine science center with interactive exhibits, a boardwalk, observation tower and nature trails.
Here you will face waves that can sometimes break long and winding, making for some picturesque surfing.
Their proximity to New Smyrna make it part of any visiting surfers check list.
Good, surfable waves are rare in Florida, and surfers in this spot don’t take them for granted.
This means that even the locals cherish them more than you think.
Don’t be surprised that the Florida surfers can get territorial, so make sure you respect them and be friendly.
The waves here will give you the waves you crave, when there is a little swell activity.
When the buoys are up, hit the road and go south to New Smyrna as they are neighbors.
Daytona Beach AKA The Ghetto Pier
To get there from Ponce Inlet (if you’re doing this surf tour in any kind of order, that is) drive north from Ponce for five minutes and you will run into the Daytona Beach Pier, also known as The Ghetto Pier.
Yes, the name may make you feel as if you are entering an area where you shouldn’t be going, but it is all right.
Here you can find a lot of interesting restaurants and carnival rides and lots of tourists.
This amazing 23-miles long stretch of white sandy beach also allows vehicle driving during daytime, and offers almost every sport imaginable.
Finding a parking spot sometimes can be tricky, but if you get there early you should be able to find a parking space for your car.
The Ghetto Pier is a surfing paradise for long-boarders.
Primarily, you can find a right break, and occasionally you can find a left on a split peak.
Waves here peel for a long time, pretty slowly, and stack up pretty good to make the prime wave the cherry on top in Central Florida.
Cocoa Beach Pier
Maybe one of the best,, the most popular, and therefore the busiest surf spots in Florida.
According to all surfers, this pier is much better and nicer than The Ghetto Pier in Daytona.
Here the waves line up on the north and south sides of the pier.
If you go with a car, forget about driving on the beach, you will have to pay about $5 for the day to park your vehicle in the parking lot.
Don’t let this stop you from going – the waves here are worth it.
Cocoa Beach Pier is a spot where the waves break fairly deep, so you don’t have to worry about avoiding swimmers in the water.
Cocoa Beach is also offering countless restaurants, gift shops, Cocoa Beach bars, and live musical entertainment venues.
In addition to amazing surf conditions, the world-famous Cocoa Beach Pier is also providing fishing equipment rentals, beach rentals, fresh water showers, and many recreational options year round.
Going into Ormond Beach, just off A1A, there is another pier.
Actually, the pier is gone, but sand built up around the leftover pilings, and forms a good break.
The waves can be good, especially on south swells with a low incoming tide.
Ormond Beach visitors can also enjoy a variety of cultural and recreational events offered throughout the year. They can also enjoy walking down the historic downtown along Granada Boulevard.
Ormond is the hometown of four-time world champion Lisa Andersen, although she can be found more often surfing on Ponce Inlet, or New Smyrna Beach these days.
Melbourne Beach was named after the Australian city in honor of its first postmaster, Cornthwaite John Hector, an Englishman who lived in Melbourne, Australia for a long time, and who claimed that this place reminded him of the place where he spent most of his life.
This is one of the finest surfing spots on the United States mainland. Melbourne is an exposed beach break, suitable for both left and right handers.
Offshore winds blow from the west, and the ideal swell comes in from the northwest.
The popularity of this beach makes it often crowded.
Another reason for the packed line up is that the surf industry is based here.
The average temperature at Melbourne Beach is approximately 78 degrees.
Besides surfing, you can have other water fun activities, such as scuba diving, fishing, sailing or dolphin watching. The people are also incredibly friendly and helpful.
You will find as many surfers here, as you can find in Southern California, or the Gold Coast of Australia.
Lineups are crowded, though the surf reports and cameras have eliminated the guesswork, so you better check it out before you go.
Good thing we have these things today, so we don’t have to wait by the water with our boards.
The waves are least crowded during the weekdays (no highschoolers or people who came here to relax after the work week).
From the Lake Worth Pier northward, all of the top spots rise to a close-knit community of highly protective surfers.
Yes, locals do want to keep this area mostly for themselves, but you need to understand that, so be cool ,and you’ll have a good time.
When you are done with surfing, you can spend some time exploring the rest of Palm Beach. You can visit Henry Morisson Flagler Museum or experience the hopping nightlife on Clematis Street.
There is also a lot of cool restaurants and bars which serve amazing food and great cocktails.
Thanks for reading our article on the best surf spots in Florida! If you have any comments you’d like to add, or places you think we’ve missed, please leave them below. Otherwise, see you out there!