Whether it be the gentle seabreeze that drifts off the water or the warm embrace of the southern sun, it’s hard to disagree that Florida’s beaches are the pinnacle of relaxation. But these sandy shores also harbor an exciting secret- a variety of surf breaks that exist across Florida’s 1,100-miles of beaches and coastline. As a local Floridian and (somewhat) experienced surfer, my buddies and I are constantly wandering across the state looking for the cleanest and biggest sets. For those eager for Sunshine State swell, here’s a list of my favorite beaches to surf in Florida.
Take your surfing knowledge to the next level and check out our guide to Siargao, the surfing capital of the Philippines. Or, pack your surfboard and head to Sri Lanka’s southern coast for some waves. If the summer heat isn’t your thing, read up on snow surfing in Hawaii.
As surfing becomes more cutthroat every day, Jacksonville Beach is a refreshing community that sticks to its roots. The easy-going culture here is an immediate contrast to the high-quality surfers that inhabit its beaches. However, anyone can have a good time surfing these long breaks. Try Atlantic Beach for some fun beginner waves, and if you’re looking for more intermediate rides, head down to the Pier or the Poles.
New Smyrna Beach
NSB is the definition of a Florida surf town. While it may seem quiet and unassuming at first, this area quickly exposes itself as one of the most consistent and enjoyable surf breaks in the whole state. Locals can’t get enough of the never-ending swell that blesses their doorstep, and with drivable beaches, New Smyrna Beach cements itself as the perfect Florida surf trip destination. If you’re looking for a more competitive scene, check out Ponce Inlet half an hour south. However, take caution with early morning or night trips- NSB also happens to be the shark capital of the world.
A trip to Cocoa Beach is like experiencing surf history first-hand. Cocoa Beach Pier has been a staple for more than 50 years, and often possesses competitive chest to head high waves. This area is also the home of Kelly Slater and even houses the largest surf shop in the world, Ron Jon’s. For another history lesson, take a trip south to Sebastian Inlet, where it’s rumored the coveted aerial was created. Hopefully if the weather provides, you’ll be greeted by glassy A-frames and the opportunity to try one yourself.
If you visit Flagler Beach, you’ll be surprised by how much it offers. Along with a 6-mile stretch of breathtaking ocean views above the dunes, you can visit a myriad of salty shops and outside dining options- a perfect way to spend a Saturday. Plus, with a southern wind, this beach can rival other breaks without attracting too much attention- making it ideal for beginners and experts alike. If you’re looking for a good place to learn, or just a fun day in the water, Flagler Beach is an excellent option.
Panama City Beach
Hurricane season can introduce some reliable surf to the Northwest panhandle, and PCB is often a main recipient. If you time it right, you can get consistent, long rides that are fun for all skill levels. Accompanying the soft and powdery beaches are the neon lights and fun attractions that Panama City Beach is known for. If you’re looking for more outdoor bliss, head to St. Andrews Park and immerse yourself in the palmetto wildlife that acts as a habitat for multiple species of deer, bats, turtles and more.
In conclusion, surfing is a thrilling and addicting activity that exists on every coastline, and Florida is no exception. With so many different beaches and breaks, it can be intimidating to pick a spot and get going. However, the best advice is to just jump in! Whether it be the small beach in your backyard, or the nearest break 100 miles away, grab your board and get your feet wet. There’s no better feeling!