Top 10 Surf Destinations for Spring Break
Last updated on : January 23 2019
Spring Break Destinations - Surfs Up
Spring break is one of the most popular times to search for sand, sea, surf and a great social atmosphere. This search is real whether you are a student of any age, or find yourself with some vacation time to spend.
Combining sun and social into a single destination makes for a fantastic break. And so we've gone to extended lengths to summarize what we think are locations that do precisely that - whether you are an avid surfer, taking to the board for the first time, or just joining in on the fun.
Here are our top picks for your surfing spring break, in no particular order.
1. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Cabo is one of the hottest destinations for spring break - in every sense of the word. For many years, it has been a premier journeys end for amazing social atmosphere and fantastic beach life.
And the fun also extends to the waves. Here you will find some of Mexico’s best surfing along a pristine coastline. Conditions in March are ideal for a fantastic swell to keep you riding high, and pretty warm in the water.
Combining excellent surf potential with a nightlife makes Cabo San Lucas a sought after place to visit. And one that features at or near the top of our list, especially given it is not that far from home for many.
Cabo San Lucas - Resources
Cabo's surf beaches - Cabo San Lucas offers surf diversity to all skill levels and some of the most magnificent coastal scenery you're likely to experience anywhere in the world.
Cabo clubs & parties - Los Cabos, especially the town of Cabo San Lucas, has some great live music and entertainment venues. Clubs, bars and restaurants all put on some terrific shows from live rock bands to acoustic groups and jazz music.
Best hotels in Los Cabos - Los Cabos means “the capes,” and is made up of two towns, Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, along with the coral reef marine park, Cabo Pulmo. Most of the hotels and attractions are in Cabo San Lucas, San Jose, and the Corridor (the stretch of Highway 1 linking the two towns).
2. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is perhaps better known and more popular with Australian tourists due to its proximity. However, it is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes and best surf conditions in the world.
With some of the worlds longest and most famous beaches just a stone’s throw from your hotel room, there is no better place to combine surfing and enjoyment. Plus, while it may be a little further afield and a little more costly to get to, the prices when you do arrive are astonishingly low.
Bali is also a hotspot for backpackers and honeymooners alike. If you are in the former category, FinBin has a fantastic write-up of the best available surf backpacks for your trip.
Natural beauty, really fantastic value for money, and some of the best surf in the world. What better way to surf into spring break?
Bali - Resources
Great surf spots in Bali - The best surf spots in Bali are mostly on the southern coasts and around the Bukit peninsula. These fun playgrounds are strictly for advanced surfers as they mainly comprise serious reef breaks and curls compared to the more popular and leisurely sandy breaks of Kuta and Legian.
Best places to party - There are beach clubs where you can chill out at sunset and even stay on during special gigs to dance on into the night. Some of the liveliest nightclubs around the Legian and Seminyak party districts promise a fun way to get loose with live performers and DJs.
Where to stay guide - Bali is not overwhelming in size, but with numerous exciting and diverse places to pick from, it can be hard to choose where to stay. Refer to this guide for help.
3. South Padre Island, Texas
South Padre Island, Texas continues to grow in stature as a popular destination, both for the surfing and non-surfing community. It's also closer to home for a bonus. This beauty of an island situated close to the southern border is only a 5-hour drive from Houston, and less from San Antonio.
The waves here can pack a strong punch, but with its idyllic setting and variety of choice, it still offers conditions for those of all ages.
If you visit South Padre during the spring break season, you will almost certainly find fantastic weather. And beachside parties to rival the most established of spring break destinations. You may never want to leave the island.
South Padre Island - Resources
Best surf beaches - Well known as the best surf in Texas, South Padre Island has the biggest, powerful, most consistent and best-shaped waves by far than anywhere else on the Texas Gulf Coast.
Nightlife - If you are looking for the perfect place to grab drink specials and happy hour, try your hand at karaoke, cheer on your favorite team at a sports bar, enjoy a night of live music at a waterfront bar, or dance the night away at a dance club, there is something for everyone in South Padre Island.
Best places to stay - Texas sunshine. Pristine shorelines. Emerald blue waters. And loads of fun. South Padre Island offers a variety of lodging suited for any individual, family or budget.
4. Oahu, Hawaii
One of the original and best - and the place many refer to as the godfather of surfing. Oahu has lost none of its mesmerizing power since its heyday. It's vibrant, lively, and surf-fueled, and attracts the world’s best surfers.
Its beaches inspire the love of surfing for many, and will no doubt have the same power over you. Choose to board here during the spring break or enjoy the revered crystal clear waters and be in awe of your surroundings.
The break itself adds extra dimensions to the area. And with crowds descending to the beaches for party and surf you won't be disappointed by this Pacific surfing wonder.
Oahu - Resources
Oahu's great surfing beaches - Each year surfing enthusiasts and curious observers flock to Oahu’s famous surfing beaches for a taste of the best wave riding in the world. Don't miss it, whether you’re riding or watching.
An insiders guide to Oahu nightlife - Here’s where to find world-class cocktails, live music concerts, brewpubs, a members-only club and a dance floor on a rooftop 21 stories above Waikiki.
Where to stay on Oahu - Waikiki is the hub of Oahu. The majority of the hotels are on this famous strip of beach however there are plenty of other options.
5. Cancun, Mexico
Long renowned as a party hotspot, the beaches of Cancun are increasingly popular for surfers. Conditions can blow up some awesome waves particularly around the spring break period.
While it has by no means been a surfing mecca in the past, it does its best to cater for an increasing number of surfers who fall in love with the area and conditions.
Of course, as a bonus when you’re done hitting the waves, you can join up with the mother of all parties. Cancun is the spring break party kingpin despite being challenged year on year for the title. There is little doubt that it is still the life and soul of the party, with surfing now included in the mix.
Cancun - Resources
Surfing in Cancun - Cancun sure sounds like a weird destination to go surfing in Mexico. However, this coastal city has a lot to offer to surfers that makes it worth exploring this summer.
Best Cancun nightlife - The City of Cancun is in two parts. The Downtown area and the Cancun Hotel Zone. All of Cancun’s nightlife is in the party zone, also known as Punta Cancun.
Where to stay in Cancun - There are two central neighborhoods in which to stay in Cancún as a tourist – traditional downtown ‘El Centro’ and Zona Hotelera. That said, up and coming neighborhoods that sit just outside of Cancún’s inner city limits offer breathtaking views, access to epic excursions, and of course, some incredible Mexican restaurants.
6. San Diego, California
San Diego may not provide quite the warm waters offered by some of our other destinations, but there is little doubt about its positioning as a surfing paradise. And it's close to home.
It is also a year-round hotspot and so may be lighter on the spring break influx, which means more fun for you and your party if that is what you prefer.
Choosing San Diego as your spring break surf destination will not leave you feeling as though you are missing out. It may just be the place that you keep returning to year, on year once you get started.
For those who wish to budget or travel by land, it also represents a fantastic domestic spring break alternative.
San Diego - Resources
Find the best surf spots for your skill level - from the forgiving waves of Pacific Beach to the board-breaking La Jolla reefs; San Diego produces some of surfing's most famous legends.
Party at Gaslamp Quarter - Tucked tightly into 16 ½ blocks, the Gaslamp Quarter is a walkable urban playground located in Downtown San Diego adjacent to the Convention Center, Petco Park, and Horton Plaza.
Where to stay - San Diego attractions are spread out, and no place you pick will be close to all of them. In general, the further you get away from downtown, the cheaper, but this rule breaks down when you get to La Jolla - which is lovely but pricey. Lastly, big conventions can suck up every available room downtown. Try Mission Bay or Hotel Circle when this happens.
7. Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
For the more adventurous of heart, why not take a trip to this European dream island. Part of the Spanish owned Islas Canarias (Canary Islands), there are no yellow birds here, just sun, sea, sand, and huge waves.
Fuerteventura climate benefits from the nearby Bay of Biscay. The island has all-around tropical temperatures and excellent conditions for surfing at almost any time of the year.
You may not find many of the typical spring break crowd here, but what you will see is a deep pocket of European culture on the doorstep of Africa. And you'll experience some of the most eye-watering beaches and sea conditions on the planet.
Fuerteventura - Resources
Best places to surf - Known as the ‘Hawaii of Europe,’ many are surprised to learn of the unlimited amount of incredible beginner surf beaches the Canary Islands serves up. From beginner friendly, sand bottom waves that are perfect for learning, to reef bottomed peeler’s that are perfect for tackling as your week progresses.
Party and fiesta - Fuerteventura is home to gorgeous beaches, picturesque volcanic landscapes and an abundance of natural wonders, but one thing, in particular, that never fails to impress is its bustling nightlife.
Where to stay - Fuerteventura has the longest beaches in the archipelago of the Canary Islands and is well-known for being very popular surfing and windsurfing destination. The beaches are fantastic, and visitors can choose between staying in Corralejo, Caleta de Fuste, Puerto del Rosario, Solana Matorral, Morro Jable and Costa Calma.
8. Lagos, Portugal
Similar to Fuerteventura, Portugal's Algarve, and in particular the area around Lagos is well-known locally for its fantastic surf. Add to this the annual sunshine factor and the local welcome to new guests, particularly fellow surfers and you are on to a winner.
This destination may be slightly further afield than you usually travel for a spring break. But, the result makes it worth it.
Warm water conditions, low accommodation, and entertainment costs are just some of the factors allowing you to enjoy a unique spring break beachside. There are few places quite as good on that side of the pond.
Lagos - Resources
Top surf beaches - The surf beaches in the Algarve stretch from Faro in the South East across to Arrifana in the South West and offer many types of waves throughout the year. The majority of consistent surf beaches are in the South West corner along the Vicentina Coast.
Top 5 places to party in Lagos - Everyone loves and appreciates this part of Portugal, but Lagos – and most importantly its party scene – is often overlooked. If you’re a party animal and hate dress codes, Lagos needs to be on your to-do list.
Where to stay - When it comes to accommodation and where to stay in Lagos, Portugal, the choice is yours. From budget-friendly hotels to luxury villas, there are places to accommodate all travelers.
9. Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Sweeping back a little closer to home, Costa Rica is now trending as a popular surfing destination and an exciting place to visit generally.
It has a fantastic amount to offer. The surf is second to none, as is the climate, with almost guaranteed perfect conditions for surfing. Costa Rica is a country, and a place, whose beauty has to be seen, with Puerto Viejo no exception.
When you are ready to dry off, a bustling and value for money night scene will also await you. There are many reasons why this is fast becoming one of the region’s top surf destinations.
Puerto Viejo - Resources
Best places to surf - Surf riddles Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. When there’s a big swell, the waves are powerful, punchy, and dangerous if you aren’t an experienced surfer. However, like anywhere with surf there are plenty of beginner and intermediate spots.
Nightlife & happy hour guide - During the day, Puerto Viejo is a mellow, relatively quiet coastal town, but by night a great transformation occurs: Puerto Viejo is well known for its happening nightlife. The Rasta vibrations, the Caribbean sea breeze cutting through the humid heat, reggae music, and cheap cold beers make for a fantastic combination.
Travel guide - Puerto Viejo is a popular destination for backpackers and budget travelers. While Tortuguero in the north may get all the attention, come down to this part of Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast for excellent surfing, great snorkeling and diving, nightlife, cheap accommodation, and a lot of delicious food options.
10. Puerto Rico
Here is a final domestic destination to round off our list of spring break surfing spots. Technically local, but at the very same time, a world away regarding culture, beauty, and vibrancy.
Puerto Rico is not only a top cruise destination, but also well-known locally, and internationally, for its surf. It's an ideal place to come, particularly in spring break season to wind down with some decent waves and lukewarm water.
Away from the beach, a party or cultural experience of whichever you desire will always await you in PR. This home away from home is a favorite spot for tourists year-round as well as the lively spring break crowd. There is something for everyone.
Peurto Rico - Resources
Best places to surf - The definitive list. Surfer Today consulted the local surfing, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), and bodyboarding veterans and newbie's alike, to see where they love to ride waves in PR.
San Juan nightlife - Opt for romantic and relaxed, to vibe to vibrant, to chic and exciting. Your most challenging task will be choosing from over 200 entertainment options including casinos, nightclubs, lounges, music venues, concerts, plays, and cultural events held throughout the year.
Where to stay - Read this exploration of the island jewel in detail so you can plan where to stay in Puerto Rico during your visit.
Our list provides no shortage of options for your next hot and sunny surf spot. From domestic to exotic all are exciting places to visit for spring break or your holiday - as a surfer or just enjoying warm sunny weather in an exciting location.
Plus, we've provided a resource section for each location to help you decide on your favorite, whether your focus is the beach, partying or scenic places to bunk.
Bonus Section - Spring Break Swimwear
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Spring Break Destinations - Surfs Up
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