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Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

Saint James City...
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Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

For my son's college graduation gift I'd like to get him a surfing trip in CA. He's been surfing on the east coast of FL for about 2 years so he's not exactly a beginner but he knows his limitations. Ideally I like to find a place that isn't overly crowded and is somewhat challenging. It would be for about 5 days. My husband and I will go too (which my son won't mind) but it is his gift and he really loves surfing. I can't ask him because I want it to be a surprise. The trip can be anywhere between end of Dec. through March.

Thanks for any advice!

San Diego...
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1. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

California is a huge state, do you have any ideas on what part of the state you'd like it to be?

San Diego is a great surfing spot, we have 70 miles of beaches and then a lot of other things to do when he's not in the water.

but the same can be said about Orange County or LA County or Santa BArbara and many spots in Northern California.

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2. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

Huntington beach. santa cruz.

San Diego
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3. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

Just remember that the Pacific is cold so he'll need a wet suit.

San Diego has many different surf spots so if you came here he could try a few different ones!

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4. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

Huntington Beach is known as Surf City! Research this area in Southern CA. :)

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5. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

You might also make sure part of his gift is a wetsuit if he's only surfed in Florida (as another poster has mentioned the water will be much colder than what he is use to).

I grew up on the southern coast so I am a little biased but there is some great surf up north too.

Here is a website that you might take a look at as it has a lot of good information:


If you do decide to venture to the southern side of CA your son will have several opportunities to surf within a close proximity. It will also depend on what time of year you come as far as crowds and what the surf will be like.

My suggestion would be to stay in Huntington Beach at one of the hotels across the street from the beach and that way he can surf at HB and then head either north or south on PCH to different locales.

Saint James City...
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6. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!

I'm leaning towards Santa Barbara (Rincon) and looking at the Bacara Resort to stay - may as well go all out since we hardly ever go on vacation. He has a surfing wetsuit so he's good there.

I'll need to research some more to see if January is good for surf. That surfing site has fall and winter as best time.

Corona del Mar, CA
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7. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

Rincon will be the exact OPPOSITE of "not crowded".

I'd look at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel and he can surf directly below the Hotel at Salt Creek.


If Salt Creek is not good that day (those days) he can go to Brooks St, Thalia, Rockpiles, Doheny, any number of good places, even up into Newport Beach and Huntington Beach or down to San Clemente if need be.

The CA coast "moves" a lot so one beach may be north facing, another south facing, etc so if there is no surf on place, it might be better in others.

Le Havre, France
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8. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?


9. Re: Best, not too crowded, surfing spot?

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