Best Places to Surf in San Diego 2022: Tips Full Guide

If you're looking for the best places to surf in San Diego, you've come to the right place. Here, you'll find a list of the best spots to catch some waves, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro. So grab your board and your wetsuit and get ready to ride the waves of San Diego! Let’s dive into our post for more useful information.

Surfing in San Diego at a glance

  1. Pros
  • Amazing wintertime swells
  • The original SoCal vibe
  • There are many options available, including points and coves as well as beach breaks.
  1. Cons
  • California's summer months are not as reliable as California's.
  • It's not as warm here as you would expect, but it's close to Mex.
  • Some localism, some pollution

An introduction to San Diego surf

An introduction to San Diego surf San Diego is one of the most popular surf towns in America. The Mex-US border city is known for bringing wave riding to the forefront. Duke Kahanamoku arrived in 1916 to demonstrate the incredible feats of "stand-up Hawaiian surfing." The Scripps Institute in La Jolla is believed to be the origin of the wetsuit revolution. In the 50s, Bob Simmons was the first fiberglass shaper to test his prototype boards. This is the story of surfing history, and there are many more. You can't have all this and not epic surfing, right? Right. San Diego doesn't disappoint. There are many A-frame beaches and reef peaks from the moment you cross the Mexican Baja. Further north, Ocean Beach, a chilled surf town, and La Jolla, a forever-chilled beach resort, are included in the picture. These two places offer some of Cali’s best, most glassy lefts and right, as well as rides that suit every level, from beginner to pro WSL. This guide will show you the best San Diego Surf spots. This guide will show you the top spots and best accommodations for board-riders. A few gear recommendations are also based on Cali’s unique seasonal water pattern. This can sometimes pull out the 3/2 in midsummer.

Quick Tips When Choosing A Beach

For beginners, the best San Diego surf beaches are those with gentle and predictable surf. Do not get too excited and go somewhere with big swells. You will be able to find beaches with a nearby bathroom or shower facility. Choose a beach that has a lifeguard on call. This is both a safety precaution and a great source of tips for new surfers. Lifeguards are experts in their field. Surf reports should be checked regularly before you head out, as conditions and tides can change frequently. At different tides and winds, surf conditions can vary at any beach.

Best Places to Surf in San Diego

1. Best Spots for Beginners:


Quick Tips When Choosing A Beach If you have never sailed before, this is a great place to start. Because of its shifting sandbars, the beach offers many different types of waves. Oceanside is a great spot for surfing and has one of the most active surf communities in the city. Surfers will find many cafes and restaurants.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach surfing San Diego This is one of the best surfing beaches in San Diego for the first experience time. There is little risk of injury as the waves are soft and gentle. There are plenty of parking spaces and facilities for bathrooms on the beach. Although Pacific Beach was once quiet, it has become a college town.

La Jolla/the Shores

La Jolla/the Shores La Jolla is the most popular surfing spot in San Diego. It offers consistency and quality which is what you need when you are just starting out. From sunrise to sunset, it will often be crowded with people. La Jolla Shores has a nice feature: It is protected by the southwest trade winds, which means that the waves won't be blown off like they would on other beaches. It's the top beginner surfing sport in San Diego and many surf schools love it.

Tourmaline Beach

Tourmaline Beach Tourmaline Beach is located in the Pacific Beah, La Jolla and San Diego districts. The beach is popular for sunbathing and surfing all year. This beach is considered a "mecca" for surfers. It's one of the best surf spots in San Diego to learn how to surf. You will find many amenities, including lifeguards, bathrooms, showers and fire pits, picnic tables and barbecues. There is also free parking. You could not ask for more.

2. Best Spots for Expert Surfers

La Jolla/Windansea

La Jolla/Windansea La Jolla is Spanish for "the jewel". This is not a spot that beginners should surf. The waves at La Jolla are not far from the beach, but they pack a surprising punch. These waves are strong enough to catch beginner surfers every year. This is a common place where people are severely injured. This is a great spot to surf. If you aren't a pro surfer, it might be worth checking out the other spots on the list.

La Jolla/Black's Beach

La Jolla/Black's Beach If you are not experienced, this is not the spot for you. Black's Beach can prove unpredictable for surfers. These waves are best for swimmers and surfers who can swim. Black's Beach is a well-known nude beach. You won't see a lot of younger people here, as there are mostly old men playing volleyball.

Lower Trestles

Lower Trestles This spot is often called "Lowers" by locals. It is one of the most popular spots in San Diego for surfing. This spot is home to Kelly Slater, a world champion surfer. This spot is often very crowded. These waves can attract over 100 surfers on some days. You should still follow proper surfing etiquette. You might consider other spots on this list if you don't feel like surfing the waves. This beach is great, but it is not recommended for beginners. This is a great place to go if you want to surf.

Sunset Cliffs

Sunset Cliffs Point Loma is surrounded by rock reefs and kelp from offshore. Sunset Cliffs is a collection of point breaks that can be used at different levels of quality depending on the swell size and direction. Surfing Sunset Cliffs involve climbing up and down the bluffs, paddling between the rocks and navigating in and out of the water. However, out at the tip of Dolphin Tanks, swimmers cannot enter the water. So, aspiring surfers must access the lineup via boat.

3. Best place for all

Mission Beach

Mission Beach Mission Beach is a great place to learn how to surf. Before you go out, look for low waves and high tide. Surf waves are usually gentle, but you can get some serious ones during winter storms. You will need to paddle a little more to reach the right spot at Mission Beach. The southern end of the beach is best for beginners. However, you should avoid the jetty area that more experienced surfers use. Mission Beach is a great spot for beginners in San Diego. Its large size is one of its best assets. This allows surfers more freedom than on narrower beaches. There are many bathrooms and showers. Parking is available near Belmont Park, Santa Clara Point and South Mission Beach Park. However, it can get very crowded. It is well maintained by several lifeguard stations.

Imperial Beach

Imperial Beach The impressive beach at Imperial Beach City Beach in California is a highlight of the city's waterfront. This beach can be found between Palm Avenue in the main IB area and Imperial Beach Boulevard. South Imperial Beach is the long, narrow beach to the south of Imperial Beach Blvd. The City Beach is located north of Palm Ave. It continues for a short distance, before ending at the Silver Strand Naval Training Complex. If you're visiting Evergreen Avenue for the first time, make sure to visit the Imperial Beach Pier. The area is surrounded by great views and a restaurant. Two parks are located on the City Beach: Dunes Park to the north and Portwood Pier Plaza to the south. Both parks have toilets, picnic tables and palm trees. You will also find lifeguard stations at the beach. Street parking is available along Seacoast Drive or the side streets to access Imperial Beach City Beach.

Moonlight Beach

Moonlight Beach Moonlight can be found in Encinitas, which is in North County San Diego. Encinitas is worth a visit. You might fall in love if you stay too long. Moonlight Beach can be very crowded, especially during the tourist season. However, it is large enough that you can spread your legs a bit. For waves less than four feet, it's a good idea to check the surf forecast before you go. Moonlight offers easy parking and large lots up top. There is also a lifeguard presence. There are plenty of amenities such as clean bathrooms, multiple showers and a snack bar. After a hard day surfing, it's a great place to relax. You will find a variety of fire pits and volleyball nets. There is also a great area for kids. Moonlight's best feature is that it's located within walking distance to some of the finest ice creams in the region. Cali Cream is a must-see ice cream place. But you might have to visit Cali Cream more than once if you want to experience all 35 flavors.


San Diego is one of the best places to surf in the world. The city has a long history of surfing, dating back to the early 20th century. Surfing in San Diego is a year-round activity, with the best waves typically found in the summer months. Hopefully, you can find it helpful in this article. Thank you for reading.