Learn to Ride The Waves at the Best San Diego Surf Beaches
San Diego has always been a top surfing spot, and for good reason — the waves are consistent, the weather is perfect all year round, and the local boarding culture is second to none. So if you’ve been looking to learn how to shoot the curls yourself, you simply won’t find a better place to get started. Take a look at our guide to the best San Diego surf beaches, plus some great shops to get geared up.
Pacific Beach (just steps away)
The locals refer to it as “PB” — and when you’re a guest with us, it’s right outside your door. Pacific Beach surfing is known for serene, consistent waves that will take it easy on beginning surfers. The shallows also have a sandy bottom here, so if you wind up taking a wipeout or two, you’ll bounce back with no issues. This area also has a fantastic surrounding community with excellent bars, restaurants, and friendly locals for when it’s time to call it a day.
Tourmaline Beach (0.6 miles away)
Surfers from all over make the pilgrimage to Tourmaline Beach for its tranquil tides. Tourmaline has very easygoing breaks that are perfect for finding your sea legs, and there’s no bad time of year to visit. Plus, this area is loaded with a lot of great creature comforts like convenient restrooms, picnic tables, and firepits. Lifeguards are also on duty during most peak surfing hours, so help is typically on hand for starter boarders.
Mission Beach (2.1 miles away)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better spot for learning to surf than Mission Beach. The breaks here can get a bit lively, but are never too intense for those who are just starting out. Once you get your confidence up, Mission Beach’s south jetty can offer late-stage beginner and intermediate riders a bit more variety without upping the difficulty all that much. The surrounding area is also beautiful and can get lively in the evenings.
La Jolla Shores Beach (5.4 miles away)
As perhaps the best-known all-around surfing spot in San Diego County, La Jolla Shores has something for everyone. Remarkably consistent, reliable, and good-quality waves break here thanks to the unique topography of the surrounding shoreline. The cliffs are also famous for helping break up crosswinds somewhat, so the water tends to be a bit less choppy. La Jolla can get a little crowded, but there are plenty of rides to go around.
Ocean Beach (5.8 miles away)
OB is a great spot for starters — mellow, medium waves without a lot of speed or muscle will have you navigating the water in no time. All times of year offer consistent surf that never pushes learners too hard. Ocean Beach also has arguably one of the longest-running and most-dedicated communities of long-time wave riders, many of which have been catching curls for decades. So there’s always someone around to offer pointers to novices.
San Diego’s Best Surf Shops
If you’re a beginning surfer, you’re going to need some gear. Not sure where to start? The following spots all offer boards, wetsuits, wax, leashes, and other accessories. If you’d like to enlist the aid of a pro to get you started, some also offer lessons. Hit them up, grab some gear, and start surfing!
- PB Surf Shop — 4208 Oliver Ct, San Diego, CA 92109
- South Coast Surf Shop — 4500 Ocean Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
- Mission Surf — 4320 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
- Rip Curl — 4287 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
- Bird Rock Surf Shop — 5509 La Jolla Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037
There’s no better place to learn to surf than San Diego. And there’s no better place to stay during your surfing adventure than Pacific Terrace. Here the ocean is your front yard, and you’re only ever moments away from the water. When you’re ready to embark on your experience, take a look at our Surf’s Up Package — which includes beachfront accommodations for two, aSan Diego Surfing School 90-minute group surf class for two including wetsuit and surfboard, and two Pacific Terrace Key Holders!