When we think of surfing on the East Coast, we typically think of hurricane season. After all, that’s pretty much the only time the rest of the world hears about good waves on the east coast. The truth is, there are a lot of good surf spots on the East Coast, many that break without the aid of a hurricane swell. The waves they get in between hurricane swells are actually perfect for learning to surf, so here’s The Surfing Blog’s Top Ten Places to Learn to Surf on The East Coast.
1. Cocoa Beach – Cocoa Beach, Florida
If Kelly Slater learned to surf here, then obviously something must be special about the place. Cocoa Beach can get pretty crowded, but it’s mostly with tourists, so its not like you have to deal with a crowd of wave-hungry locals. Most of the year the waves are great for beginners to get some rides in. The vibe in the water is friendly and welcoming, the bottom is soft and sandy, the water is warm, and the waves are usually gentle. This is one of your best bets for learning to surf on the east coast.
2. Corolla Beach – Corolla, North Carolina
Everyone who knows anything about surfing on the East Coast knows that the Outer Banks are the place to be. Waves can become incredibly perfect here with the right conditions and a solid hurricane swell. Corolla Beach, located on the north end of the Outer Banks, gets as good as almost anywhere on the east coast, but most of the time it is just a great spot for surfers of all ability levels. The summer months are warm, both in the water and in the air, and the waves are great for beginners.
3. Sea Isle City – New Jersey
One of the coolest surf towns in New Jersey, Sea Isle City offers a great stretch of coastline with surf spots all over the place to help thin the crowds. The beach breaks here are plentiful and perfect for beginners, offering up small, crumbly waves most of the year. The water temperature can actually get pretty warm in the summertime, making learning a much more pleasant experience. It’s also easy to find private and group surf lessons and rentals here, often taught by local pros.
4. St. Augustine Beach – Northern Florida
One of the best places to learn to surf in Florida, St. Augustine Beach takes in any swell that’s out there are breaks over a sand bottom. You can find people of all ability levels, riding every type of surfboard at St. Augustine. Although there can be a ton of people out, the crowds stays pretty spread out over the coastline and has a mellow vibe, which is a perfect situation for beginners and first timers.
5. Robert Moses State Park – Long Island, New York
We know there are a lot of New Yorkers out there who want to learn to surf, so we have to include a break in New York, and there is probably no better place than here for beginning surfers on Long Island. New York doesn’t usually come to mind as a major surf destination, but there have been some incredible surfer’s emerging out of the state in recent years. These guys learned not only how to surf here, but how to become major contenders in the surfing world, so there are definitely opportunities to get in the water and learn to surf. During summer this surf spot provides perfect conditions for beginners: small waves and sandy beaches.
6. Folly Beach – South Carolina
Folly Beach has huge expanses of soft sand and gentle waves suited for beginners. It’s an ideal place to learn to surf in South Carolina. This beach draws in more swell than the surrounding beaches, so there is always something for you to ride out there. It is also frequented by beginners, making for a pretty mellow crowd if there even is one at all. There is a great little local surf shop that you can get rentals at if you need a board.
7. Wrightsville Beach – North Carolina
Wrightsville Beach gets incredible with a large southeast hurricane swell, but luckily for the beginners, there are not large hurricane swells year round. The summer time here can supply some of the best conditions for people who want to learn to surf. The water temperatures are warm, the waves are a good size and shape, and crowds are spread out over a large area.
8. Nantucket – Massachusetts
Miles and miles of south-facing beaches that pick up even the slightest bit of swell provide a perfect learning arena for beginners. The water temperatures can get really warm in the summer, and there’s plenty of space to allow the crowds to spread out. Warm water, lot’s of space, and consistent small beach break waves…how can a place be more catered to people looking to learn to surf during summertime on the east coast.
9. Narragansett Town Beach – Rhode Island
One of the greatest spots to surf in New England no matter what ability level you are. Town beach always has waves to ride, even if they are small. Most of the beach is perfect for beginners, providing slow and mushy waves over a soft sand bottom, and normally with some really nice conditions as well. Surf instructors are readily available to teach you if it is your first time surfing. Plus there is a lot of room for everyone, so it doesn’t matter how many people show up.
10. Coast Guard Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore – Massachusetts
This is a great beach to take a bunch of beginners to. There is always a ton of people here in the summertime, and you’ll find people riding all kinds of boards and participating in every kind of beach activity. The waves are typically really soft and crumbly, perfect for longboarding. Longboarding in these conditions is ideal for someone looking to ride their first wave. The water temperatures here fluctuate drastically, from freezing cold, to perfectly warm for trunks, so be prepared for anything when you arrive.
This top-ten list is definitely debatable. You might think the order is wrong, or key spots should be added or even taken out of the list. Let us know by leaving your comments!