10 States With Great Surf Waves

Take a second to think about surfing. What comes to mind? I'm going to guess the states of Hawaii and California are first on your list followed by tropical landscapes. Those places definitely have beautiful surf waves, no denying that. Look a little closer and you'll find other states with great surfing and sometimes without a crowd.

Here are 10 states with great waves:

Montauk, NY

Photo courtesy of Hans Johnson Photo courtesy of Hans Johnson


Look past all the high rises, suburbs, vineyards, and all the other nonsense Long Island has to offer and you'll come across some of the best waves the US has to offer. Montauk is always a best bet and a rare commodity on the East Coast because it just sucks up any south, east, and west swell. You'll love surfing here if you can brave the cold water and you're almost always likely to find a break you like whether it be pounding tubes on a sandbar, a break over a reef, or peeling lines from a point.

Ruggles, RI

Photo courtesy of Dan Gray Photo courtesy of Dan Gray


Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the US, but it makes up for its small stature with its surf. The town of New Port is where you'll find Ruggles, one of the best reef breaks on the East Coast. This is where you're going to find solid waves year round, especially when a hurricane swell rolls through during the summer.

Westport, WA
Consistent surf is a necessity on the West coast. It has to be with the chilly water and even chillier water of the Pacific North off the coast of Washington. Westport has some of the most consistent surf year round, averaging 300 days annually with overhead surf. It may not be the cleanest, but if that's all you've got, you're going to find a way to have a blast surfing waves overhead.

Kodiak, AK

Photo courtesy of James Brooks Photo courtesy of James Brooks


Wide open spaces, zero traffic, almost no one in the water, and fast waves is what Kodiak has to offer. With all the beauty that comes with surfing in Alaska, you're going to have to suffer a little bit with the water barely hitting 50 Fahrenheit in the summer. But think about having those pretty waves all to yourself.

Virginia Beach, VA
The surf in the Southeast can be a little more fickle and sometimes more suitable for longboarders. Virginia Beach is no different, but two- to four-foot waves are fairly consistent. The vibe's pretty laid back in lineup and when all else fails, just be respectful of each other. Fall brings great waves and drives out the crowds, just don't forget your wetsuit.

Outer Banks, NC

Photo Courtesy of LollyKnit Photo Courtesy of LollyKnit


The most well-known surf spot in the southeast is off the coast of North Carolina. The Outer Banks has been known to produce some of the best surf the southeast has ever seen with barrels for days. Those days may be far and few between, but catch it on a great day in the fall and you'll be stoked on one surf session for months. Or quite possibly until the next swell comes through.

Cocoa Beach, FL
A beach town where the 11-time World Surfing Champion grew up is certainly a great place to surf. Believe it or not, that place lies within Central Florida. Cocoa Beach has become a tourist destination with the help of Disney and Ron Jon Surf Shop, but is a fairly decent surf spot. There are great places all over for beginners and the more advance surfers have Sebastian Inlet, where Kelly Slater grew up surfing.

Galveston, TX
When you're on the Gulf of Mexico with flat surf you have to get creative. That's where shallow shipping lanes and giant freight tankers come into play. Imagine a break that peels for miles. That's what you get when you take a board out into the shipping lanes of Galveston at the right tide and find a tanker travelling in or out of the bay.

Seaside, OR

Photo courtesy of Homini Photo courtesy of Homini


Home to the finish line of the iconic Hood to Coast 200-mile relay race also holds some terrific surfing. Seaside turns on during big swells and shouldn't be taken lightly. Sandy beaches that turn to rocky coastline welcome some of the biggest and most accessible swells the Pacific has to offer.

Seaside Heights, NJ
There's a little bit of a skewed image of New Jersey these days, I feel, thanks to MTV. They show people going to the gym, getting a tan, and doing laundry during the summer. While that might be a great routine, when the air cools off later in the year and the shore turns into a deserted wasteland - that's when the surfers emerge to catch great waves. Brave the cold and you can get some killer waves, not to mention that some of the best cold water surfing images have been captured at Seaside Heights during the fall and winter months.

What do you think? Are you surprised by this list? (Surfers, did we miss a favorite spot of yours?)
Justin Fricke
posted by
Justin Fricke
Blogger at The Weekend Warrior
As a member of #TeamSierra, Justin Fricke receives promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post. Justin traded in his comfy desk job for a life of adventure on the road. Nowadays he's a freelance content creator while living in a van full time, exploring America. Follow his adventures on his website, The Weekend Warrior, and on Instagram and Facebook.
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