Spotlight: America’s Most Unusual Surf Beaches

Mavericks, these ain’t. From the laid-back shellfish ‘n’ LL Bean coast of Maine to the adobe warmth of Monterey Bay, here are the top 10 spots for destination surfers looking for the most unusual break they can find.

Reef Road, Palm Beach, Florida

The highly coveted north swell is what you’re here for. Barrels run in both directions – well worth a trip down south.


Gooch’s Beach, Kennebunk, Maine

With breaks that are equally steep through summer and winter, Gooch’s Beach is loved by swimmers and waveriders alike. We’d suggest checking it out in the cooler months as the water frees up.

Black’s Beach, San Diego, California

Head out here in winter for some seriously good big waves. And if you’re feeling especially adventurous after your paddle, head to the nudist section to test to your mettle.

Fort Point, San Francisco, California

Right under the Golden Gate bridge, this San Fran surf point is famed for being a little wacky – if a touch treacherous. Some experienced locals tackle this one with helmets on.


Asilomar Bay, Monterey Bay, California

For the most consistent breaks in Monterey Bay, check out Asilomar Bay. But if it’s variety you’re after, you’re in the right region: the beaches of Monterey Bay face in every direction, so no matter what kind of break you want, it’s just a short drive away.

Trestles, Orange County, California

Made up of Upper and Lower Trestles, you’ll find two very different experiences here. The consistency of the Lower Trestles gets the glory, due to being the stage for several comps, but Upper provides quality walls that are just as good – if a little erratic.

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Kill Devil Hills, Dare County, North Carolina

A sleepy town that verges on ghostly in the winter months, Kill Devil Hills is an ominously named spot for the East Coast stalwart. Barrels are the name of the game here, but watch out for hurricane season.

Haleiwa, Hawaii

Get in, the water’s warm. At Haleiwa, be prepared for a challenge – the conditions can get risky, especially when shallow reefs make themselves known, but this stretch is readily acknowledged as one of the best in the country.

Ruggles Beach, Newport, Rhode Island

Plans to restore the local Cliff Walk threw the future of the Ruggles pointbreak into jeopardy, but with community members banding together, the Rhode Island gem remains intact – with 10 – 15 foot swells included.

Ditch Plains, Montauk, New York

Close enough to New York to attract the city slickers, Ditch Plains is a loooong, friendly break that’s accommodating for both novices and lifers. And if you’re with non-surfers, the lighthouse makes for great sightseeing.

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