Best Surfing in San Diego

Best San Diego Surf Spots

Whether you live in San Diego or are just on vacation, surfing is one of the most popular activities in town. The San Diego coastline has all types of waves and surf spots that are suitable for beginners to pro surfers. As a matter of fact, many well-known pro surfers live in San Diego while not on tour due to the diverse conditions and proximity to Mexico. People surf all year long in San Diego, but the biggest and best surf is in the winter. The summertime in San Diego is paradise, with warm blue water and consistent playful surf.

Mission Beach

Fun surf all year long. Beach Break with a few nice sandbars. Good on Med to High Tide with all swell directions. Picks up more swell in the winter than summer, but it’s surfable all year long. Closed out on big winter days. Suitable for all-level surfers depending on the conditions. Great for learning in the summer & lifeguards on duty all year long. Check local surf reports before heading out if you are a beginner.

Pacific Beach

Pretty much just an extension of Mission Beach, with a few special sandbars to note. Usually, a bit bigger at PB drive or you can catch some good lefts at the Crystal Pier. Good for all-level surfers and it’s an all sand beach break. However at the north end of PB is the Point, where there are some rocks and a reef bottom. This can be an epic spot on the right swell and will connect all the way into Tourmaline, the far north cove of PB. Tourmaline is a great spot for beginners and is located at the foot of Tourmaline St.

La Jolla

From beginner beach breaks to Hawaiian-style barrels, La Jolla has it all. If you are learning check out the perfect sandy bottom of La Jolla Shores. If you are charging some winter surf and are looking for 20ft plus, go check out the La Jolla Cove. This Big Wave gem only breaks a few times a year, but when it does it’s only for the true San Diego Chargers. Of course, there is Blacks, probably the best all-around beach break in San Diego. This spot can get huge in the winter and hold some really good shape at the same time. In the summer it can also pick up more swell than most of the other local beaches. If you are looking to get a few barrels La Jolla is also home to a nice stretch of reef and if you pick the right spot you will be stoked. Watch out for rocks, locals, and seals…

Ocean Beach

Yet another good all-around great beach break with a variety of structures and sandbars. There are a few small submerged jetties that make for some killer A-frames and also a nice jetty at the north end of the beach that fires in the summer!!! Another great summer spot is the OB pier….This is a classic spot people have been surfing since the ’60s and there is an interesting crowd that hangs out on the sea wall. Watch out in OB, you might have a flashback!!!!

Sunset Cliffs

As Ocean Beach ends, Sunset Cliffs begin. This is a long stretch of beautiful seaside cliffs. Along the road, there are various access points and parking spots so you can pull over and surf the perfect waves below. This is a spot mainly for advanced surfers since it is all reef and rock bottom. The cliffs also have some spectacular views from La Jolla to Tijuana.


Mainly a summertime spot, Coronado can have its days. It picks up a south swell really well and also gets really hollow. Mainly a lot of dumpy shore break, but you can get some killer close-out tubes and at times there are some good sand bars.

Imperial Beach

The last beach town in the US!!! This is a great town that is on the rebuild. It’s the last stretch of USA-owned coastline and it also gets some killer surf. Watch out for poo from the Tijuana River in the winter, but the summertime water conditions are pretty good. Big winter surf off the TJ River Sloughs and barrels of the pier.

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