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Surfing in Florida

Surfing in Florida

14 Best Florida Surfing Spots

Sunshine State is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the U.S., not just for Americans but worldwide as well. From the shiny glass skyscrapers of Miami to beautiful white sandy beaches, Florida attracts many people, and surfers are no exception. 

Although a bit less attractive for surfers than California or Hawaii, which offer superior waves, surfboards are still all lined up on the white beaches.


Is surfing good in Florida?

There are many Florida beaches with clear water that are suitable not just for swimming, snorkeling, or diving but also for surfing. You don’t have to be a professional surfer to try your luck with the waves. In almost any beach town in Florida, you will find a surfing school with an instructor who can teach you. 

Southernmost parts of the state, like the Florida Keys, are not really renowned surfing places. In fact, you will barely get any good waves there, so most surfers are concentrated on the eastern coast of the Atlantic. 

The east coast can be divided into North and South, and generally speaking, South Florida gets larger, better quality waves (especially during winter). In comparison, North Florida gets more waves in general but smaller. 

Strong winds also attract wind and kite surfers, which can be abundant all along the coast. Although summers are scorching in Florida, during winter times, the ocean can get a bit chilly, so a swimsuit is a must.


Weather in Florida

Florida surfing boasts warm temperatures throughout the year with some fluctuations during winter when it can drop to 49F, and no, it doesn’t snow here like most parts of the country. Once summer hits, it takes a whole new level humidity-wise, and the temps climb to 82F. 


What time of year is best for surfing?

Typically surfing season in Florida is best from August to early spring, the peak being from November to March. That’s largely thanks to very mild to almost no winter and frequent hurricanes during this season, making Florida enjoyable for sea activities all year round. During the peak season, waves can reach up to 10 feet, which makes them ideal for surfers who enjoy powerful swells and barrels. 

Summer is very inviting, but the waters are almost always flat, and you rarely catch any waves, if there are any at all. The only luck you’ll have is near the end of May from Bermuda high swells coming in from the North Atlantic. But these can only deliver 1-2 feet of gentle waves. 


Point Break vs. Beach Break vs. Reef Break

Well, what is a surf break in the first place? A break is anything underwater that causes the swell to break and form a barrel you can ride before it ends foaming up onshore. Now, if you’re a newbie surfing in California, any breaks with surfers doing their thing just look the same. But no. There’s more to the story. Reading breaks is vital to avoid wipeouts and catch the best wave possible. Here are three types of breaks you’ll typically encounter:


Point Break

Usually offering enough wave length for multiple surfers to surf without bumping into each other while maneuvering, a point break happens when a wave wraps around a “point.” It can be a rock formation or a piece of land peeling the swell, and since they don’t move, you don’t have to worry about smashing into them in case of a wipeout. Point breaks are also easy to read and consistent, although they can be challenging to get into. 


Beach Break

Usually created by sandbars or jetties, beach breaks can be a good option for beginner and intermediate surfers. The sandy bottom provides a softer landing if you fall off the board. They also tend to offer more forgiving waves than reef breaks, which can be more powerful and hollow. However, beach breaks are less reliable than point breaks since the sandbanks constantly shift and can create unpredictable wave conditions. It makes beach breaks harder to read, and it’ll be tricky to time and position your surf. 


Reef Break

A reef break in surfing is a wave formation that occurs when waves break over a coral reef or rocky outcropping near the ocean’s surface. The wave’s concentrated energy is amplified as it approaches the reef, causing it to break distinctively and powerfully. Surfers highly seek them because they can produce large, hollow waves that provide an exciting and challenging ride. 

However, reef breaks can also be dangerous during wipeout due to the shallow water and sharp rocks or coral. They are notorious for causing severe injuries, and you’ll usually need to paddle way out into the open to catch them. 


What kind of waves are in Florida?

Aside from surf breaks, surfable waves can also be classified based on how they’re generated. Swell waves are from the energy of powerful winds transmitted to the water. In short, the more powerful winds are, the bigger the swells are. If local winds catch that swell while traveling to the shore and form chops, it becomes wind waves. Ship waves are obviously from vessels passing by and are typically small and short-lived. Backwash waves go back to the ocean after hitting the shores. 


Best Florida Surfing Spots

Sebastian Inlet

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

This beautiful inlet between Melbourne and Vero Beach offers excellent surfing and fishing opportunities. Surf clubs organize annual surfing tournaments here, both amateur and professional, and Sebastian Inlet is considered the epicenter of surfing on the East Coast with waves from jetty/beach breaks. 

The best conditions at Sebastian Inlet come from a mix of E NE swells, with offshore winds from S S.W. that can produce up to double overheads. So with the optimal weather, professionals can enjoy all the slow-peeling left-handed rides in this Florida surfing spot. 

Best Surf Schools in Sebastian Inlet 


New Smyrna Beach

Best for:  Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

Just south of the famous Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach is a renowned surf hub, attracting many beach lovers, surfers, kite surfers, windsurfers, and scuba divers. There are many resorts, hotels, and vacation rentals right on the beach, as well as outdoor activities and competitions.

With a beach/jetty break, this Florida surfing spot has consistent waves throughout the year. If you catch the S.W. winds with S.E. groundswells during a high tide, you’re out for 6-foot left handed rides. 

Best Surf Schools in New Smyrna Beach


Cocoa Beach

Best for: Beginners and Intermediate

When you have a beautiful beach right next to the space center, you know you can expect far more than just water sports. Cocoa Beach is ideally located next to the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center. This small town has a strong surf culture, evident in many surf shops and schools. 

With a sand-padded bottom, beginners don’t have to worry about hurting themselves if they get smashed by the waves in this Florida surfing spot. This surfing spot’s beach break offers left and right consistently. And with W offshore winds and S.E. windswells, you can enjoy some overheads. But usually, it’s a beginner-friendly spot with typical waves of 2-4 feet high. 

Best Surf Schools in Cocoa Beach


Ponce Inlet


Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

Just next to New Smyrna Beach is the Ponce Inlet and, in extension, Daytona Beach. Very famous surf location, and much like New Smyrna, it attracts many adventure sports lovers. Daytona is ideal for experienced surfers and those just getting started—more experienced surfers like to stick to the Ponce Inlet for the best wave opportunities.

Jacksonville Beach is also a prime surfing location in Florida almost all year round. 

Wintertime brings more challenging waves and is more for professional surfers, while summertime is excellent for newbies to practice. The combinations of N NE swell and S.W. winds on a high tide can produce right-handed waves up to overhead high for fun Florida surfing. The sandy bottom of Jacksonville Beach makes it relatively safe for surfing since there is no risk of hitting a rock or reef. Experienced surfers also head to surf at night as waves can get particularly attractive on certain days.

Best Surf Schools in Ponce Inlet


St. Augustine Beach

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

Perfect vacation beach that will fill everyone’s needs. The beach is wide and extends for miles in each direction while the waves from the Atlantic shape its east side. Good winds attract many surfers here, as well as many winds and kite surfers. Beach has a lot of content to offer its visitors, such as a beachfront park with volleyball courts and playgrounds for children. There are sea turtle nesting grounds that are protected, as well as picnic areas.

The offshore winds with eastern groundswells offer excellent lefts and rights, suitable for surfers of all skill levels. If you catch the blow overs from Cape Verde during hurricane season, you’ll have plenty of waves to catch. 

Best Surf Schools in St. Augustine Beach


Panama City Beach

Best for: Beginners

No, not Central America Panama, Florida, also has one Panama beach. Unlike the others, this is actually in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, surfing conditions are not as good on Florida’s Atlantic coast, but this beach still has some reliable surfing conditions. 

The best Florida surfing opportunities are actually during the hurricane season if you dare. Russell Fields City Pier and Front Beach Road are considered the best locations for surfing. With exposed beach breaks, N winds, and S S.E. groundswells, gentle waves are ideal for new surfers, mainly during February, with the rest of the year flat. 

Best Surf Schools in Panama City Beach


Reef Road

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

One of the most famous towns in Florida, Palm Beach is known for its luxury estates, world-class hotels, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Ideal conditions come from western winds with N NE groundswells on the left for fast overhead rides of 100 yards. Winter is the best for barrelling with workable waves between August and May. 

Best Surf Schools in Reef Road


South Hutchinson Island

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

With reef breaks producing waves between 10 and 20 feet high, surfing on South Hutchinson Island near the Nuclear Power Plant is a treat during hurricane season. If you’re new to the sport, the south side has forgiving waves. The combination of the incoming tide, E NE swells, and W N.W. winds are the best for intermediates and pros. 

There’s also the beach break of Dollman Park, and Jensen Beach’s shapely chops are a must-check out too. Stuart Public Beach and Hobe Sound Public Beach also have powerful N.E. waves. It’s also pretty easy to get your needs with all the amenities just within hand’s reach. 

Best Surf Schools in South Hutchinson Island


Fort Pierce Inlet State Park

Best for: Beginners

With wildflowers and sea oats contrasting the sands, surfing at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park is more than just the ride. The jetty break creates backwash responsible for the workable N.E. wind and groundswells. And with W winds, this Florida surfing spot typically has 2-4 feet of rideable A-frames. It’s also the venue for the yearly Wounded Warriors surfing event and is famous for longboarders, especially during weekends. 

Best Surf Schools in Fort Pierce Inlet State Park


Flagler Beach

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

Stretching six miles, Flagler is a crowd-free surf spot between St. Augustine and Daytona. It’s where surfing legend Frieda Zamba was born. Consistent E NE groundswells with S.W. winds visit most between September and May. Flagler Beach is an excellent alternative if you find Ponce and Sebastian too crowded. 

Time your Florida surfing during high tide to make the most of the beach break, or go on a low incoming tide at the sandbar break. Both have rideable lefts and rights. And with the turquoise waters, you satiate not just the surfer in you but also treat your eyes with the beauty of Flagler Beach. 

Best Surf Schools in Flagler Beach:


Pensacola Beach

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

No Florida surfing is complete without riding the waves at Pensacola Beach. Maybe it can’t compete with famous spots, but it is one of the most beautiful in the state, with plenty of clean waves during winter. The combination of sheltered sandbar break with N N.W. offshore winds and S S.E. windswells create enough snappy rideable chops. Summer is suitable for beginners since everything’s mellow. 

You can check out Casino Beach and Forth Picken’s The Point for right-handed rides. You might even catch the rare yet solid swells at the bay that only visits twice a year near the Pensacola Lighthouse. 

Best Surf Schools in Pensacola Beach


Boynton Beach Inlet

Best for: Beginners and Intermediate

Hailed as America’s Gateway to the Gulfstream, Boynton Beach Inlet has waves from both beach and jetty breaks that world well with W offshore winds and N.E. wind and groundswells. You must paddle out to reach the beach break, about a quarter mile away. This Florida surfing gem is uncrowded, so if you want some me time without thinking about taking turns, this is the spot for you. Newbies will also safely enjoy the typical 2-foot waves rideable for a few seconds. 

Best Surf Schools in Boynton Beach Inlet


Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Best for: Intermediate and Advanced

With beach/point break, surfers can enjoy 1.5 miles of shore with “The Poles” best waves from N NE groundswells and W offshore winds. It’s Jacksonville’s premier spot for shortboard lovers conquering quick rides and snappy turns. Best to hit the waters on a low tide for the best chops.

If this surfing isn’t enough, you can also enjoy other park activities, whether camping, hiking, or biking. It’s more than just a Florida surfing spot. It’s a treat for every nature lover. 

Best Surf Schools in Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park


Venice Beach

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced

With North and South Jetty to choose from, Venice Beach beach/jetty breaks invite surfers of all skill levels. And when the weather is at its best, with N.E. offshore winds and S S.W. wind swells, there are right and left-handers everywhere that can sometimes grow as big as overhead during winter.

And if you want souvenirs, it’s the famous Shark Tooth Capital of the World. You can pick them while beachcombing before or after your surfing session. 

Best Surf Schools in Venice Beach


Beaches here are less crowded with surfers than, for example, in Hawaii or California, so it makes a good spot for newbies and those who are just learning the sport. In particular, Jupiter inlet on the east coast is a good spot for beginners since it is sheltered from strong winds but still has decent waves for beginners.

Beaches on the Gulf of Mexico coast are not really surf optimal, perhaps for beginners. Still, you’d have to wait for colder weather, tropical storm, or hurricane season for more adrenaline.

The good thing about Florida surfing is its warm weather all year round, so you will see a lot of water sports activities on its beaches, like windsurfers and kite surfers.

Learning how to surf takes time, patience, and lots of practice. Many beaches along the 1200 miles long coast of Florida are dotted with surf shops and surfing schools, and they will undoubtedly provide the best advice on where to catch the best waves.

Enjoy the Surf scene in Florida!



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What are the best places to surf in Florida?

Here are some of the best Florida surfing spots you need to check out:

  • Sebastian Inlet
  • New Smyrna Beach
  • Ponce Inlet
  • St. Augustine Beach
  • Reef Road
  • South Hutchinson Island
  • Flagler Beach
  • Pensacola Beach
  • Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park

Learn more in our guide on surfing in Florida


What are the best surf spots for beginners in Florida?

These surfing spots offer mellow rides for newbies:

  • Cocoa Beach
  • Panama City Beach
  • Boynton Beach Inlet
  • Fort Pierce Inlet State Park
  • Venice Beach

Learn more in our guide on surfing in Florida