Top Surf Spots in California

With so many different activities and outdoor venues available year-round, it is no wonder that the golden state is the most populated of all the states in the country.  Besides skiing, great weather and a huge selection of amazing state parks, California also boasts some of the country’s top beaches and some of the world’s top surf spots.

As your premier real estate agent for homes for sale in Brea, I would like to share some of these amazing beaches and surf spots with you.  The central location of Brea coupled with its amazing access to the freeways that connect California, you are never more than a few hours away from the hottest surf spots in southern and central California.  So, keep reading and see why Brea is such a popular destination to call home and what you will be able to access once you have found your dream home in the city.

Like so many other great California pastimes, surfing comes with its own etiquette and set of rules.  Regardless of where you choose to surf always keep water safety in mind.  Be kind, considerate of the beaches and other surfers and always respect the local customs and rules.  If you are friendly and take your turn on the waves you should be able to enjoy even the most local of waves and beaches in our beautiful state.  So, get your favorite board out and prepare yourself for your new favorite water sports pastime, all from your home base of Brea, California.

Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach

There is a reason why Huntington Beach is known as Surf City USA.  Not only is this unique beach city home to the largest surf competition in the world – The Vans US Open of Surfing, but it also boasts a long surf history where greats such as Hawaiian surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku have come to surf.  The pier at Huntington Beach may be one of the most iconic and easily recognizable surf spots in the country.  Regardless of your skill level or ability, Huntington Beach has a wave for everyone.

The bonus of Huntington Beach is that is only 30 minutes or 25 miles away.  This proximity makes it easy to call Huntington Beach your local break.

The Wedge, Newport Beach

Just down the road from Huntington Beach lies its neighbor, Newport Beach.  Although not as popular in surfing folklore as Huntington Beach, Newport Beach is home to a famous wave called “The Wedge.” This world-famous wave forms when a south swell refracts off the rock jetty and collides with another incoming wave.  This collision results in a 30-foot-high wave that can only really be seen or experienced to be fully understood or appreciated.  Before paddling out, perhaps take a drive from Brea (again only about 30 minutes or 26 miles) to observe this unique wave from the safety of the shore.

If your surf skills aren’t ready for “The Wedge”, fear not, Newport Beach has a wide range of excellent surf spots for all types of skill levels from beginner to advanced.  Some other great spots include 15th Street and 54th/56th Street.  Just take a walk up or down the beach and keep an eye out for a set of waves that are breaking that look like they are at your skill level.

Here’s the Deal:

Always look for water hazards such as rips and understand the tides before you choose to paddle out.

Trestles (San Onofre State Park) San Clemente

The famous point breaks of Trestles (named after the railroad bridge over San Mateo Creek) can be found at one of California’s most popular and famous beaches – San Onofre State Beach.  It is one of the most visited state parks in California seeing over 2.5 million visitors annually.  To access Trestles, you will have to park and hike down a long trail, under the Trestle Bridge.  It is most definitely worth the walk as it is home to some of the best waves in not only California but in the world.  If world-class waves are just a little out of your comfort zone, don’t worry as San Onofre State Beach offers a wide range of other surfing options.  These include:

  • Surf Beach- This beach is further divided by the locality from north to south into three distinctive breaks. They are – “The Peak”, “Dogpatch” and “Oldman’s.”  Like most breaks in California, these all work best with a south swell.
  • Trails – This is the most southern surf spot on the beach and offers a wide range of different waves.
  • Church – This area of the beach takes its name from the long-gone chapel which was located near the site.

Swami’s Encinitas

If you are looking for a rival surf city in California, the Encinitas will give Huntington Beach a run for its money any day.  Located 1.15 hours or 76 miles from Brea, Encinitas is home to a myriad of great surfing locations.  The gem of Encinitas’ endless breaks is Swami’s, a classic right point break that can be found at the southernmost end of the city.  The wave takes its name from the Self-Realization Center that sits atop the bluffs.  Other popular alternatives to Swami’s (and probably less crowded and less local) include:

  • D Street – the main access point for a patch of the beach known as Boneyards. There is no beach for sunbathing as it is mostly rock and cobblestone which makes it far more suited to surfing than sunbathing.
  • Moonlight State Park – the perfect beach for a family gathering or picnic and has some gentle surf suited for all abilities and ages. The easy access and parking lot at the top of the stairs make Moonlight State Park a very popular option for not only surfing but beachgoers in general.

Windansea Beach, La Jolla

Further down the coast towards San Diego lies the famed waves of Windansea Beach located in La Jolla California (1.45 hours or 93 miles from Brea).  La Jolla is full of surf spots that cater to all skill sets. Some of the more popular breaks in the area include:

  • La Jolla Shores – This area is best suited for beginners and is a classic shore break with very predictable waves. With ample parking and plenty of room, La Jolla Shores is a very popular surf break.
  • Black’s Beach – Arguably San Diego county’s best wave, Black’s is only accessible by hiking down the cliffs or a long walk from La Jolla Shores.
  • La Jolla Cove – This is the most fickle surf spot on the list but when the cove gets going, they are some of the largest waves in the area. The sheer size of the waves coupled with the rocks in the cove keep many away, all but the most seasoned surfers, so you may get some epic sets all to yourself, if you are lucky.
  • Windansea – Advanced surfers know this break well. The unpredictable conditions that vary with each tide coupled with the type of reef formations make Windansea a local’s favorite.

Surfrider Beach, Malibu

South of Brea is not the only part of California where you can find great waves.  Head north my friend and you will find Surfrider Beach in Malibu (1.15 hr or 65 miles from Brea).  Not only does Surfrider Beach offer perfect waves, but the overall significance of the beach also needs to be recognized.  Surfrider Beach is the first World Surfing Reserve by the Save the Wave Coalition.  Although the wave is not a beginner’s wave, it is definitely worth a look and a great wave to aspire to.

Rincon Point, Carpinteria

Located between Santa Barbara and Ventura County lies Carpinteria (1.45 hr or 100 miles from Brea)

and another surfing hotspot – Rincon Point. Rincon Point has been described as the “gold standard” for an American point break, so you know that it is going to be good.  The waves come to life in the winter months, especially during southern swells.  Cruise the 101 and when you see a crowded line-up you will know that that is where the waves are firing on the point that day.  Either paddle out or just sit back and watch the action.  Rincon Designs, a local surf shop offers a great selection of branded surf clothing and its own surfboards shaped by legendary shaper Matt Moore.  Stop by for a piece of local folklore.

Northern California

If you are looking for a road trip or want some other great waves to try your skill at, then head north.  The water gets colder but the waves are every bit as good.  Santa Cruz is the surf mecca of northern California.  Perhaps the most famous break in the city is by the cliffs that overlook Santa Cruz – Steamer Lane, named for the steamboats that once moved up and down the shoreline.  When in the city, be sure to check out the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum that commemorates the city’s rich surfing history.  Other great breaks and waves in and around the city include:

  • Pleasure Point
  • The Hook
  • Manresa State Beach

Further up the coast at Half Moon Bay lies the heaviest and most famous wave in mainland America – Mavericks.  Named after the original pioneer of the wave, Jeff Clark’s dog.  The wave is best left to experts as it can and often does get up to 80 feet in height.  If nothing else, it is worth a visit.  Be sure to stop by the Maverick’s Surf Company original store because if you can’t surf the wave at least you can wear the hoody or other cool Maverick’s gear.

This is just a small sample of the great waves that abound in California and are all fairly easily accessible from Brea.  One of the best ways to discover your favorite peak or surf destination is to get out and explore what is in and around our beautiful city of Brea.

If you have any other waves that you would like to add, please feel free to comment below.  I would love to hear your opinions and get your input.

The easily accessible beaches and waves are just another reason why Brea is the ideal city in California to call home.  From its small-town welcoming vibe to its wide choice of great homes and properties, it is no wonder why Brea consistently ranks high in places to call home in the United States.

If you would like to see what new and exciting homes are available on Brea’s real estate market or are interested in seeing why Brea is the right city for you, please contact me today.  I would love to help you find your dream home and show you why Brea is such a special place.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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