Hit the Waves: Our Picks for the Top 5 Surf Spots In San Diego County

Top Five Surf Spots in San Diego County

Written By Guest Blogger: Jayson Carpenter, REALTOR®

Whether you are a salty veteran or a newly learning novice, San Diego County has a wave for you.

Within the county lines there are hundreds of places to grab a few waves on any given day. Longboard or shortboard, big wave or small - San Diego County has got you covered. With water temperatures that range from the high 50’s in the winter to the mid 70’s in summer, surfing is a year round sport that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.

Here are my top five picks for surf spots in San Diego County

Blacks Beach

Located at the base of towering sandstone cliffs, this iconic break is not for the novice surfer. Widely recognized as on of the best waves in California, Blacks offers up quality left and right hand barrels for anyone with enough skill to navigate them. Waves come out a deep underwater canyon and break with tremendous force. On a good swell this spot can easily have over a hundred people out but if you can pick off a gem, it is all worth it.


Swamis Beach

Situated in the heart of coastal North County San Diego, this world famous right hand point break has many moods. It can range from prefect, longboard peelers to bombing scream for your momma barrels. The bigger this spot gets the better it gets, and along with that comes the crowd. Accessible by a cliffside parking lot and set of stairs, Swamis is a must for any surfer looking for some fun waves.

(Beginner - Expert)

La Jolla Shores

Widely regarded as the best spot in the county to learn to surf, the Shores as it's referred, is typically small and breaking with little power. Lifeguards and surf schools are easily found on this wide sandy beach, and parking most times of the year can be obtained with little worry in the massive parking lot that services this family friendly destination. One word of caution, make sure you do the sting ray shuffle in the summer, those little guys like to hang out on the bottom and the last thing you want to do is get stung.

(Beginner - Intermediate)

San Onofre/Lower Trestles

Located on the northern fringe of San Diego County, and more commonly associated with Orange County (our neighbor to the north). This 3 mile stretch of beach offers up a multitude of waves to ride. From San Onofre’s family friendly perfect longboard peelers, to Lower Trestles high performance rights and lefts this place will blow minds with quality of surf that can be found. That being said, you will not be alone, but as a friend once told me, "You sometimes can score it empty on a Thursday".

(Beginner - Expert)

Cardiff Reef

A reef break at the mouth of the San Elijo Lagoon, this well known surf spot breaks both right and left. A great wave to grab some tip time when its smaller, this wave can also offer up some draining tubes when things get a bit more serious. With a wide sandy beach, a large parking lot, and river flowing into the ocean this family friendly destination is the place to be for a San Diego beach day!

(Beginner - Intermediate) 

As with any list, your idea of the perfect wave or beach may be different. Just remember to know your limits, and - “when in doubt don’t paddle out “. Have fun and see you out there!!!

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