"Chilled Out Vibes": 9 Hotels and Resorts for the Best Surfing Vacations in the United States

By , July 20th, 2015

With their chilled out vibes, perfect tans and flawless beach hair, everybody wants to be a surfer. While surfers are garnering recent attention to the sport for their close encounters with sharks, there is nothing more peaceful than staying as close as possible to the sound of waves crashing upon the shore.

Paige Hareb surfer

Pro-surfer Paige Hareb gliding over the waves. Photo used with permission.

Paige Hareb, a pro-surfer hailing from New Zealand travels often for surf competitions worldwide. She talked to us about some of her hotel experiences: Her favorite hotels have a “nice comfy bed, clean and tidy bathroom, and free WiFi.” She hits up the hotel buffet for breakfast before heading out to surf but indulges in some late night room service when she’s “too tired to move!” Her ultimate USA surf break is Trestles in Southern California where she usually stays in San Clemente for easy access to her favorite beaches. We’ve gathered our choices of hotels near some of the best surfing spots in the USA so that you can take to the waves and start surfin’ USA.

Ocean Resort Inn

Montauk, New York

Hotels near Montauk beaches

Montauk surfing is beloved by hardcore East Coast surfers. Photo by john.beil CC BY

Beloved by the most hardcore of East Coast surfers, the waters of Montauk are cold, but the coastline is beautiful and it’s easily accessible by the Long Island Rail Road line from New York City. Once a surfing secret, the place is yet to be overrun with legions of newbie paddleboarders (locals beg they stay far away from the crowded surf lineup) while still enjoying a sleepy and casual hippie-type atmosphere. This beautiful coastline is said to be stalked by the Montauk Monster, a failed military experiment when they opened another dimension. Avoid bumming it on the beach with the Montauk Monster with a stay at the lovely Ocean Resort Inn, 3 miles from the best surfing USA this area can grant you.

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Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Best Surf Spots in the USA

A seasoned surfer takes to Wrightsville Beach’s waves. Photo by Karen Blaha CC BY

Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina is surrounded by salt marshes and sandy barrier islands and a welcoming southern attitude with a big side of BBQ. Visit the Surf City Surf Shop, opened since 1978 to get set up for a day with the waves. The swells here can have strong winds and currents, beloved by pros but beware to beginners. Since this community is surf-centric, it’s easy to get lessons or chat with locals about tips. Our best tip includes a stay at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort where you’ll be able to spot water conditions from your window.

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Blockade Runner Beach resort

Always just a couple steps from the ocean. Photo courtesy of the Blockade Runner Facebook Page

Islander Beach Resort

New Smyrna Beach, Florida

New Smyrna Beach accommodation

New Smyrna Beach is home to a robust surfing community. Photo by Courtney Nash CC BY

New Smyrna Beach is a premier surfing destination, even if the sole reason was the 300 surfable days a year. The warm waters welcome those without wetsuits as do the waves. Head to the less crowded of the 13 mile stretch of beach to either Sapphire Road or Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park. With waves and weather like these, you’re going to want to stay as close to the beach as humanly possible, short of a blow-up bed in the actual ocean. The Islander Beach Resort is just close enough that you can smell salt in the air at all times, and you can spot that incoming wave and be down to the shore fast enough to ride it.

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West Cliff Inn

Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz hotels for surfers

The famous waves of Santa Cruz. Photo by stuartlchambers CC BY

Santa Cruz’s beaches used to be where surfers prepared for the more powerful Hawaiian waves on wooden boards and also played an integral part in the development of the wetsuit by Jack O’Neill. This is a veritable field trip for those surfing obsessed with over 11 awesome surf spots and a Surfing Museum, as well as several surf schools for everyone from beginners to seasoned surfers. Be sure to try the classic Californian surf spots like Steamer Lane and Pleasure Point. From the Westcliff Inn, it’s a short and beautiful walk to the iconic Steamer Lane where you’ll be able to catch those gentle morning waves alongside some classic surfer dudes and dudettes.

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Hotels with beach views

Evaluate the waves from the cozy comfort of bed. Photo courtesy of the West Cliff Inn. 


Nalu Kai Lodge

Paia, Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Surf Hotels

Trying out those turquoise Paia Bay waters. Photo by Daniel Ramirez CC BY

Almost every beach in Hawaii and every town is a surf town but Paia on Maui’s North Shore stands apart from the rest. This haven brings in artists and surfers from all over the world as much for its easy-going lifestyle as its waves. While it might not be the mecca of Hawaiian surfing that is Oahu’s North Shore, the level is a bit lower so it’s a good place to learn and get comfortable in the water. The strongest winds start blowing around lunch so get to the beach early and siesta at the Nalu Kai Lodge in the afternoon. Your optimal location will make it that much easier to get up early in the morning to catch the smoothest waves surfing USA can offer you.

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Hotels near Paia Bay

Surfer-chic rooms at the Nalu Kai Lodge near Paia Bay. Photo courtesy of the Nalu Kai Lodge

Surf Studio Beach Resort

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Cocoa Beach surfing

Cocoa Beach is a breeding ground for upcoming surfers. Photo by David Cobbin CC BY

Home to surfing star Kelly Slater, legions of fervent young surfers head to Cocoa Beach to try their shot at the swells which made Slater a household name. You may have trouble scoring a spot while Slater is out riding, which he seems to do fairly often but his name has brought fame to the surfing community. There is an abundance of schools here to teach you the ropes. Staying at the Surf Studio Beach Resort means you can get a paparazzi view of Slater and his pals if you’re feeling shy or, if you’re so inclined, it’s close enough to go ripping to the shore with your board and a permanent marker for his autograph.

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Shorebreak Hotel

Huntington Beach, California

Huntington Beach Surf Hotel

Carving magic at Huntington Beach. Photo by Chris Pizzitola CC BY

At the Shorebreak Hotel, you’re never more than 100 feet away from Huntington Beach, Surf City: 9.5-miles of beautiful sandy beach with mild year round conditions making for some of the best surfing on the West Coast and home of the US Open Of Surfing. The beach is known for its consistent waves and abundance of great surf shops (check out world famous Huntington Surf & Sport and Jack’s) as well as a friendly atmosphere. If you’re new to the sport, start your surfing career at the Shorebreak with a 90-minute surf lesson which includes equipment rental and welcome amenities on top of that dreamy location.

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Hotels near Huntington beach

The Shorebreak Hotel is paradise for surf fanatics. Photo courtesy of Kimpton Hotels

Turtle Bay Resort

North Shore of O’ahu, Hawaii

Turtle Bay Resort Oahu Hawaii pool area

Photos via trivago

There isn’t a surfer on earth that hasn’t had a mid-week daydream about the beaches of Hawaii. At Turtle Bay Resort, those dreams come true… and then some. Resting on five gorgeous miles of beach, the resort proves to be heavenly for those looking for the perfect balance between activity and relaxation. Spend your morning surfing, take a break on land with a scenic hike or horseback ride and then refuel with a fresh farm-to-table meal. Unwind in the evening with some socializing at their ”Surfer”; locals, pro-athletes, celebs and visitors are known to frequent the watering hole.

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Turtle Bay Resort Oahu Hawaii riding surf

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Newport Beach, California

The Resort at Pelican Hill Newport Beach pool area

Photos via trivago

For surfers looking to experience pristine waves as well as pristine rooms, Pelican Hill is the perfect confluence of the two. The resort rests along the stunning Crystal Cove State Park, one of SoCal’s last oceanfront nature preserves. Hang loose in an elegant private villa or a lush, beachy bungalow and when you’re sore from a day of shredding, head to the Wellness Spa for a little R&R.

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The Resort at Pelican Hill Newport Beach dining room
*Cover photo by Edmund Garman CC BY

*Feature image courtesy of Alex Shutin, Unsplash