20 Beaches With The Best Waves

With the summer season around the corner, everyone is anxiously making plans for traveling to the coast. From thinking about the new swimsuits that you need to buy to the prospect of lying on the beach for hours, planning the holidays can make anyone impatient. However, the most stressful part about traveling is coming up with the ideal itinerary. In order to help out with the process, the following list narrows it down for you: here are 20 beaches that are ideal for surf addicts and pretty much anyone that is craving warmth, sun and a good time. 


#20. Hossegor, France

While France is a country that has received great propaganda for its delicious cuisine, architecture marvels and great cinema, the place still has infinite experiences to offer. One place you can’t miss is the beach at Hossegor. This beach attracts tourists as well as locals thanks to its great waves. If this is the main reason for your visit then fall is definitely the best season to go.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

A personal tip: head towards the seashore early in the morning. This way you can set camp near your favorite spot with no disturbance from others since most people go around noon. If the sun gets too warm, take a break and drink the best smoothie you will ever try at Le Mango Tree.

#19. Maresias, Brazil

Brazil is well known for its paradise-like beaches, its delicious seafood and above all the great rhythms of Bossa Nova. Any list would definitely be incomplete without this country as a destination. Close to Sao Paulo and surrounded by the impenetrable jungle lies Maresias, a top destination for surfers, lovers of the seashore, and pretty much anyone in their right mind

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

At sunset, the bright colors intertwine with the movement of the waves.  During this time, some adventurous surfers make the most of the great waves that begin to appear. However, caution is recommended. If that’s not your style, then a camera and a book are more than enough to keep anyone entertained for hours.

#18. Margaret River, Australia

In recent years, Australia has become a top destination for nature lovers. Many tourists marvel at the diverse landscape they find in this country. A third of the territory is desert, but there are also great rainforests and beaches. Just look at the photo below: beyond the beach, you can find a mesmerizing scenery of green vegetation and rock structures.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

At Margaret River, waves are extremely difficult to tame, so be sure you’re accompanied by a pro or have the necessary skills to surf here. In case you get enough of the beach, take advantage of the multiple tours and hiking experiences many companies offer. If you’re looking for a place where you can find plenty of cultural experiences apart from the relaxing seashore, pay attention to the next slide.

#17. Queens, USA

That’s right! New York isn’t only a top destination for its Broadway theatre, its cultural heritage, and the financial district. The state has a plethora of activities that attract thousands of tourists every year, and amongst them is the great beach in Queens.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

One of the things that attract surfers to the Queen’s beach is the fact that the waves are extremely unpredictable, so you will hardly get bored here. However, if you do get bored, you must not worry, since the grand city is a subway ride away. Explore the streets of Queens for a taste of ethnic food that will make your taste buds very happy. Take note, because the next slide holds culinary wonders as well.

#16. Sayulita, Mexico

If you’re looking to escape your hometown’s cold harsh winter then this is the place for you. Mexico is a country that no matter where you head to, you’ll be received with hospitality and loads of food. Locals in Sayulita are especially helpful towards tourists, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations and tips once you’re there. Originally a fishing town, this lovely and unique town attracts tourists from every part of the world.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The aspect that most visitors remark and flatter about the place is the fact that street culture in Sayulita is alive and in full swing. The town is certainly prepared to receive visitors, and you’ll find that accommodation in Petit Hotel Hafa is particularly recommended. Make sure you make the most out of this wonderful trip, and above all enjoy the beach and the wonderful weather.

#15. Tel Aviv, Israel

Israel has a complex history, but the country is full of life and exotic flavors. However, one thing that will certainly make your heart gleeful is that in the midst of one of the party capitals of the world, there is a fantastic beach. The seashore stretches parallel to the city, and during sunsets, plenty of couples and group of friends walk along the pier.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Fortunately, temperatures are generally quite elevated, making a visit to the beach accessible year-round. Locals recommend the Tel Baruch Beach for families, and the Religious Beach and the Hilton Beach for the surfer lovers out there. The best thing about these beaches is that whenever you get peckish for a snack, you can just head into the city, buy some hummus and falafel, and enjoy the meal back on the beach. Sunsets are especially beautiful as well, so make sure you stretch your visit to that time.

#14. The Algarve, Portugal

Take a look at the turquoise color of the ocean. Without a doubt, the different shades of blue blend and change in a way that can mesmerize any lucky witness. There are few things in this world that match the beauty of the beaches in Algarve. This gem is located south of Portugal, and during the summer, plenty of wave-thirsty tourists give life to the place.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Nightlife is wild in the Algarve: parties are extremely fun and people stay up until the sun is up. So if that’s not your scene then be careful to pick a hostel that fits your style. Many tourists have also praised local cafés and bars as being quite hip, as well as offering a great selection of seafood and sandwiches.

#13. Muizenberg, South Africa

While the beaches of South Africa have a bad reputation for being infested with sharks, having monstrous waves and having water that is ice cold, Muizenberg is the exception to the rule. This particular beach is ideal for families and kids learning to surf. The waves are great because they are constant but small. Thus, they are the perfect playground for youngsters as well as adults.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Aside from the water itself, the town has loads of cafés that invite visitors to sit and read or talk for hours at a time. Be sure to visit during the summer, to guarantee that the sea’s temperature will be amicable. On the other hand, there are loads of other adventures tourists can embark on; from day trips, volunteer work, to the epic nightlife the place offers.

#12. Raglan, New Zealand

For beginners or intermediate-level surfing head directly towards Raglan. This place was quite popularized in a Bruce Brown film and since then the place swarms with tourist in the summer. There is a local surfing school that rents everything you could possibly need and it is rated pretty high because of its superb instructors.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Because of the multitudes, accommodation might be difficult to find in the city if you don’t book beforehand, but a great way to avoid the crowds is to rent a car and head towards a neighboring place. This way you get to explore other landscapes as well. In addition, Raglan has been receptive to a growing cultural scene in recent years. So if you grow tired of the endless waves, check out the new music, crafts, and local foods in the community.

#11. Taghazout, Morocco

Morocco is definitely a place everyone should put on their bucket list. The fascinating Souks are markets that extend as far as the eye can see. In these magical places, you can find colorful species, gorgeous jewelry, carpets, tasty and exotic foods, meats, clothes and much more. Be warned though: everything that is for sale implies the game of haggling for the price with the owner, so be prepared.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In addition to the wonders of the city and its old architecture, in Taghazout lies a beautiful beach. So take a break from the intensity of the city and ride some waves at the beach. Good news is, the weather, the wind, and the waves remain constant year-round making it an ideal destination and getaway during any season. For another exotic location, don’t miss #10!

#10. Hainan Island, China

As you can see in the photograph below, in this underestimated island of Hainan, waves are pretty much mathematically perfect. The rock formation, winds, and ocean currents are all factors that aid in the creation of consistent and ideal waves for any surfer. In spite of the mesmerizing beach, you’ll see that very few surfers dare come here, so be quick to go and enjoy the beach for yourself while you can.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

If you plan on staying in Hainan, then you’ve made a fantastic choice. In the island, you will find more than enough things to pamper every need. There are endless hotels that are incredibly rated, nightclubs for those who enjoy dancing, and plenty of native food that will surprise but definitely win over your heart.

#9. Waikiki, USA

Plenty of iconic movies and series have been filmed in Hawaii such as 50 First dates, Jurassic Park and even Lost. There is definitely a reason for this and the photograph below shows some evidence. The beaches in Hawaii are amongst the most beautiful in the world. They are flush with life, corals, colors and some are home to the world’s most fantastic and intimidating waves.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

This makes a trip to the beach a full experience of potential snorkeling, surf, swimming, and diving. Waikiki however, is the ideal location for families and couples. The waves are apt for any beginner, and can even get quite flat, making it ideal to sit on top of your board while enjoying the fireworks show that occurs every Friday night.

#8. Las Salinas, Nicaragua

Nicaragua has a very strong cultural scene that attracts many people in search of inspiration for their poetic or artistic interests. While political and social tensions are quite common and recurrent, during moments of relative tranquility, Nicaragua is a place that welcomes anyone. Plus, the beach is delightful, and the soft sand invites anyone to stay hours napping and reading in the shore.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

In Las Salinas, there are resorts as well as budget accommodation options that are really friendly to visitors. Being open-minded and prepared is pretty important for this kind of trip, and be ready to meet people from all over the world. Last but not least, don’t miss the breathtaking Mombacho Volcano, and at night, walk the streets full of food vendors and try the city’s different flavors.

#7. San Sebastian, Spain

For a destination that features both beaches and rich cultural heritage, Spain is definitely a great choice. In San Sebastian, there is a vibrant music scene taking hold of many bars, pubs, and theaters. On top of that, film festivals as well as plays, are growing more popular. This trip makes for a pretty complete package.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

When you grow tired of the parties, the great food or the museums, then the beach is a great option to lay back and enjoy the pleasure of doing nothing. If you’re feeling up for it, there are local schools that offer some surf lessons. Don’t worry if you’ve never rid on a board before, the classes are a fun experience in itself.

#6. Tofino, Canada

In Canada’s West Coast, Tofino is an underrated gem. The wildlife there is booming and while temperatures can get quite low during winter, in the summer British Columbia makes for the ideal destination. The vibes of this small town are extremely friendly, and you’re sure to find your way easily enough.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Depending on the month you wish to travel, excursions are available in order to observe Gray Whales in the ocean. These are pretty easy to spot and in fact, they love the attention, so don’t forget to bring your camera! On top of this, what makes this place truly perfect is the fact that the sun sets at 21:30. Imagine the endless possibilities, you could even have a picnic supper at the beach!

#5. Bali, Indonesia

Bali is a place that in recent years has received incredible press for the relaxing nature of its many landmarks, as well as the aesthetically pleasing experiences you can receive here. If you wish to avoid the hoards of tourists that you will definitely encounter during high season at the most well-known beaches, we recommend you head elsewhere.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

So if you wanna enjoy some peace, go to the Bukit Peninsula. Here, the beach is more isolated, fewer people tend to visit and the place is paradise-like. As you lay on your surfboard on the lookout for great waves, take a peek at the shore. You will notice temples on top of hills and magnificent cliffs; overall the scenery looks taken out of a movie.

#4. Cornwall, England

Cornwall is everything you can expect of a traditional English town. Old rock structures, Sherlock Holmes-style architecture, and loads of beer. Make sure to check out the possibility of attending music festivals that will blow your mind.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

While English food hasn’t got a particularly good rep, at Cornwall everything is produced organically. Enjoy the delights mother nature provides at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and you won’t regret it.  Last but not least, head towards the beaches that have lifeguards – since some currents can become too strong to handle – and enjoy the waves.

#3. San Clemente, USA

In California, you can find pretty popular cities; in fact, Los Angeles and San Diego attract tourists from all over the states and the world. The fact that the Pacific Ocean surrounds part of the state helps attract the surfer crowd as well as beach lovers. San Clemente is especially known for being “The It place” when it comes to surfing.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

Because of this place’s reputation, the surfers that decide to adventure into the water have advanced skills. If that’s not for you, then head out to other incredible beaches nearby that are more friendly towards newbies. The good thing about St. Clement is the liveliness of the city. Original flavors are waiting to be discovered, from traditional finger food to Hawaiian fusion avant-garde cuisine.

#2. Narragansett, USA

Even if surfing is not your jam, just sitting on the sand and watching the newbies or experts try to ride the waves is entertaining enough. In Rhode Island, hours can pass without you noticing it since there is so much to do. Narragansett Beach is truly ideal for people of all talents since the waves vary strongly depending on the part of the shore you decide to go.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The landscape at Narragansett attracts many types of tourists. Group of friends, couples as well as families seem to find what they’re looking for at this top destination. For a breakfast that will leave you powered up for some serious exploring or surfing, don’t hesitate and head directly towards Old Mountain Lanes (don’t forget your camera to document the fabulous meal).

#1. St. Barthelemy, Caribbean

Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the bluest beach of them all? And the mirror responded: St. Barthelemy. Most of the Caribbean has the best (possibly undisputed) seashores and waters in the whole world. This beach makes for the perfect spot: you can either choose to make the most of the epic nightlife or the tranquility and relaxing accommodation if that’s what you desire.

Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic

The perfect combination can be found here since it features soft sand as well as a crystal-clear ocean. The island is prepared to receive tourists, so most restaurants are open to people in their beach attire. On top of that there are innumerable activities you can do such as snorkeling, sailing, and beauty treatments, just name it!

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