If your sense of direction only leads you to one place— the water— then this post is for you.
Surfing has been both a sport and an escape for centuries. Whether you’re competing for a title or leaving your troubles on the shore, a good surf town has killer waves, unbelievable scenery and a great food scene that allows you to enjoy a blend of sport and culture. Here are the destinations we’ve deemed the 5 coolest surf towns in the world.
Santa Cruz, California. Iconic Santa Cruz was home to the first documented surfing in the United States. Aside from the ocean, it offers a historic boardwalk, outdoor concerts, popular surfer crews and even a surfing museum.
Byron Bay, Austalia. The swells at Wategos and The Pass have surfers dying to visit Byron Bay. Australia is arguably the surfing capital of the world, and this heritage is proudly displayed for touring surf enthusiasts. With perfect weather and swell from June to September, great restaurants, locally brewed beers, seven beaches, boutiques, and a small-town feel, you won’t regret this trip of a lifetime.
Haleiwa, Hawaii. Thrill-seekers flock to the north shore of Kauai where winter waves can top 50 feet and Waimea Bay and the Banzai Pipeline offer challenging options. After an exhilarating swell, visitors can visit the island’s art galleries and cafés, while learning more about the Polynesian culture and colonial history.
Taghazout, Morocco. The long coastline of Taghazout is known for strong swells with great shape and power— perfect for riding the barrel. A small fishing village, Taghazout is not usually crowded, which will give visitors uninterrupted time on the water. The weather and water are perfect for surfing year-round.
Bundoran, Ireland. Pubs, booze, music … and surfing. Bundoran is on the west coast of the Emerald Isle and has earned the nickname “cold water Eden” for surfers. With peak surfing between September and May, this Eden has hosted several of the world’s largest and most competitive surfing competitions, including the European Surfing Championship. The water is cold, but the beaches offer massive waves with legendary pub craws to follow.
Puffer coats, plaid shirts, wool socks, and crackling fires are all great ways to combat the season’s dropping temperatures, but when it comes to warmth that’s both effective and indulgent, a holiday cocktail is where it’s at.