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Surfer's Paradise: 4 Best Surf Spots in Orange County

Surf Spots in Orange County - Audi Mission Viejo

Image via Flickr by Jim Nix/Nomadic Pursuits

In Orange County, CA, surfing is a way of life. With mile after mile of classic California beaches, warm weather, and a range of consistently excellent surf spots, Orange County is essentially a surfer’s paradise. It’s a place every surfer should visit at least once in their life.

“Okay,” you might say, “but where should I go while I’m there?” Well, we’re glad you asked. Here are four of the best surfing spots in Orange County.

1. Huntington Beach

Ranging from Bolsa Chica in the north to Santa Ana River Jetties in the south, Huntington beach is one of the most popular surfing destinations in the world, and home to the International Surfing Museum.

When you should visit Huntington beach depends on what kind of experience you want. In the summer, Huntington is extraordinarily crowded (particularly near the pier). During this popular season, the waves tend to be a little smaller and the water is warmer — which attracts stingrays, so you better know how to shuffle.

However, there’s also a certain boisterous energy that’s hard to describe. In the winter, the crowd thins a little (though only a little), the waves are a little bigger, the water is cool to cold, and there are no stingrays.

Although it can feel a little chaotic at times, Huntington promises fun, world-class surfing, and it always comes with classic memories that you’ll treasure.

2. San Onofre

Described on wannaSurf as, “Home of So. Cal. Longboard Surf Culture, [and] Heaven on Earth,” San Onofre is one of the best places to longboard in the United States.

It boasts waves that break almost a quarter-mile from the shore, virtually guaranteeing an excellent ride. It’s also a great place to surf with Dolphins.

Since it’s a top-rated location, however, San Onofre is almost always crowded, so be careful not to run anyone over. As they’d say on the beach, “That’s not cool, man. Not cool.”

3. Lower Trestles

Trestles is a world-class beach just south of San Clemente. It’s divided into two distinct areas “Upper Tresstles” and “Lower Trestles.”

Lower Trestles has slightly better waves and is known as a summertime spot. Like most excellent surf destinations, Lower Trestles is almost always crowded. The early morning is a good time to beat the worst of the crowds, though the crowd here is a little more relaxed than Huntington beach, or many of the other surf destinations. Plus, other surf spots are located within walking distance (such as spot No. 4).

4. Upper Trestles

Although it’s generally known as a winter spot, Upper Trestles still gets good waves all year long. Also, Upper Trestles is not only less crowded than Lower Trestles, but there are multiple peaks in the season so the groups of people who enjoy the beach are spread out over time.

Also, again according to wannaSurf, there’s a shorter walk from parking to the beach at Upper Trestles, which is always nice after a long day on the water.

If you’re a surfer bound for Orange County there really aren’t any bad places to catch waves. You’re going to have a great time; just pick your spot and enjoy the ride.