Surfers from around the globe have been hauling their boards to Oceanside for decades. Where else can you shred the gnar year-round before grabbing top-notch mocktails and cocktails within a quick stroll of your plush bed? No wonder Oceanside was recently ranked the best surf town in all of California by InsideHook. It’s got waves you can count on, plus a throwback beach vibe that feels FUN, in all caps.
With the best surfing conditions from August to November, we’ve rounded up the best reasons and ways to try surfing in Oceanside, whether you’re looking for gentle, kid-friendly waves or want to perfect your technique with a bona fide pro.
And we’d argue that the best part is returning from a day in the frothy ocean to The Seabird. Here, you can relax your sea-sore muscles in the oceanfront hot tub and splay out, starfish style, in The Cove — an aromatherapy sanarium in the spa where indulgences include post-sun saviors like collagen masks and restorative hair masks.
Shred With a Pro
You’d jump at the chance to learn tennis with Serena Williams, right? Ascendant surfers can opt to hit the waves with a pro right here, with on-sand and in-water lessons by second generation pro surfer (and Oceanside native) Duran Barr on San Diego’s North Shore. Book a 1.5-hour surf lesson through The Seabird, meet at Lifeguard Tower 10 (just a 10-minute stroll from the hotel), and prepare to experience something better than beginner’s luck: beginner’s skill. Barr should know…not only is he a pro who has competed around the world, but his father, David Barr, is a famous surfboard shaper.
Shop Before You Surf
Leave your gear at home or just need to pick up some new shades? Surf Ride board shop has you covered, thanks to in-the-know staffers you probably shredded before they showed up to work. And if wetsuits, bodyboards, and even new or used boards shaped by local North County San Diegan Craig Hollingsowrth are what you seek, proceed directly to Asylum Surf. Even if you don’t hang ten, you’ll at least look like a perfect ten.
Join the Club
Sometimes the best clubs are open to all. and that’s exactly what you’ll find at Surf Club With Whitlock Surf Experience (always held on Saturdays from 9 to 11 am), where surfers of practically all ages can don a wetsuit, grab a board and up their game. Once you book, just head to Oceanside’s Harbor South Jetty Park Lot 10/Tower 12 and get ready to do a deep dive — literally — on everything from paddling to surf etiquette. (Beginners, don’t fret; their instructors are CPR certified and will help you shred safely. Just remember to BYO sunscreen!)
Set Your Kids Up to Surf All Day
If you’ve ever wanted to spend pretty much an entire day learning the intricacies of the waves, now’s the time. The Seabird Resort has collabed with the aforementioned Whitlock Surf Experience on a 7.5-hour surf session for kids six years old and up (book here). And surfing itself is just the beginning. Children immerse themselves in ocean intel aplenty, including eco-tours, lifeguard meet-and-greets, marine life, and even a mock jet ski water rescue. Afterward, they’ll then return to The Seabird for an on-brand poolside luncheon, where they then do a scavenger hunt, fly kites, and participate in a crafternoon? A 5:1 kid-to-instructor ratio ensures everyone remains, ahem, stoked at all times.
Stop by a Must-See Surf Museum
Whether you’re newly surfing obsessed or just have the passing interest of a seagull, the California Surf Museum is well worth a stop. Open since 1986, it’s the place to ogle surfboards from the entire history of surfing and even see World Champ Kelly Slater’s own board along with other iconic surfing artifacts. Check their events page before stopping by; you may want to plan your trip around one of their frequent fêtes, which may include gala fundraisers or book signings like a recent one with Patrick Moser, author of “Pacific Passages: An Anthology of Surf Writing.”
The Best Family Beach
When your wee ones are first learning to surf or boogie board, or just getting used to water toddler-style, ginormous waves just won’t do. So resident families often flock to the warm waters of Breakwater Way Beach, where a wide, soft sand beach awaits. Arrive early enough and you may be able to find some stoop-worthy seashells, such as whole sand dollars and other treasure. Did we mention it’s just a four-minute drive from The Seabird?
READY TO GO SURFING IN OCEANSIDE? MAKE YOUR STAY EVEN MORE MEMORABLE…