If you’re looking for a great place to vacation with easy access to excellent surfing, we’ve got you covered with insider recommendations from Salt Life team member Colin McPhillips. As a California native, Colin began surfing at the early age of five, and turned pro at 18. He has won numerous prestigious surfing competitions throughout his career and has traveled the world surfing everywhere from Australia to South Africa. We can’t think of anyone better to share their suggestions for surfing destinations than Colin.
Here are his top five vacation spots, all of which include easy access to great surfing.
1. San Jose del Cabo
A quick two-hour flight from San Clemente, California, San Jose del Cabo offers year-round warm water and a variety of different waves for new and veteran surfers. Brand new surfers can learn on easy waves, while the swell challenges experienced surfers. Colin recommends staying at the Cabo Surf Hotel for quality accommodations, easy access to sandy beaches, a great surf school, and surfboard rentals.
2. Guiones, Playa Nosara, Costa Rica
While there are plenty of great surfing destinations in Costa Rica, Colin’s favorite is a super cool town called Gueones, Playa Nosara. In addition to friendly people and great restaurants, there are beautiful beaches where visitors can surf 365 days a year. He suggests booking a stay at Casa Romantica, which features its own trail right to the beach, and contacting Surfing Nosara for any rental needs.
3. Saladita, Mexico All levels of surfers can immerse themselves in Mexican culture by visiting the small village of Saladita. A direct flight away from Los Angeles, the beaches offer perfect beginner waves and swells that are more fit for advanced surfers. At this destination, Colin recommends checking out sites like VRBO and Airbnb for beach-front rentals.
4. Oahu, Hawaii
With a family of surfers looking for year-round easy access to their favorite sport, Colin advocates traveling to Oahu, Hawaii. For summer travel, the south shore is beginner-friendly and also the surf school capital of the world. If visiting during the winter, head to the north shore. There are plenty of great spots for all levels of surfers, but also giant waves perfect for professionals. Turtle Bay Hilton is an awesome accommodation for families, and is located right on the beach.
5. Telos Islands, Indonesia
Colin discloses that this surfing destination does require a long flight, a big budget, and a fair amount of time off of work, but notes it is “truly amazing.” A stay at the Telos Surf Lodge is like having a private island with great waves right out front. Although this one is not as budget-friendly as some of our other options, it’s the trip of a lifetime that you’ll want to experience at least once.
Straight from the mouth of one of the best surfers in the world, you can’t go wrong taking this advice on surfing destinations. If you want to check out Colin on his board, head over to the Salt Life YouTube channel - and don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there.