Top 5 Surf Spots


Lost Coast, California

The Lost Coast's untouched beauty.
The Lost Coast's untouched beauty.
Suzi Eszterhas/Getty Images

Surfers are notoriously secretive about the best spots to find the biggest waves. When word gets out about these unspoiled locales, tourists flock to them, and peaceful laid-back surfer lifestyle can be lost. Located north of San Francisco, California's Lost Coast is the longest stretch of undisturbed coast in the continental U.S. It hasn't been discovered by many surfers, but the surf break here is the stuff of legend.

Ghost Point is one of the best spots along the Lost Coast to check out the waves. Winds here blow strongly against the rugged coastline, and although the waves at Ghost Point aren't the biggest in California, their consistent qualities of speed and symmetry make them perfect for surfing enthusiasts. And the Mediterranean climate of this area of California allows for cold ocean water and steamy land temperatures, perfectly suited for surfing. In the summer, ocean temperatures are in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (15.5 and 21 degrees Celsius).

The Lost Coast is about 80 miles (128.7 km) of shoreline, bordered to the South by Sinkyone Wilderness Park. North of the park, past the mouth of the Mattole River, is King Range National Conservation Area, which is the perfect spot for backpackers and wilderness lovers.

Sandstone sea cliffs mark the shore of this spot along the Pacific Ocean, about a five-hour drive north of San Francisco. There are powerful currents and dangerous rip-tides here, so be on your guard. And the terrain here definitely isn't for the faint of heart. The area is so rugged that when the construction crew building State Route 1 saw it, they changed plans and moved the project 30 miles (48 km) inland.

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More Great Links


  • Bundoran Surf Company.
  • Chaplin, Julia. Riding the Waves of Peru. New York Times. May 4, 2008.
  • Duane, Dan. "Surfing California's Lost Coast." National Geographic Adventure Magazine.
  • Gold Coast Surf Magazine.
  • Kovacs, Andrew. "Surfs Up in Australia." New York Times. Oct. 15, 1989.
  • Lyall, Sarah. "On Frigid Celtic Waves, Surfers Where You'd Least Expect Them." New York Times. March 27, 2008.
  • North Shore Oahu.
  • Surf Travel and Surfing Vacations.
  • Warner, Gary A. "Surfers in Europe find a hot spot on chilly Donegal Bay." Dec. 16, 2007.
  • Woodburn, Neil. "Surfing Ireland's Monster Waves." Gadling. April 8, 2006.



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