This post is brought to you by our friends at Body Glove who produce warm and flexible men’s and women’s wetsuits, so you can stay in the water and enjoy your surf camp for as long as possible without any discomfort.
“If everybody had ocean across the U.S.A, then everybody’d be surfing like Californi-a.”
We’re pretty sure the Beach Boys were onto something here. If every single state had a coastline, we’d all probably be catching waves and enjoying the salty air. There are few things better than spending a day surfing and then coming back to a campfire and cracking open an ice cold beer. Second best? Sleeping near the ocean, where you can hear the water all night long.
If you’ve never had this experience before and its sounding pretty incredible, we want to help you try it out. Whether you live near the coast or are looking to visit for a weekend, you can learn to catch waves and then camp nearby at these top-notch surf camps.
Catch a Wave at Surf Camp
Standing on a surfboard in the water is no easy feat—it takes strength, timing, balance, and efficient swimming skills. While you will likely fall a lot in the beginning, and maybe feel a little like you’re in a salt water washing machine, don’t worry. The learning curve is well worth the thrill you’ll feel when you ride your first wave.
1. Eli Howard Surf School in San Diego, California
San Diego is one of the best surf spots in Southern California , and that’s where the Eli Howard Surf School is conveniently located. This surf camp has been training new surfers for almost 20 years, regularly hosting classes in the city of Encinitas just north of San Diego proper. Here, surfing lessons are available year-round, as the weather stays mild throughout all four seasons. The class will run you about $120 for two hours with a wetsuit and surfboard included.
On the beach of Encinitas, you can camp at San Elijo State Beach after your surf lessons. With pristine ocean views, you can catch beautiful sunsets at dusk while you kick back by the campfire. You can hear the waves crash as you go to sleep, too. Just be advised that there is not much privacy on the beach. But the benefit, besides the good view, is that you can roll out of your tent ready for surf camp.Camp Here
2. Outer Banks Surf School in the Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is a strip of barrier islands along the coast of North Carolina. The beaches are open and expansive, which make it a tourist destination for many East Coasters trying to get away from the city. This also makes it a great surfing destination, especially in the late summer and early fall when the Atlantic Ocean offers bigger waves. Outer Banks Surf School provides surf lessons all over the Outer Banks—hitting various towns like Nags Head and Corolla.
This surf camp also features a variety of lessons, including group lessons, private lessons, and kids camps, so there’s something for every age and comfort level. Private lessons are $105 for two hours, which includes rentals and ocean safety instruction.
Cape Hatteras is one of the beach destinations that Outer Banks Surf School teaches at. You can camp here at Oregon Inlet Campground. Located in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, this campground is nestled between sand dunes and the Atlantic Ocean. And if you’re into more than just surfing, Cape Hatteras also offers world class fishing and hiking around the Bodie Island Lighthouse.Camp Here
3. Oregon Surf Adventures in Seaside, Oregon
Move north along the famed Pacific Coast Highway, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by colder water and beautiful cliffs jutting into the sea in Oregon’s Seaside. Although often cloudy and cold, the surfing can be just as fun as anywhere else on the west coast, and Oregon Surf Adventures is there to help you navigate those Pacific Northwest waves. There are beginner, private, semi-private, and group lessons offered that include a 24-hour equipment rental and prices vary. No matter what time of year you visit, the water will be frigid, but the waves will be worth it.
There’s not a whole lot of camping right in Seaside, Oregon, so to meet your camping needs we take you just south of Ecola State Park, right by Cannon Beach. Wright’s for Camping is close to both the town and the beach, so you can experience the picturesque haystacks of Cannon, or enjoy a night of local seafood and salt water taffy on the town. Unlike other spots on this list, Wright’s for Camping is a family owned campground and has been a community staple and place for families to enjoy the outdoors since 1959.Camp Here
4. CoreysWave in Montauk, New York
Known locally as “The End,” Montauk is the most eastern point on Long Island and in the state of New York. When you think of New York, you might not think of great crashing waves that are sought after by surfers, but Montauk is surrounded by water. That’s why Corey Senese, founder of CoreysWave, opened up a surf camp and began teaching surf lessons here in the northeast. Surfers can register for general surf lessons, winter surf lessons, long-term surf training, and more. CoreysWave is all about having fun in the water and embracing the positive energy of the ocean.
If you’re going to camp near the Hamptons in Montauk, then you need to book your campsite well in advance, and Hither Hills State Park is no exception. This wide open campground has beach access and is a short distance from town. It’s also not too far from Montauk Point, which boasts a National Historic Landmark and one of the county’s oldest lighthouses—it’s quite picturesque.Camp Here
- Jalama Beach Camping, Lompoc, CA
- Hither Hills State Park Camping, Montauk, NY
- Newport RI Campgrounds, Middletown, RI
- San Elijo State Beach Campground, Cardiff, CA