Signup Login

Forgot password? Don't have an account? Sign up here Close
Signup Login


Reset my password


Where to Surf in North County San Diego

Where to Surf in North County San Diego: Oceanside Pier at Sunset
Waves break all along the coast of San Diego, but getting in a great session requires finding the really good surf spots. San Diego is home to some amazing waves. Here are the waves to surf in North County:


  • This world-famous river-mouth point break is located at the border of San Diego and Orange Counties. You’ve got to earn your waves at Trestles, with a long hike in from the parking lot and fierce competition from other surfers in the lineup, many of them experts and even professionals. Trestles works best on a good south to southwest swell, and when it’s on, a session at Trestles can be epic.


  • Oceanside has miles of gentle beach breaks, perfect for beginners. But it’s best known for the jetties on either side of its harbor entrance. On the steepest of south swells that pass the rest of the coast by, Oceanside Harbor and Del Mar Beach (on the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base) can get big and hollow.


  • Tamarack (named for the street that leads to it) is an awesome surf spot in Carlsbad. On a good day of surf, this wave can be filled with people but somehow, it’s still possible to catch a good wave to yourself. Tamarack is a sandbar reef break that creates a lippy wave and allows rides into the shoreline.

4. SWAMI’S –

  • Swami’s in Encinitas is named for the Self-Realization Fellowship complex on the bluff above this popular surf spot. It’s another San Diego special with a well-defined peak and a crowd beyond its capacity. If it gets a little too crowded, head a little bit south to the next spot on our list.


  • Cardiff is a short cobblestone beach with reefs at either end. Tabletops to the south and Cardiff Reef to the north are both fun shouldery waves, best on southwest swells and ideal for cutbacks and action in the lip. In these nurturing conditions, pros like Rob Machado and Taylor Knox honed their trade.

6. DEL MAR –

  • Del Mar is among the most reliable spots in San Diego with good exposure to all swell directions and a good mix of sand bottom beach break and patchy reefs. Even in the height of summer, the crowd spreads out from the river-mouth all the way to Torrey Pines State Beach, and it’s easy to find a wave to call your own.

Your Turn…

  • What’s your favorite spot?


Photo Credit: Exposure Guide

Sugar Jones: Sugar Jones has been blogging about life since 2008. She has contributed to various local news stations for lifestyle segments, speaking about tech, social media, travel, food, and family.