The definition of a great surf town varies depending on whom you ask. Some prefer slow, village-like locales where days are spent surfing and nights are simply spent sleeping off the exhaustion. Others seek out places where their surf life can comfortably coincide with a life rich in mainstream culture or industries. But intrinsic in all surfers is a desire to find a place where waves are plentiful and a balanced life is possible.
America is a nation filled with dozens of diverse and attractive surf towns—some you’ve probably been to, many you’ve probably heard of, and some so obscure and protected that most of us don’t even know exist. We’ve compiled this list, primarily considering quality of life and quality of surf, but also taking into account other variables such as climate, consistency and variety of waves, cost of living, culture, availability of work, and the prevalence of sharks. After consulting, researching, and heavy debate, we narrowed the expansive list of towns down to10—our ranking of the 10 best American surf towns.
Check out the top ten here.