Best Surf Spots in Florida

Last updated August 30, 2023

Ready to hang ten in the Sunshine State? Wax your board and get ready to ride some of the best waves in Florida. Plus, we’ll share our recommendations of where to stay for the ultimate surf spot getaway.

When you think of legendary surf spots in the United States, places like California and Hawaii often come to mind. Florida is typically an afterthought for top surf, but the state’s variety of beaches and year-round weather are second to none making it one of the best travel destinations for catching waves.

Read on as we outline (from south to north) the best surf spots in Florida and where to stay. Stick around until the end for our honorable mention. 

1. Palm Beach

Head to Palm Beach for steady swells and all-around enjoyable surf. Palm Beach is home to some of South Florida’s best surf spots. Catch waves down Reef Road where the water is crystal clear. 

While most are dodging the Florida coast during hurricane season, the later months are prime for generating epic swells. At Reef Road, waves have been recorded up to 15 feet.  

Where to Stay? The Breakers

This 5-star luxury resort offers world-class services and seaside glamour—plus claims to be the “original home of R&R.” And with its elegant, oceanfront suites and artfully designed inside-outside spa, The Breakers sure lives up to it. 

Experience the pampered life with a tailored massage and innovative facial. Watch the waves break from your balcony, and when the time is right, hit the beach for some of south Florida’s best waves.

2. Hutchinson Island 

Head about an hour north of Palm Beach to the barrier islands that make up this Florida surf spot: Hutchinson Island. 

Spanning 23 miles, Hutchinson Island comprises two barrier islands–North and South Hutchinson Islands—and stretches through three counties. The island is relatively quiet and laid back, making it the perfect destination for a relaxing surf getaway. 

Where to Stay? Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa

Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is a beachfront oasis situated on North Hutchinson Island. It delivers the best that Florida’s treasure coast has to offer. Experience expansive ocean views and luxury spa experiences from the property. In fact, Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is regularly ranked a top hotel and surf spot in the Sunshine State.

3. Sebastian Inlet

Sebastian Inlet is located along a small strip of land sandwiched between the Indian River and Atlantic Ocean and is known as the epicenter of Florida’s east coast competitive surfing. 

You can catch the die-hard surfers just north of the jetty at a surf spot known as “First Peak.” The surf here is exhilarating, and visitors can safely expect swells year-round.  

Where to Stay? Port D’Hiver

Port D’Hiver is a romantic and cozy award-winning bed and breakfast just steps from the beach, although Port D’Hiver will require a short drive south to Sebastian Inlet. The reason we recommend this Florida surf spot is due to its quaint sophistication.  

Unwind with a massage at the Imperial Day Spa or request a private massage session in the comfort of your own suite. Kick back by the pool or lounge by the fire pit. Port D’Hiver offers experiences for each guest to design their perfect stay. 

Better yet, Port D’Hiver serves as the perfect median between Sebastian Inlet and the surf spot we’re awarding an honorable mention to. Keep reading to see which spot we couldn’t help but include. 

4. New Smyrna Beach 

Arguably offering some of the best consistent surf in Florida is New Smyrna Beach. Locals even tout the area as being a “wave magnet.” New Smyrna and the nearby Ponce Inlet have even been ranked some of the top surf spots around the globe. 

Where to Stay? Black Dolphin Inn

While surfing New Smyrna, stay at the Black Dolphin Inn, an old Florida-style boutique inn. But, don’t let “old Florida” fool you—Black Dolphin is luxury at its finest. The property has accumulated a considerable number of awards and accolades, from their accommodations to their dining experience. 

Kick back and relax on your private terrace, overlooking the Indian River. Hop right over the causeway for beach access. 

5. St. Augustine

About an hour north of New Smyrna Beach is St. Augustine, specifically, Anastasia State Park, which is known for the most reliable surf spot of Florida’s northeast. The coastlines curvature calls for remarkable waves, driving visitors to areas like the Blowhole and Middles, known for years as premiere spots.  

Dredging in the area over the last two decades altered the overall structure of the land and the resulting surf breaks. Many claim the ’90s and early 2000s to be the golden age of surf in St. Augustine, right as the surf crowd started to boom, and before the dredging. Still, to this day, the area offers consistent, enjoyable waves, with a community just as committed to the Florida surf scene.

Where to Stay? Casa Monica Resort & Spa

Casa Monica Resort & Spa offers elegance, beauty and Florida charm. The building’s architecture even resembles that of a castle. 

After a day of catching waves, experience revitalization at the Poseidon Spa or immerse yourself in art at the hotel’s Grand Bohemian Art Gallery, displaying a curated collection of local and international artworks. 

6. Panama City Beach 

Although the surf of Florida’s west coast is near impossible to compare to its Atlantic counterpart, waves up in the panhandle offer some of the best swells of the Gulf Coast.

Head to Panama City Beach, locally known as PCB, for panhandle wave-riding. Wind swells are more common here than groundswells, resulting in shorter, choppier surf. Nonetheless, you’re sure to find an avid surf community here. Like Florida surf in general, winter months bring the biggest swells. 

Where to Stay? The Pearl Hotel

Grab a suite at The Pearl Hotel, where beachfront relaxation and ultra-luxury meet. Here, you can expect elegant coastal vibes. In between PCB surf sessions, melt your stress away with Pearl Stone rituals and signature body treatments at the Spa Pearl. 

Honorable Mention: Cocoa Beach 

While surfing Sebastian Inlet, head north 30-minutes to the laid back east coast town of Cocoa Beach. Surf culture runs deep through the roots of the town. In fact, it’s home to surf legend, Kelly Slater. Enter downtown Cocoa Beach from its north end and you’re greeted by a bronze statue of Slater himself.

The waves in Cocoa Beach are much more mellow than that of Sebastian Inlet, but they’re noteworthy for their consistency. They’re perfect for a relaxing surf session and ideal for long boarders. If you’re looking for dependable Florida surf spot, Cocoa Beach is the way to go. While you’re there, stop by Ron Jon’s Surf Shop—the world’s largest surf shop spanning 52,000 square feet. 

Florida may not be the surf mecca of the United States, but it’s not one to sleep on either. The state has produced some of the most legendary surfers the world has to offer. Wind up on almost any east coast Florida beach, and you’re sure to catch a few surf spots worth writing home about.

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