When people think of learning to surf, they often assume they’ll have to travel to California or Hawaii. While those places are great surf destinations, many overlook the great surfing opportunities in our own backyard.
In fact, in many ways, surfing in Washington is easier than those stereotypical destinations because, while the state still has beautiful beaches and perfect beginner waves, it lacks the crowds and high-pressure scenes those areas are prone to.
So skip the crowds, swing by the local surf shop, figure out your surfboard rentals, and head to one of these awesome beginner-friendly places for surfing in Washington!
Washington Surfing Tips
While you can’t go surfing in Seattle, as the waves aren’t nearly big enough, there are plenty of places to go surfing in Washington state. You’ll have to head out to the west part of the state to take advantage of the waves coming in from the Pacific Ocean.
Before you go on a Washington surf trip, make sure you take these tips into consideration:
- Check the weather first – The weather in Washington isn’t always the greatest during certain times of years. You’ll want to make sure there aren’t any storms on the way, especially if you’re inexperienced.
- Take lessons – Unless you’re an experienced surfer, I recommend taking lessons at a local shop. Surfing on the Washington coast is different than surfing waves in other parts of the world. You’ll want to make sure you’re safe and know what you’re doing.
- Bring your gear – While you can rent surfboards and wet suits from surf shops in the area, you should bring gear such as a swimsuit, GoPro, a waterproof dry bag for your items, and sunscreen regardless of the weather.
Where to Go Surfing in Washington
Here are some of the best spots to go surfing in Washington.
Ocean Shores Surfing Spots
This area is a beginner-friendly surf area and just a bit further than Westport. There are many things to do in Ocean Shores so you can bring your non-surfer friends who will still be entertained. Ocean Shores has two main surf spots, Damon Point, and the Jetty. Of these two, beginners should definitely head to the Jetty.
The Jetty isn’t the most consistent spot on this list; conditions have to line up to get a great beginner to intermediate surfing here, but when they do, it’s awesome.
Combine a southwest swell with easterly winds at the Jetty, and clean small-to-medium-sized waves just seem to stack up. Get your fill at the Jetty, and then more experienced surfers might opt to surf Damon Point.
Damon Point is a more challenging and dangerous spot for surfing in Washington, but daring surfers will be repaid with big, fast, steep waves. Damon Point is also a little more consistent than the Jetty, but the size and steepness of its waves make it much more challenging for beginners.
Keep an eye on the forecast when you’re surfing in Ocean Shores for any time swells are over five feet. During storm swells, experienced surfers flock to try their mettle at Damon Point. Just be careful, as both Damon Point and the Jetty have strong rip tides.
This is a great area to book a summer vacation, as you can extend your trip by visiting Long Beach as well.
Where to Stay in Ocean Shores
- Ocean Shores Inn & Suites – If you’re looking for an affordable Ocean Shores accommodation that’s close to the water, this is a good option. You’ll have a full kitchen if you want to save money and cook meals as well as an outdoor pool to enjoy. (rates start at $85 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- The Polynesian Resort – This accommodation in Ocean Shores has rooms with views of the beach, a bar, and allows pets. (rates start at $109 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Casa De Playa – This Airbnb is a newly constructed home right by the water. (rates start at $125 per night; book your house here)
Westport Surfing Spots
Westport is the closest beginner surf spot if you want to take a long Seattle day trip, and it’s also one of the most consistent breaks on the Washington coast — thanks to the Army Corps of Engineers who built two long rock jetties, one on each side of the entrance to Gray’s Harbour.
Powerful swells build in the North Pacific, and when they hit the coast these jetties channel them into consistent waves. This makes Westport one of the best places for surfing in Washington.
There are three main surf spots in Westport: the South Jetty (aka “The Jetty”), Half Moon Bay, and Pacific Beach. The South Jetty is the best place for beginners to start out.
There are consistently decent waves here and when conditions line up there can be some truly excellent, world-class surfing here. You’ll love your Westport surfing experience.
On the other side of “The Jetty” is Half Moon Bay. This is another popular place for surfing in Westport.
The waves here are a little less consistent, but still a good area for beginners for those who want to surf in Washington. While its waves aren’t as consistent on off days as those at South Jetty, when it’s good here, it’s really good.
Finally, more experienced surfers can head north to Pacific Beach for an exciting Westport surfing experience. Pacific Beach has much bigger waves, but the rides aren’t as long, and it’s often windy.
The wind makes for choppy and inconsistent waves that will be very challenging for beginners. However, once you’ve got everything figured out, Pacific Beach can be a great place to go hone your skills on bigger waves. This area is also perfect if you’re looking to book a kid-friendly Pacific Northwest vacation at the same time.
If you’re looking to venture out for surfing in Westport, we always recommend checking the Westport surf report first!
Where to Stay in Westport
- LOGE Westport – For extended stays, we recommend checking out the hip and recently renovated LOGE at Westport, where you can choose to camp, book a hotel room, or utilize their clean and comfortable hostel lodging. (rates start at $94 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- The Westport Inn – This Westport accommodation has free parking, is dog-friendly, and even a fitness center. (rates start at $118 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Pet-Friendly Airbnb – This cute Westport Airbnb is the perfect base for up to eight people that’s right near the water. (rates start at $79 per night; book your house here)
La Push Surfing Spots
La Push might not be as close to Seattle, or quite as consistent as Westport, but it’s still a great place to learn to surf in Washington. The name “La Push” comes from the pile of sand and gravel that the Quillayute River has piled up in the cove.
This cove, combined with James Island that sits on the north end of it, makes for fun predictable waves when surfing in La Push. Despite its relatively small area, La Push gets a huge variety of waves as the river current, island, storms, tides, and seasons all work together.
At mid-tide, look for fun beach break near the river mouth. As fall turns into winter, migrate to the Northside of the river’s mouth for La Push surfing.
North of the northern riverbank, as tides get higher, they create some clean winter barrels in the beach break that are worth chasing when you surf in Washington.
When you need a break from surfing, you can take a day trip to Olympic National Park to explore the rainforest or go hiking.
Where to Stay in La Push
- Cozy Tiny House – If you’re surfing in La Push with one other person, this Airbnb is an affordable choice and comes with a hot tub. (rates start at $147 per night; book your house here)
- Quileute Coastal Village House – One of the closest Air Bnbs when you’re surfing in La Push is this unique village house. You’ll only be a few minutes away from the beach. (rates start at $125 per night; book your house here)
- Wild Coast Cottage – This newly remodeled house has comfortable bedding, Hulu and Netflix, and DVDs to enjoy after a day of surfing in Washington. (rates start at $108 per night; book your tent here)
Crescent Beach Surfing Spots
Finally, the last surf spot on our list is Crescent Beach. Crescent Beach is a phenomenal place to surf in Washington for beginners and intermediates. It’s also the only private, paid beach on this list.
However, the fee is reasonable, and it’s completely worth it given the convenience of parking, access to a hot shower, and the quality of waves Crescent offers.
Crescent Beach surfing is best during the west or northwest swells. When these conditions line up with south to southwest offshore winds, Crescent provides fun, consistent and very clean waves. Just beware, during big storm swells, Crescent can get scary with some large closeouts.
If you want to go surfing in Washington, or even just venture to the coast to play in the waves, remember that the state is home to some of the best beginner surf spots in the world. Rent a board, take some lessons, and experience first hand why the Pacific Northwest is one of the top places for cold water surfers!
Where to Stay in Crescent Beach
- Beach Cabin Getaway – This cozy Air Bnb sleeps four people and has beautiful views of the water. You’ll love relaxing here after a day of surfing in Crescent Beach. (rates start at $149 per night; book your house here)
- Cedar Heights Beach Cabin – This cabin sleeps six people so it is great for larger groups, and you’re able to walk down to the beach. You’ll have access to a full kitchen for making meals. (rates start at $169 per night; book your house here)
- Tiny House – If you don’t need much space on your surfing vacation, rent this vintage tiny home that sleeps up to two people. (rates start at $102 per night; book your house here)
This post is sponsored by evo.