Updated: Sep 5
Atlantic City, New Jersey, isn’t just known for its casinos and nightlife… there’s also a surf culture with more than what meets the eye of the usual tourist.
Explore the beaches of Atlantic City and you will find that there are great waves out there with beautiful, long beaches to compliment them.
If you are looking for a surf trip with epic night life and other activities, this may be the perfect place for you!
Surfing in Atlantic City
What makes surfing in Atlantic City unique is the gem surf spots in plain sight.
The beaches are easily accessed for free with showers and bathrooms available.
There is no need to drive far and look around for a hidden wave, just park and walk out on the beach to surf.
The great thing about Atlantic City is that although it gets busy and crowded at times, people usually spread out which causes some great waves and beach spots to be very relaxing and low-key.
Waves in Atlantic City
The waves in Atlantic City average around 3-4 feet. Some weeks, waves may go flat, while other weeks the waves could be firing day after day.
Just like any other spot on the East Coast, surf forecasts can be iffy, and swell can change within short notice.
Make sure you hit Atlantic City for a surf trip around the fall season.
If you come surf here during the fall, you are more likely to catch a fun swell or even better, a hurricane swell.
Hurricane season produces some of the best waves you will ever see here. Pair some great winds with a fall swell and you may forget you’re surfing in the United States.
The winters in the Northeast can also get extremely fun if you are willing to wear the thick cold-water gear!
Atlantic City's Surf Culture
Surf culture in Atlantic City is interesting. It’s almost similar to Southeast surf culture… but not. Here, you will notice that the surf community is very tight knit like the South.
These surfers have been friends for years and local families have been connected to the community for decades.
Although you will meet friendly faces out there, be respectful… if you aren’t, you may be faced with an invitation to move down the beach or else.
Be careful of your surroundings whether it is debris or the people.
Gear Needed to Surf in Atlantic City
Make sure you are fully equipped and ready gear-wise for when you travel to surf Atlantic City and prepare for the seasons. In the summer, make sure you have a good wetsuit top or spring suit.
Once fall rolls around, a 3/2 should be able to hold you over until around late November but you might be needing boots and gloves as well between the late fall and early winter.
Once winter kicks off, you better be prepared for the hard winter weather… it’s not for the weak. You will need a 5/4 wetsuit with a hood and boots.
Spring season, around April, you will need your 3/2 again, but sunny days will make it easier to get through the cold water. You may need booties and gloves as well in the Spring if the water is colder than usual.
Don't forget reef-safe sunscreen, too!
The 3 Best Surf Spots in Atlantic City
Crystals is a sand-bottom surf spot right near the jetty off of Absecon Inlet.
This spot is small, so it can get fairly crowded considering there is only one main peak here.
A more experienced surfing ability is recommended here especially when it’s good, because when it’s good it’ll be heavy.
With a NE wind or swell, the spot really starts working.
The jetty allows nice, clean, lefts to roll in.
Don’t surf here on a longboard unless the surf is small enough for it. Here you will mainly see short boarders and body boarders.
States Avenue is the surf spot that is right in between the Garden Pier and the Steel Pier.
This spot is welcoming for all level of surfers, as it is a popular beach, and you will see many different types of water sports.
It can get fairly crowded at times considering the central location that it is in.
The Steel Pier can produce a fun right while the Garden Pier can provide an epic left.
The best time to surf this popular spot would be a SE swell around mid-tide pushing high.
South Carolina Avenue
South Carolina Avenue, a little farther south of States Avenue, is one of the best spots to surf on a big Northeast swell, which occur fairly often.
All of the crowds move here when it starts firing, although on smaller day, when it’s not as crowded, all ability levels of surfers are welcomed and encouraged.
What To Do in Atlantic City When the Waves are Flat
Let’s be honest, Atlantic City has so much to offer to visitors and residents when the waves are flat and there are people looking for something to do.
This city is known for being one of the largest and one of the first gambling cities in America, even Monopoly was inspired by Atlantic City.
The Steel Pier amusement park has a lot to offer for friends and families to have fun.
There is also an aquarium, Atlantic City boardwalk, lighthouse, casinos, cruises, and even historic landmarks to visit. I promise you won’t get bored here!
Surfing in Atlantic City
Atlantic City, New Jersey, is the perfect place for those who like to live life in the fast lane.
With so much to do and great waves, you won’t get much rest here!