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Laguna Beach Surf Guide

Located along the coastal stretch of Southern California, Laguna Beach is a well-known destination in Southern California for its blissful beaches and lively atmosphere.

While the beaches are tucked away between the cliffs and coves, the surfing is not always on but can still be a place to snag some waves amongst the bright and long beach days.

Laguna Beach Surf Guide

History of Surfing in the Laguna Beach

While surfing may not be one of the boxes on the list when coming to Laguna Beach, there is a surfing community and history that runs within.

Surrounded by surfing hubs like Huntington and Newport beach on the north side and Dana Point and San Clemente on the south end, Laguna Beach is an oasis for those looking for an escape from the larger surf cities. 

Laguna holds a high status for its beautiful scenery and art scene that is very coastal centered.

Surfing has stayed a consistent factor that contributes to the town and has been a home for various competitions since the 90s. It is a common place for skimboarding, but also has various spots to score some surf.

Here’s a few we’ve chosen to highlight:

The Best Waves in Laguna Beach

Spot 1: El Moro

Heading South on the PCH, you’ll stumble across El Moro right at the beginning of Laguna Beach.

There is an easy access parking lot that is across the PCH, crossing a bridge to a loop trail to get to El Moro at the end of the cliffs of Crystal Cove State Park.

It is a fast sweeping left on the beach break that wedges up off the cliff. Those looking for a hollow wave and peels around the cliff along the beach could spend all day here.

It is better for bodysurfing most days, but can score a S swell with some consistent waves coming through.

Spot 2: Crescent Bay

The first cove along Laguna is Crescent Bay that is a short walk down from the neighborhood. It’s a fast and punch shore break wave that can be an exciting ride on a classic performance shortboard. 

Another S swell magnet that has potential for a great beach day filled with surfing and laying out. It is one of the only beaches on Laguna with easy access public bathrooms.

Most days you’ll find it glassy and blue waters due to the two cliffs on either end of the cove, protecting it from the afternoon wind. This spot caters to a more advanced surfer that can handle late take offs and fast barreling waves.

Spot 3: Rockpile Beach

Also a spot that stays alive merely during the summer, Rockpile starts on a bigger rock out the back, it rolls over a cluster of rock, creating a left and right that bowls up. 

There is a parking lot on the cliff above, with a fairly easy walk down with a walkway that leads to the beach down the stairs. It’s quite the go-to summer spot for those looking for a beach day while catching some swell.

It’s just north of the main beach in Laguna and catches the S, SW, SSE swells. It can hold its size through big hurricane swells and can get pretty big for advanced surfers.

Spot 4: Thalia Street Beach

One of the most consistent waves in Laguna, Thalia Street is further south near Salt Creek in Dana Point. It is a classic beach break but gives an easy paddle out being so close to shore and a good time to pair with a beach day.

While it picks up most swells, it is best on a solid south swell and is relatively tide dependent, due to the rock and reef bottom mix.

On smaller days, it is packed with beginners and tourists, but can hold a wave for the more advanced on bigger days.

Spot 5: Brooks Street

Brooks Street sits right in the middle of the coast strand of Laguna. It’s mostly a summer spot that breaks best on S and SW swells.

Just to the left of the stairs down the beach, Brooks has a short and easy paddle out.

It sits on a rock and reef bottom that allows for a fast left for those looking for some drive down the line.

Beware of the packed summer line up and only one peak to take off from which creates some competition, but overall a pretty mellow crowd.

What To Do In Laguna Beach When the Waves Are Flat

Majority of the year Laguna Beach will be flat, but thankfully there’s plenty to keep you occupied…

Even if there are no waves, exploring the beaches is no waste of a day. You can adventure around the coves at Crescent Bay or the old lighthouse at Victoria Beach. Main Beach offers beach volleyball courts for a pick-up game or two. 

The downtown strip of Laguna Beach has a plethora of boutiques and art stores to shop around as well as cafes or waterfront restaurants to sit down and hang with friends or family.

There are annual art festivals that run throughout the summer such as: the Sawdust Art and Craft Festival, Art-A-Fair, or the Festival of Arts that display over 100 of Southern California artists.

Take a visit to the Laguna Art Museum in the center of Laguna Beach town that cycles through both modern and historical art of Southern California. Built in 1929, it stands as the oldest art institution within the area.

The Bottom Line: in Surfing Laguna Beach

Clearly, Laguna Beach can be a place for relaxation and excitement depending on what you're looking for.

Whether it’s a quick swim and shop or a full day of volleyball and surfing, Laguna is an all around place for both tourists and locals trying to switch up their busy schedules.

Definitely a spot to check out and find some waves on a good swell.


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