top of page

The Ultimate Louisiana Surf Guide

When most people think of Louisiana, the first things that come to mind might be Mardi Gras, Baton Rouge, swamp tours, and alligators – not great surfing.

The bottom of the state though is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico, which has clear blue water, soft white sand, and medium size waves fit for surfers of all levels.

Additionally, in the peak of hurricane season, which in LA is from August through October, swells can reach above-average sizes for those more well-versed in the sport. 

Louisiana Surf Guide

Water in Louisiana

While the water in most of the Gulf of Mexico is a beautiful shade of blue, the closer you get to Louisiana, the browner it appears.

This color has given the state an unfair, untrue reputation for having ‘dirty’ water at its southern border.

One of the main contributors to the brownness is actually the sand.

Unlike most beaches which have rock or white sand bottoms, this part of the Gulf of Mexico has a brown sand floor that the ocean picks up when it creates waves.

While it’s always a good thing to be judicious about the cleanliness of the ocean you surf in, don’t let the color steer you away from the water here. 

Surf Culture in Louisiana

Surfing is not super popular in the state, so there isn’t much of a culture surrounding the sport.

However, you’ll be sure to feel a sense of community in the people who are amped to paddle out alongside you when the waves are pumping.

Locals in general tend to fall into the ‘southern hospitality’ category, as they’re typically super friendly, welcoming, and family-oriented. 

Gear Needed to Surf in Louisiana

The ocean in Louisiana doesn’t ever get below 60°F and can reach up to 85°F in July and August.

You may need a wetsuit with legs if you plan to surf sometime between January and March, but other than those three months just a swimsuit and rash guard will be plenty. 

The surf tends to stay pretty small, so a longboard for lengthy rides is your best bet. 

The Best Waves in Louisiana

Holly Beach

Holly Beach can be found at the southwestern edge of the state, just a half hour from the Texas border.

It remains uncrowded year-round, so when waves show up you won’t have to worry about a packed lineup.

Once swells come up from the south after a storm, they create short, clean rights and lefts on a beach break.

The size of the waves will vary, but they’re usually suitable for average-level surfers.

September is consistently the best time to paddle out at Holly since the water is still bathtub temperature and the ocean is still active from hurricane season.

Plus, great whites haven’t returned home from Massachusetts just yet. Parking here is free, but because of this lots fill up quickly, so be sure to get up and at ‘em somewhat early. 

Grand Isle Beach

Grand Isle is on the opposite end of the state, more toward the toes of Louisiana’s boot shape.

The beach is directly south of New Orleans and shares a lot with the stunning local state park.

Waves here are similar to those at Holly but tend to have a faster take-off and more potential for tube time.

What’s really neat about this spot though is that it’s not uncommon to share a few waves with dolphins during their feeding spells.

They love to check humans out from short distances and make themselves at home in the lineup. Just don’t mistake one grey fin for another! The best time to surf Grand Isle is also the beginning of fall for the same reasons as Holly, and the local parking lots are all less than $10 for the day. 

Port Fourchon Beach

Port Fourchon is a few miles down the road from Grand Isle and offers similar surfing with slightly larger waves due to the jetties up and down the beach.

It’s lined with massive, grassy dunes and a pier on one end providing a pretty cool view from the water.

The paddle out will always be short and the need for duck diving will be few and far between sets. Based on the previous two spots, you can probably guess the best time to visit, and like Holly parking is free!

What To Do in Louisiana When the Waves Are Flat

Both the architecture and wildlife in Louisiana are amazing and two of the countless items that make the state stand out from others.

If you show up with boards and the forecast disappoints, don’t sweat it – having nothing to go do or see is practically impossible.

Louisiana’s rich history has allowed for so many museums and other tourist sites, not to mention that after family, something locals take great pride in is their food.

Cuisine here is influenced by cultures across the globe, so if all else fails, duck into a restaurant that specializes in any one of their iconic dishes.  

The Bottom Line: Surfing in the Louisiana

If you’re in search of a new, rare surf spot to check out, Louisiana has got you covered.

The place is no Hawaii or California, but if you keep an eye on the weather and time your visit right, you may just have a day-long session you don’t have to share with anyone but your crew – and of course maybe some dolphins.  


bottom of page