Miami is a hotspot for jobs, traveling, nightlife, food, and culture. But, what many do not realize about this city is that there can also be waves every now and then and sometimes, on rare and epic occasions, a wave that draws surfers from all areas of the world to surf it for the one or two days that it’s alive and working.
Miami Surf Guide
Waves in Miami
The unfortunate thing about Miami is that the Bahamas tends to block out most open ocean swells.
If you get lucky and there’s a big north easter off the east coast, sometimes it will send waves down to Miami along with giant, long period swells that wrap around Florida and hit the deep water channels that are typically home to cruise ships and cargo chips off the Miami coast.
When this happens, the swells hit the shallow waters of South Beach, Miami and the waves look like something you old see on the North Shore Hawaii that are breaking in knee deep water on hard, packed sand.
Good waves, and possibly epic ones like I previously mentioned, only happen a few times of the year but between December and March, northeasters start to get crazy and send some good swell towards Miami.
During the fall, mostly within hurricane season, Miami might get lucky enough to get swell from nearby or far off hurricanes.
So with that being said, winter and fall are the best times of the year to keep your eye on Miami in hopes to catch it in its prime.
Miami Surf Culture
If I am being honest, as someone with family who have lived in Miami and even living in Miami myself, there is no deep surf culture that you see in other places in Florida.
Although there isn’t much culture, during the really good swells, south Florida wave-starved locals will show up and be very stingy with “their” wave.
When South Beach is massive, people are throwing punches and yelling at each other to claim their spot, mostly when people start being disrespectful.
Miami has many young professionals who moved there for job opportunities. Great surfers have sacrificed their amazing waves and beautiful countries for city life and every once in a while waves.
They will be out there ripping when it gets good.
Gear Needed to Surf Miami
The only cold water gear you will need in Miami is maybe at the peak of winter.
When the air gets randomly chilly every now and then, a 1mm or 1.5mm wetsuit top could be helpful in keeping you comfy, especially during those northeastern swells that tend to draw more chilly days in.
Most of the time though, Miami is all bikinis and board shorts, so don’t worry if you forget a wetsuit top because you could probably just rent or buy one at a nearby surf shop if you really need it!
The Best Surf Spot In Miami
The best and only surf spot in Miami is South Beach right next to the jetty.
This is the spot where crowds of surfers and beach goers flock to when it’s going off.
If it’s too crowded and aggressive for you at South Beach when it’s looking good, a good option would be driving up north to Palm Beach County where some incredible waves during winter months can be found including famous spots like Reef Road and others.
Either way, South Beach and most of Palm Beach need some good NE swells to come through, but when it’s good, it’s good.
There’ll be a perfect A-frame that barrels left and right but it breaks in super shallow water.
If you aren’t going to paddle out in the massive crowd, grab a camera or an umbrella and at least experience it, because it is an incredible sight to see and very fun to watch.
P.S. Don’t get caught off guard that south beach, and most of South Florida beaches are topless.
Things To Do In Miami When Waves Are Flat
What isn’t there to do in Miami? C’mon, it’s Miami!
Go for a walk or beach it on the white sands and crystal blue waters of Miami and South Beach, go shopping at the malls and in the city, go to a Miami Heat basketball game (my personal favorite), check out the art deco historic district for pretty sights, go to museums, the miami zoo (one of my favorite zoos I’ve ever been to), go to the Everglades, enjoy the clubs and nightlife, and also be sure to eat some of the best cuban food you’ll have in your life.
Surfing in Miami
Overall, Miami technically isn’t known for its surfing, but you can be surprised on those lucky, epic days of surfing if you can be patient and keep your eye on the storms and forecasts.
Most of the year, Miami is flat as a lake but it could be perfect for learning how to surf on a knee high wave.
Those three or four days of the year, you can get the best barrel of your life and be able to brag about the experience forever!