Not all surf trips consist of venturing into a remote Indonesian jungle, searching for a secret beach where you can have the waves all to yourself. As a solo traveller, carefree couple or a small group of friends, surf trips are simple. You just aim to catch as many of the best waves as you can. But add in one (or two, or three!) tottering youngins and a trip to chase a swell becomes more complicated. A family-friendly surf trip usually means that modern comforts and convenience becomes more important spontaneity or wave count. Thankfully, there are a few family-friendly surf destinations for everyone to have fun.
1. Waikiki, Oahu
Where else to bring the whole family than to the birthplace of surfing? Waikiki has been developed to accommodate tourists, so everything is incredibly convenient right from the moment you get off the plane. There’s no shortage of beachfront hotels, and you can simply hop in a cab or book a hotel shuttle to get there. The waves in Waikiki are gentle and forgiving, which is perfect for kids learning to surf for the first time. For older kids or mom and dad who want a bit more of a challenge, Diamond Head has a few more advanced swells. And if that’s not enough, plan your trip to Waikiki in the winter months, where world-famous breaks like Waimea Bay and Pipeline will be firing.
2. Kuta, Bali
Bali is one of the most popular family-friendly surf destinations in the world. The stretch of beach from Kuta to Seminyak is great for learning how to surf, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate surfer. There are also many surf schools in the area who have lots of experience in teaching kids. Not to mention, many hotels and resorts are also catered to the family with discounts and child menus. Want to make a surf trip to more advanced surf spots like Keramas or Uluwatu? That’s easy, because private vehicles and driver options are plentiful and affordable. Outside of the beach and surf, there are also lots of attractions for the whole family. Especially if you come from a Western country, Bali is a great place to introduce your kids to a foreign culture.
3. Gold Coast, Australia
Gold Coast is not only a great place to learn how to surf, but attractions like Warner Bros. Movie World, Sea World and Dream World will keep everyone occupied when the surf is too big or too small. For avid surfers, The Superbank‘s break at Snapper Rocks is at the very top of must-do surf experiences. Even though it is a man-made surf break, it is one of the longest and hollowest waves in the world. For some beach action, Surfers Paradise offers two kilometres of rolling surf and golden sand. It’s also right in the centre of the action, with great dining options, night markets and beachside accommodation.
4. Punta Mita, Mexico
Punta Mita’s surf covers all levels with some of Mexico’s best breaks. El Anclote Beach’s waves are long and break in both directions. We don’t recommend dropping in on other people’s waves, but it’s a great one for a party wave with your family. You can catch one right next to your kids, whooping all the way to shore. Intermediates looking for a challenge are sure to love Punta Burros, a predominantly right hander wave that is hollow and wedgy. Sayulita is basically the surf capital of Mexico, and although it can get overcrowded, it’s a great base for surfing in Punta Mita. There are also plenty of land activities – horseback riding, ziplining, ATV tours and great restaurants!
5. Nosara, Costa Rica
Nosara is one of our favourite family-friendly surf destinations. Its combination of beginner- and intermediate-friendly beach break and laid back atmosphere is hard to beat. It is also one of the most consistent waves in Costa Rica, and the long beach which peaks at various points means there’s plenty of space to spread out. And what’s really appealing about Nosara is that it can cater to everyone’s level of surf without making a trip to other spots. Nosara also has a great yoga scene and it houses some of Costa Rica’s most renowned yoga establishments. Accommodation options are aplenty and eating out is also fantastic fun with great restaurants and craft beers. All in all, there’s nothing not to love about Nosara!