The Best Laguna Beach Surfing Beaches for All Skill Levels
Any surfing aficionado knows that Orange County is at the heart of the surf industry. This scenic coastal county not only offers excellent breaks, a wide variety of waves, and stunning views, but it’s also home to many of the major action sports companies, like Quicksilver, Billabong, Volcom, and Rip Curl.
Some of the best beaches in Orange County for avid surfers are in the famed Laguna Beach. In the summer and fall, you’ll see locals and visitors alike bobbing in the Laguna Beach waves waiting for the perfect break. If you’re visiting for the first time, you might be wondering where you should head for your Laguna Beach surf day. We have you covered! Check out the best beaches for surfers of all levels.
(Note that most of these beaches are designated surfing beaches, and swimming is not allowed. If you’re looking for a family-friendly beach that allows swimming, scroll down to Oak Street.)
Best for: Learning to surf
The great thing about the break at Thalia Street is that it offers something for beginners and experienced surfers alike. While its gentle wave makes it the perfect learning beach, it’s also fun enough for more confident surfers to enjoy. This is the number one spot for surf lessons in Laguna Beach, with surf schools like La Vida Laguna helping first timers catch their first wave.
When the wave is bigger, you might catch one of the local pros surfing here! The wave peels right and can even produce hollow barrels with the right conditions. Thalia Street is a weekend staple in Laguna Beach. The friendly vibe and happy atmosphere make it a favorite for locals and a welcoming spot for visitors and first-timers. Note that swimming is not allowed at Thalia Street.
Best for: Experienced, goofy surfers
Brooks Street is a favorite among experienced surfers thanks to its large swell offering one of the biggest, most consistent waves in the area. This break isn’t for beginners — especially on big days, when it’s experts only. Goofy surfers in particular love this left-peeling wave. (For the uninitiated, a “goofy” stance means you stand with your right foot forward, left foot back. This is far less common than the “regular” stance.)
When the conditions are just right, you can expect to see local pros out on the water and a big crowd of onlookers on the viewing benches above the beach. The atmosphere is exhilarating, and it’s a great spot for beginners to get inspired by watching the experts.
Swimming is not allowed at Brooks Street. If you have an interest in tide pools, visit the beach at low tide!
Best for: Experienced surfers
Like its name suggests, Rockpile Beach features jagged rocks jutting out of the water. While swimming isn’t allowed here, it’s a local favorite for competent surfers. This famous surf break comes alive when the tide and swells align, creating a world-class right that peels off the rock pile. You might even witness some hollow barrels, ideal for those who have the skills and confidence.
Only the most experienced surfers should attempt this fast wave, and the local pros here will make that clear to any visitors. Don’t take it personally — remember that respect is an important part of surf culture.
Best for: The whole family
This hidden gem is usually less crowded than Thalia Street, but it’s equally fun. If you have a couple surfers in the family as well as some younger kids who want to swim, this is the perfect beach to spend the whole day. When the swell comes in, this break attracts surfers and skimboarders with its mellow wave. The break is especially exciting in the late fall.
In the summer, the water is reserved for swimmers during peak hours, making it the perfect time for families to visit and enjoy a little fun in the sun. Just remember to steer clear of the reef. If you’re looking to surf in the summer, visit during the early morning or evening. The vast stretch of sand also lends itself to frisbee or volleyball.
With such a wide variety of breaks for different skill levels and a friendly surf culture, you’ll be excited to hit the waves in Laguna Beach. Whether you’re just getting started with a surf lesson or you’re looking for some world-class breaks, you can find the perfect wave here.
Not ready to surf just yet? No problem; you can still enjoy the beautiful beaches of Laguna Beach on a SUP tour or lesson!