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SURFING

The Best Places for Surfing Vacations

By Tim Houghten, ExtremeProSports.com

A Surf Paradise Beckons

If you are single, a couple, or part of a big family and an avid surfer then you are always looking for the best new spots to visit for your next surfing vacation. Finding a place that hosts great waves and great dining and fun can be a lot of research and time consuming to find. Luckily we have just the list for you so you can spend less time on your computer and more time packing and gathering your equipment for the ultimate surfing vacation!

1. California

The residents of California argue that they have some of the world's best surfing locations in the world-and they have a right to brag. Southern California offers beautiful sprawling beaches with consistent waves and spots for huge swells. Northern California is greatly affected by strong Pacific storms which means the sizes of waves in these areas can get up to 30 feet tall! California is great for singles, couples, and families because there are thousands of activities to do. With National/State parks, theme parks, resorts, vacation rentals, golf, rafting, shopping, wine tasting, and biking trails galore, California offers a little bit of fun for all.

2. Hawaii

Hawaii is the birthplace of surfing, so it makes sense to plan your surfing vacation to the spot where it all began! Waikiki beach, Ehukai Beach Park, Sunset, and Honolua are all some of the best surfing spots and picturesque locations in Hawaii that all surfers must visit. Hawaii also offers sightseeing opportunities and adventures for singles, couples and families such as Kauai Children's Discovery Museum, the Seal Life Park, Polynesian Cultural Center, and Makiki trails in Oahu, Dole Park in Lanai, the Volcanoes Natural Park on the Big Island, and hiking trails at Halawa Valley in Molokai.

While staying in Hawaii you must try some of their most traditional dishes including but not limited to Kalua pig, haupia (gelatin-like desert), lomi salmon, poke (a type of fish salad) and spam musubi (rice ball wrapped in seaweed with spam). With such natural beauty, endless waves, and a rich culture Hawaii is the perfect surfing vacation for everyone.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica may not be known for epic swells like Hawaii may be, but Costa Rica offers some of the most consistent locations for catching head-high surf. The Northern Pacific coastline is dotted with prime surfing locations with the best including Witches Rock, Playa Negra, Playa Grande and Guiones North. Costa Rica is also an adventurous land made up entirely of jungles and exotic species. Surfing families can additionally enjoy the luxurious beaches, snorkeling opportunities, cultural museums, sightseeing tours of lakes and Costa Rica's Volcano. Couples or singles will have a blast flying down zip lines through the jungle, touring the Cloud Forest, visiting Natural Parks, or scuba diving at a variety of locations.

4. Barbados

Barbados is quickly becoming one of the top destinations for longboarders around the world. It has held many international longboard competitions and attracts singles, couples, and families from all over for its relaxing yet exciting atmosphere. The south coast of Barbados is prime for finding some of the best conditions on the island as well as being near excellent dining and a bustling nightlife. Surfing couples and singles will greatly enjoy this area while surfing at South Point, Brandon's, Freights Bay and Accra. Surfing couples may also want to consider staying on the east side of the island near the Soup Bowl, a destination for advanced surfers only and often times compared to the north shore of Oahu.

In addition to great surfing sites on every side of the island, Barbados is a great surfing vacation because it has so many great activities for families to enjoy such as submarine trips, helicopter rides, relaxing beaches, safari trips and horseback riding on the beaches. When dining check out Barbados' traditional dishes-flying fish, Cou Cou, black pudding and souse, and fish cakes--often times cooked on wooden stones to bring out the true flavors!

5. South Africa

Many consider South Africa the number one surfing vacation in the world. You can wake up in the early morning and enjoy a barrel and then go on a safari in the afternoon watching elephants in the wild and dip back down to the ocean to surf with dolphins later in the day. This spot is perfect for singles, couples and families because of the diverse activities that it offers. Although South Africa has many amazing surfing spots to choose from, some of the most highly recommended sites are the coast of KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape, the Garden Route, the Western Cape, and the famous location for the Billabong Pro Surfing event-Jeffrys Bay.

6. Fiji

Fiji is known as a popular destination for honeymooners but it also serves as one of the best surfing vacations for honeymooners, singles, and families alike! Fiji offers great waves so many resorts have sprung up that cater solely to surfers, helping them with any rental equipment, travel bags, and giving advice on the best spots to hit. Among these best spots are on Tavarua Island in the Mamanuca Group and off the Southern Islands near Beqa and Kadavu. Families with children may want to stay on the main island where beginner surf sites on the coast of Viti Levu will suit them better. Everyone in Fiji can enjoy snorkeling, sailing, island cruises, river rafting, cultural shows, and eating! You must try the banana cassava cake after a long day of surfing.

7. Outer Banks, North Carolina

North Carolina is one of the best places on the east coast of the U.S. to travel to for a surfing vacation. Because the outer banks jut out into the ocean they are in a prime location to take some of the largest hits from east coast storms, and the size of the swells can be unbelievable. Sand bars are frequently moved throughout the seasons because of large storms, so naming sites can be hard when they're constantly traveling. However some of the best areas to surf are near Rodanthe Pier, Avon Pier, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Frisco Pier, Ocracoke Island and Wrightsville Beach. Families and couples can additionally enjoy fine seafood dining, adorable seaside boutiques, golfing, theme parks, whitewater rafting, and three different coastal aquariums.

8. France

When one thinks of France they picture big cities like Paris with beautifully designed buildings with rich, historical tales. However, on the southern west coast of France lefts and rights can match up any day to the Californian coast. Families, couples, and singles can enjoy the beautiful inland activities such as visiting lighthouses, harbors, museums, dining, casinos and seeing plays among many other things. Make sure you plan in enough time to visit the world-renowned Barriatz, Hossegor and Seignosse Le Penon spots.

9. Australia

Australia receives thousands and thousands of visitors a year to their country for the main reason that they have some of the best surfing in the world. In addition to amazing surfing conditions, Australia also hosts beautiful coral reefs, fun outback adventures, and friendly local shops and food. If going to Australia you must visit spots like North Narrabeen in Sydney, New South Wales, Bells Beach in Torquay, Victoria, Kirra Beach in Coolangatta, Queensland, Prevelly Park in Margaret River, Western Australia, and Yallingup in Margaret River, Western Australia.

10. The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands offer everything; adventure, beauty, warmth, friendly people, and amazing surfing. The Canary Islands offer a multitude of spots to choose from for novice through expert surfers. Among the best are El Quemao, Lanzarote (warning: professionals only, extremely dangerous!), The Bubble, Fuerteventura, Los Lobos, Fuerteventura, Spanish Left, Tenerife, and El Confital, Gran Canaria. On days when not surfing (for most enthusiasts maybe just one!) make sure to check out volcano hikes, trekking, volcanic caving, canyoneering, mountain biking, climbing, bungee jumping and paragliding.
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