When the first signs of summertime start showing up - sunny days, late sunsets, higher temperatures - people's daydreams start turning towards the outdoors. You start imagining how you are going to spend those long hot days. For most people, playing in the water is an integral part of a fun summer.
You could splash in the waves or maybe rent a kayak or a jet ski if you need a little bit of extra excitement. But what about surfing? People who practice the wave-riding arts swear that surfing is a life-changing experience. For most fun-seekers though, learning the sport requires a bit too much commitment. What if you went somewhere with the goal or learning to surf, but found that the learning curve was just too steep?
The best policy is probably to make surfing a part of your summertime vacation, but not the only focus. It could turn out to be as wonderful a sport as enthusiasts say it is. But if it is not, then you will still be able to have an amazing beach vacation.
Here are some destinations where you can learn to surf and also enjoy yourself immensely when you are away from the waves.
Long Island is filled with summertime surf spots. The Atlantic is warm in June, July and August. The waves are generally gentle, so conditions are ideal for novices. There are a couple of surf-friendly venues on the easternmost part of the island, in the holiday hamlet of Montauk.
The aptly-named Surf Lodge offers a classic East Coast summer vacation. The decor and design is at once sophisticated and relaxed. You can take surf lessons in the morning, and then spend the day shopping in Montauk, lounging on the beach, fishing, or sampling freshly-caught seafood. In the evening, the Lodge offers concerts featuring local, regional or national acts. No matter how your surf session turns out, a good time will be virtually guaranteed.
Ruschmeyers is also in Montauk. This nautical-themed summer camp is ideal for a family surf vacation. The classic seaside cottages are arranged around a central lawn area, but each accommodation has its own private barbecue setup. The bar and lounge, called the Electric Eel, has a summertime concert series with acts taking the stage each weekend evening. If you want to hit the waves, you can take surf lessons or try your hand at stand-up paddle-boarding, which is slightly easier than traditional surfing.
Down the coast in Florida, the surf is rolling all year long. In Atlantic Beach, not far from Jacksonville, surfing is just one of the many water sports on offer. In addition to the ocean fun, the town of Atlantic Beach has lots of shopping, golf courses and a pleasant waterfront promenade. The best place to stay is the Atlantic Beach Estate. This collection of condos was designed by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright, widely considered to be the best American architect of all time. So simply staying in one of the condos here is an experience in and of itself.
San Diego has what is arguably America’s best surf scene. It is pretty easy to locate a surf shop that will provide lessons for novices. Depending on where you are, the waves might be a bit intimidating. Local surfers take to the waves every day of the year here, and there are plenty of sponsored surfers and pros who call San Diego home. Nonetheless, you should be able to find some gentler waves. Best of all, you will be in a big city, so there will be plenty to do once your lessons ends for the day.
What about the ultimate surf vacation? Bali ranks first on most surfer's best-of list. This Indonesian island is known worldwide for its waves. Once you get the hang of it, you can try some larger swells. The beach scene here is as exciting as anywhere else in the world, and tourists make the nightlife energetic year-round as well. Bali also offers cultural experiences, eco-tours and culinary excursions.
Do you surf? Where did you learn and where will you be catching waves next? Use the comments section to let us know.