The Best Fall Surf Travel Destinations Around the Planet
While it may be hard to believe given the sweltering heat, summer’s end is near. Soon, all over the country, leaves will change, sweaters will be dawned, and people will start adding pumpkin to everyday food and drink items with reckless abandon. Beyond a change in seasonal flavors and décor, fall also brings the beginning of winter swell season without the frigid air and water temperatures we usually endure during powerful north swells. While it may be hard to leave home as crowds dwindle and swell rises, fall offers some unique surf trip opportunities where the traveling surfer who doesn’t mind a bit of neoprene can skip the summer madness and enjoy some of the world’s best northern hemisphere waves. If you’re getting a little stir crazy at home continue reading below for The Best Fall Surf Travel Destinations Around the Planet.
The Pacific Northwest
Image Credit: Surfline
Surf travel doesn’t always require a passport. The PNW is more than crunchy hippies, punk rock, and endless rain. There are also waves. The rocky coastline that runs from Oregon to Vancouver is home to some of the best waves in the country. Given the jagged topography of the region, it’s easy to find yourself surfing alone if you’re willing to go the extra mile. Sure, breaks in Oregon are notoriously localized, but once you’re past southern Washington, crowds think significantly until you hit Tofino on Vancouver Island. Fall allows surfers to continue to enjoy some of the more exposed breaks in the PNW with the occasional large north swell turning the region's more protected points and coves. Warm summer temperatures usually linger around until mid to late October and you may be able to swing a 4/3 mm with booties instead of the typical hooded 5 mm.
Image Credit: Perfect Wave Travel
A trip to the Basque Country is more than just a surf trip, it’s a cultural immersion into one of Europe’s last remaining stateless ethnic groups. Stretching across the French-Spain border, the Basque Country occupies one of Europe’s most wave-rich regions. In Northern Spain, San Sebastian serves as a cultural and culinary hub and the perfect home base for exploring the north-facing beaches of the Iberian Peninsula. Just a 45-minute drive up the coast will take you to Biarritz, France. A west-facing, charming coastal enclave with a cliffy shoreline and soulful surf culture. Biarritz is the gateway to the French surf scene and a great place to hang your hat and explore the region. Hit two world-class surf travel destinations in one trip and enjoy the best of the Basque Country in and out of the water.
Image Credit: Lush Palm
On the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal offers surfers south and west-facing breaks with slightly friendlier air temps than its northern neighbors. No matter where you’re surfing in Portugal, it’s easy to find waves. If there’s not a ton of swell in the water, surf the west-facing, exposed breaks in Ericeira or Peniche. If north swells have picked up too much for the exposed beaches, find a south-facing corner in Cascais or head all the way down to Lagos for warmer temps and a great party scene. Portugal is one of the most versatile surf travel destinations on the planet and offers a variety of wave types for every level of surfer.
Image Credit: Makana Charters
Hawaii may seem like an overhyped surf travel destination. After all, why go to the birthplace and mecca of surfing if you want to avoid crowds? The answer is simple, the wave quality. Fall may be the best time to travel to Hawaii if you’re looking to score some of the islands' world-class waves. If you line your trip up with an early season swell, you’ll luck into a less crowded North Shore. If you don’t want the madness of Oahu, head to Kauai for a more low-key Hawaii experience. Hawaii is your best option for boardshorts this fall.
Whether you spend your fall jet setting around the world or just running up the coast with a few friends for a weekend here and there, pack your boards in the DirtBag. The DirtBag is the most padded surf travel bag on the market and will be your go-to surf travel companion on trips near and far.