The Coolest Surf Towns in the World from The Coolest Surf Towns in the World

The Coolest Surf Towns in the World

What are the ideal surfing conditions? Ask 20 surfers and you’ll probably get at least 15 different answers.

Factors such as who are you with, your skill level and mood are as important as wind, swell, seafloor and waves (World’s Best Beaches for Big Wave Surfing).

But what about the après-surf scene?

The cool surf towns on this list vary , depending on whether they are best for family vacations, adventurous surfers, enjoying local culture, or just soaking up the good vibes.

You will notice a few popular spots, like Santa Cruz in California, but you me surprised to find that a city in the Middle East also made the cut.

1. Nosara, Costa Rica

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Tourists are lucky to get long pristine beaches and copious wildlife  in addition to awesome waves for surfing. Playa Guiones (Nosara Beach) is where most surfers go. Wind and kitesurfing are also available. Other attractions include Ostional Beach where olive ridley sea turtles crawl ashore once a month to lay their eggs. The ecology enthusiast in you will enjoy the Biological Reserve which has hundreds of birds, monkeys, and other friendly animals. Bonus: Go on a horseback riding tour for some galloping on the beach.

2. Byron Bay, Australia

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The water sports in this sandy paradise are endless (Water Sports that Are More Intense than Your Current Workout)…The ever-present swells at Wategos and The Pass make for good-quality waves. The atmosphere in this small community is beyond friendly; everybody is welcome. When you want a break from surfing, hike to the lighthouse at The Pass for stunning worth-your-time views, try new things at the impressive Stone and Wood Brewery, and get a massage at one of the many spa centers in town.

3. Oahu, Hawaii

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Banzai Pipeline  and Haleiwa are known for their big waves. They are located on Oahu's North Shore, also known as the Seven Mile Miracle, are two of the most famous surfing spots on the island, and in the world. Another good spot is the so called Himalayas, the embodiment of big wave and heavy surfing. Between sunrise and sunset, according to the GoHawaii.com, you’ll have hours to explore the hottest farm to table restaurants, browse the latest designer and local fashions, or stroll into Hawaii’s history at Iolani Palace. “When the sun goes down, the ‘Heartbeat of Hawaii’ awakens to a new beat, and it’s time to put on your dancing shoes.”

4. Bundoran, Ireland

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Ireland is not all castles, forests, rolling hills, lavish parks, Guinness and pubs (Most Incredible Castles You Can Actually Stay In). Surfers are also welcome, especially in Bundoran on the west coast. The waves there are not for beginners (pick the right board), as you would guess since the city has hosted the European Surfing Championship several times and is home to the national championships every year. When you’re not in the water, go horseback riding on the beach and ride over the dunes, visit some amazing bars, which often have live music on the weekends, or go golfing.

5. Durban, South Africa

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North Bank and New Pier offer all-time beach break surfing. The Golden Mile beachfront is also a preferred location for joggers (Best Sneakers for Heavy Runners), sunbathers and other water sports fans. It was renovated for the World Cup in the country in 2010 and has kept its cool vibe since. The nightlife, especially, is bustling. Explore the Indian District for shopping, visit one of the world’s largest aquariums, bike the Golden Mile, and don’t forget to walk among one of the world’s top collections of “living fossil” plants in Africa’s oldest surviving botanical gardens.

6. Batu Karas, Indonesia

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Batu Karas is a fishing village. You won’t find big buses transporting tourists back and forth. Surfers try to keep this  gem a secret but the word is getting out there. If you’re not catching awesome waves, visit the lavish jungle near the village or simply relax on the beach. Either way, you’ll be tranquil and happy. Go and see the Green Canyon on a tour. At night, enjoy music by a bonfire on the beach and see the glowing blue phosphorescence.

7. Tofino, British Columbia

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British Columbia has more than one season and offers  some of the best skiing in the world. The quality of the waves in Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is world-class as well. In addition to the shores, the pastoral structures and streets are worth to see. Watch hockey where the locals do, at the bar at Shelter Restaurant. Go camping in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, enjoy the hot springs in the Maquinna Marie Provincial Park, go on a boat tour for dolphin and whale watching, and try Tofino Brewing’s selection of delicious brews.

8. Taghazout, Morocco

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No list of cool surf towns will be complete without Taghazout in Morocco, a must-visit adventure destination in 2016. The Anka Point is the place to go for long breaks. The water is warm even in the winter months and the waves are always great for riding. They turn into a hollow spiraling machine on the low tide. You won’t find alcohol for sale anywhere but you can bring your own. Immerse yourself in the town’s EuroAfrican culture, get a camel ride into the desert, and go rock jumping at Paradise Valley.

9. Santa Cruz, California

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If you call yourself a surfer but haven’t been to Santa Cruz, you should book a trip right now. Other than amazing big-wave rides, you get to ride roller coasters for $1 on Monday and Tuesday nights, have fun at the more than a century old seaside amusement park, and bike and skate along picturesque West Cliff Drive (America’s Most Scenic Roads). Visit the Surfing Museum or go hiking in 2,000-year-old redwood forests in Big Basin Redwood State Park.

10. Biarritz, France

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If you like surfing and drinking good wine, head out to Biarritz. The historic city is often thought of the place where European surfing was born. There is definitely a French high culture vibe. When the Big Beach gets crowded, people go to La Côtes des Basques and Guethary. Les 100 Marches is a typical French stylish café that serves champagne with your baguette. The small villages near Biarritz offer an authentic taste of rural France (Postcard-Perfect European Villages Straight Out of a Fairytale).

11. San Sebastián, Spain

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Food in this romantic small town on the Bay of Biscay is equally as important as great waves for surfing. Enjoy great bars, nightlife and restaurants after the beach. The best time to go for awesome breaks is between June and November. In addition, you get to enjoy many music festivals in the summer and playing soccer on the beach.

12. Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

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California and Hawaii are the first states that come to mind when people think about surfing. But North Carolina, and especially Kill Devil Hills, ranks just as high. Don’t pay attention to the name, this is a peaceful town. If you like slow pace, this is the place to be. The best surf spots are Avalon Pier, S-Turns and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. The summer is the time to go in this Southern town as everything seems to wake up and revive.

13. Lima, Peru

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Peru has more than 1,500 miles of coastline so you can expect great waves somewhere along it (5 Perfect Spots for Paddling the U.S. Coastline). Lima, the capital, is a popular destination. If you have never been to South America but want to brush up on your surfing skills at the same time, you will find some great waves – 3 ft. and higher – here. It’s like you’re in Hawaii minus the huge crowds. When you’re surfing, visit the historic Aliaga House, the unique Larco Museum and Pucllana Temple to see remnants of Peru’s ancient civilizations. As is the case in many big cities, there is plenty to do in Lima day and night.

14. Sanya, China

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While astonishing places like the Great Wall are better known when it comes to China, the vast country has a few secret gems that are perfect for surfing. Hainan, a gigantic island province and the nation’s southernmost point, is one of them. Crowds are practically non-existent. One of the best spots local surfers go to is Riyuewan Bay. Everything else you would expect to see in a small Chinese town, you will in Sanya. Eat fresh fish, visit ancient temples, enjoy the parks, and take the family on a trip to the Yanoda tropical forest.

15. Sur, Oman

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The Middle East these days is known for civil war and political instability. But if you look beyond that, you will a find a few unexplored surfing gems. The long stretch of coast along Oman has ideal conditions for big and long breaks. Joe’s Point is the place to go. Temperatures stay around 80-85 degrees. See some of the area’s amazingly well-preserved castles and forts and enjoy some of the best food in the country.