1. The Beginner – a safe and touristy place to start learning how to surf in Southern California is Santa Monica. There are numerous surf board rental shops and places where you can get lessons. And if you’re sick of surfing, there isn’t a better place in LA to walk around, shop, and eat.

2. Local Convenience – a convenient place that the locals go to is El Porto. The word is that really good surfers don’t go there because there are better places, but not many places are better for convenience (for people who live near by that is). It may not be touristy like Manhattan Beach or Venice Beach, but it’s a good place for surfing.

3. Two Hours South – for the Pros, a better place may be 2 hours south down in San Diego at a place called Trestles. If you are ready to leave the city sights of LA, then go here and get ready for some good surfing.

A further note… there are actually good places to surf around LA too, but the secret spots are taken very seriously by the locals. For example, there’s a really good secret surf spot off the coast of Palos Verdes, but the people who know it won’t even tell their friends about it because they don’t want it to become too crowded, even though it’s only really good for surfing during the winter. Supposedly, if you go unknowingly and come out of the water while being spotted by the usuals, you’ll find your car window broken. The locals are very protective of their secret spots. Lastly, remember to check the surf reports before you go out as wave levels may change on a daily basis.

(Find more information about Southern California in the WanderRegions section of our site.)

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