Does North Carolina Have Good Surfing?

Looking for a new activity to fill your weekends? Surfing is an exciting sport! I’ve been surfing for years now, and it’s an excellent activity for anybody. I always choose North Carolina for beach surfing when I want the best beaches to ride the waves. If you’re wondering if North Carolina has good surfing, then I’ve got great news for you!

North Carolina has some of the best surfing in the entire country. With year-round sunshine, warm weather, and beautiful ocean temperatures, you’ll want to come back every weekend or more often.

So if you are getting into surfing or want to try a new spot, these beaches in North Carolina are the best for a day of riding the surf.

What Is the Surf Like in North Carolina?

Beaches and surfing in North Carolina differ from season to season. The beaches are more beneficial in the winter seasons because of how intense the waves can get, usually peaking in size from December’s first big storms through February.

In addition to that, Beaufort and Swansboro have some of North Carolina’s popular surfing spots. Surfers can surf in either of these places all year round, but the most popular seasons and times for surfing are during winter. 

Swansboro is known as one of the best beaches in North Carolina for beginners because of its shallower waves, while Beaufort offers a more refined and rougher ride.

Although the waves can get pretty extreme, surfing in North Carolina is one of the best opportunities for everyone. The best part about surfing in North Carolina is that it’s free to enjoy!

Where Are the Best Waves in North Carolina?

Most of the best waves in North Carolina are located on the Outer Banks, famed as a place where good surfing is waiting for someone to catch a new wave. After all, North Carolina is home to some of the best surfing spots in America! 

Best Beaches for Surfing in North Carolina

Here are some of the best beaches North Carolina offers for surfing:

1. Outer Banks 

Outer Banks has one of the most popular surfing spots in North Carolina. The beaches offer a rough and challenging ride for experienced surfers and a calm and relaxing trip for beginners.

So whether you’re looking to catch some big waves or relax, surfing in North Carolina is always an opportunity for anyone.

2. Beaufort

Beaufort was ranked one of the top 5 surfing beaches in North Carolina by the travel magazine Coastal Living. It’s one of the best spots for any beginner looking to catch waves. The best part about surfing here is that it’s perfect for even the most experienced surfers.

In addition to surfing, Beaufort also offers recreational activities such as kayaking, jet skis, and boat rentals.

3. Swansboro 

Woman surfer with surfboard going to surf the big waves

In Swansboro, the waves are usually a bit of a gentler ride. This is one of the best surfing destinations in all of North Carolina for beginners to catch on.

Swansboro guarantees a relaxing and enjoyable surfing trip for anyone looking to try out new boards.

4. Cape Hatteras 

Situated on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Cape Hatteras is one of the best surfing spots in America.

The waves here are rather extreme, so it’s not recommended for any beginner who has never surfed before. But if you’re a pro looking to catch some massive waves, then Cape Hatteras is for you!

5. Bogue Banks  

Bogue Banks is located in the south of the Outer Banks, which consistently creates nice waves. This creates beautiful surf conditions that are perfect for all levels of surfers.

Whether you’re an experienced surfer or just getting into it, Bogue Banks will have your ride down in no time!

6. Ocracoke Island 

sports man surfing wave on surf board in ocean

Ocracoke Island is another one of the most popular surfing locations in North Carolina. Ocracoke can get pretty rough, so it’s not recommended for beginners just learning how to catch a wave.

If you’re an advanced surfer, though,  then you will be submerged in a place filled with beautiful and life-changing waves.

7. Duck, NC

Duck, NC is a popular surfing destination for anyone looking to try new things. Duck’s beach offers beautiful scenery and great waves for all levels of surfers.

8. Nags Head 

Nags Head is the perfect spot for anyone looking for a more relaxed surf. The waves here are pretty shallow, so it won’t take long to learn how to use a board.

Whether you’re an experienced surfer or just getting into surfing, this beach is guaranteed fun!

9. Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk has some of North Carolina’s most consistent waves. Your ride will be smooth and easy with the help of Kitty Hawk’s perfectly shaped shoreline.

The North Carolina coastline is home to several surfing spots!  Although the waves condense during warmer weather seasons, you can still surf along the coast of North Carolina. 

This coastal area is also known to have one of the best places for off road cycling in North Carolina.

If you’re looking for one of the most extreme and exciting activities to enjoy in your free time, then Kitty Hawk is undoubtedly the way to go!

If you plan to visit these best beaches for surfing in North Carolina, here are five rental properties near the Outer Banks Beaches that I recommend:

Island Time1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Sea Glass3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
The Lost Shaker of Salt1 bedroom, 1 bathroom
Chez Toni3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Shore Break2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

When Can You Surf In North Carolina?

When you get to North Carolina, locals will recommend you to surf between autumn and winter. If you’re planning to visit during the summer season, it’s still possible to surf, but its waters will be a lot rougher.

Autumn and winter are the best seasons to surf in North Carolina because the waves are the most consistent, making it easier to catch a beautiful wave. The water is also cold at this time, so it’s safer for surfers to avoid getting caught in a riptide.

Spring and summer aren’t as popular times to visit, especially when surfing along the coast. The water is way too rough, which makes it difficult for experienced surfers.

Surfing during the summertime brings in a lot of risks when you’re not accustomed to large waves.

Many people have even attempted to surf during these months but have fallen victim to the giant waves and dangerous oceanic activity.

If you’re not an experienced surfer, then surfing may be a little challenging for you during these months.

If you’re interested in surfing but have never tried before, then your best time to visit is between October and April. This way of planning will make sure your trip to North Carolina turns out well.


If you are starting to surf, North Carolina is the best! Even with a long coastline, the waves are very consistent in all of the best surfing spots.

If you want to go on a relaxing trip with your loved ones or even just alone, then North Carolina is the place for you!

No matter what time of year it is, North Carolina will ensure that every visitor catches a warm welcome and comfortable weather.

Surfing in North Carolina is the best way to spend your vacation!

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