I know what you're thinking. "You can surf in Washington?" That's what I thought too. Washington just isn't the state associated with the sport. Its not quite hot enough here to glamorize it like in Hawaii. And the Pacific Ocean beaches seem to have stayed small coast towns all these years unlike California beaches. That's not all bad news though. You'll rarely find yourself floating in a massive cloud of people. With a wetsuit and a little local know how, here's some of the surfing hot spots in Washington you should definitely know about.
There are 2 general areas that you can find surfing in WA. The actual Pacific Ocean coast, and inside the Straight of Juan De Fuca.
The waves to be had on the coast are as unpredictable as the weather in the PNW and the conditions can change rapidly. Typically though you're dealing with 8' or smaller waves.
With a strong NW swell almost the entire inside of the Straight turns on and you'll find some decent waves. Not many rouge monsters in here. Filled with mainly rights typically 6' or smaller.
I will say as a bit of a disclaimer that surfing in the PNW will require a bit more expertise than you'll find in this article. The cold waters (about 45 degrees), changing currents, spastic weather, boat traffic, wildlife, Orcas, and even sharks can be a concern. Not to scare you away, but like surfing in any new spot around the world, seeking out a local with some experience goes a long way in staying safe and having fun year round.
We should probably just get this spot out of the way first. You'll find it one of the more popular coastal surfing spots in Washington, and often times on the weekends it has the crowds to prove it. But with a fairly easy access by roads and consistent waves Westport provides over 300 days of surfable waves. Depending on conditions you have 3 separate breaks to move to as needed. The Groins to the north behind the marina, The Cove right in the bay, and The Jetty just off the... you guessed it... the jetty. You're bound to find fellow surfers in the water almost year round so double check how they're fighting the currents (that change drastically with the tides) and have a blast.
local surf shop
2. Neah Bay
Also a coastal surf spot Neah Bay comes with it's ups and downs. Like any beach break it has it's good days and it's bad days. There is a section of reef break as well that is more consistent in good conditions. The best surf happens in the fall and winter months. You'll have access to the bay through the Hobuck Beach Resort run by the local Makah Indian Reservation. In the town and they sell day permits for the beach and parking, rent overnight cabins, and have a small shop or two for some food and a place to warm up once you're done. Neah Bay surfing has a mostly sandy bottom, and can be spotty so be sure to check the surf report before you commit to the drive and paying fees.
Hobuck Beach Resort
3. Whidbey Island
Maybe in a category of it's own Whidbey Island isn't located on the coast or inside the straight. It's literally the island that faces directly into the middle and cuts off the straight. That means it catches any and all of the swell that makes it's way down the straight. The easy to get to surf spots makes it the closest spot for those living in Seattle or north of it. Located inside the Fort Ebey State Park there is also parking lots and bathrooms. The surf is never crowded, and you'll likely find a few other locals out there enjoying good surf with you. There's a great write up by a fellow blogger that I'll link up his details on the spot specifically.
4. La Push
Drive down La Push road all the way to the end and you'll find a relatively sheltered cove at the mouth of the Quillayute River. This spot has a mostly sand and gravel bottom. You'll find the waves best during the summer months although you will find surfers giving it a go year round. Typically looking at 5-8' waves and a closer in shore break on occasion. In the same area you have some other spots worth seeing at Second Beach and Rialto Beach that even if the surf isn't there you'll see a couple of Washington's prettiest beaches.
local surf shop
surf report and web cam
5. Long Beach Peninsula
Like the name suggests, here you'll find miles and miles of sandy beach with few obstacles to navigate in the water. This is Washingtons most southern beach. Located at the mouth of the Columbia River you'll need to be aware of tides and currents. Consistent average sized beach breaks provide an uncrowded place find the perfect peak and own it. Easy road access and parking with your choice of small beach town diners and more to recharge after a day in the water.
local surf shop