When it comes to chasing consistent swells and glassy barrels in the United States, it's no surprise that California and Hawaii take all the shine. After all, the Pacific Ocean provides prevailing winds and a geographically ideal continental shelf that makes for some pretty sweet sets. However, this doesn't mean that the East Coast doesn't have any epic offerings of its own. Ready to ditch the crowded SoCal beaches and get amped on the Atlantic coast? Here are five underrated East Coast surf spots that are guaranteed to go off.
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Located on the tail-end of the Outer Banks, a 200-mile chain of barrier islands that arch out into the Atlantic Ocean, this reliable surf destination's location is what makes it the consistent gem that it is. Because of its island position that sits at the meeting point between the North and South Atlantic Oceans, this sweet spot picks up almost every swell that passes through and produces dense, vigorous waves thanks to its shallow sandbars. While en-route to Cape Hatteras, be sure to check out some of the other great surf spots that the Outer Banks has to offer, such as Nags Head, Irene's Inlet, S-Curves, Rodanthe Pier, Avon Pier, and Buxton. If you're looking for a surf trip that is heavy on the waves and light on the wallet, Cape Hatteras National Seashore has four campgrounds within the park, making it a convenient and affordable option for surfers who are willing to rough it in a tent for the sake of getting tubed.
Sebastian Inlet, Florida
Sebastian Inlet is an East Coast stomping ground that has paved the way for multiple local-groms turned champion surfers such as Kelly Slater, the Hobgood twins, and the Lopez brothers. There is an unexpected element that makes Sebastian Inlet a standout spot on Florida's Space Coast; a jetty. Located on the north-side of the inlet, this jetty is considered to be a swell magnet and is responsible for the towering, thick waves that this location is famous for. Once you're done destroying the inlet's legendary Monster Hole, you can rest and refuel at Sebastian Inlet state park, which offers surfers and shoobies 755-acres of convenient amenities such as snack bars and showers, making it a suitable spot to play all day. If you're a fan of tropical tides and high-performance surfing, Sebastian Inlet is an excellent East Coast opportunity to grace the same shore as some of your favorite pros.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach has been a recognized surf destination since the East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC) was first established in 1963. Five decades later, the ECSC is still going strong, and so is Virginia Beach's hearty waves. Every year, this week-long competition hosts approximately 300 pro and 400 amateur surfers and is sanctioned with the World Surf League, making it a surfing mainstay worth experiencing. Although Virginia Beach's sandbars generate waves that cater to all surfing skill levels, this forgiving shore is considered to be especially suitable for beginners. While the average height of waves in the summer are only 2-4 ft and foamy, tropical storms have the potential to produce hard-hitting swells between 5-14 ft; making fall and winter an ideal opportunity seasoned surfers to bomb some beach breaks. Some of Virginia Beach's favored surf spots include Sandbridge Beach, Croatan Beach, and 1st St.
Montauk, New York
Located 120 miles east of New York City, this laid-back Long Island fishing village has become one of the most reputable surf spots in the north-east. Although summer's at Montauk Beach tend to be blown-out, mushy and overpopulated with Manhattan tourists, the fall and winter seasons consistently light up with stormy swells. Because of it's exposed location, Montauk engulfs itself in swells from the east, west, and south providing surfers with plenty of opportunities to get pitted. This brisk beach also boasts having sandbars, reefs, and rock ditch bottom surf spots, so you can find a diversity of different waves to destroy. Ditch Plains, Montauk's rock bottom beach, provides elite and experienced surfers with hollow, overhead waves and is popularly known as "Long Island's version of Hawaii" because of its perfectly peeling sets. But be sure to suit up, unlike Oahu, the average water temperature in Montauk is 55 degrees and can drops down as low as 35 degrees in the winter.
Located on a tiny island off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Nantucket is a New England seaside paradise with over 80 miles of shoreline. This island is comprised of three beaches, the North Shore, South Shore, and Eastern Shore; all of which cater to different needs and experience levels. The North Shore, known for its calm waters and tranquil beaches, is best suited for kids and kooks. Meanwhile, the South and Eastern Shores are prized for their potential to provide perfect peaks. Cisco Beach, Nantucket's most famous surf spot, is located on the South Shore and is composed of a large, submerged sandbar that enables waves to break away from the shore; providing surfers with dense, dynamic waves to drop in on. Although summers in Nantucket tend to be mostly mushy wind-swells, the ground-swells that occur during hurricane season is what puts Nantucket on every shack-loving surfer's radar.
Ready to catch some Atlantic A-frames? Drop a comment with your favorite East Coast surf spots!
Written By: Sera Ansardi