Admit it: there’s kind of nothing cooler than the salty, sun-drenched surf lifestyle. And finding the right honeymoon destination for surfers is easier than you think. Whether you or your hubby-to-be are longtime swell seekers, have not yet learned to paddle and pop up on a longboard, or simply love soaking up the scene the Beach Boys sing about, it’s an attractive activity to engage in on a dynamic tropical honeymoon. Of course, most surf-centric destinations happen to also offer postcard-perfect sandy beaches, healthy and wellness-y—but still indulgent—food and drink options, and a plethora of other water sports.
Some also include opportunities to engage in an exotic culture, get a fun history lesson or explore an energetic city. They don’t all fit into one mold: Hong Kong, a major city beloved for its world-class dining, actually boasts—surprise!—fun surf spots in turquoise water along with its memorable cuisine (stay at The Langham, Hong Kong for access to both). Here, a collection of 10 of the greatest honeymoon destinations for surfers on this beautiful planet that offer even more to lovers on the most important trip of their lives.
Sumba Island, Indonesia
So much of Indonesia is a surfer’s paradise, but many archipelagos—see the Mentawais—are really not conducive to a plush romantic trip so much as serious surfing. Nihi Sumba Island is the most ideal combination of both, as its standalone private villas with pools, daybeds and epic bathtubs are beyond luxurious, while the famous wave, Occy’s Left, out front is perfect for the discerning surfer: only 10 people per day are allowed to surf it, and must be guests of Nihi. The spa is incredible, too. SmartFlyer agent and surf expert Ginny Patton honeymooned there herself with her beginner-surfer husband, and they both adored every minute. Because the consistent wave is right there, she adds, you get your fill of surf quickly and can spend the rest of the day hiking to waterfalls, riding horses on the beach or lounging with your new spouse. Nearby Bali is, of course, is the perfect place to pair Sumba with, and Como Uma Canggu provides gorgeous beach resort vibes alongside accessible surf (thanks to Tropicsurf’s comprehensive programs) in the hip town of Canggu, while down south Uluwatu Surf Villas perched high on the cliff offers private stairs to some of the world’s best waves, plus mesmerizing ocean views, yoga and Bali’s best cocktails.
Some honeymooners may not realize that their dream destination, the Maldives, is also home to world-renowned surf spots—and warm water. Gili Lankanfushi’s Robinson Crusoe–style overwater bungalows are paired with crystalline water and private seaplane surf excursions to outer atolls where you may be the only ones catching waves. Tropicsurf is the in-house surf team and they have the boards and lesson plans for every level of surfer or wannabe. The eco-resort Soneva Fushi just launched the world’s first fully sustainable surfing program, which combines wave riding (May through October) with its super romantic accommodations and the overwater villas at sister property Soneva Jani. The Four Seasons Resort Maldives Kuda Huraa hosts Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy, dubbed the planet’s most luxe surf event, so you know it’s an epic place from which to enjoy the sport.
All along the 1,400-acre Peninsula Papagayo in the northwest Guanacaste region are world-class waves that cater beautifully to both first-timers and experienced surfers alike. It’s the ideal water temperature and environment for a surfing virgin to get into the soulful sport, thanks to a variety of breaks running up and down the Pacific Coast. Top white-sand properties within easy access to primo surf at famed Witch’s Rock and beyond include JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa, Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica, and Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo. Of course, when not hanging 10—or learning what that even means—there’s zip-lining, hiking, volcano treks, spa days, fishing and sunbathing to be done. Pura vida indeed!
North Shore, Hawaii
If you or your partner are serious surfers, plan your North Shore Hawaiian honeymoon for what’s known as “Big Wave Winter,” when the semi truck–sized ones roll through. You can also go November to February if you’re an avid spectator: Turtle Bay Resort, with its 850-acre natural playground, is ideal for observing and picking up tips from the pros with a mai tai in hand. Beyond that season, the property perfectly placed for both sunrise and sunset views offers lessons (including a new Surf Training Program), paddle boarding, a full schedule of wellness and yoga classes and hiking, among many other fun activities.
Baja California, Mexico
Some of the best surf in Mexico is found just below California, like in Rosarito, just a 30-minute drive past Tijuana, meaning you could even do a honeymoon road trip from San Diego. There, Rosario Beach Hotel is the place to base yourselves. Or fly to Los Cabos airport and take a bit of a drive to the dreamy adults-only Rancho Pescadero in Todos Santos, home to surf shops and enviable waves set against picturesque mountain peaks and plenty of palms. Beyond the longboard experience there’s deep-sea fishing, yoga, horseback riding, cooking classes and hiking to indulge in. Many are surprised to learn Los Cabos actually has fantastic surf, too: the dreamy One&Only Palmilla has Tropicsurf programs perfect for couples, while the new Viceroy Los Cabos is in a perfect place for you to have your choice of breaks and level of difficulty.
Venture to Morocco for not only serious doses of exotic culture, amazing cuisine, art and design, and desert and mountain escapades but some of Africa’s most gorgeous and consistent surfing, too. The town of Imsouane, while not offering five-star luxury, is where intrepid and adventurous couples will find Magic Bay, the best place for both beginners and experienced wave-riders to learn or catch long, rolling, gentle waves. Or there’s boho Essaouira up the coast, a charming blue and white walled town on the Atlantic with windsurfing and regular, as well as camels on the beach. Romantic options for your overnights include L’Heure Bleue Palais, while Naya Traveler can arrange private surf lessons alongside other memorable experiences.
If you’re truly stoked on surf, a tour of Australia might be your ultimate getaway—just make sure to go in their summer (our winter) for more comfortable water conditions. Bondi is a classic choice to kick things off, and the surf-styled QT Bondi puts you just steps from the legendary beach, not to mention the iconic Icebergs pool. The Gold Coast is a no-brainer for those chasing waves, and Western Australia has a much higher quotient of surf spots to people—you can find magical places with far fewer people. If it’s balance you desire, go for the hippie-inflected town of Byron Bay, home to epically gorgeous beaches like Clarks and Tallow, plus opportunities to kayak with dolphins, hike in rainforests, dive on reefs and balloon over the aquamarine coast when you’re not doing a session with Let’s Go Surfing Byron Bay or sleeping in your plush, chic room at Elements of Byron Bay.
There are countless reasons to head to South Africa if you feel any affection for beautiful nature, incredible food, delicious wine or impressive wild animals on safari. Of course, Mother Nature graced Africa’s southernmost nation with wonderful waves, too. In Cape Town you’ll need to drive out of town a bit to find the best surf, but you can still indulge in pure luxury at The Silo or Belmont Mount Nelson during your off-hours. Or take the most spectacular road trip of your life along the Garden Route to Hermanus (stay at the pristine and romantic Birkenhead House and join the GM for his daily morning surf) for bounteous breaks and humpback whale sightings from the infinity pool, and to Plettenberg Bay, where the tony hotel The Plettenberg is a lovely home base for awe-inspiring hiking, dolphin watching and surfing.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the favored activity at Malibu’s The Surfrider, where colorful retro specially shaped boards are free to borrow and lessons with pros are available to guests of the flawlessly designed boutique hotel at one of Southern California’s most famous breaks. Up north there’s The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, where the Titans of Mavericks surf competition attracts big-wave surfers pulling off jaw-dropping feats, though there are also beginner spots to try. In bucolic Santa Barbara there’s Hotel Californian, overlooking the Pacific, just a short trip to half a dozen acclaimed waves and that easy-going beach-town lifestyle that is so welcome on a honeymoon. Orange County’s excellent surf is best enjoyed from the super comfy confines of the luxe Montage Laguna Beach, which feels like the beach house you’ve always dreamed of owning.
If you’d pass out at the sight of, say, Kelly Slater and Chris Hemsworth catching a party wave (not sure they’ve actually done it, but it would be epic!), Tavarua Island Resort should be your pick. Fiji’s surf is within easy reach from the island that seems to define paradise. Not too far is another that you won’t believe is real: Six Senses Fiji, on lush Malolo Island (also offering Tropicsurf courses plus the most effectively relaxing spa ever). Then there’s Laucala, the private island idyll where you can explore the world under the in a submarine when you’re not having the most five-star surf of your life: the smiling Fijian staff will pick you up on jet ski at the end of each wave you ride, and return you to the lineup to save your arms from all that extra, unnecessary paddling.