5 of the best family-friendly surf vacations around the globe

With these family-friendly surf-trip destinations, you can keep everyone happy.

Whether it be Mexico or Samoa, surfers, non-surfers and those in between all can have a fantastic trip.

Honolulu, Hawaii

If you can’t have fun on Waikiki, you can’t have fun anywhere. Photo: Jeff Whyte/Shutterstock
For the surfer: The South Shore of Oahu offers small waves and warm water. In winter, a 40-minute drive sees you on the famed North Shore with its iconic breaks and great waves.

For the kids: The rolling waves off Waikiki offer kids the perfect place to learn to surf, SUP and even kayak. Nearby, the Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium and Kapiolani Park offer wildlife and education (if the whale-watching and snorkeling haven’t kept them busy).

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For the non-surfer: As for the kids, the whale-watching and snorkeling are superb — if you can get off the sunbed. If nightlife, rather than wildlife, is your thing, Honolulu is a bustling hub for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Kuta, Bali

No waves, but who cares when you’re in Dreamland — literally. Photo: Visionsi/Shutterstock
For the surfer: Everything from the gentle beachbreaks of Kuta to some of the heaviest reefbreaks in the world are up on the Bukit peninsula.

For the kids: The Balinese are famous for their hospitality and love of children. If the surf is too big, the resort pools are always offshore.

For the non-surfer: Cheap and cheerful restaurants to high-end dining, and the nightlife is legendary. The amazing spas, fantastic shopping and incredible arts and crafts complement the beautiful beaches and inland mountains.

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What they said: “We stay in Canguu near Kuta ever year. The hubby walks to the waves and takes the eldest surfing, the young kids love the pool and the local babysitters have become family friends. Oh, and the food is amazing.” — Jaime Blakey, owner of fashion label One Teaspoon

The Gold Coast, Australia

surf trips
The aquatic playground that is the Gold Coast. Photo: Courtesy of ASP/Kirsten
For the surfer: The Superbank at Snapper Rocks is very well-known, but within a 20-mile drive of this break lies beautiful boulder-strewn points, empty beachbreaks, the odd reef and stunning coastal locations. Boardshorts and sunny weather only add to the attraction.

For the kids: It’s a great place to learn to surf, while elsewhere the theme parks of Sea World, Dream World, Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet ‘n’ Wild should tide them over when the surf is too small (or too big).

For the non-surfer: A holiday haven with great beaches, good food, nature walks, fishing, nightclubs and shopping. Who needs waves?

What they said: “I’m biased, because I live here, but my kids have all learned to surf on the inside runners at Rainbow Bay, and the fishing and lifestyle here is the best in the world.” Joel Parkinson, professional surfer

Punta Mita, Mexico

Punta Mita
Punta Mita from above. Photo: Courtesy of livepuntamita.com
For the surfer: With a 1,500-acre pear-shaped peninsula surrounded by the Pacific on three sides, there is no shortage of waves. Crystal-clear warm water completes the setup, although access to a lot of breaks can be difficult and requires boat transfers.

For the kids: Get used to squeals of delight as the littles frolic with dolphins, sea turtles, humpback whales and a myriad of tropical fish. No jet lag is a bonus!

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For the non-surfer: Visit the mountains of the Sierra Madre, get to know the village of Tequila and its most famous export, explore the bay on a private yacht, snorkel, scuba dive or venture out to see majestic humpback whales.


Benny Audet leaves the kids happy and gets shacked in Samoa. Photo: Courtesy of Darren Perkins
For the surfer: In one word: uncrowded. A scaled-down version of Hawaii, Samoa boasts offshore reefbreaks that provide world-class waves. Most breaks are reached by boat, and expert guides are essential.

For the kids: The surf camps like Sinalei Reef Resort and Sa’Moana are located on the sand, with the kids deciding between the beach or pool. The waterfalls and adventure tours (snorkeling, quad-bike, etc.) are also a great day out.

For the non-surfer: Incredible seafood and ocean wildlife are the attractions, but so is the relaxed lifestyle. This is a place almost trapped in time, where you can immerse yourself in good food and good wine and truly let go of your everyday worries.

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What they said: “After doing holidays in Bali and Hawaii, we found paradise in Samoa. The husband scored great waves, the kids loved the rock pools and we all enjoyed the local culture.” — Traveler Bianca Audet

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