There are some excellent beaches in the US with the biggest waves, and most are located on the west coast. This article looks at the beaches that are considered to have the biggest waves in the United States. Let’s find out which one made our list.
The beach in the USA with the biggest waves is Maverick’s beach in Half Moon Bay, California. Waves at Mavericks can reach 60 feet. It is also where the Big Wave Surfing competition is held yearly. Mavericks lure surfers worldwide, and top surfers can be seen there each winter.
Surfers are always looking for the best place to catch the next monster wave. This article, we help you find the biggest waves there are on any US coastline. Read on to find out where they are!
Beaches in The US with The Biggest Waves
Many beaches are perfect for surfers who like to surf casually and like waves that are not too dramatic. However, some surfers prefer the waves that test their skills and pump adrenaline. We look at all the best beaches for monster waves in the United States and Hawaii.
Mavericks Beach – California
Professional surfers are always looking for that next big wave, and Mavericks is the place to find them. In California, Mavericks beach at Half Moon Bay attracts surfers worldwide to conquer the monster 60-foot waves. Many surfers, unfortunately, lost their lives at this beach which means that it’s too dangerous for inexperienced surfers.
A short distance from Pillar Point Harbor, Mavericks are clearly visible. During winter, from November to March, storm swells push the waves at Mavericks into some of the biggest waves in the world.
Maverick’s beach got its name from a local surfer who named it after his dog. The beach is also well-known for Jeff Clark, a Half Moon Bay local who surfed there for 40 years.
The landforms under the ocean at Mavericks form a massive break when W-NW stormy winter waves roll in and wind from the east blows offshore.
The first Mavericks surfing competition took place in 1999. The annual Big Wave Surfing competition is held at Mavericks each year. Dates for the event can vary and are announced just before the event when surf forecasts are ideal.
Many surfing films and documentaries have been filmed there, like Chasing Mavericks and Discovering Mavericks, telling the history of this fantastic beach.
Mavericks are also favored by people who love walking their dogs on the beach. Unfortunately, camping is not allowed on the point, and the parking lot is locked at night.
Even if you are not a surfer, enjoying the beach and watching the surfers ride the huge waves at Mavericks is worth visiting.
The beach is situated a quarter-mile offshore from Pillar Point bluff-top viewing areas outside the Air Force military installation. It is easy to find because the big white telemetry dish used to traffic aircraft can be clearly seen from afar.
To find Mavericks by road from Highway 1, continue through Princeton-By-The-Sea’s Half Moon Bay town, drive north onto West Point Avenue and drive to Pillar Point Marsh parking lot.
When you reach the parking area, walk down to the harbor, turn right, and follow the walkway to the jetty and around the corner to get to the beach.
Backdoor, Oahu – Hawaii
Backdoor beach is in Oahu, Hawaii, one of the beaches that offer perfect waves and great surfing. Unfortunately, it is only suitable for professional and experienced surfers. The waves at Backdoor beach are fast, hollow, and massive.
The waves at Backdoor can quickly reach over 18 feet and are dangerous because of the sharp rocks and coral reefs that line the beach.
At Backdoor, there are three reefs, and each one is more challenging than the other. Backdoor beach is not as famous as other surfing beaches in Hawaii. However, it is less crowded, making it easy to find a good spot to surf. This surfing beach is not recommended for anyone that is a newbie.
Oahu is the third biggest island in Hawaii and is famously known as “The Gathering Place.” with its 227 miles of coastline.
Banyans Beach – Hawaii
Still, in Hawaii, Banyans Beach is in Kailua-Kona on the west side of Big Island. It is another famous beach that offers the biggest waves. Banyans can be challenging if you are an inexperienced surfer.
During winter, some areas around Banyans feature massive Northwest waves. Banyans Beach has an exposed reef break that features consistent big waves any time of the year.
Other than surfing, Banyans also hosts the Ironman World Championship triathlon and the Kona Coffee Festival. Banyans Beach gets wind most days of the year, which means excellent conditions in the early mornings. Banyans Beach is a hot spot for professional and local surfing contests, which means it is often busy most days.
Banzai Pipeline, Oahu – Hawaii
Located in Oahu, Hawaii, the Banzai Pipeline, also referred to as just the “Pipeline,” is another beach famous for the biggest waves in the United States. During winter, it features some of the biggest waves in Hawaii.
The Pipeline is where the famous movie Blue Crush was filmed, and the TV series Hawaii Five-O featured a few episodes filmed at Pipeline.
Each year, this popular surfing spot hosts The Billabong Pipeline Masters and the Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic. The waves at Pipeline typically average between 9 and 20 feet. Unfortunately, Pipeline claimed the lives of several surfers.
Some of the world’s top surfers don’t have enough experience to surf at the Pipeline because of its big wave and dangerous reefs.
The Pipeline is the place where surfers claim that surfing was invented. It is worth a visit even if you are not a surfer.
Cardiff Reef Beach – San Diego
Cardiff Reef is a popular surfing spot for the local community in Cardiff and surfers from all over the globe. Cardiff Reef beach has attracted hardcore surfers, longboarders, and families for decades.
This beach is a favorite for multi-generation surfing families who like to hang out together in the water. The waves at Cardiff beach are typically slow, but with extreme low tides and big winter swells, this beach is where the big boys hang.
Surfing’s most legendary figures, like Ryan Burch, Joel Tudor, Linda Benson, and Mick Rogers, love the lefts at Cardiff Reef beach.
Cardiff Reef beach is easy to locate; it is just a short drive west from US 101 highway. Take the Machester Exit from I-5 that heads west and turn into San Elijo Avenue. Drive north on San Elijo Avenue, and you will soon see the bobbing heads of surfers in the water.
Jaws, Maui – Hawaii
Jaws beach in Hawaii not only features killer waves but instills fear with its 50-foot waves. Jaws Beach is excellent for watching surfers, but the waves are a bit far out, so best to bring a pair of binoculars.
The super-strong winds create waves that can reach up to 80 feet during winter. This famous Hawaiian beach propelled surfing legend Shane Dorian, to stardom.
Shane Dorian won Billabong’s XXL Ride of the Year and was inducted into the Surfer’s Hall of Fame.
With its extra big waves, Jaws is not suitable for inexperienced surfers that can easily be swept onto the slippery rocks by super big waves.
Reef Road Beach – Florida
Some of the best surfing beaches are on the west coast of the US. Florida may not be famous as a big wave destination like Hawaii or California, but some impressive waves are still there to surf.
Florida isn’t typically famous for having the biggest waves, but Palm Beach’s Reef Road beach can rival a few. Reef Road features waves that can reach 15 feet and more during winter.
Reef Road beach is often called the “big-wave spot.” To truly get the biggest waves, north to northeast swell at low tide is what to look out for. Waves at Reef Road can reach epic proportions during hurricane season and wintertime.
Another Florida beach that is famous for surfing is Cocoa Beach. Kelly Slater, a six-time Surfing World Champion, learned to surf at Cocoa Beach and is often seen in the surf. Cocoa Beach hosts the Ron Jon Easter Surfing Event and the National Kidney Foundation Pro-Am Surfing Competition.
Rincon Point, Santa Barbara
The next beach on our list with the biggest waves is Rincon Point in Santa Barbara. It is located just slightly off Highway 101 between Carpinteria and La Conchita. Rincon Point beach sand strip with rocky access that requires the rock dance.
Rincon Point beach is a public beach located next to a private gated community. This famous surfing beach features right-hand waves that break around the east side. The Rincon Classic surf event is held at this beach annually.
Rincon Point beach offers authentic surfing without commercial frills. Any surfer visiting California must put Rincon Point beach on his list of big wave beaches to conquer.
Rincon Point attracts surfers worldwide because of the big waves it features. Rincon Point beach is accessible from 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
This surfing area features three great spots that constantly provide big steady waves. Rincon Point beach features favorite surfing spots like The Rivermouth, Indicator, and The Cove for surfers who like the waves extra big.
The Rivermouth, just as its name indicates, sits at the mouth of Rincon Creek. When it storms, Rivermouth should be avoided due to pollution.
The Indicator is a favorite surfing spot when the Cove is overpopulated with longboarders. The Indicator features good size waves that are slow to ride and is a perfect alternative to The Cove.
The Cove is a perfect surfing spot for big waves; it starts halfway up the point and trails down onto the rocks. The legendary surfer Tom Curren developed his skill and surfing style at The Cove at Rincon Point beach.
To reach Rincon Point beach, take the Bates Road exit off Highway 101; it is south about three miles of Carpinteria. Continue Bates Road toward the beach on the left to the Rincon Point Beach parking lot.
Waimea Bay – Hawaii
Waimea Bay in Hawaii features consistent big waves for even the extremist surfer. Waimea beach is located on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii. This beach has played a historical role in big-wave surfing for many years.
Waimea Bay beach hosts the Quicksilver Big Wave Invitational each year. The famous surfer Greg Noll made his name at this popular beach in the 1950s.
This beach regularly offers 50-foot waves, which are excellent for even the most experienced surfers.
Waimea Bay beach has powerful currents and a dangerous shallow sharp reef that must be avoided when surfing at the Bay.
Waves at Waimea Bay is a thrill seeker’s dream come true and one of the top destinations for big waves. It is a popular holiday destination for people who love to follow the top surfers worldwide.
The beaches with the biggest waves in the US are:
- Banzai Pipeline, Oahu – Hawaii.
- Banyans – Hawaii.
- Backdoor, Oahu – Hawaii.
- Cardiff Reef – San Diego.
- Cocoa Beach – Florida.
- Huntington – Huntington Beach.
- Jaws, Maui – Hawaii.
- Laguna Beach.
- Lower Trestles – San Clemente.
- Mavericks Beach – California.
- Malibu – Los Angeles.
- Reef Road Beach – Florida
- Rincon Point – Santa Barbara.
- The Wedge – Newport Beach.
- Waimea Bay – Hawaii.
The US has several fantastic surfing beaches to offer. Some of the best ones with the biggest waves are Mavericks in California, Banzai Pipeline, Oahu in Hawaii, Rincon Point in Santa Barbara, and Backdoor, Oahu in Hawaii.
Some surfers like to surf gentle waves without drama, and then hardcore surfers dream of monster waves to conquer that are so big it’s only fitting to call them dangerous and extreme. Whichever kind of surfer you are, we hope the beaches we listed above help you find the beach with the most consistent high waves for your surfing style.