It seems like most places are either good for surfing or diving, but not both. Purely anecdotally, it seems like the clearer the water, the smaller the waves are. I'm an intermediate level surfer and a beginning diver, and my girlfriend is a beginner surfer and intermediate level diver. Are there places that are good for both? Something that could be a 3-4 day trip from New York would be ideal. Still, I'm interested in anything in the world that you might recommend.

I'm ok with traveling a bit between locations (e.g. if the diving was outside our hotel and we had to travel 45 minutes to get to the surfing beach, that would be ok). Maybe a good rough guide would be that one should be able to do both diving and surfing in the same day (so something like Mexico, with great diving on the Caribbean side and great surfing on the Pacific side, would not be an option).

  • 2
    Could you explain which country you'd be looking for? A 3-4 day trip - that mentions Mexico, I'm going to assume you're in the United States? Could you provide a bit more detail about what you're after; at present the question is a bit too broad (faq)
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 4, 2011 at 19:48
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    Ah, sorry - we're coming from New York, but am interested in places all over the world. I'm editing the question now. Thanks.
    – Jer
    Dec 4, 2011 at 20:07

5 Answers 5


Funnily enough, there's an answer on Google Answers by omniscientbeing-ga which seems ideal. I'll reword and adjust for here.

The real trick is finding a place that is good for both diving and surfing. I could list a ton that are good for either or, but it's tough to come up with places that have surfable waves and good diving that meet your criteria. That said, here are my suggestions:

  1. Nassau, Bahamas.-- Excellent snorkeling and SCUBA diving. Surf only if you can charter a boat to take you to the outer reef breaks. There’s not really surfable waves on the main island of Nausau, but there are remote reef breaks if you’re willing to pay a charter to take you there. The diving is easy access. Besides that, night life is there if you want it, as well as fine dining, gambling and just plain relaxing on the white sand beaches.Cable Beach is the main beach tourst area where most of the beach hotels are. English spoken everywhere, US dollars accepted. U.S. passports are not necessary if you have an original birth certificate with you as well as a driver license. You’d probably fly from NY to MIA (Miami Airport or perhaps Fort Lauderdale) and from their a smaller jet goes to the Nassau. It’s about a 45 min. flight from Miami to Nassau.
    Search Google for “Nassau Bahamas” and you’ll find plenty of info. “Atlantis” is the fanciest resort there. Nassau Beach Hotel is about as inexpensive as it gets to stay on the sand. If you stay in a hotel downtown, out of the main tourism area, it’s much cheaper. Taxis and shuttles abound.

  2. Florida Keys Again, fantastic snorkeling and SCUBA diving (John Pennekamp State Park is there, in Key Largo), but here there is absolutely zero surf. Diving in the Keys is best in Key Largo and Key West. There is also some good diving in the middle Keys around Marathon, but you’ll need an experienced boat captain to take you there. Although there is no surf in the Keys, Sebastian Inlet, on the Florida mainland, is known for good surf, depending on the conditions. It’s about a 6 hour drive north from Key Largo. So, you could conceivably rent a car and head up there for a day or 2 out of your stay in the Keys. Search Google for “Florida Keys” and you’ll find plenty of info.

  3. Bermuda - Nice diving. Surg occasionally if the conditions are right. Relatively close to you in NY. To find more details on the surf there, search for “Bermuda surfing” and see what comes up.

  4. North Carolina, Outer Banks—Good diving here offshore, if you go on the dive charter or “six-pack” boats. Also, there is surf both on the mainland and the Outer Banks. Close proximity to you in NY. Search Google for “North Carolina Outer Banks diving and surfing”

  5. With a 7 hour flight range, you can make the west coast of the U.S. North of Santa Barbara, California, it gets cold, so if you’re looking for warm, tropical water, this is not the place for you. However, southern California, especially in the Summer, is pretty warm, with water temps in the low 70s to upper 60s. Catalina Island comes recommended.

    Fly from NY to LAX. From LA you can take the express ferries daily to Catalina for about 80 bucks round trip for both of you. It’s 22 miles off the LA coast. Fantastic diving, if a little chilly, but with 1\8 to 1\4 inch wetsuits, you’ll be fine. Also, the backside of Catalina has excellent surf, for the adventurous, and of course LA has reat surf. Notably, Malibu beach, Zuma beach, El Porto and Palos Verdes, among other spots. Search Google for both “Catalina Island” and “Los Angeles diving” and “Los Angeles surfing”

  6. Baja California, Mexico. You could probably fly to San Diego, California, from NY in about 7 hours. From there, you could rent a car and drive south of the border into Mexico for 90 minutes to Ensenada, where both the diving and surfing is great. Water temp similar to Los Angeles and Catalina, some freaky cold currents aside. This would be an adventurous” type of trip, but there are nice hotels there if you choose. Or, you can camp along the beach. Search Google for “Diving and surfing in Baja California, Mexico.” Again, if you want warm tropical-ness, then Cabo San Lucas is the most tropical place for you in Baja, but that’s the tip of Baja, a solid 24 hours drive from San Diego.

I hope this gives you some good ideas. Have fun on your trip, and remember to always dive and surf safely, and don't fly after diving!

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    This doesn't look very reworded to me. In such cases, please make clear it's a quote, and give the original author's name or username. Dec 5, 2011 at 2:03
  • The original had a bunch of references like 'I think that' or 'my friends liked'. I've referenced the site, but quoting it now that I've taken out quite a bit out feels disingenuous to them. Fair point on their username tho, have added it to the answer.
    – Mark Mayo
    Dec 5, 2011 at 2:22

Hawaii is a good candidate, with its world-famous surfing waves and numerous scuba diving spots, including dives near flowing lava.


Okinawa, Japan. I've done snorkelling there and my friends did scuba diving. Fantastic reefs, great variety of fish, turtles and apparently wrecks from World War II. One can choose diving spots both on the East China Sea and Pacific Ocean. As for the surfing, there is a number of surfing spots suited for beginners but some are only for experienced/kamikaze surfers (see the table in the link).


Nicaragua. You have world class waves on the Pacific side and then cheap, top-notch scuba in the Corn Islands on the Caribbean side. You won't regret it. San Juan del Sur is your best bet if you want a good mix of beaches and nightlife, although there are better breaks further north. Little Corn Island is a topical paradise with caves and fairly unspoiled diving. I had the best night dive I've ever been on there. If you're a surfer/diver, Nicaragua is absolutely the best bang for your buck that I've experienced.


Dahab, Egypt. It is about one and a half hour drive from the larger city Sharm el-Sheik, which offers many of the same activities, but Dahab is much less touristy. It is my impression that the conditions for diving and surfing is much greater in Dahab, but the city is much smaller, and there is no beach and party culture. So dive/surfing connoisseurs take the extra drive to the more relaxed Dahab.

It's a small town on the southern Sinai peninsula, which mostly caters to divers and windsurfers (tourists and more permanent residents). It has only a few thousand residents, but over 50 dive shops. As a result, everybody in Dahab are connected to the dive community, and are very likely divers themselves. Due to the abundancy of dive shops and experts, many people (me included) take their first certification here. There are great dive spots for beginners accessible directly from the town centre.

It also has several great spots for advanced divers or tech divers, with plenty of deep underground caverns, the infamous Blue Hole, and wrecks like the famous SS Thistlegorm. Other world class diving spots are also accessible with a bit of travel by boat.

It is also reknowned for its windsurfing conditions. There's a big shallow sandbank, which offers strong, steady wind coupled with little waves. Outside the sansbank, I guess there are more waves, but we didn't see anyone out there. As opposed to windsurfing, I'm not sure the surfing is that great in Dahab, due to the smaller waves – but I am not sure.

It's a short 30min walk from the town, but I believe the windsurfers usually stay at hotels or resorts near the windsurfing facilities, and take a cheap taxi to the town for shopping or more restaurants.

Divers usually stay at hotels near the waterfront in the town centre itself, close to the dive shops, or even in the same building.

When we were there (2013) the place was almost devoid of tourists, due to the current situation in Egypt. I don't think that has changed now, a year later. That proved to be beneficial for us, since we got more attention from the dive masters, and all the dive spots were empty and undisturbed (I've heard tales of people who had to "queue up" in crowded dive spots).

As for the security threat, remember to check with the travel recommendations for your country. Currently (as it was then), they generally don't recommend travelling to Egypt with the exception of the common tourist destinations in Southern Sinai (Dahab and Sharm el-Sheikh included), but your mileage may vary.

  • I've been to Dahab and the scuba diving was below average.
    – Robs
    Jun 14, 2015 at 15:56

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