When you first think of surfing the USA, your mind will probably jump to the West Coast, with places like Malibu and Huntington Beach being firm favorites.
But the East Coast has some wonderful surf locations too, and in particular, Maine is a great place to catch some waves. This State is pretty much as North East as you can get in the USA, and it is famous for its rocky shorelines, powerful waves, and breathtaking views.
So, if you want to take a surfing trip to Maine, read this guide to find out how to prepare, and the 10 best locations to visit.
The 10 Best Surf Camps
Without a doubt, the best surf camp in Maine is Maine Surfers Union. If you are new to surfing then this is definitely the best place for you as it is essentially a one-stop-shop, for absolutely everything you could need. They offer custom surfboards and wetsuits, along with equipment rental, and, of course, surf lessons.
These lessons are run by highly-seasoned instructors who are not only experts at surfing, but also at the area in which this surf camp is based. As well as individual and group classes, this company also offers lady only surf lessons if that is what makes you more comfortable. So, there really is something for everyone.
On the shores of Scarborough beach, you will find Surf Camp Maine. This company is a flagship in the New England area as it is one of the few dedicated surf schools that offer week long classes.
As well as offering week long camps, this company also runs individual and group lessons, so that you can choose the teaching style that works best for you and your needs. This company offers all of this at a reasonable price, and is operated by those with a deep knowledge of Scarborough beach.
So, if you go out surfing with this company, you are guaranteed to catch some sweet waves.
In the Kennebunkport area of Maine, you will find Aquaholics Surf Shop. This is about 40 minutes south of Portland, and surrounded by beautiful shores that are excellent for surfing. While this company is branded a surf shop, they actually run excellent surf camps, suitable for surfers of all experience levels, from beginners through to advanced.
Their surf camps are reasonably priced and can be booked for groups up to 6 people, or individually if you would prefer. With highly experienced instructors, Aquaholics Surf Shop could be the best place for you.
Right off the shores of Old Orchard Beach, you will find Corner’s Surf Co. This company runs their surf camps in a slightly different way to the other businesses that we have looked at so far. This is because they actually offer surf classes for free if you rent a board with this company.
So, while equipment rental isn’t included in the price, you aren’t actually paying anything for your surf lessons. These classes are run by highly experienced instructors, and will take you to some of the most beautiful places on the coast of Old Orchard Beach. So, this is definitely a place to consider.
Another great surf shop that doubles as a surf camp is Liquid Dreams Surf Camp. This company has two stores in the State of Maine, with one in York, and another in Ogunquit. If you visit either of these stores you will find a surf shop, but the company runs a number of surf camps out of these buildings.
The company offers multiple surf camps throughout the summer months, as well as individual and group lessons throughout the year, and ‘special’ nights. These ‘special’ nights include ladies nights, camps specifically for children, and so on.
If you want to visit a piece of history, then you should go to Wheels N Waves in Wells, Maine, as this is Maine’s oldest surf shop. Not only is this business a surf shop, selling all the essentials you could possibly need, but they also offer lots of different classes and camps to help you improve your surfing skills.
These lessons can be completed individually or in a group, and there is a small additional charge if you want to hire equipment for the class. But, these classes are all reasonably priced, and run by some of the best surfers in Maine, so this is a great place to learn.
Near Scarborough Beach, you will also find Black Point Surf Shop. This is another brilliant surf shop that offers great surfing lessons which are run by seasoned surfers.
All the staff employed to take these lessons are incredibly familiar with the Scarborough area, so they will know the best spots to surf on the coast of this beach. Lessons are reasonably priced, and equipment rental is also very cheap, so if you want to visit the Scarborough area, check out this store.
In both Portland and Freeport, Maine, you will find Arlberg Ski and Surf stores. While you cannot book online, both of these companies offer surfing lessons and surf camps that can be booked in store.
They offer a huge range of surfing equipment, as well as equipment rental, so if you would prefer to surf alone, this is definitely an option. But, if you want to take some surfing lessons, pop into one of these stores and speak to a member of staff. They can then point you in the right direction to book yourself in for some classes.
Another great company based on the shores of Old Orchard Beach is Mocean Surf/Skate. This company offers equipment rental, and surf lessons. These lessons can be taken alone, or in a group. They can also be taken in private groups, or in a group of total strangers. So, this company will cater to both your social and antisocial sides.
These classes take place on the beautiful shores of Old Orchard Beach, and are run by instructors who know absolutely everything you need to know about the area. So, this is a great place to go surfing if you are in the area.
10. Grain Surfboards
Finally, we have Grain Surfboards. This isn’t a surf camp in the traditional sense, as this company does not offer surf lessons, and they do not have instructors.
Instead, this company aims to teach tourists more about the process that goes into creating surfboards. So, if you are someone who is truly interested in surfing, you might choose to visit Grain Surfboards to look at the intricate process that goes into creating these boards.
As well as teaching visitors how boards are made, this company also has a shop that sells some beautiful things created there. So, if you want a slightly different surfing experience, this is a great place to visit.
But, before you set off to Maine, there is some preparation that you will need to do. Here’s some key financial information to help you budget for the trip.
Meal Price Range
Meal prices in Maine will differ depending on what area of Maine you are visiting. However, on average, tourists tend to spend about $39 a day on food while they are visiting. This is based on the presumption that you are eating out, as a single meal should cost roughly $16 for dinner. Breakfast will be slightly cheaper.
If you want to reduce costs even further, then you could buy and prepare your own food while staying in Maine.
The costs of equipment rental will differ depending on what surf camp you choose to visit. Some of the places we have looked at include equipment rentals in the price of the classes, while others will charge extra on top.
Generally speaking, you should expect to spend $20-50 on top of the cost of classes if equipment rental is not included. But, prices will differ depending on the company, so once you decide where you want to go, you should check them out.
Prepaid SIM Card
You can purchase prepaid SIM cards in the USA for as little as $10 from lots of different places, including Walmart and most grocery stores. However, if you are visiting Maine from another US state, there is no need to purchase a prepaid SIM card.
If you are a US citizen, then you will not be charged international roaming charges when using your phone in another State, so there is generally no need to buy a new SIM card.
Maine has a lot of different public transportation options, so if you don’t want to drive while you are there, you don’t have to. You should expect to spend roughly $1.50 on a single bus ticket, with a monthly ticket costing roughly $45.00. So, before you pay for any public transport, consider how long you will be staying in Maine for.
Gas prices constantly fluctuate, changing almost every single day. However, in Maine, gas prices tend to fluctuate around the same price, with 1 gallon of gas costing approximately $2.80.
This is slightly higher than some other States, such as Kansas, which usually stays around the $2.50 mark. But cheaper than some other States, such as California, where costs exceed $4.
Types of Risk
Generally speaking, Maine is a State that has very few risks. Especially when you are traveling. In fact, Maine is known as one of the safest States in the nation, with an extremely low crime rate. This includes both violent crime and property crime.
Additionally, crime rates in Maine have been continually dropping in recent years, decreasing steadily with every single year that passes.
So, the only real risks that you will encounter on your trip to Maine are those associated with surfing. Maine is very North, so it is one of the colder States. Due to this, there is a higher risk of hypothermia when you are surfing in this area, so you should always remain cautious.
It is also very important to be careful when choosing areas to surf, especially if you are going solo, as the State has a lot of areas with rock bottoms. These rock bottoms can potentially damage your board, as well as your body, so always be watchful for signs pointing you where to and where not to surf.
How to Prepare
As well as budgeting for your trip, you will also need to do some other preparation. Here is some more information to help.
Maine is a US State, which means that you do not need to obtain a Visa in order to travel here from any of the other States in the USA. But, you will need to take your passport with you as a form of photo identification. It is very important to take your passport with you as Maine borders Canada, which is not part of the USA.
Again, as Maine is part of the USA, you do not need to get any ‘special’ vaccinations in order to travel to these States. So, before you set off to Maine, you will simply need to ensure that all of your routine vaccinations (including MMR, Polio, Chickenpox, etc.) are up-to-date, then you are good to go.
Language and Currency
As Maine is part of the USA, the national language for this State is English. Some people might speak other languages, however English is most common. The official currency for Maine is the US dollar ($).
Checking Surf Forecast
The best way to check the surf forecast for the area that you are staying in is to look online. To check the surf forecast for Maine, click here.
Before you travel to Maine, you must take out a travel insurance policy that is going to cover your surfing activities while you are on your trip. Even though Maine is in the USA, surfing often isn’t covered by regular insurance. So, it is best to take out an additional policy if you want to avoid any unwanted bills should anything go wrong on your trip.