It is easy to associate surfing with hot weather and bikinis, but you can catch good waves in much colder areas too. So, if you want to go surfing on the West Coast of America, but find that California doesn’t appeal to you, you might want to consider surfing in Washington instead.
The State of Washington is very North in America, bordering Canada, and because of this it generally has colder temperatures than other States. But, you can catch some truly excellent waves in this area with the backdrop of incredible views. So, you might want to consider taking a trip here instead.
To help you plan for your trip, we’ve put together this guide to the 10 best surf camps in Washington, along with lots of excellent information to help you prepare. So, if you want to find out more, then keep on reading.
10 Best Surf Camps
In Westport, Washington, you will find Bigfoot Surf School. This is a company that is run by very experienced surf instructors who have travelled the world surfing, and have chosen Washington as a base to teach others this skill.
For these coaches, Westport is home, so they definitely know the area and the best places to visit. The company offers a variety of different surf lessons for all ages and experience levels.
Additionally, they offer equipment hire independently of the classes if you would prefer to surf alone. So, this is definitely a company to visit if you are visiting this area.
In Forks, Washington, you will find LaPush Surf Adventures School. This is a smaller surf school that targets athletes and adventure seekers who want to get a thrill on the great waves that the Northwest offers.
They are run by experienced instructors, and offer a variety of classes including shorter group and individual lessons, as well as an all day surf camp.
No matter what class you choose, this company will work with you to improve your surfing ability, no matter the skill level you are starting with, or your age. So, this is another great surf camp to consider.
Alternatively, in Seaview, Washington, there is a great surf school called Skookum Surf Company. They operate year-round, by appointment only in the winter months, and walk-ins welcome from June through to September.
The instructors here are incredibly passionate about surfing, and they know that they are good at what they do. The company even boasts that a single surf lesson with this company is the equivalent to 15 solo sessions, so they promise to teach you skills that will make you better.
Additionally, they offer equipment hire if you would prefer to explore the Northwest on your own.
Moving back to Westport, you will find Steepwater Surf Shop. This company operates all year round, offering excellent waves and experienced instructors who can take your surfing skills to the next level.
As Westport is such a hotspot for waves, a lot of people solely use this shop for equipment hire. However, they have a whole load of wonderful instructors who are patient and will teach you to become better.
They offer classes to those from the age of 6 upward, and run both individual and group lessons. So, if you want to make the journey to Westport, consider Steepwater Surf Shop.
If you are a thrill seeker who would like to experience lots of different exciting sports on your surfing trip, then North by Northwest is the place for you.
Primarily this company offers surfing lessons and equipment, but they also run ski and surfboarding classes, utilizing the cold weather that Washington experiences. If you just want to hire equipment, then you can pick this up off the shores of Port Angeles.
They also offer individual and group lessons that run every day at reasonable prices, with surf camps running throughout the year. If you want to attend a surf camp with this company, give them a call for more information.
Just outside of Seattle, you will find Surf Ballard Surf Camp. This company offers equipment hire, individual lessons, and an additional summer surf camp that runs every July. In this surf camp, you will have 3 days of surfing, with equipment and meals included in the price.
With an ideal location just outside of Seattle, you are guaranteed to find affordable accommodations to go along with this, making this a great trip if you want 3 days on the waves. With highly experienced instructors and a deep passion for surfing, this is a great place to visit.
One of the best surf camps in the State of Washington is Washington Surf Academy, which is based in Seattle. They are located on Sea view Avenue, which is just across the road from the sea, allowing easy access to great waves.
The company runs Summer surf camps every single year, all of which are run by experienced surf instructors who know the area and the best places to visit.
Throughout the rest of the year, you can rent equipment and get both group and individual classes from the company. So, if you want to go surfing in Washington, this is a great place to visit.
On the border of Washington and Oregon, you will find Northwest Surf Lessons. The company operates across the two States, so it is important that you check the location to ensure that you are picking one of their stores that operate out of Washington.
Northwest Surf Lessons have incredibly experienced instructors and utilize some of the most beautiful areas of the West coast to run their classes.
Additionally, they offer a variety of lessons and equipment rental options to ensure that there is something for everyone. So if you want to do a road trip of the West coast, Northwest Surf Lessons is a great choice if you want to cross over to Oregon too.
Another company to consider is Westport Surf Rentals and Classes, who operate out of Westport, Washington. Their website really isn’t that great, and it is only possible to order equipment hire through this. But, if you visit their physical store, then you will be able to book yourself in for both individual and group surf lessons.
These classes are run by experienced instructors, and excellent value for money. So, if you want to visit the Westport area, this is another great place to consider.
As their name suggests, Salmon Bay Paddle Classes primarily run SUP classes for paddleboarding. But, they also offer surfing lessons and equipment hire, so they are another camp to consider. They are based out of Seattle, Washington, and run by people who are very experienced in a lot of water sports.
While you can have individual surf lessons, one of the best camps that this company offers is their ‘paddle, surf, and discovery’ camp. This camp allows you to pick up new skills, and also gives you the opportunity to try out other water sports as well as surfing.
So, if you want to try out something new, this is the best place to visit.
But, before you set out to Washington, you need to do some planning and budgeting. Here’s some handy information to help you.
Meal Price Range
As is true of everywhere, the costs of food in Washington will differ depending on where you choose to eat. However, you should expect to spend roughly $30 per day on food. This is assuming that the average meal eaten in a restaurant/café in Washington is $12 per person, with breakfast costing slightly less money.
As you have probably already gathered, equipment rental is usually included in the price for most surf lessons and camps.
Equipment rental doesn’t really cost the company anything, so you will probably find that you are getting the equipment included for free. If you want to pay separately for equipment rental, this will usually cost you around $50 for a day.
Prepaid SIM Cards
When traveling abroad, prepaid SIM cards are the best way to avoid international roaming charges on your regular cell phone. But, as Washington is part of the USA, you will not need to worry about international roaming charges. However, if you want to pick up a prepaid SIM card, you can usually buy one for approximately $10.
Public transportation in Washington will cost roughly $2.25 for a single ride on one of Seattle’s many buses. However, you can also get day passes for these buses, which work out cheaper at roughly $4.50 for an adult.
Gas prices vary from State to State in the USA, with Washington being one of the more expensive States. Gas prices usually cost roughly $3.63 in Washington State. However, remember that gas prices fluctuate constantly.
Types of Risk
Compared to some other places across the World, Washington State is generally a very safe place to travel. They do experience some adverse weather, and this State does have a lot more snow than some other areas in the USA. So, it is important to remember this when you are picking a time of the year to travel.
Washington State is home to some dangerous animals, so depending on where you are traveling in this State, you should bear this in mind. These animals include coyotes, wolves, cougars, and bears.
So, if you are traveling in the countryside, you should beware that these animals could be nearby.
In terms of surfing risks in Washington State, you should beware of occasional wild weather. The coasts of this State do experience gale force winds, which lead to dangerous currents that could catch you off guard if you are new to the area.
So, it is very important to be cautious if you are traveling alone. It is also worth noting that the coast of Washington State is scattered with some very sharp rocks, so beware of these too.
But other than this, all you need to do is err on the side of caution while you are away. Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior, and always look after your belongings. There may be opportunistic criminals around, but generally speaking this is a safe place to travel.
How to Prepare
Finally, here’s some more helpful information to help you prepare for your trip before you travel to Washington.
There is no need to obtain a visa if you are traveling to Washington from another State in the USA. But, you will need to take your passport with you as a form of photo identification. This is very important as Washington borders Canada and you may find yourself unknowingly crossing the border.
There are no specific vaccinations that you will need to get before you travel to Washington, as it is part of the USA. However, it is very important that you have had all of your routine vaccinations and that they are up-to-date before you make the trip.
If you plan on traveling to very rural areas of Washington, you should speak to your doctor to see if they would recommend any more vaccinations.
Language and Currency
Again, Washington is part of the USA, so the official language is English. Additionally, the official currency for Washington State is the US dollar ($), so there is no need to convert money before you set off.
Checking Surf Forecast
Surf camps will check the surf forecast for you, but if you want to do it yourself, we would recommend using a website to do this. To check the surf forecast for Washington, click here.
The most important thing to do before you set off on a surfing trip is to take out a good insurance policy. Some companies will not include surf insurance in their regular travel insurance, so it is very important that you take out a policy that covers this before you hit the waves.