The U.S. has hugely popular surfing locations all along the East and West coast in the likes of California, Maine, and Washington. People seem to forget about the excellent surf in Michigan.
We know what your thinking, surfing, and snow doesn’t go together, but Michigan’s Great Lakes are incredible, producing some pretty big swells and some great waves. Locations such as Lake Superior and Lake Michigan have breaks suitable for anyone from beginners to more experienced surfers looking to improve their technique.
Experienced surf instructors deliver high-quality, fun lessons all around Michigan. Tailored lessons are designed to get you up on the board or work on more advanced maneuvers. With a wide range of lessons on offer, it can be quite overwhelming to find the right classes for you. That’s why we have done the hard part for you.
We have put together a list of the best surfing schools and lessons in Michigan. There is something for everyone whether you are a newbie wanting to learn or a veteran surfer wanting to work on your skills.
At the end, you will also find a handy buyer’s guide with some things to think about when booking your lessons.
Without further ado let’s dive straight into the list!
Third Coast Surf Shop has specialized day camps for children. As the camps are designed for children the lessons are fairly basic. Lessons look to teach your children the basics of how to surf in a fun and friendly environment.
The well-adapted sessions are run by highly qualified instructors who will ensure your child is having the most fun they can whilst also staying super safe.
Also on offer at Third Coast are brilliant lessons suited to beginner and intermediate adult surfers. Lessons can be booked on a 1-1 basis and last for an hour and a half. If you want to surf in a group, group bookings are also available.
- Specialized lessons for children – If your child wants to learn to surf then this is the place.
- Equipment included – This school also provides the equipment for you.
- Alternative activities – If the weather is too bad the surf school will deliver an alternative surf-related session.
- No surf camps for adults – This school only offers camps for children.
2. PKF Camps
PKF is a camp that follows the Christian Bible. Their week-long summer camp aims to introduce children and teenagers to Jesus through fun, safe and interesting activities.
The surf camp available at PKF Camps uses passionate surf instructors to get children up on a board. The surf camp takes place at a private beach where children will also be given the opportunity to try out horseback riding, wave running, and more!
This might not be the camp for everyone, but the private sandy beach and crystal-like water is inviting!
- Socialize – This camp is perfect for children wanting to make new friends.
- Variety – There are a variety of activities with PKF Camp.
- Private beach – You will have the beach all to yourself.
- Week-long camps only – There are no shorter or longer camps available.
Sleeping Bear offers a wide variety of fun surf lessons and camps for anybody that whats to give surfing a go. The two experienced instructors have a vast knowledge of surfing and aim to share their passion with as many people as they can.
Lessons are 1 hour 30 minutes long and can be taken in small groups, private groups (perfect for families), and on a 1-1 private basis. If that wasn’t enough this surf school runs day-long surf camps aimed at women, men, and children. Camps vary from daily shred sessions to a more unique camp where you surf and paddleboard.
For those that enjoy Yoga too, you are in luck. You can expect Sleeping Bear to get you doing some Yoga on your board. You better get practicing your downward dog!
- Private group bookings – If you are traveling with family or friends it is a nice touch that you can book a private lesson for you all.
- Variety of lessons – There are an array of lessons and camps to choose from.
- Equipment included – Don’t worry if you don’t have any equipment, the school will let you use theirs.
- No advanced lessons – This school doesn’t offer more advanced lessons.
This surf school is crazy about watersports. The dedicated team wants to share their passion for the water through a huge variety of exciting lessons. The surfing lessons here are excellent. The instructors cater to all providing a lesson program that suits your ability.
They are happy to teach you whether you are 6 or 60. The lessons you book can be just for you or taken in a group with your friends. The coaches will get the best out of you and aim to get you on the board after your first lesson.
Also on offer at Great Lakes Surf are foil boarding, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, and paddleboarding lessons. Why not give something else a try whilst your there!
- Experienced instructors – The instructors can coach an array of activities.
- Tailored lessons – The lessons can be tailored to suit you.
- Adventurous – This school is full of adventure and fun.
- No camps longer than a day – There are no longer camps at Great Lakes Surf.
The Boyne Moutain Wake Camp is for those surfers looking for a more expensive surfing vacation. This camp gives surfers of all levels an unforgettable experience, delivered by expert surf instructors.
Here you can book a fun-packed itinerary where you not only get the chance to surf every day but also try out new activities. You have the opportunity to learn how to wakeboard, flip in the trampoline park, and zipline down the mountain.
Each camp lasts 3-5 days and fits in as many things as possible to ensure you go home nice and tired.
Boyne Mountain camp may be expensive but it is definitely worth the money!
- Overnight stays – This camp is perfect for those looking for a surfing vacation.
- An array of activities – You will always have something to do.
- Sessions to fit all surfers – Lessons are suited to beginner and advanced surfers.
- No single bookable sessions – You can’t book one surfing lesson.
Motor City provides visitors with the chance to learn how to surf daily. Lessons are available for people that have never surfed before and those who have never known anything else. Primarily this surf school offers kite surfing lessons which could be good for those of you who want to see how transferable your skills are.
Despite the main focus being on kitesurfing lessons, daily 1-hour 30-minute surf lessons are delivered by an extremely good instructor. Before taking beginners into the water you will be shown the basic positioning and movements on land. Experienced surfers can get stuck in straight away. The instructor will then give you the pointers and tips you need to improve.
All you need to bring with you is your swimwear, board shorts, and a rashguard.
- Experienced coach – The instructor has years of experience.
- Kitesurfing – Try your hand at something new.
- Daily lessons – Lessons are run every day.
- Rashguards needed – New surfers need to ensure they bring a rashguard with them.
- No camps – This school only runs single lessons.
7. Camp Action
The camps at Camp Action range from 1 day to a week in length. At Camp Action the focus is all about happiness and having fun. Surf coaches pride themselves on being able to deliver fun and exciting lessons that also improve your skill level in surfing and a variety of other adventure watersports activities.
As well as surfing lessons for you and the family you can take part in wakeboarding, paddle boarding, and boat day trips too. Whether you are looking for a fun day out for the family or an adventurous escape, Camp Action has something for everyone.
This camp isn’t as suited to those that want to focus solely on surfing but it is ideal for anybody looking to try lots of new things and stand up on the board.
- Excellent stays for families – This camp is geared up to suit family vacations perfectly.
- Try other watersports – You can pick from a wide range of watersport activities on offer.
- Multiple camp options – You can visit Camp Action for a day or one week.
- Not many options for advanced surfers – This school isn’t the best for experienced surfers looking to improve their ability.
Surfing With Sol offers surfers the chance to surf in a different kind of way. Suited more to experienced surfers, Sol takes you out wake surfing. Wake surfing is essentially the same as normal surfing but the waves you ride are produced by a boat, hence the name wakeboarding.
The advantage to wakeboarding is that you are guaranteed big waves all of the time giving you the best opportunity to improve your surfing. Surf With Sol offers half and full-day packages, taking you out to catch some pretty gnarly waves.
They work closely with you to improve the way you stand on the board, and how you perform a variety of maneuvers. The reason this camp is better suited to more experienced individuals is that you need to be able to confidently stand on the boards in deeper
- Big waves guaranteed – The boat creates big waves to surf on every time.
- Super fun – Wakeboarding is an entertaining way to surf.
- Suited to experienced surfers – This gives better surfers more chance to learn.
- Not suited to unconfident surfers – This isn’t suitable for people not ready to go on the water.
MACKite can offer you a range of different lessons that are run by quality instructors. Unfortunately, they don’t offer specific surfing lessons. Instead, they offer lessons looking at different variations of surfing.
If your looking to try another style of surfing then this could be a good option for you. This school can provide you with lessons in how to kitesurf and foil board. Both are entertaining and quite difficult to do. They are definitely something you will benefit from learning.
Lessons can run over the course of 3 hours or 2 days, depending on what lesson you are looking for. Private lessons are available for those who want to learn on a more personal level. Beginner lessons include simple groundwork to get you started.
Looking for something different, then give this school a go!
- Different – Try something new.
- Lessons that fit your schedule – You can fit lessons around your plans.
- Fun – Entertaining lessons will help you have a great day.
- No traditional surfing lessons – You can only try out new types of surf lessons.
10. Surf Starters
As you can probably tell from the name this school delivers surf lessons to people who have never surfed before. Mainly focusing on wakeboarding, Surf School aims to start your long-lasting love of surfing.
Their Rapid Ride program is designed to get you up on a wave in no time at all. It covers all the basics you need to know for how to stay safe when surfing and the basic movements required to effectively ride a wave. Lessons are run daily by great coaches as long as the weather is being kind.
The unique experience is perfect if you are looking for a comfortable environment to learn in with other people who have never surfed too.
- Perfect for new surfers – This school is specifically designed for you.
- Range of sports – Try wakeboarding and foil boarding in one day.
- Qualified instructors – Instructors will make sure you are ready to ride the waves first.
- Not suited to experienced surfers – This school is aimed at beginners.
When looking for surf lessons in Michigan consider these points.
Type Of Lessons
What type of lessons are you looking for. Surf schools offer daily lessons on a 1-1, or group basis and longer camps that you can take as your vacation. You need to think about this when booking your lessons. Ensuring you book the lessons/camps that last the length of time you are looking for will make your experience more enjoyable.
Type Of Surfing
The surf schools in Michigan have a range of different styles of surfing. Make sure you find the one that suits you best. You can choose between traditional surfing, foil boarding, and wakeboarding. You don’t want to book the wrong type of surfing so think about this a lot.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where Can I Surf In Michigan?
Michigan has a variety of surfing locations, these include:
- Grand Haven.
- Sleeping Bear.
- St. Joseph.
Does Michigan Have Big Waves?
In the summer waves in Lake Michigan tend to be 2-4ft high. In the winter months, the waves can be up to 8ft high in some areas. It has to be said though that in the past monster, waves have been recorded in Michigan.
Some waves have actually reached 28ft in height. It’s fair to say those waves aren’t the safest to surf in.
What Is The Best Time Of Year To Surf In Michigan?
Late summer, fall, and winter are the best times to surf in Michigan. This time of year is when storms begin to move across the lakes creating bigger waves thanks to the cold air and strong winds.
Make sure you have your wetsuit though, it can get very cold!
It’s not hard to see why there are so many surf schools in Michigan. Its beautiful scenery and rugged landscape create the perfect place to escape and surf. Offering a variety of surfing lessons and activities, there really is something for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned professional or somebody wanting to try something new, you will find a surf lesson that you can enjoy and learn from.