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We compare: Family surfing holidays

We've selected some great surf trips for families where there's more than just waves on the horizon

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 9 Apr 2019, 00:19 BST, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 15:05 BST


Photograph by Getty Images


Where: Croyde, Devon

What: The last thing anyone wants on a surf trip is disappointing waves. That's where Croyde shines; this golden sandy bay's exposure to the Atlantic means the surf's extremely consistent. While the waves can be challenging, Croyde Surf Academy guarantees beginners will be up and riding in their first lesson or the second lesson's free. It also offers kids' camps (8-16 years) during school holidays, and for those who want to practise on their own, there are lifeguards on the beach during summer.


Someone in the family not up for surfing? Try coasteering or foraging, then end the day in one of the village's many excellent pubs.

How much: Lessons from £99 for a family of four.

Stay at Ruda Holiday Park, close to the beach, which offers lodges, caravans and safari-style glamping tents with kitchens and loos. Prices from £189 for three-night weekend in March.

Why: No flights and affordable accommodation make this Devon village a surfing hotspot.


Where: Praia do Guincho

What: Famed for its rolling waves, consistent wind and glorious sunsets, Praia do Guincho is a popular Portuguese surf hub. Set in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, just 40 minutes west of Lisbon, Surf's Up (certified by the Portuguese Surfing Federation), teaches kids from five years old and, in addition to private family lessons, offers dedicated surf clinics for children (6-18 years) during school holidays. Days are spent surfing and playing games, beach football or frisbee.


Surf's Up can collect kids from the nearby Oitavos Resort, giving parents free time to chill out on the hotel's on-site golf course, yoga pavilion or in the spa.

How much: Private two-hour family surf lesson (two adults, two children) costs €200 (£177), including equipment, session photos, and transfers. Five-day kids surf clinic €250 (£222). Rooms at the Oitavos from €157 (£139).

Why: Families can surf together or apart, giving everyone time for other activities such as yoga.

Costa Rica

Where: Nicoya Peninsula

What: Costa Rica's Nicoya Peninsula is a rugged region with beaches, waterfalls and tropical jungle, where you wake up to the sound of howler monkeys and exotic birds. There's excellent surfing to suit all levels (best between December and April) and most surf schools give lessons to children as young as five. Stay at the luxury Florblanca Resort, and the resort offers a free lesson for under-12s. There's a superb spa and excellent Pilates and yoga instruction, with other activities including zip-lining and horse riding along the beach.


The beautiful beaches of Playa Hermosa and Playa Santa Teresa are on your doorstep.

How much: Seven nights at Florblanca from £2,820 per person including six private surf lessons, return flights (international and internal) and transfers.

Why: Kids get the chance to enjoy the surf, along with numerous outdoor activities.

Sri Lanka

Where: Ahangama

What: Sri Lanka is a world-class surfing destination offering warm water and consistent breaks, including the 2km Weligama Bay.

Soul & Surf operates from a 12-bedroom villa in the jungle near Ahangama. Week-long retreats include yoga and surf sessions, with guided meditation and Pranayama offered in the evening. Group surf lessons for kids are also available (6-16 years), along with activities including guided canoe river trips, Sri Lankan cooking classes or SUP sessions.


With family rooms and group meals, this surf break can be a good option for one-parent families keen to connect with other travellers.

How much: A seven-night retreat based on two adults and one child sharing a room from £2,075. The price includes accommodation, full board and the activity programme. Flights are extra, around £592 return, direct with

Why: A laid-back holiday with a warm welcome from friendly locals and the chance to enjoy social meals.

Published in the 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller – Family

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