Last Updated: 02.10.2023
Surf travel is relatively simple, no matter how small or big your group is. You could be a solo traveller, travelling in pairs or as in larger groups. You choose a location that you would like to visit, book flights and arrange accommodation, then jet off for an indeterminate amount of time to score pumping waves and make new friends. But add a mini travel companion (or two or three), and the act of dropping everything to chase a distant swell suddenly requires a bit more planning to make it a family-friendly surf trip.
For those of you accustomed to surfing and traveling with the ones you love, the benefits of a family surf adventure are perfectly obvious.
You have the opportunity to visit a different country as a family, see new places, get surf lessons together, relish fresh flavors, and try new things for the very first time. Not to mention that watching your child take off on their very first wave is a pivotal moment in every proud surf dad or mum’s life.
In short, the positives far outweigh the challenges.
The reality though is that there are many more things to consider when it comes to a family surf vacation, such as whether a particular destination caters to families, the level of safety that it offers and if it’s even within your budget.
In this article, we make planning a family-friendly surf vacation easy by discussing the benefits of traveling with the partner and grommets in tow while highlighting some of the more popular surf spots around the world for families.
What to look for in a family-friendly surf holiday?
To ensure we’re on the same page when it comes to the definition of a family-friendly surf vacation, we’ve based this article on the following criteria.
Surf instructors who make you feel welcome, a comfortable bed to rest your head after a long day chasing waves and a few modern conveniences to keep the kids happy all go a long way when it comes to traveling as a family. At the end of the day, you should feel relaxed and as if you’re in a home away from home for it to be the best surf vacation for a family.
Family-friendly surf vacations are rarely cheap, but you do have options. Many surf camps including Rapture Surfcamps offer family-friendly surf packages and accommodation that cater to different budgets. Just remember that the cheapest accommodation isn’t always the best. Stretch your funds by looking for somewhere that offers inclusions such as complimentary breakfast and dinner, free wifi, and beach transfers.
Surf camps that prioritize convenience are focused on making your entire trip go smoothly. At Rapturecamps, we operate an innovative booking and customer service system that allows you to access the information you need quickly. This means that you’re treated to an authentic experience, whilst still being able to enjoy a streamlined booking and check-in/check-out process.
The distance between your accommodation and the beach and your accommodation and the nearest airport is important. The last thing you want to do is undertake a strenuous journey to your destination after a long flight. Having to drive yourself to and from the beach on a daily basis will also wear on both you and your wallet.
Quality refers to the standard of services that a particular surf camp provides, whether or not they offer a range of activities and the state of the camp itself. A good quality family-friendly surf camp should cater to all of the needs of your family with employees that are quick to respond to any questions you may have. It should also be considered safe to visit and have access to creche, kids club or nannying facilities
Our Top 3 Family-friendly Surf Destinations
The following destinations are worth considering for your family-friendly surf vacation. By booking a trip to any one of these places, you can share once in a lifetime experiences, embark on a captivating trip to a historical site, and otherwise enjoy all the country in question has to offer.
For many, a family surf vacation to these destinations will be even more rewarding than a solo strike mission, given that you can reflect upon these memories collectively for years to come.
The only downside is that if you happen to drop in on your wife, husband, or young one during the ride of their life, you may not ever hear the end of it. Perils of surfing with your significant other aside though, these are some of the safest and most beautiful countries for wave-loving families to visit.
Portugal has always given the best surf vacation for families visiting here. It has some of the best breaks in Europe. A special mention goes to Ericeira with its fantastic mix of surf spots for all skill levels, trendy restaurants, and activities for the whole family, is a standout destination.
Wake up late and linger over a hot coffee or a few fresh “Pastel de Nata” with your loved ones, then stroll down the beach for a lazy day by the cool Atlantic. After you’ve had your fill of sun, waves, and pastries, head home for a late afternoon siesta before ending the day with dinner under the stars.
If that doesn’t have you immediately Googling flights to Portugal, you’ll be pleased to know it’s also considered to be one of the safest countries in the world, third only to New Zealand and Iceland. This all but guarantees some welcome peace of mind for both mum and dad.
What’s more, the Portuguese are incredibly hospitable and the culinary scene is constantly evolving which means there are plenty of family-friendly dining options and other family-friendly fun activities.
If there’s one thing that will leave an imprint on your soul after traveling to Indonesia and in particular the island of Bali, it’s that the locals are some of the happiest people in the world.
Their cheerful presence will ensure your family is treated to a pleasurable stay for the duration of your trip. Not to mention Bali is also home to world-famous waves, food that’s an adventure unto itself, and a landscape will leave you breathless.
Many hotels and resorts cater to families by offering discounts and child-friendly menus for the little ones. Exploring the island is also incredibly easy, given that private transport options are both plentiful and affordable.
If you hail from a western country and want to introduce your family to a unique and interesting foreign culture, a family surf trip to the stunning paradisiacal island of Bali should be on the cards. Bali is known to have several spots with consistent waves with equal opportunities for perfect conditions for beginners and expert surfers alike.
Dubbed the Switzerland of Latin America, Costa Rica has enjoyed almost 70 years of peace and political stability. Beyond being incredibly safe, the country is popular amongst traveling families due to it being one of the most strikingly beautiful places in Central America.
In the Guanacaste Province, for example, lush jungles with drooping palm trees butt against an array of impressive white-sand beaches that offer the perfect playground for surfing parents and kids alike.
Staying in this area will make you may feel like you’re in a distant world of your own, however, the great thing about the Guanacaste coast is that you’re never far away from the conveniences of modern life.
Towns such as Tamarindo boast multiple dining options for kids and function as your gateway to a variety of tours and family-friendly adventures. Getting to this area is also easy, given that there is a domestic airport with regular shuttles to and from Tamarindo.
6 Tips to Create the Best Surf Vacation for Families
If you’re ready to embark on a family surf vacation to a distant part of the world, these tips will help make planning, packing, traveling and surfing infinitely easier.
1. Be Diligent in Choosing a Destination
It all starts with choosing the right destination for your family surf trip.
Is it affordable? Is there a selection of flat-day family activities that you can partake in when the swell drops? Is the destination in question safe for family travel?
Send emails, join forums or reach out to our team if you want to qualify a particular spot. We’re more than happy to help you find the perfect place to spend your family surf vacation.
2. Don’t Forget Family Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is one of the first things you should organize during the planning stage. As a mum or dad, you’ll be pleased to know that many companies offer value for money family travel insurance.
Purchasing family travel insurance is better than buying insurance individually since one policy can cover the whole crew. Some policies also include children under a certain age for free, which will save you a few bucks.
Just remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Be prepared to shop around or check out our travel insurance page here to learn more about coverage for surf trips.
3. Keep your Documents Organized
Looking after your own travel documents can prove difficult when you’re bouncing between countries, but when you’re in charge of multiple passports, insurance documents, visas and what have you, the stakes are much higher.
Don’t collapse under the strain of responsibility. Get organized and ensure everything you need to travel can be easily accessed when you need it. At the very least you should know where your essential travel documents are when you leave home.
After all, nobody wins when you get to the airport only to realize you’re short one passport.
4. Pack Appropriately and Travel Light
Packing can be incredibly daunting, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Instead of cramming everything into your board bag and calling it quits, take the time to pack appropriately for the destination in question. You’ll need less than you think and manage with whatever you bring, so don’t stress out.
Opt for backpacks instead of suitcases and bring plenty of sunscreen. If you do happen to forget toiletries or an item of clothing, there’s a good chance you can pick it up at your destination.
5. Enquire about Family Discounts
Check all the pricing options for families or groups, as it can save you a lot of money. These special packages can make your trip less tiring to organize and also help you in saving some cash.
Private guides, transportation, surf schools, tours, restaurants, and entry fees to certain attractions are just a few travel experiences that may offer a discount to families or kids. At the end of the day, you never really know until you ask.
Feel free to hit up the company you’re booking with about any special deals for families or large groups even if it isn’t advertised on their site or in their brochure.
6. Try out the Off-beat Attractions
A surf trip is a grand adventure, full of unexpected turns, funny moments, and timeless memories.
This doesn’t change when you travel with your family. In fact, we believe that it actually makes the entire experience all the more worthwhile. So don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track and try not to lose your head when things don’t go to plan.
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Yes, a surf trip can be a fantastic family vacation. It offers a blend of adventure, relaxation, and the opportunity for family members of all ages to enjoy the beach and ocean activities.
Yes, many surf schools offer family-friendly lessons, providing instructors experienced in teaching both adults and children. These lessons often focus on safety and creating a fun learning environment.
Families should prioritize safety by choosing beaches with lifeguards, wearing appropriate safety gear like rash guards and leashes, and following the guidance of experienced surf instructors. Understanding local conditions and surf etiquette is also crucial.
Yes, travel insurance is advisable for any trip, including surf vacations. It can provide coverage for unforeseen events, trip cancellations, and medical emergencies, ensuring peace of mind for the entire family.