About Beacons

A working person's wave nestled amongst more high-profile breaks like Swamis and Cardiff Reef, Beacon’s can offer something for everyone. Popular with beginners when it’s small and gutless, the wave breaks further out on a rock reef as the swell gets bigger to offer up quality lefts and rights. Score it on a good W swell with stiff offshores and you’ll understand just how dynamic this spot is. Picking up swell pretty much year-round, Beacons can be good in the middle of summer when a solid S is running and the water’s warm enough for trunks. Conversely, it loves a good W swell with E winds in the morning and water temperatures in the mid 50s. Beacons also has a way of sucking in local windswell, so when there’s not enough long-period swell for Swamis and Cardiff, Beacons is a viable option.

Source: Beacons Surf Guide

Ability Level

All Abilities

Beg Int Adv

A lot of talented surfers call Beacon their homebreak, so while the setup isn’t necessarily the most intense, getting a good one out here means being able to negotiate all the nuances of a packed house.

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

The gentrification of the Cardiff zone has defused the heady North County vibes of yesteryear, but there are still a lot of lifelong surfer families that enjoy the spot.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

It’s pretty much never empty, yet not nearly as crowded as Swamis a few clicks up Highway 1. Because of its abundant options, Beacons is a high-traffic surf spot with a steady stream of newbies and old salts.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

A dependable, workingman’s wave that’s well-utilized by the community. It’s not an aggro zone, but you should know what you’re doing before you paddle out.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Most days the paddle is relatively easy, requiring a few duck-dives but nothing serious. Big winter W swells are a different story.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Suffers from the same urban runoff problem as a lot of breaks between Carlsbad and Del Mar. With numerous outflow sources, winter rains can create some nasty problems.

Additional Information


Reef injuries, various rocks.


Park in the main lot off of Neptune Ave. or anywhere along the street. Walk the path down to the beach. The San Elijo State Beach is also nearby — a great option for all those #vanlife surfers.

Bring Your

Shortboard, fish, funboard, longboard


Flat rock reef with patches of sand and sea grass. As far as reefs go, this is one of the more mellow setups you’ll find in this wave-rich part of North San Diego County.

Best Season

Autumn is best, when early-season W swells coincide with E wind Santa Ana conditions. Beacons picks up swells from a lot of different angles, through, and can be fun in summer and winter, too.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

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