When the ocean isn’t in particularly good shape for a surf, that doesn’t mean you have to sit indoors moaning all day. There are still plenty of ocean activities to take part in when the waves aren’t at their best. In fact, there are many activities that are even better when the waters are calmer.

Whether you’re planning a beach trip with a group of non-surfers, or just looking for a way to enjoy the ocean on your non-surf day, here are our top 7 ocean activities to try when the ocean is flat.

1. Snorkeling

Snorkeling is one of the best and easiest ways to explore the shallow ocean floor. All you need is a snorkel mask and a sense of adventure. If you’re visiting a beach with clean waters and a lively reef, snorkeling will allow you to explore that environment and observe different ocean life such as fish, anemone, and more!

You can either go out on your own or hop on a tour if you’re visiting a beach town that is a little more tourist-oriented. Snorkeling is perfect on flat water too, as it is much easier to swim around when you don’t have to fight against moving water.


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2. Exploring the Tide Pools

Whenever the surf isn’t looking too hot, but I still want to go down to the beach, I always get excited to check out the tide pools. Here you can find tons of sea life, including starfish, urchins, lobsters, and more, without ever having to step foot in the water.

3.Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

Women using stand up paddle while boarding


Stand Up Paddleboarding is one of the more popular water activities in places where the waves aren’t surf-able. At its foundation, stand up paddleboarding isn’t very hard to get the hang of, though it gives you the ability to explore the ocean’s surface, ride smaller waves, and take in some gorgeous views of the ocean.


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4. Kayaking

people doing kayaking

Ocean kayaking can be done solo, with a partner, or with a crew, if you decide to get multiple kayaks. Kayaking has been around for many generations, and it allows you to paddle out further into the ocean blue to explore.

There are many benefits to kayaking. For starters, it is an insanely good workout. Secondly, because you can paddle further away from shore, you can find better spots to observe marine life, go fishing, or snorkel.

We recommend taking a kayaking tour if you’ve never been before to learn the basics.


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5. Kite-surfing

Man kitesurfing

Kitesurfing is another very popular activity throughout the world. It’s more for experienced ocean goers or those who are in great shape, as it isn’t easy to perform. If you’re going to start kitesurfing, we highly recommend going and taking some lessons to begin, as there are a lot of foundational techniques that you must learn to properly maneuver your rig.

6. Scuba Diving

Scuba diving in blue water

Now obviously you can’t just go scuba diving anywhere and any time. You must either be certified to scuba or go with a scuba diving school to explore. With that said, if you are visiting an oceanic area with an abundance of ocean life or reef formations, scuba diving is one of the most rewarding ocean activities out there.

Scuba diving allows you completely immerse yourself in the ocean’s ecosystem and it is the closest you can possibly get to becoming part of the sea life.


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7. Fishing

people fishing on the seashore

As a kid, I used to go deep sea fishing all the time out of the Port of Long Beach. It’s a classic way to spend the day out on the water. If you’re lucky, you can come away with a nice catch for dinner.


Not all is lost when the surf is low. Beyond these 7 ocean activities, there are plenty more out there to try. You just have to get a bit creative! We hope that our list has given you some inspiration for your next day on the water. Have fun and stay salty!

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