Great Fall Surf Road Trips. Fall is the perfect time to get in the car and find some waves. So pack a wetsuit and some boards then embark on one of the following quests for surf-induced happiness.
To Hunter S. Thompson, the end of Geary Boulevard in San Francisco was “the end of the line,” but for surfers, it’s the beginning of three miles of sandy shores and powerful waves at Ocean Beach. The area is a swell magnet during the winter months, though afternoon onshore flows can turn the surf into a chaotic mess.
From September through April the Jersey Shore is a mecca for surfers across the Northeast, and the Garden State Parkway is the gateway to the state’s fine surf and diverse coastal culture. Sandy Hook (Exit 117) is the northernmost break, and the lineup offers views of Manhattan’s skyline.
Once the stomping grounds of the fearsome pirate Blackbeard, North Carolina’s barrier islands are now a hub for surfing, kiteboarding, and fishing. Highway 12 runs from Kitty Hawk to Hatteras, and the main thoroughfare never strays more than a mile from the Atlantic Ocean.
If your sense of adventure is undeterred by warnings like kidnapping, carjacking, and highway robbery (actual terminology from the State Department’s Mexico Travel Warning), then Northern Baja could be your ultimate surf road trip.
Wisconsin may not abut a mighty ocean, but the shores of America’s Dairyland still see surf. The best waves occur in the fall and winter months, so scoring on the Great Lakes generally requires thick, full-body neoprene and a willingness to break icicles off your eyelashes.
While Oregon is better known for year-round skiing on Mount Hood and the fixie crowd in Portland, the Beaver State also has 363 miles of coastline along Highway 101. In the winter, powerful storms in the Gulf of Alaska send massive waves to spots like Nelscott Reef in Coos Bay.