Best Florida Surf Town

Jan 11, 2022
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From west coast Florida, currently living in Hawaii. I never want to leave, but I have a feeling the wifey is going to push for the move back in a couple years. Before we roast her, she agreed to a year in HI and we’re now in talks of 2-3yrs.

Trying to get ahead of the planning so if we do have to move back we can compromise on a solid place I can still surf. I grew up making trips to Sebastian inlet, cocoa, etc but I don’t remember the towns much at all. If money were not an issue, what area would you guys be looking? We’re both younger and still enjoy going out and having some drinks. Ideally want to be in a surf town with good food, bars, and surf.
 

Clayster

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From all the places i've been in Florida, I would be looking at the Space Coast
This. Brevard is a very long county, north to south. It has the best bathymetry in Florida to capture swell. Far and away the best stretch of surf breaks in Florida. If there is a swell, you can move around and find a lot of good spots, and once you know the terrain, you can find very uncrowded breaks.

But, tedshred is also correct in that NSB/ Ponce Inlet, is one of Florida's best waves. I grew up in Volusia County, so am a bit partial to it. But good breaks in Volusia are limited, and NSB is crowded, now.
 
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Jan 11, 2022
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I’ve definitely surfed ponce and nsb before, but way long ago. How are the towns? Nsb would be cool because I enjoy redfishing too and mosquito lagoon is right there. I faintly recall tons of sharks surfing nsb.

Have to sell the wife on this. I brought her to cocoa beach about a year ago and she hated it haha. I forgot how touristy it is. Granted I did bring her to the Ron Jon area and it gets cooler a little south.
 
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Clayster

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I’ve definitely surfed ponce and nsb before, but way long ago. How are the towns? Nsb would be cool because I enjoy redfishing too and mosquito lagoon is right there. I faintly recall tons of sharks surfing nsb.

Have to sell the wife on this. I brought her to cocoa beach about a year ago and she hated it haha. I forgot how touristy it is. Granted I did bring her to the Ron Jon area and it gets cooler a little south.
Yeah, Cocoa is much better south of the pier area. Satellite and Melbourne Beach are better still. But the beach in Cocoa is nicer and broader. And the neighborhoods off AIA south of Melbourne beach, down to Sebastian rock, if you can afford them.

You do NOT want to live west of Indian River in Cocoa. Very ghetto. Melbourne/Satellite are ok.

NSB is a nice town all around imo, from just a living standpoint, but pricey.

Cocoa is most affordable, satellite/Melbourne next, then NSB.
 

Sharkbiscuit

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what area would you guys be looking? We’re both younger and still enjoy going out and having some drinks. Ideally want to be in a surf town with good food, bars, and surf.
1. Volusia County
2. Duval County
3. Brevard, aka Space Coast
4. St. Augustine/Flagler Counties
5. Sebastian/North Treasure Coast
6. Fort Piece/Central Treasure Coast
7. Jensen-Stuart/South Treasure Coast
8. Jupiter/Juno/Palm Beaches

If you're trying to convince the wife Volusia and she didn't like Cocoa, avoid going to Daytona proper. Try the "historic" district in New Smyrna. Or just North of Daytona, there is a road called Beach St/Riverside Drive. It's on the West side of the Intracoastal, nice views of the "river", and then it passes through Tomoka and Bulow Creek State Parks. Some creeks/spartina and lots of old, undeveloped hammock forest. Tree-shaded roads. Pretty.

Ponce is the best right in the state - Sebastian died about 20 years ago and the catapult take off, tube, and oncoming ender ramp has gone the way of the dodo. New Smyrna is crowded, but much more spread out, shifty, currenty, wash-through-y etc. than other spots. Does a decent job breaking through the tides. Usually much less frustrating to get a wave at New Smyrna vs Ponce Inlet, Jax Pier, Vilano, Fort Pierce Inlet, Juno Pier, Delray....

In Duval County, Neptune and Atlantic Beaches are nicer/quieter than Jax Beach. So don't go over the Beach Blvd or JTB bridge and drive North on A1A if she didn't like Cocoa. Come over Atlantic, hang a left on Sherry, and drive up to 18th St, park and surf check. Jax Pier (mid-high) and Mayport (lower, usually) are the second most consistent spots after Smyrna/Ponce. Better tide options and better Summer swell than Space Coast. Walk-to-surf housing more affordable. There's lots of B/C-grade beachbreak to spread out.

Brevard isn't flat all summer, but it's worse in Summer than North Florida. Better in Winter, but the spots South are better than Brevard in Winter. Recommend Melbourne zones and Satellite Beach. The reason I have it third is it doesn't get as much trade swell, wants a little more swell to get rideable, and in my opinion, if it's not low tide, you're fucked unless you like bodyboarding shorebreak.

St Augustine/Flagler is quieter. No wind protection. Kind of fickle, mid-ish tide spots depending on side and period.

The rest of it, basically every mile you go farther South, you need more North in the swell and more money in your bank account, there's usually less access to the beach, fewer spots - except Fort Pierce Inlet which is nuclear crowded.
 
Jan 11, 2022
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@Sharkbiscuit man thanks for the thorough response! Lot to consider. Everything over there is heaps cheaper than here for sure haha. Might need to vacation and check all those areas out again. I’ve been eying Surfline cams, makes me feel spoiled over here lol. Better than nothing though
 

Sharkbiscuit

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@Sharkbiscuit man thanks for the thorough response! Lot to consider. Everything over there is heaps cheaper than here for sure haha. Might need to vacation and check all those areas out again. I’ve been eying Surfline cams, makes me feel spoiled over here lol. Better than nothing though
Home insurance?

If you have any specific interests, likes, or dislikes that might help. If money is no object and the water can't get under 70, there are some lovely properties with no public access nearby in the $30-80M+ range available in the Manalapan area. If you are big into beach-launch snorkelling/spearing/lobstering then maybe the Treasure Coast is a better call. If you need a change of seasons, North Florida is better. If you need reefbreaks, you will have to be selective. If you have a security clearance, the Space Coast might be an obvious choice. If you're good at wrenching on Harley Davidsons, Daytona.

In Palm Beach, the water mostly stays above 70. In Satellite/Melbourne, it mostly stays above 60. In Jacksonville, it will get under 55 every three or four winters.

If you can surf weekdays, having walk-to surf is a big deal. I grew up in Vero and my friends surf South Brevard almost exclusively. That's 30 minutes one way, lower tides only. I can walk up the street in minutes.

Lots of the better spots are either logistically a pain in the ass or unaffordable as hell. Mayport is a ways from Downtown Jacksonville at 7am. South Brevard is a ways from Melbourne or Vero at 7am. New Smyrna the surf spot is isolated at the end of a strip of barrier island and if it's a holiday weekend, it'll take you 10 minutes to go 100 yards approaching the North Causeway on Peninsula. There is a vast difference between the surf at the Inlet and the rando slop at Flagler Avenue; it's not like the whole town is good. The Fort Pierce Inlet end of Orchid/North Hutchinson Island is served by a drawbridge. Fun when it's up on a weekday morning/evening!
 
Jan 11, 2022
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Home insurance?

If you have any specific interests, likes, or dislikes that might help. If money is no object and the water can't get under 70, there are some lovely properties with no public access nearby in the $30-80M+ range available in the Manalapan area. If you are big into beach-launch snorkelling/spearing/lobstering then maybe the Treasure Coast is a better call. If you need a change of seasons, North Florida is better. If you need reefbreaks, you will have to be selective. If you have a security clearance, the Space Coast might be an obvious choice. If you're good at wrenching on Harley Davidsons, Daytona.

In Palm Beach, the water mostly stays above 70. In Satellite/Melbourne, it mostly stays above 60. In Jacksonville, it will get under 55 every three or four winters.

If you can surf weekdays, having walk-to surf is a big deal. I grew up in Vero and my friends surf South Brevard almost exclusively. That's 30 minutes one way, lower tides only. I can walk up the street in minutes.

Lots of the better spots are either logistically a pain in the ass or unaffordable as hell. Mayport is a ways from Downtown Jacksonville at 7am. South Brevard is a ways from Melbourne or Vero at 7am. New Smyrna the surf spot is isolated at the end of a strip of barrier island and if it's a holiday weekend, it'll take you 10 minutes to go 100 yards approaching the North Causeway on Peninsula. There is a vast difference between the surf at the Inlet and the rando slop at Flagler Avenue; it's not like the whole town is good. The Fort Pierce Inlet end of Orchid/North Hutchinson Island is served by a drawbridge. Fun when it's up on a weekday morning/evening!
Ideally I’d like to be able to bike to surf before work. Bonus would be a small boat lift on a canal to some redfishing areas. Surf would be #1 priority though lol. We go out a lot so fun bars and good food would be nice too. Nsb sounds like a great option so far. I have friends in jax but they don’t surf so never hear about the waves there.

Water temp and weather isn’t a huge factor for me. Although I did visit florida last month and it was straight death heat haha. I’m too used to 70-85 everyday here now.
 

Sharkbiscuit

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Ideally I’d like to be able to bike to surf before work. Bonus would be a small boat lift on a canal to some redfishing areas. Surf would be #1 priority though lol. We go out a lot so fun bars and good food would be nice too. Nsb sounds like a great option so far. I have friends in jax but they don’t surf so never hear about the waves there.

Water temp and weather isn’t a huge factor for me. Although I did visit florida last month and it was straight death heat haha. I’m too used to 70-85 everyday here now.
Okay Daytona, Jax Beaches, St. Augustine, and Space Coast. But you will have to give a little to get a little. Being able to surf New Smyrna before/after work vs weekend warrioring any of the other three will be a pretty massive difference in amount of Florida-fun surf you get. But you might be blowing dudes at a gas station by the Speedway to get a ride home after last call if the scene in Smyrna isn't cutting it. Likewise, there will be a big difference in how many days you surf and how many waves you take off on over chest high if you can surf Mayport on weekday mornings in Winter, just because the jetty cuts the windchop and everywhere else is shredded with a longshore sweep.

St. Augustine, the "fun bars" might be more of a "fun bar". Cocoa got the thumbs down but is probably the best bar scene in Brevard County. The bars within a few blocks of the end of Beach Blvd in Jax Beach and Atlantic in the Atlantic/Neptune Beach will most likely be livelier than the Space Coast or St. Auggie.

Let me offer a really good secret to help your surf #1 priority thing.

Don't. Leave. Hawai'i.

There's a 20 page thread from an erBBer who loved California (LA/OC) and moved to South Florida (Broward) which admittedly is considerably worse for regularly surfing than Central/North Florida. He's not a happy camper.


There's a 12 page thread from an erBBer who left Oahu for San Diego. He's happy outside of surfing, but finds San Diego surf uninspiring.


I am not sure what the worst setup is for surfing in Coastal SD. Living in Coronado and almost always driving would be my guess. I would also guess that weekend warrioring stuff from Huntington to Northern Baja based in Coronado might still be better than flexible work-from-home in a condo overlooking New Smyrna.
 
Jan 11, 2022
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Has there been any updates on the wave pool in Edgewater? Everything I find says it should be opening this year, but those articles are a year old.
 

INDTUBE

Legend (inyourownmind)
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Take it from me - don't do it man! I endured 7 months in south FL and fucking gave up - worst place I have been - some of the towns up north were actually really cool in and around New Smyrna - people super friendly - fishing looked way more fun than any wave I saw. Just slept right on the beach and no one gave me a hard time -
 
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Sharkbiscuit

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Has there been any updates on the wave pool in Edgewater? Everything I find says it should be opening this year, but those articles are a year old.
The latest Google Earth image of that zone is April and it looks unchanged since 2021.

I remember reading and texting something about WaveGarden tech coming to Jacksonville, and now that appears to have been yeeted clear off the intarwebs.

Most likely it's a corrupt incompetent shitshow like every other toll road, condo, etc.
 
Jan 11, 2022
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The latest Google Earth image of that zone is April and it looks unchanged since 2021.

I remember reading and texting something about WaveGarden tech coming to Jacksonville, and now that appears to have been yeeted clear off the intarwebs.

Most likely it's a corrupt incompetent shitshow like every other toll road, condo, etc.
man I hope it opens. Really basing this move on that wave pool opening haha. Very odd there is absolutely no info though. I’ve seen images of the street being named perfect swell,etc but that’s it. Surfed the one at Waco a bit and it’s a good time for sure
 

Sharkbiscuit

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1. man I hope it opens.
2. Really basing this move on that wave pool opening haha.
3. Very odd there is absolutely no info though.
4. I’ve seen images of the street being named perfect swell,etc but that’s it.
5. Surfed the one at Waco a bit and it’s a good time for sure
1. You and enough people to to create 24/7 demand for about half a dozen wave pools.
2. Wew lad.
3. Uhhhhhhh.....lad, we have not yet begun to Florida. Did we say the reliability of Florida surf was suspect? Reliability of Florida construction crews makes the surf look like fukn Indo.
4. The put a sign on a dirt road west of the I-95/SR-442 interchange called Perfectswell AND managed to take a picture of it before it got used to sight half the shotguns/rifles in Southern Volusia County? I think you used up all your miracle points and you are now deeply in karmic/spiritual debt.
5. Guess who will be surfing it again!
 
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So many wave pools in development in FL. Ft Pierce, Edgewater, Tampa bay, winter garden proposing one too recently. That’s just the ones I can think of.

I’m a gulf coaster also. Awesome place to grow up and then raise a family but not so much as a surfer. I love the space coast but it’s still pretty damn sleepy over there. Wife and I briefly considered moving there but family kept us here. St Augustine area would probably be my vote