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Topic Title: driving up/down the east/west coast in search of waves
Topic Summary: Driving America's coasts in search of good waterfront camping and epic surf
Created On: 12/06/2017 08:40 AM
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 12/06/2017 08:40 AM
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mattbujor

Posts: 114
Joined: 11/08/2013

Has anyone here driven the east or west coast of america living out of their car/camping and visiting cool cities/points of interests but mainly focused on the surfing?

 

I've got a wagon at the moment and I'm craving driving up and down the coast in search of waves and just the thrill of traveling and seeing new spots.



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 12/06/2017 10:09 AM
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artz

Posts: 551
Joined: 10/30/2014

I have done that on both coast. West Coast from Imperial Beach To North of San Francisco. I have also Camped and Surfed many of the better waves on Baja. Its an adventure. Been robbed , harassed by locals and Police Surfed some great spots with really good surf. Met some excellent people. Have some really great stories and a few sad stories. In fact now that I am retired We are looking at buying Small RV and hitting the road again. Never to old to be a surfing Gypsy. 

 12/06/2017 10:23 AM
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RocketSurf

Posts: 205
Joined: 03/20/2014

Drive UP the east coast for the best view. Camp a lot, surf a little. Check Hatteras
Drive DOWN the west coast for the best view. Camp a little, surf a lot. Check Jalama

Take every ferry instead of highway on your trip even if it adds hours.
 12/06/2017 11:41 AM
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mattbujor

Posts: 114
Joined: 11/08/2013

Originally posted by: artz I have done that on both coast. West Coast from Imperial Beach To North of San Francisco. I have also Camped and Surfed many of the better waves on Baja. Its an adventure. Been robbed , harassed by locals and Police Surfed some great spots with really good surf. Met some excellent people. Have some really great stories and a few sad stories. In fact now that I am retired We are looking at buying Small RV and hitting the road again. Never to old to be a surfing Gypsy. 

 

 

Never too old and never too young Safe travels buddy!



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 12/06/2017 11:43 AM
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mattbujor

Posts: 114
Joined: 11/08/2013

Originally posted by: RocketSurf Drive UP the east coast for the best view. Camp a lot, surf a little. Check Hatteras Drive DOWN the west coast for the best view. Camp a little, surf a lot. Check Jalama Take every ferry instead of highway on your trip even if it adds hours.

Haha sounds like you've had a lot of experience with this, please share...

 

I can't begin to say how excited I am to watch the sunrise sets on the east coast and watch the sunset on the west coast



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 12/06/2017 01:11 PM
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tom

Posts: 5900
Joined: 07/25/2003

Yes!

my 2 cents:

Take your time, don't have an agenda.

Camp in state and national parks where you can, they're great.

Stay off the main highway as much as possible, secondaries are so much better.

Smile at people and tell them your traveling, they'll often hook you up with the best local whatever.

We are so looking forward to doing it again. 

 12/06/2017 02:29 PM
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SunriseSurfer

Posts: 8235
Joined: 07/22/2003

Been a few years (wow 10 years ago)
but did a West Coast California trip back in 2007 ....

.... a few links from the past.
Damn, (almost) makes me want to do it again ...
... though now I think i would prefer pulling into the parking lot with the RV
and checking into the hotel. It was fun though.


Link 1


Link 2
(scroll down, more links and pics)


Link 3


Link 4



...flashback
















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Puerto Rico 11 - 24 - 2013
 12/07/2017 06:28 AM
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ww

Posts: 14184
Joined: 08/17/2007

Years ago, I drove from Florida to a new job in Portland thinking the Pacific, cold and nasty, wouldn't be worth bothering with.  Turned out 50º air and 50º water and actual waves were enough to get me out of town.  

The southern Oregon coast, roughly Bandon down to Crescent City, Calif., is lovely.  There was a tendency by at least a few Lincoln City people to keep driving all the way to Santa Cruz.  Steamer Lane was crowded, but. . . 

The northern Oregon spots are fairly easily recognized as places where the coast sticks out.  Yaquina Head, Otter Rock/Devil's Punchbowl (a cute easy spot with peak and convenient rip, a naturally-occurring wave pool), Cape Kiwanda is too popular for its own good, but I think Pelican Brewing Company still has its own surf cam.  Cape Lookout is evidently a particularly ambitious lava flow.  Oceanside's beach is more interesting than it looks at first glance.  Back then, you needed to keep an eye out for hang gliders.  Tillamook has the cheese factory and they should still sell curds.  Short Sands (Oswald West State Park) is lovely, as is Ecola State Park (a bit of Point Break was filmed there), and Seaside's version of Raglan, NZ is visible on Google Maps. 

Farther south, Monterey is worth a look; if you can get a room at Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds.  Looks like it's gotten expensive, but the location is perfect.

Also check Crescent City, where surfing has been taken seriously for a long time.  As in Greg Noll.

 

 12/07/2017 10:54 AM
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artz

Posts: 551
Joined: 10/30/2014

Here is another tip to save some coin. Many Walmart’s will allow campers for Couple of nights. Some Walmart’s don’t so ask before hand. If they don’t 9 times out of 10 they will tell you the ones close by that do allow people to stay over night in the Parking lot. Buy a few things be courtesy and you have safe place to stay for a couple of nights. I got that tip from a good friend that has been on three round the county trips. From Florida to Maine to Great Lakes then Florida to the South west and then another Trip to the North West. Lots of great things to see on your way to the west coast. 

 12/07/2017 11:10 AM
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artz

Posts: 551
Joined: 10/30/2014

Sunrise I like that camper van. Could you tell me some more about it?

 12/07/2017 11:56 AM
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SunriseSurfer

Posts: 8235
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artz ...
... that was 10 years ago, and I rented it just outside LA.

It was 22' ( I think) and I could park in a "normal" parking spot.
That was good.

And I liked the rear entry door for putting the longboard inside.
Bathroom/Shower combo was small, but it was just fine for me.

That's about all I can tell you.



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Puerto Rico 11 - 24 - 2013
 12/07/2017 02:48 PM
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Wedgefield

Posts: 398
Joined: 12/18/2003

Originally posted by: artz Sunrise I like that camper van. Could you tell me some more about it?

Thinking of Mercedes Metris or Ford Transit after retirement for 2-3 day excursions.
 12/08/2017 06:12 AM
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artz

Posts: 551
Joined: 10/30/2014

Originally posted by: Wedgefield
Originally posted by: artz Sunrise I like that camper van. Could you tell me some more about it?

 

Thinking of Mercedes Metris or Ford Transit after retirement for 2-3 day excursions.

I have looked at the Transit and the Sprinter. Sprinter gets about 18 to 22 mpg diesel. Might start a thread on Surf Road Trip Vans and campers.

 12/08/2017 08:02 PM
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Sector9surf

Posts: 1851
Joined: 01/14/2010

I've always been interested in the Baja trip. I heard mixed things though. People who have gone way back said it was great. The talk about going "now" is that it's dangerous. Not really sure who to believe. Only one way to find out... you'll have to go with the camper van you're getting and let us know!

The 22 ft ones seem to be the perfect size. I have a Vanagon, Eurovan, and B190. For trips extended trips I think Class B or bigger is going to be the way to go. However if you get into the 22ft+(the one pictured I believe is considered a B+, if it has a overtop cab bed its a C), you are limited to paved roads and large parking lots. The 22ft ones can still slide into parking spaces just barely. Any bigger and you'll be going to camp grounds. The Colorado Campers are a cool concept as they allow regular driveability including in mountain ranges, but have the size of a class B camper which they can surprising fit a lot of stuff into.



Edited: 12/08/2017 at 11:02 PM by Sector9surf
 12/09/2017 10:55 AM
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RobdaSlob

Posts: 216
Joined: 07/24/2003

I did the west coast from LA to San Francisco....so many years ago the 1 year old and 3 year old that were with me are now out of college.  We were in a van camper, pop-up.  Having something that size is great for cruising highway 1 and although not fun to drive thru tight towns it is doable.  It did not have airconditioning when parked but out in California coast, even mid-summer it was pleasant. 

I have camped GA and FL with a 24' travel trailer towing with a Ford F150.  A trailer is a pain to tow but if I want to put it away for a few months and not use it I don't have to worry about the engine sitting.  And cheaper if you already have a tow vehicle.

Both Florida and California have great beach front camping, good surf.  The biggest challenge is camping is very popular.  In California we stayed in some state parks that only allowed a one night stay and you had to make that 10 to 11 months in advance.  Florida state parks allow a 2 week stay but you need to get up at midnight 11 months in advance to have any hope of getting a reservation for the more popular places.  Florida has a couple county campgrounds that are a little less well known and we've had pretty good success getting into them - even last moment.

San Luis Obisbo is my favorite beach camping.  Followed shortly by Beverly Beach just north of Flagler.  The latter has a sea wall that you can pull up to and step out on to the beach.  It is ridable out front - wake up, catch a few waves... The downside is it is private and you get stacked like cord wood and pay as much as a hotel to sit on the beach.  They have tent camping and some other cheaper sites.  I think Gamble Rogers is just as nice but have yet to get the planets to align and get there.

The one thing with either the trailer or van is the hassle of where to store the board where it is secure.   Seems like I don't mind stepping around a long board but the Mrs points out that I'm daSlob not her.  So I am forever putting it in the trailer when we head out and then taking it out when we are back.



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Even a blind hog finds an occasional acorn
 12/09/2017 04:26 PM
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SunriseSurfer

Posts: 8235
Joined: 07/22/2003

Yes, what was nice about my rental camper (above) was being able
to park in a "normal" parking place.

No generator, but I did have A/C and electrical hookup
with battery backup (not for the A/C though)

I also liked the rear entry door as it was easy to slide my longboard inside.
I kept my longboard ( 9' - 10' ) on the floor for a week or so, leaning against one side
or the other, "stumbling and tripping over it" moving it from side to side, until I realized
I could hang it from the overhead (duh!) sliding the nose into the over-the-cab area and
then I enjoyed my camper space even more.

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Puerto Rico 11 - 24 - 2013
 12/10/2017 11:47 AM
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artz

Posts: 551
Joined: 10/30/2014

Originally posted by: Sector9surf I've always been interested in the Baja trip. I heard mixed things though. People who have gone way back said it was great. The talk about going "now" is that it's dangerous. Not really sure who to believe. Only one way to find out... you'll have to go with the camper van you're getting and let us know!

 

The 22 ft ones seem to be the perfect size. I have a Vanagon, Eurovan, and B190. For trips extended trips I think Class B or bigger is going to be the way to go. However if you get into the 22ft+(the one pictured I believe is considered a B+, if it has a overtop cab bed its a C), you are limited to paved roads and large parking lots. The 22ft ones can still slide into parking spaces just barely. Any bigger and you'll be going to camp grounds. The Colorado Campers are a cool concept as they allow regular driveability including in mountain ranges, but have the size of a class B camper which they can surprising fit a lot of stuff into.

 

 12/10/2017 09:06 PM
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surferclimber

Posts: 1051
Joined: 01/23/2011

us101 end to end most favorite i ever did... started in Olympia, WA ( well Portland really but up i5 to junction us101 in Olympia) then up around Olympic peninsula to furtherest NW beach in lower 48 then followed all way down coast to LA where went to awesome hillsong united concert at the Forum to celebrate competition of the journey!!!

 

BTW they have theses places called hotels JK, but a serious note a good tip is if you do want stay hotel every few days to get good rest etc a way get some free stays is get one of the hotel credit cards as they often come with bunch of initial bonus points. Sign up do the bonus requirement and pay it off close it; I did last year and got 5 nights nice Sheraton beach resort in Kona Hawa'ii 



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get up early and go surf - it'll make that hangover go away and/or make the workday more tolerable :)

 12/10/2017 10:23 PM
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ww

Posts: 14184
Joined: 08/17/2007

The PNW coast is still kind of short on national chains.  You're likely to still find good values at motels.  Checked, and the Curly Redwood Lodge is still there.  It escaped the tsunami from the great Alaska earthquake.  

To some extent, if you like northern Calif and Oregon, you'd like New Zealand.  

 12/11/2017 07:04 AM
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SurferMic

Posts: 704
Joined: 06/30/2012

been there done that, I would not suggest driving over the border to baja in a rental...no bueno, not allowed by rental co.  How thick is your wetsuit? Given the time & my limited budget, I would go North out of FL to OBX , Delmarva, NJ, NY and beyond until I could not take the cold any longer, West Coast = much more $$$, crowds and possiblities of full campgrounds...Yes, Jalama is really nice (and cold!) so hollow and unspoiled.

Although it is over (Hurricane season)...chasing a 'Cane swell North is fun just gotta drive in the night to meet the swell as it moves North from spot to spot.  Having 2 hardcore surfers to share driving helps.

Time the next STRONG low LAT cold front, Gas up and GO!!

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