Swellsville, USA

Bare feet on hot sand. Surfboard on the waves. Lobster in the pot. A long, hot season to stay wet and never go back inside. summer starts here—don't let the screen door hit you on the way out.

Surfer Tori Praver at Cocoa Beach, Florida     Photo: Noe DeWitt

Summer My Way

"I go see Cajun fiddler Hadley Castille wherever I can catch him—at Randol's Restaurant in Lafayette, Louisiana, or under the oaks in St. Martinville. When he plays ‘Jolie Blon,' you would swear that the year was 1946 and you were listening to the melody that legendary Harry Choates sold for $100 and a bottle of booze."—James Lee Burke, author of Crusader's Cross, the 14th in his series of Dave Robicheaux mysteries

Cocoa Beach, Fl While the waves are more mellow than menacing, Kelly Slater's hometown boasts some serious surf cred. Gear up at one-acre Ron Jon Surf Shop (4151 N. Atlantic Ave., 321-799-8888) and head south toward Patrick Air Force Base, where, if you don't mind the occasional sonic boom, you can score at breaks like Picnic Tables and Second Light. Refuel seven miles farther south at Da Kine Diego's Insane Burritos, in Satellite Beach (1360 Hwy. A1A, 321-779-8226). The joint's outdoor Bamboo Theater screens the latest surf flicks. Montauk, NY It's just three hours by train from Penn Station to the peaceful right-hand break at Turtle Cove and the smooth lefts at Ditch Plains. Make camp at the Atlantic Terrace hotel ($85–$385; 21 Surfside Pl., 631-668-2050), which overlooks an eponymous beach break fueled by hurricane swells spinning off the Carolinas. Work up an appetite for Harvest on Fort Pond (11 S. Emery St., 631-668-5574), nose-riding wizard Joel Tudor's favorite spot for monster helpings of seafood and sunset views. Santa Cruz, CA Power up on coffee and croissants at Kelly's French Bakery (402 Ingalls St., 831-423-9059) and pop next door for a custom foam-grinding session with shaper Ward Coffey. Warm up on the mellow rights at Cowell Beach before risking life and limb in the barrels at Natural Bridges State Beach. Then flop down on the bluffs at Lighthouse Point, where pros boost airs so close to the cliff, you'll flinch as they pass. Après, fish tacos and cervezas go down smooth at El Palomar (1336 Pacific Ave., 831-425-7575). Coos Bay, OR Frontier town meets surf scene in Oregon's biggest logging port. Check out Ocean Soul Surf Shop (91122 Cape Arago Hwy., 888-626-7685), where local firefighters and fishermen pick up their surf wax. Co-owner Donnie Conn will steer you to "wherever it's going off." For beginners, that might be the cold-water waves at Sunset Bay or, if you like more juice, Bastendorff Beach for intimidating peaks like Shitters. Rogers Zoo and Bizzaratorium, in North Bend (2037 Sherman Ave., 541-756-2550) offers live music. Yakutat, AK Lower 48 just too crowded? Hop the twice-a-month ferry from Juneau and head to Icy Waves Surf Shop (635 Haida St., 907-784-3226). It shouldn't be hard to find: Yakutat has only two paved roads. Beg directions to the peelers at Cannon Beach; then, after overnighting at Glacier Bear Lodge ($110; 812 Glacier Bear Rd., 907-784-3202), have bush pilot Les Hartley (Alsek Air, 907-784-3231) drop you and your gear on one of countless unknown, unnamed, and potentially perfect point breaks along the rugged coast.

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