Leethestud is right on you'll find better swell farther south; places like Kitty Hawk pier area, Avon and Hatteras too. The funny thing about Corolla is the extra time (1/2 of it) to hike up/down Hwy # 12 to run south in search of waves everyday. Anyway, since you don't have a 4x4 won't send you up the beach toward Cordova. In Corolla, take Hwy # 12 past Corolla Light, Ocean Sands to where the hard top ends; you'll find a small jetty just a few yards south on the beach that does have a nice break. Whalehead below Corolla Light, turn onto Shad St. take all the way to the beach at Lighthouse Rd nice break there too. These were a couple of spots if things were flat and slow got something out of it for Giggles. Inside the main entrance of Corolla Light, you'll find Corolla surf shop, good people they'll help ya out.
Be sure to drive around the Whalehead Club in Corolla while you're there; can't miss it largest house in Corolla.
early may obx- water temps are guaranteed to be 50 to 55 plus anywhere north of avon. buxton and frisco will be high 50s to mid 60s.
surf- there will never be a swell on earth where its bigger in town rather than hatty. it will ALWAYS be at least 2 feet bigger and 10x heavier down south on a decent swell.
these waves are world class like some guy said earlier. you will surf with a hawaiian, a west coaster, a puerto rican, a saffa, a jersey boy, and your regular group of vb and obx boys. photogs lining the beach, it doesn't get much more exciting than this on the east coast. ive been surfing the unlimited breaks of obx for years now. youll have the best sessions of your life here. dont be a fool though, make the trip down to hatteras. it wont be a real obx trip if u dont.
surfing corolla is just like surfing vb. no difference at all
The way this winter's going, it won't be any warmer than the low 40s...if that. A trip to Pea Island should definately be considered. If the wind is close to 10 kts, however, go at the risk of chasing an elusive surf session. Once you get past Nags Head, the off shore winds coming off the sound tend to close out most breaks. North of Nags Head, the western land mass tends to help a bit with that.
As it's been said, there will be spots that attract a bunch of cars. Usually, they are the more consistent breaks, but if you're patient and drive past them a little bit, chances are their will be a really good break, all to yourself, within a few stops.
Your going on a fmaily vacation then you will be surfing corolla. Its about a 25 minute drive south to get from Corolla to the two mile post in Kitty Hawk area. Then you have 18 to 25 miles to get to Oregeon inlet, thats littered with stop lights on the 50 mph bypass. From Corolla (depends how deep in Corolla) you have a minimal hour drive to Oregon Inlet then form oregon inlet its about another 15 minutes to S-Turns (this spot is sick but gets a crew on it in any swell) To drive down to Buxton (Cape Hatteras) its anohter 40 minutes or so from the Oregon Inlet bridge.
Basically if your going to go south form Corolla to surf count on a 1 and half hour drive to two hour drive to paddle out. That said its a cool drive for the family, you go pass the Wright Brother memorial, see oregon inlet, and then Pea Island is farily scenic then the small towns of raodanthe, Avon etc are cool. Plus if there is some chest hgih waves blowing a bit off shore will surf some of the funst A-Frames you have ever been on. The amount of power difference in the surf from Corolla to Rodanthe is pretty crazy.
You don't need a 4X4 unless you wanna get on the beach in Rodanthe or Hatteras. If the swell is big like outta the south you can get on the beach in corolla but only big south or north make it fire there. The water temps have been crazy this year and last year too(36 in Jan). I would recommend bringing everything 4/3 boots gloves and your 3/2 fall stuff as well. Unless it is pumping that warm water offshore isn't gonna reach the beach. The lighthouse (Buxton) is sitting around 42 degrees right now with frisco only a little warmer, and that changes with every swell. So pack it all and head south...you'll likely catch it warmer and much more consistant. Good Luck Bro!!