I've seen some pics of Topsail and Emerald looking fun during hurricane season. I can't imagine it would be very consistent though since it probably doesn't pick up any swells from the North. Although, if you had a boat and could cross the sound out to the National Seashore islands then you'd be set to catch swells from any direction.
AKA, tried to pm you this but your box is full--had to edit a little.
What a coincidence, I work very closely with CarolinaEast--I'm a ____________. What sector do you work in healthcare?
Anyway, I assume you have been down there to interview a couple times. I love New Bern, it's a cool little town and the people are generally very welcoming and friendly.
Closest surf will be on the Crystal Coast beaches (Emerald Isle, Atlantic Beach and Pine Knoll Shores, probably 45 min. drive--or my suggestion is for you to get a boat and keep it on the river. You can get to the coast a lot faster by water. Plus it will give you better access to Shakelford Banks and Cape Lookout. There are plenty of great breaks on the protected barrier islands up north. AI, EI and PKS break best on swell.h
To put it into perspective: I live in Wilmington (about 1.5 hours South). When there is a swell, I regularly drive down to the NC/SC line and will chase all the way through the OBX. Not bad drives in between beaches and plenty places to camp if you don't have a place to crash.
Better surf than Jersey? Probably not. But the two years or so that I lived there in the 2000s (Jacksonville area not New Bern but its only a 40 minute difference) I averaged slightly more than three surfs a week over a years time (yes I used to keep track). The climate was mild to warm. I lived in a nice 3 bedroom house on a big ol chunk of land pretty darn cheap just 10 minutes from the beach out in the country perfect for bass fishing, bonfires, and beer drinking. Granted I often traveled the stretch from AB to the SC border but its fairly easy to get em' wired, more often than not surfed by myself (except in WB), various "secret spot" barrier islands can be accessed by boat, and the OBX is a short road trip away (Just don't speed through Wiliamston... 4 speeding tickets in 2 years). Good for kids? I dunnknow about kids today but I also lived in Atlantic Beach for 3 years when I was a kid and had a blast doing all the outdoor stuff in coastal Carolina. I would move back.
Forgot to add:
-New Bern has pretty good schools.
-The area from New Bern through Morehead and the Southern Pamlico is WORLD CLASS for salt water fishing. Best inshore fishing you will find anywhere and the Stream is only 20 miles from Cape Lookout.