So I'm going to visit my grandparents in Foley, AL but I'm making a road trip to Cocoa beach FL but might go to Panama city due to the extra 8 hours getting to cocoa beach thanks in advance for the info
I used to surf in gulf shores. Winter and spring bring the most consistency that area has to offer...and it's significantly more consistent than panama city. Alabama point and pensacola beach are are the standout spots and are only a 30 min drive from foley. There are also tons of great sandbar setups between gulf shores and pensacola, so you might be able to cut that drive down to about 20 min and still score a decent sesh.
I'm heading down to Fairhope on March 14 to 17 to see the P's, My biyearly excursion, Guff Sho water temps are pretty tolerable. I went in in just shorts a year or so ago, just to add it to my surf sites. I found a frizby on the beach and used to to plane up. I was out 15 minutes until my pooswah hurt.
I went down there for a spring break when I was in college and brought one of my boards in case there were any waves and actually lucked out a few days. It was mostly windslop and mushy but still manageable on a fat fish or a funboard/longboard. There's a pier down there which I found was fairly consistent. Also, there was some surfshop, can't remember the name, and I ended up talking to the owner for a really long time and he broke out some photos from some of the hurricane swells over the years. Looks like it can actually get pretty good. If you do go, stop by there. I think there only one surfshop there. Hope the waves are fun, and if not, they're plenty of college girls getting wild.
Back in 1993 I went there for spring break. Woke one morning to really fun chest high surf at a big pier. Some local guy was changing by his car and I noticed he had an array of boards with him. He let me borrow one and we surfed for like 4 hrs alone. Prolly more crowded now but one of the coolest gestures I've experienced.
In Florida usually in the winter we have some sort of swell almost every week due to the coldfronts coming thru. The east coast however is going to be your best bet but not necessarily Cocoa. You really have to get the right swell for Cocoa. If you look at a map you'll notice Cocoa actually faces Southeast.
When the coldfronts come thru we usually start with Northeast winds which bring the swell. As the front moves through we get straight onshore winds directly out of the east and then eventually it turns a little southeast and then offshore.
If we get really lucky and the cold front and swell is large enough, when the winds switch offshore we still have some sizeable swell left and makes for good surf.
We also get the Northwest blowing coldfronts every once and awhile and this sucks for the east coast but maybe good for the panhandle.
Not to say you can't score and it doesn't happen but in my lifetime the biggest I've surfed in the Gulf was waist high.
I would highly suggest you make the trip to the east coast. Its really not that far. Plus it will be a lot warmer!
Might want to make sure there aren't waves around Gulf Shores, AL or Pensacola before you make the big trip. If there are waves in PC, then most likely Pensacola or Gulf Shores will have waves. In any case, I know a place where you can see the 7 day surf forecast for all these areas, and it will help you make your decision easier.