N & S Carolina travel info please - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 9 Old 01-21-2010, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello!
DH & I are planning a trip in May and we're flying into Raleigh. I've never been to N. or S. Carolina and we have 5 days/4 nights for just the two of us! I'd love to make my way to the water and stay there. Any recommendations? We'd love something a bit secluded and less touristy so any suggestions for beaches/islands/state parks/etc/ would be lovely. I'd also love to spend one day in Charleston but I'm not sure if that's doable. The trip from Charleston back to Raleigh looks really long on a map but maybe it might be okay??? If we only get one day in Charleston, what should we try and see?
I'm hoping the weather is nice in mid-May!
Any suggestions will be very appreciated. We love outdoorsy-things and nature, just about anything really.
Thanks!

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#2 of 9 Old 01-21-2010, 11:46 AM
 
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There will be lots of suggestions for beaches in the northern part of NC. But if you want to go to Charleston, then a beach at the southern end might be good. I personally love Sunset Beach. It's only beach houses and a couple of one-floor motels. There is a grill at the pier and one little grocery type store. no high rise hotels or big chain stores.

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#3 of 9 Old 01-21-2010, 11:50 AM
 
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I think it would be at least 5 hours to Charleston. If you want the beach, and some history too, do Wilmington instead - it is maybe 3 hours from Raliegh, has some nice beaches, and isn't as overrun by tourists as Charleston. The historic section is lovely, and you and your DH may like touring the battleship in the harbor (I thought it was kind of cool).

I love Charleston, but if you only have a few days, I don't know that you would want to spend most of it in the car.

If you are into historic stuff - Old Salem is not far from Raliegh, it has lots of character, and has stuff to do also. Just some ideas. it should be beautiful in May, as there are loads of working gardens - you can watch them cook traditional fare too.

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#4 of 9 Old 01-21-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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If you are into historic stuff - Old Salem is not far from Raliegh, it has lots of character, and has stuff to do also. Just some ideas. it should be beautiful in May, as there are loads of working gardens - you can watch them cook traditional fare too.
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#5 of 9 Old 01-21-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Old Salem is awesome! As a NC'er born and bred, my favorite place is Ocracoke Island. You can get there from either driving down the Outer Banks and taking a free, short ferry or driving to Swan Quarter and taking the 2.5 hour not-free ferry. (I prefer the long one!) Ocracoke has wild horses, gorgeous beach front, and this time of year shouldn't be very touristy at all. There is a FANTASTIC B&B called Castle on Silver Lake, really good, quaint resturants, neat craft stores...just a great vibe all around.

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#6 of 9 Old 01-25-2010, 06:43 PM
 
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the outer banks were beautiful and I especially loved beaufort (you can take a boat tour of shackleford bank shttp://www.shacklefordhorses.org/ were you'll see wild horses).

I also love my stays on Oak Island/southport. You can take an easy ferry ride over to fort fisher from that area.

I enjoyed New Bern too. Though a bit touristy down town because Nicholas Sparks lives in that area (the author of the notebook, message in a bottle, dear john, etc) and you'll see him and his family from time to time in the local family own ice cream shop. If you go you should see to see Tryon Palace...where president washington danced. They have live reenactments there. Lots of fun

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#7 of 9 Old 01-25-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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The mountains are really nice in May, too, though it can be a bit chilly. May is a little iffy weather wise for the beach, too. I'm sure it will be nice, but it may not be warm enough for swimming. July and August are prime swimming weather here. I'm just saying this 'cause I see you're from Texas. It's probably a bit warmer where you are in May. Folks from Ohio or Michigan think it's downright balmy here in May and perfect for swimming in March, but if you're from TX you may be like me and find it a bit nippy. In the middle of the day it'll be nice, but the water doesn't really warm up til late June and is really nice in August in my opinion (hot weather lover that I am). The mountains are very nice and might be different from your TX locale. I'm not sure that the beach, especially the southern beaches, are that much different than TX or other gulf coast beaches. The OBX would be more different perhaps. The waves are a bit bigger, esp on the OBX, but I think Gulf Coast beaches and NC beaches are probably more similar than, say, NC beaches and Pacific NW beaches.

From Raleigh, you're about equidistant for mountains or beaches. Charleston is considerably further. Wilmington is the closest beach town to Raleigh and to the beach is probably 2.5-3 hrs. (2 to the city). The mountains are 3-4hrs depending on where you go. Charleston is more like 4-5. It's certainly doable if you've got your heart set on it, but it's not really a day trip. You can definitely do Wilmington as a day trip and we've done the mts as a day trip, too, though it is nicer to spend the night. Asheville is a great city to explore in the mountains and the Boone/Blowing Rock/Banner Elk area is, too.

Have fun!

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#8 of 9 Old 02-19-2010, 03:28 AM
 
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I would have to say, hands down, the Outerbanks. And I'm talking about Hatteras Island. My husband and I stayed in Hatteras for our honeymoon. It was absolutely beautiful! We stayed in a small condo right as you come into Hatteras. We were on the soundside but nothing was in front of us, so it was like we were oceanfront and soundfront. Absolutely gorgeous!!! And if you love nature, the perfect place to be. You'll especially love the drive down Hwy 12 with water on both sides and the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. It really makes you appreciate nature and what God created!
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#9 of 9 Old 02-19-2010, 12:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pants View Post

I enjoyed New Bern too. Though a bit touristy down town because Nicholas Sparks lives in that area (the author of the notebook, message in a bottle, dear john, etc) and you'll see him and his family from time to time in the local family own ice cream shop. If you go you should see to see Tryon Palace...where president washington danced. They have live reenactments there. Lots of fun
I grew up in NB and go back frequently (parents are there), and I have never noticed anything touristy because Nicholas Sparks lives in the area. But, I admit I don't spend a *lot* of time downtown, usually. He did donate a new track to the high school, though!

Downtown NB is touristy because of its history. It's been basically the same my whole life, as far as I can recall.

It is a great place to visit, I think. I got bored with it after about my 10th visit to Tryon Palace as a field trip. But now when I go back, and see if with fresh eyes, I realize what draws people to the area.

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