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I'm looking for a good vacation spot within driving distance of ATL (say, less than 7 hours). We love the beach, but are open to other things. I'm looking for somewhere that is not totally commercial and has some good healthy eating and outdoor type activities.

Also, I'd be interested in some places where we could get places on foot or in a golf cart - a vacation without having to get the kids in car seats once we are there sounds heavenly.

I got a rec for Dafuskie Island in SC - anyone know anything about it?
 

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Try Asheville, NC. Dh used to live there and we have visited a few times. Lots of nature/hiking type of things to do, plus it's not that commercial. It's a beautiful area and sorta expensive but for vacation that might be okay.
 

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Try Sanibel Island, Florida. There have been building restrictions forever, so there is no overdevelopment at all, it's very very natural. You can absolutely see dolphins, sharks, whales (I've seen them all) just driving onto the island over the bridge (I have). The beaches are amazing and the Gulf water is already very warm. It's a totally artsy community, with a community theater, art shops, ice cream shops and restaurants all over. Very quaint, totally quaint. And there are bike paths all over the island so you really don't need a car once you get there, you can safely ride bicycles (and rent them) with your children the entire time. You will see wildlife around the island. Definitely.

http://www.sanibelisland.com/
http://www.sanibel-captiva.org/

Even though I live near Sanibel, Sanibel would still be my dream place to own a home. I love love love Sanibel Island. It is attached to Captiva Island, but IMO, Captiva isn't quite as nice as Sanibel.

Shorts, bathing suits, tank tops, perhaps sundresses will be all you will need starting now through November, probably, so pack accordingly.


eta: oops, I just realize that Sanibel is not within a 7 hour drive, more like 12 or 13 hours. Then again, Southwest has some great deals on airfare right now....
 

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Last year, we spent a week just outside Boone. We rented a cabin near Grandfather Mountain, and we just explored different places every day. There are lots of green spaces, neat towns, and best of all, you're in the mountains.
Boone has a neat farmers' market on Saturday mornings, the college there had stuff going on, we ate downtown at the pharmacy lunch counter, walked in the parks, heard some great bluegrass.

It was actually a wonderful vacation, one we consider probably the top of all our married life.
 
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