Best Beaches for Beach Bums
What Southerners have always known and others are quickly finding out, there is something special about the beaches in the region. As varied as our cuisine, cities and attractions, there really is a perfect beach for everyone.
So grab your flip-flops, sunglasses, towel and sun lotion – it's time to head to the best beach for you for that very much needed getaway.
When you need a break from the sand and sun in Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Ala., you will find there are plenty of things to do to keep everyone happy. From Waterville USA to dolphin cruises to even a zoo, there is no excuse for boredom from anyone.
The fifteen beach communities that make up South Walton can definitely keep families busy. Rent some YOLO boards for the entire family, pick up some much-needed Seaside swag at the Seaside Classic or try the zip line at Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort. The possibilities for memory-making are endless.
Perhaps you family wants to give back while on vacation. You can have a day at the beach, then a day volunteering. Repeat, if needed. If this is the case, Pensacola Beach (and Pensacola) is the destination for you. Filled with different volunteering opportunities, it can be a great bonding experience for your family.
No doubt about it, Panama City Beach, Fla., is all about fun. What else would you expect from the destination that is home to the 50-plus year old Goofy Golf. Need some suggestions on how to keep everyone busy and engaged? On your itinerary, be sure to include such places as Gulf World Marine Park and WonderWorks. You can not visit here without a stop at Pier Park, and don't miss out on the Miracle Strip rides.
Everyone will find something to enjoy along Jacksonville's 21 miles of beaches. Whether it's renting a bike and exploring the beach, visiting the Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier or just being one with the beach, you will be rewarded with many smiles. In the evening, if the family is looking for some indoor fun, head over Adventure Landing. Do set aside one day (or maybe two) to drive into Jacksonville. You don't want to miss Museum of Science and History (MOSH) and Jacksonville Zoo and Garden. If you are around on a Saturday, a must is the Riverside Arts Market.
The Pavilion may be gone, but that doesn't keep families away from experiencing Myrtle Beach, S.C. Get out of the water and off the sand, and into the sky on SkyWheel Myrtle Beach. The centerpiece of the 1.2 mile-long Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade, you can't and don't want to miss it. The entire family will enjoy Dolly Parton's newest dinner-theme show, Pirates Voyage. Still wanting more? There's Ripley's Aquarium, MagiQuest and more. At least set one afternoon aside to explore Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet, it's a must-see.
Choose from 25 golf courses on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Much like other coastal destinations, you might pay more attention to the scenery than your swing.
Located in the panhandle, Navaree Beach, Fla. is home to the longest pier in northwest Florida. It's great to walk out on, take in the views of the Gulf and watch fisherman reeling in their catches. It is also home to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, which just may be the most pristine beaches anywhere. You can soak in the undisturbed surroundings and perhaps view some wildlife as well. If you children with you, make sure to stop at both the Panhandle Butterfly House and the Gulf Breeze Zoo to round out the experience.
If you are truly looking to get away from it all, it is possible along the Gulf coast. You just need to head to either Cape San Blas or Indian Pass, Fla. Remote, yet still connected (nearby Port St. Joe is only miles away), you come here to enjoy the beach and the calmness, which there is plenty of both.
It's called “an island in the sun,” and with one visit, you'll see why. Anna Maria Island, Fla., just may be on of the state's best kept secrets. On the Gulf side, below Tampa, the seven mile long island is a true escape to a Florida that many haven't experienced. Here, you can leave your car and hop on the free trolley to get from place to place, if so desired. Or you can just relax on the beach. It's all up to you. Beach-related activities are offered (again, no pressure or rush), and you definitely don't want to miss a meal at any of the local restaurants.
What was once the coastal escape for the very wealthy is quite accessible for you today. Jekyll Island, Ga., one of Georgia's Golden Isles, offers enough to keep you satisfied yet is still a true escape. You can explore any of the 20 miles of the bike trails or wander along the ten miles of beaches. A little secret: don't miss Driftwood Beach. Also on the island is the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, another must-visit.
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