Past Places

New Smyrna Beach: Art & Artist Enclave (Fall 2016)

Charleston's Most Unique Low Country Dishes (Fall 2016)

Grab a Life Vest, Helmet, and a Paddle (Fall 2016)

Upcoming Exhibitions at the North Carolina Museum of Art (Fall 2016)

The Ultimate Staycay? A Homegrown Mediterranean Get-Away (Fall 2015)

Eight Uniquely Charlotte Experiences (Fall 2015)

Hitting the High Notes of Macon's Music Scene (Fall 2015)

Florida's North Peninsula (Fall 2015)

12 Reasons to Visit Huntsville, Alabama (Fall 2015)

Alabama's Captivating Capital (Fall 2014)

Exploring South Carolina Old 96 District (Spring 2014)

Weekend Getaway to Lake Charles, La. (Spring 2014)

Exploring Northwest Florida's Natural Side (Spring 2014)

Discovering the Lake Oconee Area (Fall 2013)

Cumberland Island National Seashore (Fall 2013)

The Best of Today's Waterpark Rides (Summer 2013)

COOKING CLASSES IN THE SOUTH (Spring 2013)

Have a Southern Houseboat House Party (Spring 2013)

Take Flight: Yes, You CAN Get a Pilot’s License (Spring 2013)

Discovering Hollywood's Backlot (Fall 2012)

Color-Fall Tennessee (Fall 2012)

NASCAR 2012: Upcoming Events Around the South (Summer 2012)

RVacations (Summer 2012)

People Go Wild for Glamping (Summer 2012)

Best Beaches for Beach Bums (Summer 2012)

Heirloom Gardens (Spring 2012)

Unforgettable Experiences Await You at Select Registry Inns in the South (Winter 2011)

Golf with a Southern Drawl (Fall 2011)

Bring Rover on Over - Hotels That Want to Pamper Your Pooch (Fall 2011)

Cabana Mania! (Summer 2011)

Time to Plan for Summer Sleepaway Camps (Spring 2011)

He Said Golf, She Said Spa (Spring 2011)

Edu-Vacation Destination: Charleston, S.C. (Spring 2011)

Getting Your Adventure on in the Mountains (Spring 2011)

Freeze Action (Winter 2010)

No Ordinary Love (Winter 2010)

Spa Spectacular: The Natural Choice (Winter 2010)

Freestyle Mountain Adventures (Winter 2010)

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.

  • Surf's up! While these aren't the places the Beach Boys sang about, you can still catch some incredible waves in Galveston and South Padre Island, Texas, Cocoa Beach, Fla., (home to the “one-of-a-kind” flagship Ron Jon shop on North Atlantic Avenue), and Outer Banks, N.C.
  • Have family in tow? Nearly all of the beaches are perfect for some family time; however there are a handful that tend to stand out from others when it comes to family fun.

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.

  • You are in luck if you like to fish while at the beach. Most, if not all, offer something in the way of charters or rentals. Some of the best beaches to drop a line at include Mississippi Gulf Coast, Destin, Fla. (known as the “World's Luckiest Fishing Village,” perhaps some of that luck can rub off on you), Boca Grande Pass near the Fort Myers area, commonly referred to as the “Tarpon Fishing Capital of the World,” and the Florida Keys. For something a little bit a different, take up scalloping in Port St. Joe, Fla., home to the annual Scallop Festival in August.
  • While all beaches have the basics: sand, water and sun, they aren't all the same. While some are well known, some are less-traveled. If you are looking for a more quiet, reflective beach experience, consider some of the following best-kept secret beaches.

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.

  • While all of the beaches may offer many or few seashells at a time, there are some places that are known for collecting seashells. If you are an avid collector, you probably all ready know the best place to get shells is on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. Another place to visit is Panama City Beach, Fla.'s  Shell Island. You never know what you might find.
  •  If you are searching for pirate history, even in the south, you are in luck. Florida Keys are filled with good pirate lore. North Carolina's beaches were also a destination of interest to pirates. In fact, you can follow Blackbeard's Trail, if you so dare.

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