When planning your summer of 2016, a major component should always be a trip to the beach–whether it’s more of a coastal spot and less beach, the inspirational beauty and resurgence being near the ocean is a must-do for summer travelers. The East Coast is rapidly becoming the hot spot–or collection of hot spots to be–to visit, and even live! In fact, there’s a trend that’s been going on and growing for several years, where summer vacationers unwittingly make the East Coast their vacation destination, only to be completely drawn into all the goodness, from climate, to attitude/hospitality, food and that charming East Coast style! While no two towns along the East Coast are the same,–and you’ll find a lot of focal points to be truly unique–the all around good feeling that hanging out anywhere on the East Coast gives you will be your awesome take-home. The following are some of the favorite destinations that hug the Atlantic Ocean, and one just might become your staycation!
The Isle of Palms, SC
Driving down Palm Boulevard–adequately lined with stately palm trees in a row–you’ll find intriguing little shops, the town’s only grocery store and ultra-lavish oceanfront homes. Surrounded by marsh streams and balmy breezes, you’re minutes away from Charleston when visiting this barrier island of South Carolina. All along the seven-mile stretch, the vibe is authentic Southern tropical, where slow, evening breezes set the tone for totally relaxing and inspiring social times with friends and family gathered together on Intracoastal Waterway piers, screened-in verandas and strolling along the sunset-lit beach. Savor the true Southern sweet tea, mint juleps and delicious local fare, served up fresh from the waters deliver the ultimate vacation.
Located at the southern tip, from Beaufort, you’ll enjoy adventures that include exploring the Outer Banks entirely. The charm of Beaufort is found everywhere you look, with summertime finding more people traveling about on bicycles than in cars. Enjoy watching the beautiful horses that graze at the Rachel Carson Reserve, or discover Taylor’s Creek, to find dolphins playfully cavorting about and swimming together. At the southernmost point of Beaufort, you’ll find the Cape Lookout National Seashore, visible across the sound. Enjoy the endless variety of beach activities, or take advantage of a hammock and the balmy ocean breezes to get in some serious zzzs. You’ll find a wealth of historical ambiance here.
St. Mary’s, GA
St. Mary’s is said to feel like home to all travelers, regardless of where they may have actually grown up. With local favorites like the corner market, Emma’s Bed & Breakfast, Sterling’s Southern Cafe and Seagle’s Saloon–where the bartender calls everybody “loser”–, you’ll never meet a stranger anywhere. This laid-back, small town ambiance is a 45-minute drive from Jacksonville, where you’ll find many cultural attractions and big-league sports. With no traffic and no stop lights, once in a while, there’ll be passersby on golf carts. Visit the submarine museum, fish the piers, and the view is spectacular–make sure to look out over the barrier islands that practically fill St. Mary’s River.
Edisto Island, SC
Crossing on the 174 bridge over the causeway and into South Carolina, the breathtaking view fills visitors with awe and delight. The painting-like beauty of the rich, green marshes with azure blue water surrounding and filling the horizon energizes weary travelers and makes them glad they’ve come. On down, the drive snakes and bends within oak trees so thickly laden with Spanish Moss that there’s always a nice measure of shade here. With no stoplights, no motels or hotels and nothing but locally-owned restaurants, life here is slow and meaningful. One grocery store serves the community, and plenty of churches outnumber even the restaurants. There’s a rich ambiance of heritage at Edisto Island, intermingled with the ocean air and laid back lifestyle of residents. Nicknamed by residents, “Edist-slow, it wasn’t until 1981 that the town phone numbers included more than four digits. This is the place to go on the East Coast to totally unwind and restore.