If you are traveling in the United States, get a taste of the real East Coast. The big cities have plenty to offer, but there is much more to the Atlantic shore.
The Appalachian Trail is not only a great example of adventure on the East coast, but it also serves as a reference point for some other wonderful places. From Georgia to Maine there are many great places to visit, but I will highlight two that my family and I were fortunate enough to enjoy this year.
If you are trying to get out of city life for a while, try some of these sweet spots that fly under the radar.
Topsail Island, NC
We spent a week in Topsail Island, NC, a beautiful community along the Intracoastal Waterway, South of the Outer Banks. North Topsail Beach is a taste of the beach life without all the crowds and tourist traps.
Topsail Island is a popular nesting ground for Sea Turtles and Topsail Turtle Project has been doing wonderful work for decades to preserve and protect the turtles and their nests. I highly recommend taking a tour of the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, and do your part by picking up some trash while you’re finding sea-shells on the gorgeous beaches.
The house we stayed in, Bob’s Hope, is beautifully perched in the center of a narrow section of the island. With a wrap-around deck, a crow’s nest and water on both sides, you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset. If you’re lucky, you may even get to witness a hatching of a sea turtle nest.
Whether you come to surf, fish, or just lounge in peace, the options are plentiful and the lines are short. The fishing and crabbing are usually great, but if you don’t catch anything with the bait you’re using, a $20 bill usually works pretty well down at the fish markets. Check out Davis Seafood and Surf City Crab.
Another wonderful hideaway along the East Coast is nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. The Virgina countryside is full of adventure and history. Enjoy a few days at Shenandoah National Park. Explore the park and it’s plentiful wildlife during the day, and sleep under the stars at night.
This stretch of the Skyline Drive also offers underground adventure. Skyline Caverns and Luray Caverns make for a fun and educational spelunking experience for the whole family.
To really get a feel for the Shenandoah Valley you have to take a trip downstream. Downriver Canoe Company offers a wonderful variety of river trips, fun for the novice, as well as the expert. Their knowledge of, and respect for the river, is what sets Downriver apart from other outfitters.
Don’t worry, Virgina has plenty to do in the winter too. If you want to hit the slopes, check out Massanutten Mountain.
Look for youth hostels and campgrounds