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Old 11-05-2008, 03:35 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,025 times
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Hi
we are a family of three (daughter aged 9 ) from the UK( London) and we are looking to take a vacation next spring,and we have been looking at NC. We very much like what we see,the costal areas look great. we would really like to spend time in and around the coast,but to be honest we dont know where to begin,it all looks so nice :-)
We have been to the US about 5 imes now,New York,Texas,Las Vegas,san Diego ( which we love) but would really like to try someting different this time. So please feel free to offer any advice + help.

In the long term we are also thing of buying a 2nd home and again would like advice on areas, costs , etc etc ,but would not like to be more then about 2 hours away from the sea. We would have a budget of about $250,000, that would have to include all the costs.

I have been spending many hours reading this forum,and have really enjoyed it ,though i do stay up a little late.
Sorry to go on so much:-)
Many thanks in advance

Lee,Nikki,Christina..............
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
713 posts, read 3,472,342 times
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Smile A few beach vacation & area thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee UK View Post
Hi
we are a family of three (daughter aged 9 ) from the UK( London) and we are looking to take a vacation next spring,and we have been looking at NC. We very much like what we see,the costal areas look great. we would really like to spend time in and around the coast,but to be honest we dont know where to begin,it all looks so nice :-)
We have been to the US about 5 imes now,New York,Texas,Las Vegas,san Diego ( which we love) but would really like to try someting different this time. So please feel free to offer any advice + help.

In the long term we are also thing of buying a 2nd home and again would like advice on areas, costs , etc etc ,but would not like to be more then about 2 hours away from the sea. We would have a budget of about $250,000, that would have to include all the costs.

I have been spending many hours reading this forum,and have really enjoyed it ,though i do stay up a little late.
Sorry to go on so much:-)
Many thanks in advance

Lee,Nikki,Christina..............
Lee,

First you have decide what kind of coast experience that you would like to have. We all have different ways of looking at our coastal experiences so I suspect you might get plenty of different opinions.

First off if you are looking at North Carolina for a beach vacation, it is a lot different than Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. Myrtle Beach has shows, lots of shopping, plenty of golf, and lots of traffic. It is very densely developed.

Once you cross into North Carolina you feel like someone pulled the plug on development for a lot of miles.

Other than Wilmington, there are no real cities on the NC coast, and Wilmington exists for more reasons than just tourism so it is also not like Myrtle Beach. There is a beach area, lots of shopping, one of our state universities and a fair amount of traffic. Others on the forum know that area better than I do.

As you head mostly east from Wilmington you pass through some nice beach areas, but my favorite area which is where we live is called the Crystal Coast. It is roughly defined as the coast line of Carteret County with the town of Swansboro added on for good measure.

It is an area of small towns and family oriented, low-key beaches. The area is mostly focused on enjoying the beach and the waters around the beaches. The waters are very clean and most of the rentals available are homes and condominiums. You will not find lots of high rise buildings, but you will find wonderful beaches with very few people. There is also the 158,00 acres of Croatan National Forest and the undeveloped beaches of Cape Lookout National Seashore.

There is lots to do from the history of Beaufort to kayaking the wonderful areas near Hammocks Beach.

This is an area where people live year round and services are available all year. You can usually stick your feet in the water in May and your body in June. The water stays warm through most of October. Temperatures are very warm in July & August though a great sea breeze and staying close to the water usually cures any heat.

I can suggest you check out my Emerald Isle (http://coastalnc.org/emeraldislenctravelguidecd - broken link), Beaufort (http://coastalnc.org/beaufortnctravelguidecd - broken link), and Swansboro travel guides.

If you want some pictures of what the area looks like, try this beach walk.

If the Crystal Coast does not fit your needs, you might want to look at the Northern Outer Banks. There is a wide variety of beach life up there.

You can find anything from the fancy homes of Corolla to the fishing village of Hatteras. Traffic on and off the Northern Outer Banks is a little challenging during the summer. All the vacation properties turn on Saturday and Sunday so there can be a lot of people sitting on a bridge if things don't go well.

The area south of Nags Head is a wonderful, magical area, but it is not my choice for year around living. You have a single thread of a highway, Route 12, which is often covered with water or sand.

Ocracoke Island is even more isolated but has wonderful beaches.

You can experience the same beauty of the remote beaches by coming to the Crystal Coast and visiting Cape Lookout which is only accessible by boat.

It ends up being an afternoon trip.

Carteret County is a great place to look for a second home. There are plenty on the market and you can easily find homes in your price range within 6-8 miles of the beach.

If you want to read about living in the county, you might try my blog where I talk about the reasons why we picked this area over others.

This map will help orient you to the area.

You can even find Marmite in the area. We lived in Canada for years and had some English friends who got me hooked on it.

Good luck on planning your trip, if you have other questions, I would be glad to try to answer them.

The closest large airport would be Raleigh-Durham about 2.5 to 3 hours from the Crystal Coast area. It is all four lane roads to the area.
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:42 AM
 
3 posts, read 5,025 times
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Himany thanks for all your help, i will enjoy looking at all the web sites and reading your blog.We dont really like to sunbath,but do enjoy being close to the sea,also my wife + daughter will enjoy the shopping:-)We will also be seeing my wifes friends family who live in lewes Delaware,so cant wait to visit.I will now start looking at hotels around the Crysatal coast area,can you suugest any fro a fmaily of three?Once again many thanks and have a great day,and please stay in touchLee
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:14 AM
NCN
 
Location: NC/SC Border Patrol
21,135 posts, read 21,886,305 times
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Are you into timeshares. We went to a timeshare in Duck, North Carolina and really enjoyed the vacation because there was so much to see. Not a lot of shopping, but many lighthouses, etc. There are many houses for rent on the Outer Banks and you may run into natives that talk just like you.

The book Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks is written about this area. It has also been made into a movie. The area I am talking about is North of this area, but the entire Outer Banks area is very interesting.

Last edited by NCN; 11-06-2008 at 04:29 AM..
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Cape Carteret, NC
713 posts, read 3,472,342 times
Reputation: 543
Smile More thoughts on your beach trip

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee UK View Post
Himany thanks for all your help, i will enjoy looking at all the web sites and reading your blog.We dont really like to sunbath,but do enjoy being close to the sea,also my wife + daughter will enjoy the shopping:-)We will also be seeing my wifes friends family who live in lewes Delaware,so cant wait to visit.I will now start looking at hotels around the Crysatal coast area,can you suugest any fro a fmaily of three?Once again many thanks and have a great day,and please stay in touchLee
Since you are headed to Delaware you might want to try a grand swing through the beach areas and catch the flavor of them all. We had friends from Boston do this trip in the spring of 2007.

I just did a simple suggested trip which takes you from Dover Delaware to Chincoteague, Va to Virginia Beach and on to Nags Head, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Island, and then by ferry to Cedar Island down to Beaufort and finally to Emerald Isle.

Chincoteague is a very interesting little town on the eastern shore or Virginia which is a very unique area with lots of interesting architecture and some great wildlife areas. There is a very nice Comfort Inn there. The route from Chincoteague would take you over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel which is pretty neat in itself. You could spend a night at Virginia Beach and see a city beach with concrete board walk. There is a hotel there called the Boardwalk. I cannot remember the hotel we stayed in there.

From Virginia Beach it is an easy drive to Nags Head where I would recommend the First Colony Inn. Make sure you eat at Sam & Omies for breakfast and maybe the Lone Cedar on the causeway for dinner.

From Nags Head you would drive down Pea Island and over the Oregon Inlet Bridge. If you are there later in the afternoon you can watch the boats come in from deep sea fishing and unload their catch at the fishing center.

Once you get down to Hatteras make sure you stop by the light house. If you want to spend the night there is a nice Comfort Inn right by the light house.

From the end of Hatteras Island there is a free 45 minute car ferry to Ocracoke Island. Everything but the miles of beach on Ocracoke happens to be around Silver Lake at the southern end of the island, Ocracoke Village can be a little claustrophobic in the summer since pedestrians take over the streets but still compete with vehicles. There are a lots of little shops and artists. There are also a number of Bed & Breakfast establishments. The Castle at Silver Lake is one of them.

From Ocracoke Island you need a reservation for the car ferry which takes two hours and forty five minutes to get you to Cedar Island which is in what is called the down east part of Carteret County. It is a very scenic drive just above the water from there to Beaufort, NC.

I would recommend spending at least a night in Beaufort. My favorite spot is the Beaufort Inn. After all the driving you can park your car at the Inn, walk to restaurants, shops, the Maritime Museum and even catch a harbor tour on the Mystery or one of the smaller boats. There are even boat rides to Cape Lookout or sunset sailing cruises that you can catch. Lots of great restaurants.

You might want Beaufort to be your final destination or you might want to drive down the beach to Emerald Isle and stay in the Islander right on the beach.

There is a Sheraton in Atlantic Beach which is between Beaufort and Emerald Isle. The annual kite festival was down there a couple weekends ago.

Most of us who live in the area don't do a lot of sunbathing either, but we often walk the beaches early in the morning or later in the evening. The rest of the day we might be out fishing or checking out the quaint shops in Swansboro. There are also trails to hike, biking, and lots of other outdoor things to do.

Make sure you get a boat ride down the Inracoastal Waterway, it turns out to be our mainstreet.
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Old 11-06-2008, 05:03 PM
 
3 posts, read 5,025 times
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Hi
many thanks to both of you for all your help and advice.Ncn we are not keen on timeshare,they get a bad press hear in the UK,are there many Londoners in NC ? :-)
Thanks for the tip for the book,ill see if i can find it here.
dsobotta, thanks for all your advice,its taking me ages to look at all the stuff you have suggested,but its fun :-)
If you ever are in London or the UK let me know.
Thanks and have a good day both of you
Lee
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Old 12-19-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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Smile cape town accommodation

i think you visit this(www.cometocapetown.com) site for your best vacation.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:24 AM
 
Location: Asheville
1,162 posts, read 3,696,454 times
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Dear Lee UK,
The poster Dsobotta has just given you an absolutely perfect travel guide to our NC coastal area. The Outer Banks is a must, if you want a good feel for the beaches, and in Nags Head are these giant sand dunes, Jockey's Ridge Park, your kids will love climbing up those things and the view is nice up there. There was a Holiday Inn across the street, but I think it's named something else now (sorry). Also across the street from the dunes, there's a little hang gliding shop, cute T-shirts and kites and souveniers.

English people live in NC, I run into them now and then. But the thing about the Outer Banks is natives speak in the Olde English tongue, so you may feel right at home when talking with them, as another poster pointed out. And if you take the route Dsobotta suggested, you may pass thru a town or two that you can imagine living in, seems like folks have mentioned Southport as a good spot in this forum, lots of small towns like that between Emerald Isle and Wilmington. And Wilmington is another town you should probably try to make it to, it's at the bottom of NC and the largest coastal town we got, has a historic area, university. You can also get a good house for the money if you prefer the larger town it is, but in a suburb, not on the beach itself, which in Wilmington the beach is just a quick drive away.

You might consider zipping further down Hwy 17 after your NC trip and have a look-see at Charleston SC. I stayed in the Mills House Hotel in the historic area, fabulous visit we had, Southern moss on the trees and horse-drawn carriages thruout the downtown area. But for your money, once again you would need to live in the suburbs, you can get a good house in that price range down there.
GG
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Old 12-20-2009, 01:36 PM
 
Location: St. James, NC
169 posts, read 518,301 times
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If you base yourself in Wilmington then you really should drive down to the Fort Fisher Ferry and visit Southport and Oak Island. If you decide to do that, then let me know and (if possible) I could show you around (being retired, my schedule is not very busy.) My wife and I have visited England many times and speak the Language fluently. bill
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