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Old 08-07-2006, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Wake Forest NC
1,611 posts, read 4,404,575 times
Reputation: 891

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I don't want to bore the natives, but I want to share this for my fellow northerners who are wondering about living away from the beach...

This past weekend was my son's 12th birthday. He is feeling a bit low, due to the move, and missing his friends & having to start school in the middle of summer!!!! So, we decided to drive to the beach. My husband warned me that it would be a 2 hour drive but I have to admit it was a drag, coming from Long Island where it is 10 minutes to the bay & 1/2 hour to the surf (or- 2 hours with traffic!!!!) The drive was beautiful, through farmland & rolling terrain. We headed down 40 and arrived at Wrightsville Beach, paid to park at the municipal meter ($1.50/ hour) and stepped out on to a gorgeous beach.
The Outer Banks is beautiful in a rugged way, very much like Fire Island/ Robert Moses- we go to Buxton which is reallly undeveloped & wild, with challenging waves & lots of birds.
Wrightsville Beach, on the other hand, has that sugary sand & clear water like Florida. There are palm trees everywhere. The beach was lined with condos too. On the day we went there were gentle rolling waves, the water was really warm, there were lifeguards... the kids were in heaven.

After 2 hours on the beach we had pizza up in town... American pizza (but hey, they had a cool surfing show on the tv so who cares?)
Then we drove to Wilmington to see the USS North Carolina. It took 1/2 an hour to get there, & the sky was clouding up, which was merciful b/c that sun beating down would have been too hot for sightseeing! They really let you all over that ship on the self-guided tour, more so than the Intrepid or the Wisconsin so the kids were loving it. Then we headed home, into a rainstorm.
All in all, I would say that the drive was a bit much to make it an every- weekend thing. Now I see why people stay over night. But, on the plus side, it was a 2 hour drive to a tropical beach experience. Everything in life is a trade off. Next weekend we will explore one of the local lakes...
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Old 08-07-2006, 07:48 AM
 
Location: Jersey Shore
1,574 posts, read 4,354,092 times
Reputation: 1002
Thanks for that, NYer. I was also minutes from the beach, so your description makes the tradeoff seem even more worthwhile.

Keep us posted on the Lake experience!
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Waxhaw, NC
293 posts, read 866,459 times
Reputation: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by NYer
I don't want to bore the natives, but I want to share this for my fellow northerners who are wondering about living away from the beach...

This past weekend was my son's 12th birthday. He is feeling a bit low, due to the move, and missing his friends & having to start school in the middle of summer!!!! So, we decided to drive to the beach. My husband warned me that it would be a 2 hour drive but I have to admit it was a drag, coming from Long Island where it is 10 minutes to the bay & 1/2 hour to the surf (or- 2 hours with traffic!!!!) The drive was beautiful, through farmland & rolling terrain. We headed down 40 and arrived at Wrightsville Beach, paid to park at the municipal meter ($1.50/ hour) and stepped out on to a gorgeous beach.
The Outer Banks is beautiful in a rugged way, very much like Fire Island/ Robert Moses- we go to Buxton which is reallly undeveloped & wild, with challenging waves & lots of birds.
Wrightsville Beach, on the other hand, has that sugary sand & clear water like Florida. There are palm trees everywhere. The beach was lined with condos too. On the day we went there were gentle rolling waves, the water was really warm, there were lifeguards... the kids were in heaven.

After 2 hours on the beach we had pizza up in town... American pizza (but hey, they had a cool surfing show on the tv so who cares?)
Then we drove to Wilmington to see the USS North Carolina. It took 1/2 an hour to get there, & the sky was clouding up, which was merciful b/c that sun beating down would have been too hot for sightseeing! They really let you all over that ship on the self-guided tour, more so than the Intrepid or the Wisconsin so the kids were loving it. Then we headed home, into a rainstorm.
All in all, I would say that the drive was a bit much to make it an every- weekend thing. Now I see why people stay over night. But, on the plus side, it was a 2 hour drive to a tropical beach experience. Everything in life is a trade off. Next weekend we will explore one of the local lakes...
Thanks for sharing that experience. I enjoyed it. We're from LI, NY & are moving to Union County in about 5 months. I know we are sacrificing the easy access to LI's beautiful beaches, but we really don't go that often. However, I just recently took the kids to Smith's Point beach to show them the flight 800 memorial. Are the beaches in NC really tropical?? I've never been to any beaches in NC. I can't wait. Does anyone know how long the ride is to the coast from the Charlotte area?
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Old 08-07-2006, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Upstate SC
915 posts, read 2,311,001 times
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The beaches aren't all that tropical here. Palm trees struggle growing in NC. I lived on the beach in Carolina Beach, near Wilmington for four years. A lot of homeowners would invest in palm trees just to see them die the next winter if it got too cold. They are very nice beaches, and clean for the most part, but I would never call them tropical.
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Old 08-07-2006, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mtns of NC
5,661 posts, read 24,666,432 times
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NC is considered to be in the Temperate Climate Zone. The most tropical climate would be at the Equator.

An excellent description of the climate in North Carolina can be found here:

http://www.nc-climate.ncsu.edu/climate/ncclimate.html
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Summerville
890 posts, read 3,965,944 times
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I agree, the beaches in NC are far from tropical. You don't start to see palm trees until you get to the Myrtle Beach area. I lived in Wilmington and I did not care for Wrightsville Beach for several reasons. The people who live at Wrightsville think they own the place and they do not like outsiders who come there and quite frankly will let you know it. If you want to experience the true beauty of the NC coast the best way is by boat on the intracoastal waterway.
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest NC
1,611 posts, read 4,404,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scjj
I agree, the beaches in NC are far from tropical. You don't start to see palm trees until you get to the Myrtle Beach area. I lived in Wilmington and I did not care for Wrightsville Beach for several reasons. The people who live at Wrightsville think they own the place and they do not like outsiders who come there and quite frankly will let you know it. If you want to experience the true beauty of the NC coast the best way is by boat on the intracoastal waterway.
All is relative... the texture of the sand and the color & temperature of the water were more tropical than in Buxton or the NY beaches.

I wish we had a boat but no such luck. We experienced the beach from a public acccess parking lot.

Like I wrote, Wrightsville Beach was not very natural, it was built up. But, there were tons of those palm trees- I don't know if they replant them every year or what. Then I saw some in Raleigh planted around a restaurant. They looked pretty big. Do they have to wrap them up in the winter? How do they surviv frost?
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:53 PM
 
Location: Summerville
890 posts, read 3,965,944 times
Reputation: 379
They could have been Cycas revoluta (Sago Palm). It is a primitive, cone-bearing plant that is related to conifers and is hardy to about 15F. It has the appearance of a palm and a tropical look. The frost will burn the leaves but you cut them back every year and they sprout new growth. They can grow up to 10ft tall.

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Old 08-07-2006, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Cornelius
2,314 posts, read 2,115,339 times
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It takes about 4hrs to get to the coast from Charlotte.
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Old 08-07-2006, 01:14 PM
 
116 posts, read 442,516 times
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I have the beach 5 minutes from me and I never go. Its one of those things that you take for granted since its always there. I'll probably miss it if I move up.
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