Coastal NC

VOL12ISS2 2016

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34 THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — CAPE FEAR NC | VOLUME 12—ISSUE 2 BEACHES & COASTAL COMMUNITIES Beach Towns of North Carolina life in the slow lane BY LYNNE BRANDON The ebb and flow of tides, people coming and going with beach bags, coolers and families in tow are what the summers are made of on coastal beaches. Whether at Cape Fear or the Crystal Coast, beaches, islands and coastal communities are "staycations" in any season. Wilmington and its beaches at Wrightsville, Carolina and Kure are favorite Cape Fear vacation spots especially when the temperature heats up. Tradition brings families back to the same hotels, restaurants and festivals year after year. Wrightsville Beach is hallowed ground for beach lovers, shell seekers and surfers. The beach has been named one of the world's best surf towns by National Geographic, and Men's Journal called the island community "North Carolina's most naturally gifted watersports hub." Outdoor types can choose specialty tours or cruises on the water to experience the natural beauty of the area. Go on an eco-scavenger hunt on Masonboro Island or fish off the Johnnie Mercer pier just to say you did it. After a long day, dine at Dockside Restaurant on the Intercoastal Waterway. The family owned institution serves up fresh seafood seasoned with the best views around. Since 1964, locals have been going to the Blockade Runner, the independently owned hotel with a long history of great service and a friendly touch. For generations, the same families have been coming back. "We've spent the last 50 years creating a truly unique experience that guests and their families will enjoy for years to come," said owner Mary Baggett Martin. "With sound-side and ocean-front access, it's a one-of-a-kind resort like no place else in the Carolinas." Neighboring Carolina Beach and Kure Beach made Travel Channel's list of "North Carolina's Most Overlooked Beaches." The serene, pristine beaches are worth the time to explore. Carolina Beach is famous for its boardwalk named among "America's Most Awesome Boardwalks" by Budget Travel and FOX News. The boardwalk also made The Daily Meal's list of "Best Boardwalks for Food." In the summer, music and fireworks ignite the air on the boardwalk. Britts Donuts on the boardwalk is listed as among America's 25 Best Donuts in 2013. The beloved sweet has been king on the boardwalk since 1939. Sweet tooth craving are indulged at Squigleys Ice Cream Parlor where folks can try 4,000 custom-made ice cream flavors and menu items. Walk off calories at Carolina State Park where you will see Venus flytraps and other carnivorous plants. Aside from surf and sand, main attractions at Kure Beach are the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the Fort Fisher State Historic Site. See the aquarium's Butterfly Bungalow exhibit featuring beautiful and exotic species. Fort Fisher State Historic Site is the state's most visited historic site and the scene of the most ambitious amphibious assault of the Civil War. Drive some forty minutes north of Kure Beach and Wilmington to Topsail Beach. The quiet beach is unassuming and the Intracoastal Waterway provides excellent boating and fishing. Lazy days in the sun mark the slow ticking of time on North Carolina beaches and in coastal communities. On land or at sea, adventures are for the taking in these unique destinations. []

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