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Southeast US Family Vacation Ideas

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The sunny Southeast offers myriad destinations for a fun family getaway. The spring break months are a popular time to visit the Southeast US, with pleasant daytime temperatures and cool evenings. Sea Island, for instance, has average highs in March of 70° (with swings from 65 to 81°.) Ocean temperature averages 66° in spring. Fall is an appealing time as well.

Yet summer is the peak time for family beach getaways. Note that many schools in the Southeast US start their summer break in late May or early June, and are back at school by August.

1. Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona Beach
amiga-commodore/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Bringing the kids to Daytona Beach? Planning a getaway to this family-friendly destination is a snap when you know where to play and eat with kids.

2. Gulf Shores & Orange Beach, Alabama

KayakSUP.jpg
Gulf Adventure Center

With 32 miles of spectacular, sugar-white beaches and a raftload of outdoor activities and family attractions, the neighboring towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are premier family beach vacation destinations. 

3. Outer Banks, North Carolina

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Tourism.
Photo courtesy of North Carolina Tourism.

Just off the coast of North Carolina -- and reachable by car -- this set of barrier islands stretches for 130 miles. Picture a laid-back for a family getaway, with beaches, sand dunes (some 100 feet high), swimming, crabbing, and kayaking in salt and freshwater marches. Some amusement parks and attractions, too.

 

4. Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, North Carolina

CarolinaBeach_Pier.jpg
Carolina Beach
On the southern coast of North Carolina, Carolina Beach and nearby Kure Beach are less commercially developed than many other beach towns in the Southeast and offer a relaxed, family-friendly vibe. Both Carolina Beach and Kure Beach deliver a classic beach town experience, with lovely stretches of sand and fishing piers. Both towns have boardwalks: Carolina Beach Boardwalk offers seaside amusements and an arcade, while Kure Beach's boardwalk is part of a green, oceanfront park. 

 

5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Photo courtesy of The Myrtle Beach Area CVB.

South Carolina is the #2 state for tourism after Florida, and Myrtle Beach is a big part of this picture, with a 60-mile stretch of beaches (the "Grand Strand") and several amusement park attractions. Spring break is a popular time to visit, but families should give a thought to the spring break college scene...

6. Stone Mountain Park, Georgia

Photo courtesy of Stone Mountain Park.
Photo courtesy of Stone Mountain Park.

Stone Mountain Park is Georgia's top tourist draw, combining natural attractions (woods and lakes, plus the the famous "stone mountain") with amusements such as sky ride, scenic railroad, laser light show. The "stone mountain" is the largest outcropping of exposed granite in the world, and on it is the world's largest sculpture carved into the stone (- a giant Confederate Memorial.) Location is 15 miles from Atlanta.

7. Sea Island, Georgia

photo courtesy of Sea Island Resort.

85 miles south of Savannah, Sea Island is an upscale resort where families return for generations; its main building, The Cloister, was built in 1928. Sea Island is an a barrier island reached by a causeway. Guests find four resorts, 10,000 acres of forest, lawn, and marshland, 5 miles of private beachfront, and many outdoor and indoor activities for families. Kids programs are offered seasonally.

8. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort.

100 miles south of Charleston SC, and 35 miles northeast of Savannah GA, this small but popular island has a a range of lodgings, from upscale gated resort communities to vacation home rentals, with a lot in between including a Disney resort. Some properties offer kids programs in summer, and perhaps during spring break too.

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