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Which Carolina Beach is Best for Your Family?


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Headed to the coast this summer?

Take our quiz to find out which beach best matches your family's vacation personality.

Where do you like to stay on vacation?

A. We usually rent a house or condo.

B. A small family-friendly hotel or rental house with a pool.

C. We love high-rise hotels with spectacular views of the beach, or a resort with a lazy river and indoor and outdoor pools.

How do you feel about other vacationers?

A. We prefer very quiet beaches and solitude. We would LOVE to have the beach to ourselves.

B. We don't mind people, but dislike large crowds and heavy traffic.

C. The more, the merrier!

What are YOUR favorite beach activities?

A. Simply spending time with family.

B. Fun in the sun by day and a good game of mini golf or other family-friendly attraction at night.

C. Surfing, parasailing, arcades, go-carts, live shows, amusement parks, mini golf - you name it, we love it!

What are your KIDS' favorite beach activities?

A. They are happy as long as there's water.

B. Splashing in the surf and perhaps a day trip to a nearby aquarium or museum.

C. They are constantly on the go enjoying a variety of activities. It's something different every day: water parks, ziplines, watersports, etc. My kids love adventure!

Describe your family's eating habits on vacation.

A. We cook most of our meals.

B. We enjoy the occasional mom-and-pop style cafe or deli.

C. We prefer a large variety of restaurants, especially national chains.

The Results

Did you answer mostly A, B or C? Tally your answers to find what Carolina beaches might be good matches for your family.

A Your family craves relaxation and quiet. Consider the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, which spans 70 miles from Bodie Island to Ocracoke and includes Rondanthe, Salvo, Avon, Waves and Buxton. You'll have no problem finding a quiet spot along this seashore even during peak season, and there are a variety of homes available for rent. (nps.gov/caha)

If seclusion is your No. 1 priority, consider Carova Beach in the northern portion of the Outer Banks in Currituck County. Four-wheel drive is a must, though, as there are few paved roads, and you'll have to drive on the beach and possibly through water to get there. There are no fast food restaurants or malls, but a number of houses, many quite luxurious, are available for rent here. (carovabeach.info)

B You dislike large crowds, but don't like feeling like Tom Hanks in Castaway either. You prefer a beautiful beach near a few family-friendly attractions. These Carolina beaches are your best bets:

Kure Beach or Carolina Beach - These small but scenic beaches are just 15-20 minutes from Wilmington and near the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the Fort Fisher State Historic Site and Museum. Enjoy shelling, shopping and local family-friendly restaurants. (visitkurebeachnc.com, carolinabeach.com)

Holden Beach - Midway between South Carolina's Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, Holden Beach's 9-mile shoreline has houses, quaint cottages and condos for rent. Enjoy the fishing pier, mini golf, water slide and locally owned restaurants. (holden beachnc.com)

Topsail Beach - Located midway between Wilmington and Jacksonville in North Carolina, Topsail is the perfect beach for fishing, relaxation, swimming and more. Visitors will enjoy several unique shops and restaurants. (topsailbeach.org)

Emerald Isle - Emerald Isle is perhaps the most well-known area of North Carolina's Crystal Coast, which includes Atlantic Beach, Beaufort, Morehead City and Cape Lookout. Attractions include Cape Lookout Lighthouse and N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. (emeraldisle-nc.org)

Edisto Island, S.C. - This Low country beach is about 45 minutes south of Charleston, S.C., and vacationers will love the casual flavor of this 68-square-mile island. (edistobeach.com)

Pawleys Island, S.C. - This resort island is 4 miles long and is 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach. The island is known for golfing, fishing, boating, shelling and more. (townofpawleysisland.com)

C Your family loves a variety of activities and wants to stay on the go. Myrtle Beach spans 60 miles and has numerous activities for the adventure-loving family. From oceanfront skyscrapers to family-friendly resorts, there's no shortage of places to stay. There are more than 100 golf courses, numerous waterparks, amusement parks and watersports including boat rides, jet skis, parasailing, surfing and more.

Shoppers will enjoy factory outlets, malls and specialty shops, and foodies will have their pick of numerous restaurants from local delis, seafood eateries, steakhouses, chain restaurants and fine-dining options.

And when the sun goes down, Myrtle Beach comes to life with live shows, music and more.

With thousands of activities and attractions, Myrtle Beach is the best choice for the family seeking excitement. (visitmyrtlebeach.com)

Family Getaways: Vacation Destinations & Day Trips!315x205-odile-travel.jpg

Find more vacation and travel ideas on our Travel page.

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Calendar

February 2016

The Downtown Cary Food & Flea is a community market that features local fine artists, craft makers, vintage finds, edible goods, music, food trucks and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Ashworth Village
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Harris Lake County Park
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: $5/family

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Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Girls and their fathers spend an evening dancing, playing games and more. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $20/couple. $5 additional daughter

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Camp Chestnut Ridge, Morris Center
4300 Camp Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Elfland, NC  27243
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Telephone: 919-304-2178
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Cost: $25/child, $15/sibling

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BounceU of Apex
3419 Apex Peakway
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Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: Free

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Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 919-870-4330
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Older participants take a short hike and practice bird count data collection, while younger participants count how many different kinds of birds that can been seen from the park's front porch....

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Telephone: 919-870-4330
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Cost: $5/family

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
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Telephone: 919-387-4342
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Cost: $4/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
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Cost: $7

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Monkey Joe’s Raleigh
6220 Glenwood Ave. Ste. 104
Raleigh, NC  27612
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Cost: Free

Where:
Spanish for fun! Cary
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Sponsor: Spanish for fun!
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Duke Child and Family Study Center
2608 Erwin Rd., Lakeview Pavilion East
Suite 300
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Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: Free

Where:
Spanish for fun! Raleigh
8000 Glenwood Ave
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Sponsor: Spanish for fun!
Telephone: 919-881-1160
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Children delight in discoveries of shapes, colors and textures in nature. Ages 1 and older with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

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Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Thrift 2 Gift
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Apex , NC  27502
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Cost: Free

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Spanish for fun! Wake Forest
222 Capcom Ave
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Telephone: 919-883-2061
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Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-4342
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Cost: $10/resident, $15/nonresident. $5 supply fee

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Holly Springs Cultural Center
300 W. Ballentine St.
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Telephone: 919-567-4000
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JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd
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Telephone: 919-513-7011
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Cost: $5/child

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Wilkerson Nature Preserve
11408 Raven Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-996-6764
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Stagville
5828 Old Oxford Hwy.
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Telephone: 919-620-0120
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Cost: $5/family

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
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Telephone: 919-387-4342
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Cost: $2/person

Where:
Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Road
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Cost: $5/person

Where:
N.C. State Fairgrounds, Holshouser Bldg.
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Cost: $12/resident, $16/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Hillsborough Visitors Center
150 E. King St.
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Website »

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Learn about foxes and coyotes, look for their tracks and make a craft. Ages 3-5. Register online.

Cost: $5/child

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
11408 Raven Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-996-6764
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Cost: Free

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Barnes & Noble
760 S.E Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27511
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Cost: $8/member, $10/nonmember

Where:
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100 Old Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Sponsor: North Carolina Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-537-3770
Contact Name: Elisha Taylor
Website »

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Cost: $5/child

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Durant Nature Preserve
8305 Camp Durant Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Cost: $5/box

Where:
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301 Little River Park Way
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Telephone: 919-732-5505
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