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Dog Friendly Beach Town in Southeast, charm, privacy, good food

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I am in search of the perfect southern beach town. Last spring break (I'm a teacher) we found paradise in Summer Haven, south of St Augustine. We loved the privacy, quiet, funky dining, dog friendly beaches where our dogs could run and play safely, blue water, views, proximity to historical sights in St Augustine, and nice weather. It was pretty much my perfect beach town.

The only problem? The drive from DC took us FOREVER on 95 both ways the week before Easter. While waiting over an hour just to get back onto 95 from the exit where we stopped for gas in Virginia, with our butts numb after 15 hours in the car, we swore that we would not go through that devilish drive again.

We are seeking something closer to DC- maybe NC, SC, or Georgia. We are looking for a town that has some charm, some good eating (high class or fried seafood- we like both), and a beach that allows dogs all day. Tybee Island, GA would be a hands down winner except they don't allow dogs on the beach. Any ideas for us?

We are a couple of old farts who like looking at water views, reading, and having cocktails on the porch after a day of walking our dogs on the beach or in the woods or touring historic sights. We would like a single family rental with privacy that is pet friendly. A hot tub would add to the charm. We like birds, flowers, and nature and don't like mini-golf, neon, and touristy shopping. We would be happy with any weather from 60-90 degrees in late April.

Any undiscovered treasures for us? Little towns off the beaten track where we can kick back and look at the view with our dogs? Thanks for your suggestions!!

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