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North and South Carolina in early April

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I am planning a trip to North and South Carolina, the current plan is leave Mississauga, Ontario on March 31, Easter Sunday, drive to the Charleston area, perhaps Beaufort, I have planned 2 days for the drive, I know we could probably get there earlier and if we do that's fine, then spend a week following the coast north, starting the return trip from the Kitty Hawk area on the 10th April. We do not have the option of extending the trip.
I would like advice on what to see and do. Our interests are nature, walking/hiking, history, and we intend to stay as close to the coast as possible. On this trip we are not interested in shopping, fine dining, sports or expensive accommodation. I have looked at descriptions of various State and National parks, all of them look great, so need an opinion on what parks are best. We would like to visit a 'plantation' and other historically significant places. And I need at least one beach to sit on and watch the waves. I would like to see spring flowers, azaleas etc.
Any suggestions, thanks in advance

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