North and South Carolina in early April

Jan 20th, 2013, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2011
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North and South Carolina in early April

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
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 07:49 AM
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You might want to take a look at my trip report on Charleston and Savannah; click on my name to find it.
Michael is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2013, 04:59 PM
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Are you looking at state and national parks to camp or just visit?
ronkala is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 04:30 AM
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Azaleas bloom mid March in Charleston, later up in NC, so starting south is a good idea.

I think, when you begin to plan a trip like this, it's good to ask yourself what drew you to these states in the first place. That can help you craft an itinerary.

There are several plantations outside of Charleston, each of them unique. Middleton has much to see, but the house is not original. Drayton has the original home preserved (not restored), and Magnolia has beautiful gardens. Boone Hall has the famous allee of oaks that people find compelling, and the slave quarters remain. So it really is a matter of taste. If you want to see an original plantation home go to Drayton. The alligators should be waking up good by that time so be on the lookout.

I'm sure you have googled Charleston for historical sights, so you know about Ft. Sumter and Ft. Moultrie.
suewoo is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 05:02 AM
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Kiawah , a barrier island off Charleston's coast, is worth a night or two. It has gorgeous foliage and 10 miles of Atlantic oceanfront on which you can ride bicycles. The sand is very hard-packed and bike riding the shoreline in the morning is a joy. Or anytime, for that matter!
The road to Kiawah gives you the opportunity to stop and see the Angel Oak, a massive , ancient tree. Definitely worth seeing.
The recs for visiting the plantations are worthwhile. We visited Magnolia and Middleton, both stunning and very different from each other. If you visit Middleton for dinner at their restaurant(excellent), admission to walk the grounds is gratis.
While in Charleston, we spent a pleasure 3 hours touring Patriot's Point. Very interesting to see the aircraft carrier Yorktown and assorted other watercraft.

Beaufort was a bit disappointing to us. It's charming, but we were expecting a bit more grandeur...along the lines of Charleston, but smaller.

Finally, if you decide to spend time at Kiawah(or Seabrook), there is a marina complex from which you can rent a powerboat to explore the rivers, estuaries, etc. The boat we rented had a wonderful GPS, which always showed our current location. We saw quite a bit of wildlife on our excursion.
lorijv is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 08:37 AM
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Suewoo, good question, the first answer is timing and weather, it will be a lot warmer there than here in early April,currently its-20C here. I run a garden design business so any later than mid-April for vacation I am too busy to go away. Other reasons, Florida well, been there not very interesting for the most part. Its an area I haven't explored and given the limited time we have available seemed to be doable, especially if we stick to coastal areas,the different history, nature and wildlife is definitely an attraction.The descriptions of Hunting Island State Park and Edisto Beach State Park and others sound like us type places. We do not intend to camp (though we do camp a lot) it would be very complicated to take everything needed so yes just visiting NP and SP. My DH has been fascinated by the outer banks since seeing Nights in Rhodanthe. We will bring bicycles, mostly its just somewhere different not too far from home.Generally we aren't very interested in places with crowds of people.
The aircaft carrier idea is good, is that a tour or just looking at it?
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 10:36 AM
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Ah. OK.

Do tell hub not to expect those horses to come thundering by. They've been moved high up north (because people kept hitting them with cars). The Banks are beautiful and Ocracoke is one of my favorite islands. If you plan to take the ferry make reservations.

There won't be many beach-goers that time of year, and it's too cold to swim, IMO. Hunting Island and Edisto are excellent. TO visit Hunting you'll have to stay somewhere else like Beaufort, SC. There's also a Beaufort, NC, and sometimes you can see wild ponies across the water there.

You'll want to shell out the bucks for Brookgreen Gardens. Airlie Gardens in Wilmington might be a place you'd enjoy as well.

Charleton will be in full bloom by then. Enjoy walking through the historic district and peeking through the gates. Do take a guided tour, either walking or carriage so that you can find out about what you're looking at. Patriot's Point has tours or you can just walk through.
suewoo is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 12:09 PM
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A guided tour of Charleston sounds good, are there self guided tours, as in a brochure that says, go here look at this, now turn right and.....Swimming is not important
wanderingcanadian is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2013, 12:55 PM
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I don't know. I DO know Michael Trouche and Ed Grimball both do excellent walking tours. The carriage tours are less detailed and shorter, but fun.
suewoo is offline  
Jan 24th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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When we have people visiting, we like walking them around the historic district on our own.

There's a wonderful brochure/booklet that we always use called "The Complete Walking Tour of Historic Charleston".

We bought copies (under $10.00) at the following locations. I'm almost positive the booklet is also sold at the Visitor's Center and probably at the Historic Charleston City Market too. In addition, at each of these places one can purchase wonderful, authentic gifts that are true to Charleston's southern heritage; a Carolina Rice Spoon, for example.

The Preservation Society Shop on King St.,

the Historic Charleston Foundation on Meeting St.,

the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon on East Bay St.,

If you want to tour on your own, then these walking tours will be perfect for you. The booklet guides you through three separate historic walking tours and discusses each of the historic places with short paragraphs. You'll love using them.
kathleen is offline  
Jan 24th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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You could also think about coming north from Charleston. There is Huntinton State Park and Brookgreen Gardens at Pawley's/Litchfield (1.5hours from Charleston), and then there is Wilmington NC (1.5 hours from Pawley's) that will also be resplendent with azaleas.
Oops just looked back at Sue's post--but will just leave mine as a "second".
Gretchen is online now  
Jan 24th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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topping for myself ..
I, too, am leaving this cold weather for South Carolina and I'm thrilled to read that the azaleas will be blooming in mid March .
Kathleen thank you for the information on the walking tours . Since I'll have my little dog with me, this will be the best for us .

Wandering Canadian, I understand that hunting island is a beautiful area to visit .
Have a great time .
kodi is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 01:23 PM
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Hunting Island is my favorite place on earth. It's an undeveloped (!) beach that's a state park. It's $5 to get in-bring your picnic lunch and eat on the beach.

Azaleas will be in bloom for a couple of weeks. If you want to see some really spectacular ones drive out to Edisto Island. The unpruned azaleas in the woods are amazing.

Roses will also begin to flush. Go to Hampton Park near the Citadel to see an excellent collection of antique roses and Noisettes.
suewoo is offline  
Jan 25th, 2013, 04:29 PM
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Suewoo thank you so,much . I can't wait to see everything
kodi is offline  
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