Although other areas of the United States may be the first place vacationers think about when the mood to visit a beach strikes, the South offers great places to enjoy sand and sun. A bonus to the beautiful, sandy beaches and warm waters is that many places in the south also offer the advantage of being a bargain when compared to other regions.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina offers a wide variety of accommodation choices to the beach going vacationer. Not only are there hotels, motels, and resorts but a number of condos and resorts are also available. No matter the budget or requirements there will be a vacation rental perfect for you.
The Myrtle Beach tourism area is actually comprised of North and South Myrtle Beach, including Surfside Beach and Garden City, and offers nearly 60 miles of sand and ocean frontage. The “To Do’s” for vacationers in this area include amusement and water parks, many of the south’s finest golf courses, salt water and fresh water fishing, shopping at outlet malls, flea markets, and specialty boutiques and stores. There are many dining experiences as well, ranging from fast food to elegant.
For an even more diverse vacation try one of the annual festivals in the Myrtle Beach area. These include the CanAm or Canadian-American Days Festival, the Beach Boogie and BBQ Festival, the Sun Fun Festival, signaling the beginning of the summer season, the Christmas Towne holiday festival, and the Grand Strand Fishing Rodeo which runs from April to October.
Destin, Florida, is another popular vacation spot. It is located on the panhandle of Florida’s Emerald Coast. The sand is as white as sugar and the warm Gulf waters are emerald green and often as clear as an aquarium.
Great for both romantic getaways and memory filled family vacations, Destin offers something for everyone, although its’ greatest draw will always be the water and sand. Vacationers here take advantage of the fishing by chartering a boat or fishing from a pier or the beach. Golf and scuba diving are also popular activities. For those who prefer a more sedate experience, Dolphin spotting and glass bottom boat cruises are available.
Hotels, resorts, beach houses, and condos abound and there are accommodations for everyone, no matter the budget. Destin is sometimes crowded, but the number of visitors is an indication of just how much the coastal community has to offer. While here, be sure to try some of the great Gulf of Mexico seafood and the fresh oysters are some of the best in the world.
The two Alabama coastal communities of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, located on a barrier island just east of the Florida state line, abut each other and many visitors never realize when they leave one and enter the other.
Less crowded than the panhandle of Florida but still a favorite among southern beach-goes, the Gulf Shores area of Alabama offers the same emerald green waters and white sandy beaches. Golf is popular, as are fishing, surfing, and all other water sports. The dolphin cruises on the bay are a favorite, with nearly all trips having success at getting a close look at the marine mammals. The dolphins can also be seen just offshore, cruising up and down the beaches early in the morning and late afternoon.
There are a number of events and festivals in the area, but one event that is unique to this area is the “Annual Interstate Mullet Toss & Gulf Coast’s Greatest Beach Party” held the last weekend of every April at the Flora-Bama Lounge, a bar located on the Alabama – Florida state lines. The weekend includes a keg toss, a bikini contest, and a tug of war. The namesake event, the Interstate Mullet Toss, consists of individuals throwing a mullet, down an alleyway on the beach, from a circle in the sand in Alabama across the state line into Florida. Thousands attend this event each year.
Although South Padre Island, Texas is best known for its’ annual Spring Break crowds, this beach town has a lot to offer all year round and to more than just the college crowd.
The island has the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Laguna Madre Bay on the other. The beach at South Padre is wide and the sand is white, a perfect complement to the beautiful waters. Resorts, hotels, and condos line the beach, providing a choice of accommodations.
South Padre Island is located just minutes from the U.S.-Mexican border, and the nearby town of Matamoras, Mexico is a popular day trip diversion from the beach.
Popular local sports include surfing, kiteboarding, parasailing, horseback riding on the beach, jet skiing, golf and tennis. Of course, coastal and deep sea fishing is also available through one of the numerous charter boats in the local fleet.
The eco-tourism industry in this area also provides an interesting vacation, with bird watching a favorite as well as activities involving conservation efforts for the Ridley’s Sea Turtles.
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