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Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Columbus, Ohio
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Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Greetings TA friends. Please kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan. It's our first time to the Adirondacks. We usually don't do stuff we can do at home like putt-putt and water parks (unless it's unusual). We want to take advantage of the history of the area and the natural beauty. My wife and I have have two boys (9 and 11) and grandma will be coming as well. We typically don't go on vacation to relax, we go to do stuff; it may seem tiring, but we don't drag the kids around and we'll slow down if needed. We try to have a base plan so we don't waste time, but we leave room for doing the impulsive thing also. Sleeping in for us may mean heading out by 10ish.We'll be traveling in early August and staying at Harbourside II condos. We'll be driving in from Ohio making a two day trip there staying in Greensboro overnight, and making a one day trip home when we're done.

Thurs 9 Aug-travel to Greensboro-lunch at rest area-supper at Country BBQ

Fri 10 Aug-check in condo-eat lunch on the fly; supper-Country Biscuit Restaurant or Morgan's

Sat 11 Aug-sleep in; head to Atlantic Beach; explore beach area; eat at Channel Marker. Take a dip. Drive about and explore area. Another meal at 4 Corners Diner or Crab Shack.

Sun 12 Aug-sleep in and relax in am; Sunday buffet at The Flame; visit store of birthplace of Pepsi; Civil War sites; Supper at condo.

Mon 13 Aug-hike at Croatan forest in AM; shower; lunch at The Chelsea; maybe head to ocean-Atlantic Beach area; supper condo or perhaps Rolands BBQ in Beaufort.

Tues 14 Aug-head to Crystal Coast area; hit Aquarium in AM; then to Fort Macon; beach at Fort Macon; eat lunch at White Swan BBQ?-supper condo or Captain Ratty's in New Bern or 4 Corners Diner or Sanitary Fish Market in Atlantic Beach area.

Weds 15 Aug-sleep in; explore New Bern-Tryon Palace; lunch? Supper at condo.

Thurs-16 Aug-sleep in-fishing pier Atlantic beach?-Cape Lookout?-beach-lunch?-supper

Fri-check out condo-drive home

The plan is not a firm as I usually like it. Thursday will be our get stuff done we haven't got done day, doing something else, or just plain rest up day. We'll try fit in Cape Lookout on our Crystal Coast excursions or save it for Thursday.

I've done my research and put together a plan. Tell me what you think. Thanks much friends.

North Carolina
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1. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

"It's our first time to the Adirondacks."

Do you mean the Outer Banks?

( New Bern and the Crystal Coast are not really on the Outer Banks, though)

Chapel Hill, North...
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2. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

I'd spend more time on the beach and less time in the car personally. I think your boys would love to do some boogie boarding or skim boarding.

Hiking in the Croatan National Forest in August sounds absolutely horrible to me when I could be at the beach. It will hot and buggy and ugh. I've never been there (drove by), but I've lived in NC almost all my life and have a lot of experience with eastern NC forest lands.

I'd add Beaufort into the mix. Take a ferry to Shackleford Island and hike there and look for the wild ponies. Lots of great places to eat in Beaufort. Go to the Maritime Museum there and see all the Blackbeard stuff.

North Carolina
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3. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Where are you staying in Greensboro?

North Carolina
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4. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

I just realized that Harbourside II is in New Bern. Any reason you aren't stopping in New Bern for a few hours and then staying at the beach? You are going to be doing a lot of driving.

Chapel Hill, North...
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5. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Oh, plus, there's that big fire in the Croatan right now. I'd definitely rethink that day.

…wnct.com/news/…

Oh, and here's an essay about hiking in the Croatan written by a lifelong North Carolinian well versed in the woods of eastern NC fayobserver.com/articles/2012/06/23/1186028…

Edited: 23 June 2012, 19:10
Columbus, Ohio
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6. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Silly me. I pasted the same opening from last year's Adinordack trip and forgot to change it to New Bern.

Our base will be in New Bern and we'll be trekking some days to the Atlantic Beach area. Yep it's some time in the car, but it's nothing we mind. We did a timeshare swap and went with the best available; we didn't plan as far in advance because a cruise with the extended family fell through and we decided to put that on hold. We wanted beach and this was as close as we could with an RCI swap for 5 people.

Thanks for the input on Beaufort. I'll definitely take a look at that.

For the Croatan we were thinking an easy well traveled trail (the Island Creek Trail). Hopefully by then the fires would have died out.

Thanks all.

Virginia
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7. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Don't discount that fire. Hopefully, it will be mostly out soon. However, there's that peat floor and peat burns deep, causing hot roots to make trees fall. Then roots flame and start new fires. And peat can take months to go out.

When the Great Dismal Swamp has a fire it has been smelled in Richmond and even 4 hours drive away heading west and up in Md. Even a slow contained burn will create a smokey smell. Anyone with breathing issues, heart or lung or allergy issues should keep an eye on the smokey smell.

Good news is the smoke drives the bugs away.

Chapel Hill, North...
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8. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

I wouldn't want to hike in there in August fire or no fire, but YMMV. I'm sure it's a nice enough hike, but October-April would be a better time in my book. Way too hot and buggy and I'm not one to mind the heat and grew up in southeastern NC. That just wouldn't make my list of things to do in August in that part of NC.

If you're really wanting to get into the woods, there's also a nature trail at the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. When I was there over Memorial Day, though, the heat was already on enough that I just saw people looking at the start of the trail and turning around and heading back into the museum.

My top picks for the area would be:

The Beach (I don't think it much matters which one, Atlantic, Pine Knoll Shores, Emerald Isle)

Tryon Palace

New Bern

The NC Aquarium

The NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort (Blackbeard relics)

Beaufort shops and historical sites/waterfront

Ferry to Shackleford Island and hike to try to spot wild ponies

Ferry to Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Ft Macon

And yes, the fires can burn for months like Explorer3 noted. We could smell the Alligator National Refuge fire of 2008 here in the Triangle 200 miles away. …nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080613-… . So I do hope it's been put out by the time your vacation rolls around, but do keep an eye on it, and note that even if it is out the Croatan NF may not be very scenic as a result.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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9. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Wow, wish I had found your comments earlier! We are heading there in August for our first trip to the area from Utah. After many hours of research on the internet and TA, we have scheduled many of the highlights you have mentioned. Thank you for your comments. They were extremely helpful. We will cancel the idea of hiking in the forest in August!

Chapel Hill, North...
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10. Re: Kindly critique my New Bern-Crystal Coast Vacation Plan

Well Cheryl, part of it is where I'm coming from. I grew up hiking in swamps and piney woods and have seen plenty of venus flytraps and Jack-in-the-Pulpits. When I'm that close to the beach, the woods is just not a big draw, especially in August. To put it in perspective it's supposed to be 98 on Saturday with high humidity here. I'd just much rather be in the water than in the woods when the weather is like that. I think the beach areas of the Croatan sound nice, but I just don't think that's a big enough draw for me. If I'd never been in a forest like that maybe I'd be tempted, but it's hard to imagine.

What helps me sometimes when planning a visit to an area is to do a google image search on the location in question and just see if it looks like a place I would like to visit.

Croatan National Forest - www.google.com/search…

Tryon Palace - www.google.com/search…

NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores - http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=nc+aquarium+pine+knoll+shores

Beaufort - http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=beaufort+nc

Emerald Isle NC - http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&qe=emerald+isle+nc

The Croatan just doesn't do it for me, but if it piques y'all's interest then go for it. Keep an eye out for news on that fire, though.

Edited: 25 June 2012, 02:00