North Carolina is a beach and golf haven as good as any coastal locale in the United States. It's full of inns, bed and breakfasts and quaint corners filled with delicious outer banks and low country cuisine. It's a perfect quiet vacation for people looking to get away for a month or a short weekend. With low airfare into Charlotte, North Carolina, it's also extremely accessible and affordable.
Flights to Charlotte on Independence Air (tel. 800/359-3594; www.flyi.com) from New York City start at around $230. Centrally located, Charlotte is an easy place to start your North Carolina experience. Only about a 3-hour, 197-mile drive to Wilmington and even closer to Chapel Hill, Charlotte's International airport is a hub for travelers to the North Carolina beaches and tourist points.
The quiet Southern beach town of Wilmington, North Carolina isn't big enough to be unmanageable and yet it still attracts tourists with its small-town Main Street feel and long stretch of beach. To get the basics on Wilmington, check out www.insiders-wilmington.com. You get an idea of the history of the Southern North Carolina beach area and get links to many of the inns and hotels in the area. The Four Porches Bed and Breakfast (tel. 910/342-0849; www.4porches.com) is a in the heart of downtown Wilmington about a ten to fifteen minute drive to the beach. Rates fluctuate around $179 for the high season in the summer but go down accordingly in the winter month. A two-night minimum stay is required in the summer with no restrictions on winter stays. One thing to remember about Wilmington--it's North Carolina's version of mini-Hollywood. Numerous television shows such as Dawson's Creek and movies such as Cape Fear have been filmed there. There are only four rooms at the inn so book your stay well in advance. Gourmet breakfasts are prepared daily.
The Ocean Isle Inn (tel. 800/352-5988; www.oceanisleinn.com/index.html) is a beachfront hotel in North Carolina outside of Wilmington. Its rustic ocean front property has water views, a pool and direct access to the hard sand that characterizes the North Carolina beaches. This type of sand is great for castles, running on the beach and football games. Volleyball diving is not recommended. Forty-five minutes from Myrtle Beach famous for its water parks, miniature golf courses and chain food establishments and only a short drive to Wilmington, the Ocean Isle is convenient for day trips or just a relaxing stand-alone vacation. Better are the rates. An oceanfront weekday room from September 5 to October 15, 2005 starts at $119 and goes down to $79 if you travel from October 26 to November 26, 2005. There is no restaurant on the property, but the hotel provides a Continental breakfast for guests. For you golfers, the area contains more than 100 golf courses. Ask the hotel about their golf packages. Nearby Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is one of the country's best golfing (and bachelor party) destinations. Don't be surprised if you see a wedding while at the hotel. It's a great place to get hitched.
Travelocity (tel. 888/872-8356; www.travelocity.lmdeals.com/index.html?in_origination_key=481) has deals to Charlotte that focus on NASCAR (www.nascar.com), the country's largest and most popular spectator sport. Starting at $241 per person with a double occupancy with airfare out of Atlanta, Charlotte is popular for its major sports scene and modern Southern flair. The three-night trip offers a host of hotels located on Charlotte's peripheral or downtown. Take a tour of the Loews Motor Speedway and feel the power of stock car racing.