Travel plans ahead? Feeling wanderlust? Want to roam about the Carolinas? Trying to figure out spring break? Summer exploration needed? In need of weekend adventure ideas? Whether your travel preference is near or far, below are a few trips and ideas for the best family wanderlust vacations.
Kure (pronounced (Cure-ee) Beach, located only 15 miles south of Wilmington, is convenient to Carolina Beach or the ferry to Southport. Does Southport ring any bells? Southport has been a popular filming venue for television and movies, including film adaptations by novelist Nicholas Sparks.
In addition, this quaint little beach town offers free beach parking and family-friendly amenities including tourist attractions such as the NC Aquarium and the Fort Fisher Civil War Museum and Historic Site.
After spending a day at Kure Beach, navigate the wonder of the natural world at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Perfect for families of all ages! Get up close and personal to experience and learn all about NC's aquarium friends: Meet Luna (the albino alligator) and Maverick (a rescued bald eagle), lorikeets, jellyfish, sea horses, sting rays, eels, horseshoe crabs and even sharks. The aquarium also boasts behind-the-scenes tours, outdoor adventures and kid-friendly camps.
You will definitely want to eat lunch at Shark Bites - the food is yummy! Plus, the children can let out some energy on the adjacent playground, dig for fossils, and explore the outdoor wetland areas.
With national acclaim and accolades, North Carolina's Outer Banks ranks as "Best Beach" and "Top 10" collections year after year. Coupled with rich history and national landmarks, the Outer Banks is a signature must see and do destination.
One of our favorite family resorts in the area is The Sanderling Resort. Due to this gorgeous resort being home of our wedding venue, we are a tad bit biased. However, the resort has received countless awards including U.S. News & World Report, Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice, Travel + Leisure "500 World's Best Hotels", Travelers' Choice Trip Advisor, AAA Four Diamond, and Southern Living. Still not convinced? Well check it out for yourself....it's the perfect distance from the Triangle for a week-long spring break or summer vacay.
Topsail spells relaxation. Ok, not exactly. But Topsail Beach's pristine beach waters and peaceful environment completely yields itself to a few days of respite and nothingness. Want a some low key activity to complement your agenda of respite? Navigate Jolly Roger Pier, charter a deep sea fishing boat, or launch your own watercraft from Bush Marina. Topsail Beach, situated at the southern end of Topsail Island, is just off US Highway 17, approximately midway between Wilmington and Jacksonville.
Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! In less than 2 hours from the heart of Triangle, you can fully experience some of the world's greatest animals. Giraffes, zebra, elephants, lions, polar bears, sea lions, gorillas, chimpanzees bison and more await your presence. Tip: plan to go early and spend a full day. There's so much to see and explore. Read the full travel guide to the NC Zoo.
Other best family vacations and trip ideas include an Asheville excursion, a Charlotte getaway, an Orlando adventure (see the ultimate non-Disney guide). Does your budget include international travel? Take a journey across the seas to the glorious and beautiful island of Grand Cayman!