Now that winter is upon us and an end to the frenzy of the holidays in sight, visions of escape routes to warmer climates are starting to dance in our heads. Coastal and beach towns along the southern Atlantic seaboard are offering off-season rates and special weekend packages making their charming destinations and temperate winter climate even more attractive. Below is a diverse list of coastal towns offering differing appeals to suit every taste in travel.
1. Virginia Beach, Virginia
Virginia Beach is the spot where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Chesapeake Bay. The area contains three beaches, each with a different appeal to families, surfing and eco-tours, or those seeking the iconic beach with a three-mile boardwalk, shops and restaurants. The Virginia Aquarium has 800,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats including Komodo dragons, crocodiles, cobras and eagle rays. Next to the aquarium is the Adventure Park with the largest ropes and zip line course in Virginia. At Sandbridge Beach, explore the dunes or take a hike Back Bay Wildlife Refuge. Don’t miss the oyster farm boat tour with Pleasure House Oysters at Chesapeake Bay where tourists can sample legendary raw and roasted Lynnhaven Oysters.
2. Outer Banks, North Carolina
The Outer Banks is string of narrow barrier islands stretching across the coast of North Carolina. Weather on the islands is temperate year round, and a long beachfront make it a popular tourist destination, especially along the protected Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Outer Banks has been called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” due to the sometimes dangerous surf that caused many shipwrecks in the past. The claim to fame occurred in 1903 near the coastal town of Kitty Hawk where the Wright brothers launched their first flight. Adventurous tourists can experience hang gliding here by either taking lessons then jumping off the dunes, or get launched up to 5,000 feet in the air strapped to an experienced tandem pilot.
See all 11 coastal escapes with stunning photos on Huffington Post.