Canadian Snowbirds Heading for U.S. Get More for Their Dollar This Year

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With recent announcements that the Canadian dollar is roughly par with the U.S. dollar, Canadians are making plans to head south to soak up the sun and the values. For the first time since 1976, Canadians will get more for their money at some of their favorite southern resorts.

With recent announcements that the Canadian dollar is roughly par with the U.S. dollar, Canadians are making plans to head south to soak up the sun and the values. For the first time since 1976, Canadians will get more for their money at some of their favorite southern resorts.

Those lucky Canadians who plan to head south this winter, might want to check out the coastal Carolinas. Warmed by the Gulf Stream in winter, the coastal Carolinas enjoy mild temperatures and are closer to Canada than Florida.

But how can someone find the right resort -- one that delivers value without skimping on amenities and charm? Here's a look at three locations recommended by snowbirds that know the Carolinas.

For those whose passion is fishing, there is no better destination than the Cape Fear Coast around Wilmington, N.C. Two small, friendly beach towns -- Carolina Beach and Kure Beach -- offer very reasonably-priced accommodations and charming character.

Carolina Beach is an ideal area for surf fishing, bottom fishing, shell fishing and deep sea fishing, thanks to its location at the convergence of the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. The Carolina Beach Fishing Pier is a great place to drop a line; it's open to the public and has a tackle shop, grill and arcade.

At nearby Kure Beach, the fishing is just as good. In fact, the Kure Beach pier enjoys an international reputation among fishermen as one of the best places to pier fish for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, flounder and blues.

Accommodations are so convenient that people can enjoy the pleasures of both towns when they visit. Choose from quaint family-owned beachfront motels, wonderful bed & breakfast establishments, or a towering oceanfront hotel.

When folks aren't fishing, there's plenty to do. There are plenty of restaurants that serve seafood fresh from the boat and samples of the gourmet treats at several specialty shops are available. There are also several impressive historic sites to visit, as well as the North Carolina Aquarium.

More information about these two towns can be found at CarolinaBeachGetaway.com and KureBeachstories.com.

If the real reason for going south in the winter is to gain more time on the links, then there's no better place to take up temporary residence than the Grand Strand area of Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Many Canadians know Myrtle Beach as the friendly little southern town that has been rolling out the red carpet for Canadians for nearly fifty years with its springtime Can-Am Days celebration. But before those festivities begin, golf courses up and down the Strand have turned lush and the town is ready to play.

The epicenter of golf in the town that modestly calls itself the "World Capital of Golf" is Martin's PGA TOUR Superstore, a virtual playground for those who love golf. Visit one of their two locations and find a learning center second to none. Huge indoor practice areas include putting greens, real sand bunkers and chipping greens. Hitting bays are set up with launch monitors and swing analyzers.

These stores are bursting at the seems with the latest in equipment at amazing prices which will help the 2007 Canadian dollar to stretch even farther. Superstore claims to provide the recreational golfer with the same level of service that the tour pros receive from those famous pampering "Tour Vans" that follow pros from tournament to tournament. One thing's for sure -- Martin's is a great place to tune up your game or stock up on equipment.

There are about 100 courses and resorts along the Grand Strand, but few have as much to offer as Sea Trail Golf Resort and Pawleys Plantation. Each provides a distinctively different atmosphere and golf experience.

Sea Trail is in Sunset Beach, N.C. on the northern end of the Strand, just above the South Carolina border. An expansive, 2000-acre resort, it has three championship courses that are kept in top condition during the fall and winter and two full-service clubhouses with golf shops.

Known for its easygoing southern style, as well as great golf, Sea Trail's impressive golf amenities include practice greens, a lighted driving range, a Custom Clubs Store and a PGA-sanctioned Golf Learning Center. The resort's Village Activity Center offers indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, and a licensed massage therapist.

Accommodations are in beautiful, Carolina-style villas that feature panoramic views of the golf courses and lakes. Visitors can choose from a cozy one-bedroom or move all the way up to a spacious four-bedroom villa.

To learn more about Sea Trail, go online to http://www.seatrail.com or call 888-675-9237.

On the southern tip of the Grand Strand, is Pawleys Plantation in the historic resort town of Pawleys Island, S.C. When visitors enter the resort, they'll be charmed by a landscape of 200-year-old, moss-draped live oaks, egret and heron rookeries, and a stately antebellum-style clubhouse. At just 582 acres, Pawleys Plantation is surrounded by spectacular natural wetlands, salt marshes and a 600-acre nature preserve.

The centerpiece of the resort is a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course that features several holes that stretch out into the marsh and back. Other golf amenities include practice greens, a driving range, and a full-service pro shop. The Phil Ritson-Mel Sole golf School (one of the Top 25 in the U.S.) is headquartered there, making the resort the perfect spot for both learning and relaxation.

Accommodations are provided in casually elegant villas built in the Lowcountry style. Spacious and beautifully appointed, the villas line the park-like setting of the Nicklaus golf course, providing beautiful views of the course, lakes and the salt marsh. On-site amenities include golf, tennis, swimming, and a fitness room, and the resort is perfect for strolling hand-in-hand or riding a bicycle built for two.

Go online to pawleysplantation.com to learn more about Pawleys Plantation or call 800-367-9959.

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HEATHER HOWARD
LHWH
843-448-1123
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