Coastal North And South Carolina Resorts And Attractions Announce Vacations Built Around Labor Day For The Perfect End To Summer

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Travel Deals In The Carolinas Offer Fun In The Sun. Summer's winding down, but there's still time to squeeze in one more sun-filled vacation getaway. Although the kids may be back in school, Labor Day weekend is just ahead, providing the perfect excuse to slip away for three days. So why not head for the coast and soak up some rays on one of North or South Carolina's pristine beaches?

one of the top five amusement parks in the U. S. outside of Orlando.

The ocean water is still a warm 80 degrees at the end of August and most amusements and attractions are still open. Golf courses are lush and green, but the fall crush of golfers from up north has yet to arrive.

In Myrtle Beach, S.C., visitors can check out the Sands Resorts, a collection of six oceanfront locations that deliver an incredible number of on-site activities. The gas to drive to Myrtle Beach is all families need when staying at Sands.

There are so many on-site activities that guests can park the car and spend the entire Labor Day weekend right on property. There are restaurants of all types, including the wonderful Mango's which is oceanfront and features a live band. Add in the indoor and outdoor pools, an on-site waterpark, and a kid's club and this is one travel deal with something for every member of the family.

For those looking to venture out into greater Myrtle Beach, Sands' concierge service will arrange for tickets to local shows or tee times at local golf courses. More information about Sands Resorts is available online at or by calling (800) 260-8676.

For the family that enjoys amusement parks, Labor Day weekend is a great time to go to Myrtle Beach's Family Kingdom Amusement Park. This gem of a park was recently featured on the cover of Long Island, New York's Newsday travel supplement. Online travel site Trip Advisor reported that it is "one of the top five amusement parks in the U. S. outside of Orlando." Family Kingdom is one of twenty seaside amusement parks left on the East Coast of the U.S. and it is surprisingly affordable.

Unlike theme parks, there's no admission charge. Tickets are available by the ride or, for ride enthusiasts, there's an all day wristband for just $22.75 plus tax. This enchanting complex even includes a water park perched just feet from the ocean; an all-day wristband there is $17.95 plus tax. But the biggest bargain is the "combo pass" at $32.35 plus tax, which can be used over two separate days and provides unlimited access to both the amusement and the water parks.

The views from the top of Family Kingdom's Ferris wheel -- which is the biggest in South Carolina -- are spectacular, particularly at sunset. And the thrills just keep coming with the Swamp Fox wooden roller coaster. Find more information at

For the golfers in the family, there are some great stay and play locations in the Myrtle Beach area. Best of all, here are three that are just minutes from the beach.

On the southern tip of the Grand Strand in the historic resort town of Pawleys Island, S.C., Pawleys Plantation is a charming landscape of 200-year-old, moss-draped live oaks, egret and heron rookeries, and a stately antebellum-style clubhouse. At just 582 acres, the resort is surrounded by spectacular natural wetlands, salt marshes and a 600-acre nature preserve. Its centerpiece 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 to to learn more about Pawleys Plantation or call 800-367-9959.

A few miles north, just outside the charming coastal town of Little River, S.C., there's Heather Glen, the flagship course and accommodations headquarters for The Glens Group. A name synonymous with great golf, The Glens Group offers four award-winning championship golf courses, luxurious golf villa accommodations, and a golf academy headed by one of America's top-ranked PGA instructors.

Accommodations are in villas and townhomes in a Scottish-themed setting called the Village at the Glens and they overlook the spectacular Heather Glen Golf Links. Stay-and-play packages give discounts on play at all Glens courses, free range balls, complimentary breakfast and discounted replays at great links like Heather Glen, Glen Dornoch, Possum Trot and Shaftesbury Glen.

More information is available at or tour the courses and the Glens Golf Academy at

Just across the border in Sunset Beach, N.C., is the impressive Sea Trail Golf Resort & Convention Center. At 2000-acres, it has three championship courses and an easygoing southern style. The resort's impressive golf amenities include practice greens, a lighted driving range, a Custom Clubs Store and a PGA-sanctioned Golf Learning Center. Its 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. Sea Trail even offers a free shuttle to take the family to the nearby beach.

Now through Labor Day, Sea Trail is offering a package that will help guests offset the cost of gas when driving there. With a two-night minimum stay, Sea Trail guests receive a $50 Sea Trail gift card that can be used on golf, dining, spa treatments or another amenity of choice at Sea Trail. The package starts at $210 plus taxes and gratuities. To learn more about Sea Trail, go online to or call 888-675-9237.

If lazy days on the beach are more your style than chasing the golf ball, drive a little farther north to discover the ultimate in a laid-back vacation spots just outside the historic seaport of Wilmington, N. C.

Carolina Beach ( and Kure Beach ( are just a few hours down Route 40 from Raleigh-Durham. They're even less than a tank of gas from major East Coast cities like Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. But they are a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Looking for reasonably priced accommodations and lots of high quality free stuff to do with the kids? These towns have it all. Relatively undiscovered, their pristine beaches are uncrowded and beautiful.

Carolina Beach is a place where families can kick back amid the simple pleasures of a mid-20th century beach village. The town's streets are lined with quaint beach cottages, bed & breakfast establishments, and mid-rise condo villas and hotels, as well as small shops, restaurants and family entertainments like beachwear, ice cream and candy shops. There's even a boardwalk.

Carolina Beach is also known for its great fishing. It sits near the convergence of the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean which makes it a sought-after location for surf fishing, bottom fishing, shell fishing and deep-sea fishing.

Folks who choose to stay in Carolina Beach, should be sure to wander next door to Kure Beach, a little town with big attractions. Here you'll discover the world-famous, 712-foot-long Kure Beach Fishing Pier. Unlike many commercial or municipal piers on the East Coast, it's free. Hang out with the kids, drop a line and savor the day.

Kure Beach also offers the Fort Fisher State Historic Site & Civil War Museum, the largest earthen fort in the South; the N.C. Military History Museum; the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Center; and the N.C. Aquarium.

The aquarium includes a 235,000-gallon saltwater shark tank; a half-acre Cape Fear Conservatory with alligators, sturgeon and other freshwater species; and an Open Oceans Gallery that focuses on marine creatures and the nearby ocean reefs. At $8 for adults and $6 for kids, it's one of the most affordable aquariums in the country.

Or head on over to Fort Fisher State Recreation Area and experience a five-mile stretch of undeveloped beach that is home to nesting loggerhead sea turtles. There's a swimming area, picnic area with grills and a visitor's center.

Another summer's come and now it's nearly gone. Make the most of the Labor Day holiday and head off to a three-day weekend along the Carolinas coast. It's the perfect way to wrap up the summer.


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Jamie Wilburn

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