Gas Prices Drop Making A Holiday Trip To Carolina Beach And Kure Beach, N.C. More Affordable Than Ever

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These Towns Offer A Chance To Dance In The Streets, Take In The Holiday Lights And Enjoy Free Events This Holiday Season

Up to their ears in worries and stress as the stock market swings dramatically and their 401Ks erode, Americans are more than ready for a break. So with gas prices falling and the holidays just around the corner, many families in the Carolinas and beyond are reconsidering their holiday plans. This year might not be the one for an expensive cruise or trip to Disney World, but families don't have to rule out a getaway.

Vacationers should consider a series of day-trips or a brief overnight excursion. No matter which is chosen, guests will find optimum value, lots of activity and old-fashioned charm when they head for Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, just outside the historic seaport of Wilmington, N.C.

Carolina Beach and Kure Beach host a variety of holiday events during its popular month-long Island of Lights Festival. Festivities began with a "Light Up the Lake" ceremony over Thanksgiving weekend Throughout December, there are spectacular holiday-themed luminaries along a one-mile path around Carolina Beach Lake. The kids won't want to miss Santa's arrival during the Night-Time Christmas Parade on December 5th. And on December 13th, families can enjoy the Holiday Flotilla, a parade of fishing boats and pleasure crafts decorated with thousands of lights.

During the holidays, Carolina Beach has the charm of an old-fashioned Christmas village with sparkling displays of holiday lights and wreaths on practically every door. Its unhurried atmosphere encourages families to relax and enjoy activities like strolling along the beach, biking or stopping by the local candy shop to sample specially-made fudge. One low-cost treat is a ride in the coast's first-ever licensed six passenger electric 'Green Cab,' an affordable way to take in the sites and be good to the environment.

Guests will discover a street scape of small shops, restaurants and family entertainments that are warm and welcoming, and accommodations that range from quaint family-owned beach front motels, to wonderful bed & breakfast establishments, to a towering oceanfront hotel.

As the New Year approaches, vacationers can head over to nearby Kure Beach where the New Year's Eve celebration is a family-friendly, free event. Only in this seaside town can families bid farewell to 2008 and celebrate the arrival of 2009 with the lowering of a giant lighted beach ball at midnight while the entire family dances in the streets and enjoys live music, refreshments and fireworks. It's an affordable way to make New Year's memories that are priceless.

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Jamie Wilburn

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