Select Traveler

SEP-OCT 2013

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TOWNS WITH TIDES THESE COASTAL COMMUNITIES ARE SIRENS FOR GROUPS COASTAL BY MARSHA MACK GOBERISH COMMUNITIES U nspoiled coastal communities throughout this country ofer spectacular experiences, from sunset kayak cruises to more simple pleasures. "Te frst time I ever saw the Milky Way was on the Outer Banks, thanks to the lack of light pollution," said Aaron Tuell, manager of public relations for the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. "I was in awe." In these places, nature is typically the star of the show, and bank groups are treated to some of the world's best bird-watching, close-up visits with sea lions and protected areas where alligators and wild ponies roam free. Whether one chooses to ride a sand buggy amidst colossal dunes or ride on horseback over a sandy beach, the sights, smells and sounds of the water and the surrounding terrain are enough to swell any heart. Like Tuell, you'll be in awe. 1 Courtesy Outer banks CVB Hang gliding in the Outer Banks 2 Courtesy Ocean City CVB BANK TRAVEL M A N A G E M E N T OUTER BANKS NORTH CAROLINA Te Outer Banks is home to the largest remaining track of beach wilderness on the Eastern Seaboard, and all is easily reached by motorcoach, according to Tuell. "Eighty percent of our Outer Banks is undeveloped and is dedicated to preservation, recreation and wildlife." Tree national parks in the area ofer stunning beauty and an abundance of history and wildlife. "Te Fort Raleigh National Historic Site is the 1584 site of the frst English colony, 20 years before Jamestown," Tuell said. "Te artifacts are intriguing, considering these frst colonists disappeared from the face of the earth 400 years ago. "Te Wright Brothers National Memorial pays tribute to the very place where Wilbur and Orville Wright built their airplane that was the frst to take fight over the Kill Devil Hills sand dunes in 1903," added Tuell. Te Cape Hatteras National Seashore is home to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Tuell suggested a guided bird walk on this 6,000-acre refuge. Tuell also suggested trying a new experience while in the Outer Banks, like hang gliding on the face of the sand dunes in Jockey's Ridge State Park, horseback riding in the maritime forest of Buxton Woods or learning to surf on the most consistent waves on the East Coast. 2 A park side concert in Ocean City 38 1 OCE AN CIT Y MARYL AND Te coastal resort town of Ocean City ofers a three-mile-long boardwalk where visitors shop, eat and enjoy an amusement area that is home to a 100-year-old carousel. But nature abounds in this quintessential East Coast beach town. "Northside Park is our largest park facility where groups enjoy fshing, bird-watching, walking and having picnics," said Jessica Waters, communications manager for Ocean City. "Te views from their piers ofer the best sunsets." Nearby is Worcester County, where 350 species of birds, both resident and migratory, have been recorded. Tis northernmost breeding area for several southern birds ofers exceptional opportunities: Visitors might see a brown pelican or a Swainson's warbler, both of which have been found breeding in the area. From the rock jetties of the Ocean City inlet, winter sightings might include the purple sandpiper and the great cormorant. And for wildlife lovers, no trip to the area is complete without some time at Assateague Island. "Te island is home to the famous wild ponies, as well as hundreds of birds," said Waters. Te Barrier Island Visitor Center at the Assateague Island National Seashore features a nature flm and aquarium . S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

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