By Julie Bielenberg
Whether it’s the ultimate rock collection, a fishing trip to the Eastern Seaboard’s largest estuary or a Civil War walking tour, the Carolinas will warm you—no matter the season—with history, Southern hospitality, fresh catch and some of the best beaches in the nation.
This entire journey really began with my editor and I conversing at our regular Denver coffee house. I told him I was going through this intense sea glass, seashell and rock-collecting phase. He wasn’t amused to see my rock collection. However, once I began to tell him that it’s hours of time I spend combing the beaches and the adventures that ensue with family, he realized why I was revisiting my beloved passion of shoreline collections.
Pulling out of our suburban Chicago home in the army green 1983 Volvo—beach ball, sand pails and jelly shoes in tow—my family and I drove south in the wee morning hours from I-65 to I-64 to I-75 to I-40 to I-26 to I-95 (you get the point) until we arrived at Hilton Head, SC. It was my first memorable beach vacation and, most certainly, road trip.
Growing up on Lake Michigan, the water and shore were a part of our daily lives, but we had never visited a coast. There are obvious differences—the smell of lake air and sea air, the texture of ocean sand and city sand, bird calls, wave sizes, fish jumps—it’s hard to even compare the two, except they both embody water.
As my children approach the age of my then-brother and I in the backseat of the family car, the salinity in my breath grew. I knew it was time to explore the coastal towns of Carolina again with my family and to understand what first enticed us and what continues to draw us to the shores.
Julie Bielenberg is a Denver-based writer. She contributes over 50 stories per year to various outlets including: AAA, Cowboys & Indians, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, Denver Life, Mountain Magazine, Mile High Mamas, Colorado Meetings + Events, Mountain Meetings + Events, and many more. She is the State’s number one agro-tourism writer, covering more ground and events and publishing in more outlets than any other Coloradoan. She travels in search of fields, farms, families and more. Sometimes . . . she finds herself in often uncovered, or understated locales.
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