Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Where the South meets the sea

The South's beaches rank among the most beautiful in the world. ranging from action-packed resort areas to quiet pockets of paradise.

Like the tides that rise to the pull of the goon and sun, we're irresistibly drawn to the sand-streaked edges of the South. From diet buff-off colored grains that dapple the southern Atlantic shores to the snowy fringes of the Gulf Coast, they lure us with their awesome beauty and promises of fun, relaxation, and discovery.

I've always felt that choosing the right beach for leisure time requires almost as much thought as selecting a neighborhood in which to raise a family. The choice is all about quality, value, and making memories.

The textures and tones of Southern beaches are rich and varied, and sampling them remains one of life's great pleasures.

Bumper to bumper, Friday night traffic crawls ata turtle's pace during summer along Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On the strip, neon signs vie with the bright lights of the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park-an 11-acre playground of rides and games that sits right in the heart of town and across from the beach. Tomorrow the brightest light will be the sun, under which parents will play golf or shop the outlet malls, while lithe young bodies soak up the sun's rays.

Another teen scene flourishes at Panama City Beach on Florida's Gulf Coast. One of the biggest draws is the Miracle Strip amusement park. No matter how much water the ocean holds, the younger set can't resist the wave pool at Shipwreck Island Water Park. There's still plenty of action out in the emerald Gulf waters, though, from waterskiing to snorkeling to scuba diving. As the sun sinks toward the horizon, many find their way to Capt. Anderson'svoted the South's top seafood restaurant in the Southern Living 2002 Readers' Choice Awards.

Follow the Boardwalks

Seafood also graces the best tables in Ocean City, Maryland. But the real attraction is the 3-mile-long boardwalk, which always appears to be more populated than the beach. It resembles a treadmill running alongside a smorgasbord of activities and tasty treats, with folks briefly stepping off to buy French fries or try a ride.

by Lingo, Karen

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