As resolutions go, this is a fun—but sometimes surprisingly difficult—one. It’s easy to think you’ve seen all there is to see in your own backyard, and even easier to get stuck in your own routines. You find the spots you love for a weekender or a family vacation, and return year after year. For 2018, we want you to actively explore the Carolinas instead, to experience something you haven’t before, to go traverse a literal new path.
Our area is uniquely suited to this: Between the two Carolinas, there are mountains, beaches, rivers, forests, waterfalls, small towns and big cities, old traditions taking place and new events commencing. You can get off the beaten path or you can partake in some of the country’s most beloved destinations, like Hilton Head and the Outer Banks. So, for 2018, we dare you to get out there. Just make the time, whether you have a week’s vacation or eight hours on a Saturday. We may be biased, but we can’t think of a better area of the country to get to explore as your own. Here’s our shortlist: Pack up and go camping along the Blue Ridge. Fall is best, and there are any number of spots to drop in at. We especially enjoy the scenery around the Linville Gorge and Chimney Rock area. When the weather is warm, plan a retreat in Bluffton, South Carolina, where you can stay on the sweeping grounds of The Montage. On a Friday night, drive to Lexington for some classic Carolina BBQ (bring your friends, barbecue is better shared). And in April, clear a weekend for the annual Queen’s Cup, a steeplechase in Mineral Springs that puts us on the horse-racing map. Finally, book a late summer/early September trip to the Outer Banks where you can visit Jockey’s Ridge State Park. We’re advocating for it be officially considered as one of the natural wonders of the world—it’s that spectacularly odd and beautiful.