Ready for a Break: Our Favorites to See, Do, & Eat for Spring Break

The winter months tend to drag on: it’s cold, the trees are bare, and it seems like your car is forever stained with the remnants of road salt. If you ask us, you deserve a break and luckily, Spring Break is the perfect time to shake off that stale, hanging winter cloud and explore some of the most beautiful, family-friendly destinations on the East Coast. From the impressive Smoky Mountains in Tennessee to the serene Gulf waters in Cape San Blas, Florida, we’ve selected our top three favorite Spring Break “see, do, and eat” choices in some of our most popular destinations.

If you’re headed to the coast…

Must See: Downtown Beaufort
Downtown Beaufort is an effortlessly romantic seaside town that exudes classic Southern charm. Enjoy a stroll down Main Street and admire the architecture of quintessential Southern homes while taking some time to appreciate the gorgeous palm trees and Spanish moss. It’s truly the small details that make Downtown Beaufort a hidden gem and should not be missed on your trip to Sea Islands.

Must Do: Horseback Ride on the Beach
Explore the coast from horseback and spend an hour or two taking a trail ride from the pastures to the shoreline. There are a few stables in the area that offer guided horseback riding and even horse boarding if you have your own steed you plan to bring along. We recommend checking out Camelot Farms in St. Helena Island.

Must Eat: Low Country Boil
You really can’t go to the Low Country of South Carolina without treating yourself to a traditional Low Country Boil, hot off the steamer. Lady Dockside in Beaufort has a menu full of options, but most importantly, they have Low Country Boil. Unsure of what that is? Imagine a piping hot net of shrimp, corn, sausage, and potatoes – it’s truly the best!

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Must See: Tybee Island Pier and Pavilion
Looking forward to immersing yourself in Tybee Island? The Pier and Pavilion is an active hotspot for anglers, musicians, people watchers, and visitors. You’ll feel right at home amongst all the fun and excitement and you can enjoy a bite to eat from the snack bar or relish the ocean breeze from a bench. The Pavilion hosts several festivals and events each year and can even be rented for private parties. It’s a perfect introduction to Savannah’s Beach.

Must Do: Ocean Kayaking
Take to the open waters and paddle your way from the shoreline. Tybee Island has an abundance of creeks, rivers, and bays to explore and gives home to stunning wildlife you’ll admire along the way. A local favorite is paddling out to Little Tybee Island. Just a short mile-and-a-half ride out, this little oasis is well worth the 30 minute excursion.

Must Eat: A Hot Dog
Yes, you read that correctly. Of all the places to get a hot dog, right? Trust us on this one, local eatery, Seawolf Tybee is known for having an entire section of their menu dedicated to unique variations of the hot dog. Go classic with just a regular ol’ dog and bun or venture out of your comfort zone and try the Chorizo dog. Either way, you’ll understand why this is on our “must-eat” list in Tybee.

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Must See: St. Joseph Peninsula State Park
Admire gorgeous greenery and wildlife at St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Stretching an impressive 2,716 acres, this public park is found at the southernmost tip of Cape San Blas and is the hidden gem of the Gulf. From biking the trails to exploring the untamed dunes of the shoreline, St. Joe State Park offers a perfect opportunity to reflect and connect with nature.

Must Do: Beach Bonfire
One of the many perks of visiting Cape San Blas is having the opportunity to host your own beach bonfire. It’s our favorite way to recount the day with loved ones and watch the sun sink from the horizon. Our suggestion? Make a pit stop at the store for s’mores supplies and bring a few blankets. We promise it will be your favorite part of your vacation.

Must Eat: Weber’s Donuts
Ask the locals and the return visitors – you haven’t experienced Cape San Blas until you’ve tried a donut from Weber’s Little Donut Shop. Baked fresh every day, these donuts are well-known on the panhandle for tasting like a little slice of heaven. Grab a donut (or two, no judgment here!) and a cup of coffee to start your morning off on the right track.

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If you're retreating to the mountains...

Must See: Warm Springs Pools
When we think of hot springs, we’ll admit, Virginia is not the first place that comes to mind. However, the charming town of Warm Springs is home to the Warm Springs Pools which have provided locals and visitors natural relaxation for at least 9,000 years. Unfortunately, the bath houses that cover the hot springs are closed, but there are plans to re-open. While we patiently wait for this natural beauty to become available to the public, it’s still an impressive sight to see!

Must Do: Hike in Douthat State Park
The Homestead Preserve is tucked away in Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, which means there are plenty of opportunities for hiking. Douthat State Park is a short drive away and offers several trail options from short and sweet to adventurous and challenging. Our favorite moderate hike is Blue Suck Falls. Grab a trail map and get to hiking.

Must Eat: The Old Dairy Sandwich
For those not native to Virginia, you’ll quickly learn pimento cheese is a staple in the South. Incredibly versatile, this cheese can be used as a dip, a salad topping, but most importantly on a sandwich. Head to the Milk House Market (located on our property) and order yourself The Old Dairy Sandwich with a side of chips. Trust us, you won’t regret it!

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Must See: The Mountain Farm Museum
Back in the 1950’s, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park welcomed an impressive collection of authentic log buildings that were originally built in the 19th century. This section of the park is known as the Mountain Farm Museum and attracts visitors from all over the country. You’ll have the unique opportunity to explore pioneer-era homes, a barn, an apple house, and a smokehouse.

Must Do: Climb Clingmans Dome
Standing 6,643-feet in elevation, Clingmans Dome is the tallest point in the National Park, providing views over 100 miles in the distance (on clear days). You can drive, bike, or even walk to the base and take the paved (but steep) 0.5-mile trail to the observation tower. The views from the top are unlike any other, so be sure to have your camera ready!

Must Eat: Pancakes from Log Cabin Pancake House
Breakfast in Tennessee is taken very seriously, so you can only imagine how incredible the local, homemade pancakes must taste. In the Smoky Mountains, treat yourself to breakfast at the Log Cabin Pancake House and order yourself a stack of buttermilk pancakes. Famous for its name, this local eatery is a favorite and there’s always a line out front. But rest assured, it moves quickly! Once you’re seated with your stack, be sure to savor each bite. Anything that delicious always ends way too soon.

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Keep us looped in on your travels! Tag @naturalretreats and use #openthedoortomore when you post your adventures to social media. We can’t wait to see how you spend your Spring Break. Happy travels!