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Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

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Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby toni » Sun Aug 17, 2014 10:38 am

Hi all,
Husband and I are starting to think ahead to retirement in 15 (?) years and would like to start visiting potential areas to end up.

We are looking for, smaller sized towns that probably have a tourist base so they would have nice restaurants, a good downtown area to walk around, waterfront, moderate temps, and a harbor area ( we don't boat but love to be by an area that has docks, fishing boats etc).

An example of an area we like but that is too cold for us for retirement is Boothbay harbor in Maine.

My mom lived in Florida so I'm familiar with a lot of that state, it's probably too hot and flat for us.

Friends live in fairhope Alabama, we liked that area a lot, just not sure how hot it gets in the summer, have to visit then to see. Loved all the pine trees. Since we are upstate NYers, we like more hills, trees.

So any suggestions? I appreciate any thoughts. It's a huge country and we need to start using our limited vacation time to explore it. :)
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby St John Mermaids » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:39 am

Have you looked into Hilton H ead Island, South Carolina?
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby St John Mermaids » Sun Aug 17, 2014 11:43 am

Hilton Head has the beach, golf, marinas, great dining and lots and lots of trees. They even have sugar mill ruins. Only thing missing is the snorkeling.
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby toni » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:02 pm

Thanks for the replies and no I haven't been there and will have to check it out. I realized I wasn't paying attention when I posted this and mistakenly posted in the BVI section, I've PM'd Anthony to see if he can move it :oops:
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby lprof » Sun Aug 17, 2014 5:01 pm

Although I do not live there nor have even ever been there, Southport, NC, sounds like a possibility. I have cousins who have lived there for about 16 years and absolutely love the town; a Facebook/forum friend moved there from N VA a few months ago and is most happy. I think Puddlejumper is living there now. Some other forumites live in the area. Wilmington is the closest city.

http://www.virgin-islands-on-line.com/v ... hp?t=21165

http://www.southport-nc.com/

http://www.cityofsouthport.com/
... no longer a stranger to paradise
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby PA Girl » Mon Aug 18, 2014 2:43 pm

We enjoy the Eastern Shore of Maryland. St. Michaels meets your criteria and the smaller towns south of it are pretty nice as well.

I can't blame you for wanting warmth, we just got back from a week in Clayton, NY and froze our butts off. It was 55 degrees with wind and driving rain at times, in August! I can't imagine what it is like in winter.
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby philbetm » Mon Aug 18, 2014 4:07 pm

Southport is a beautiful place ! We love it. Also Oak Island which is very close to it. In South Carolina...Edisto Island, Isle of Palms, Mount Pleasant and Beaufort are incredible. On the Georgia - Florida line is the small town of St. Mary's....absolutely , amazingly , beautiful !
Good luck with the search. :D

Sherry in SC
" I believe there's Magic here...."
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby toni » Mon Aug 18, 2014 10:31 pm

Thank you for all the suggestions so far; I can see that we will have some driving vacations ahead of us. :D
I'm looking forward to exploring; it was a bitter winter last year, and moving more south sounds better and better all the time!

Any suggestions are appreciated and will be investigated!
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby Exit Zero » Mon Aug 18, 2014 11:32 pm

Look at Cape May NJ -- year round town - great restaurants, walking,biking town, active harbor and a charm unique to the Eastern Seaboard.

http://www.capemay.com/
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby NCSue » Tue Aug 19, 2014 4:48 pm

We own a condo in Oak Island and LOVE it!! That is our retirement plan!
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby Heather » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:42 am

Check out Bald Head Island NC. We have a house there so I can answer any questions. Close to Southport and Oak Island, all very nice! I also love the Oregon coast, and it has mountains. It does rain quite a bit but there is something very special about the area. It's hard to describe unless you visit. Lots of vineyards too. I agree about Maine. I'd live in Clyde Harbor, Camden or Monhegan Island if I could take the winters. Duxbury MA is also beautiful.
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby toni » Wed Aug 20, 2014 1:02 pm

Lots of great suggestions everyone! :D

Thank you all for taking the time to post. I see many trips in my future.... :lol:

Heather-I do like the Oregon coast; it is beautiful, and it is a possibility; just not sure about those darn rainfall totals!

Exit Zero-the Cape May area has those gorgeous Victorian homes-we have a friend who vacations at Sea Isle City so we went with her a few years ago.

I've been browsing real estate websites to get rough ideas on property values, just for kicks. Boy it's been a LONG time since I bought a house, and the area we live in has big houses for decent prices (ours was built in the late 1800's), so I'm having sticker shock at some of the areas. :shock:

I've been watching all the Beachfront Real Estate shows on cable to see what different parts of the country look like. I really do like marina areas/commercial fishing areas for the "activity" that goes on.

The only part of either Carolinas I've been to is Charleston which I really enjoyed so it will be fun to explore those states some more.

I'm thinking we'll do some summer travelling to see how hot and humid (or not) some of these areas will get.

Any more suggestions are still welcome :)
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby TraumaQueen » Sat Aug 23, 2014 9:19 am

Fairhope and Daphne, AL have grown up so much I wouldn't dare think of retiring there. It's ridiculously crowded in the summer and during spring break. I swore I wouldn't share my new found secret with anyone, but I must put a vote in for St George Island, FL. It's a barrier island off the coast of Apalachicola, FL. They have ordinances so no buildings over 3 stories will be built, only 1 "hotel" and a couple of condo complexes and the rest is houses. Sea turtles come to nest there from May to October and the volunteers make sure the nests are marked and all of the rental houses/condos have information about lights out and not to disturb the nests. The locals take pride in the environment and it shows. The state park was like being on a deserted island in July. I was literally the only human in site for miles either way down the beach. Apalachicola is a quaint town and what I remember as "old Florida". It took us 7.5 hours to drive to this secret island, but I'll consider it my go-to beach when we can't get to the Caribbean. Just promise me if you ever get there you'll keep it a secret :) . I may see you there when we retire about the same time!
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby Puddlejumper » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:28 am

Great to see several Forumites posting about Southport! We should have a get-together sometime. It is a growing retirement community. Many developments along the coast of southeastern NC, from Southport down to Calabash. There are developments strung along highway 17 from Wilmington to Charleston. If you are the type to like HOA's, there are plenty to choose from. Do you use Zillow for real estate searches? I find it easy to use and fairly accurate. We live in town Southport. Very laid back, a bit backwards for some, but a peaceful small community with more restaurants than other small towns because of the tourist traffic. This area is kin to the STJ life. Laid back, we will get to you when when can kind of attitude. I would say average temp this summer at our house was in the mid 80's. Winter usually isn't too cold. It varies from 40's to 50's for cooler high temps, and will be warmer frequently. Just 6 miles off the coast, it will be hazy, hot, and humid in the summer. Not that Southport isn't humid, it just is not anything like living inland just a few miles. The ocean tempers our climate. We are considered a sub-tropical climate. Wilmington is close enough for decent airport, Costco, healthcare, and anything else you need. Here is a Facebook page for Southport. https://www.facebook.com/groups/southportnc/ Also look for info at https://www.facebook.com/brunswickbeaches

Feel free to contact me if you want more info. I know a great real estate agent.
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Re: Searching for small coastal towns to visit/retire

Postby Puddlejumper » Tue Sep 02, 2014 9:35 am

Also, a little trivia. Lot's of movies and tv shows film here. 'Under The Dome', and 'Safe Haven' are recent ones that come to mind.
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