The Latest From Carolina Traveler

Summer break 2024 is officially here! Starting today, our weekly newsletter will include a new feature highlighting the best lakes in NC and SC to spend your summer break. Whether you're road tripping with family, going on a long overdue best friend trip, or in search of a solo off-the-grid retreat, the best lakes in the Carolinas offer fun under the sun in all its forms!

Additional highlights in the summer break issue of the Carolina Traveler weekly newsletter include:

🎆 Celebrate Juneteenth in Greenville, North Carolina, where guests can enjoy a food truck rodeo, heart-pumping live entertainment, and a bomb-astic fireworks display!

⛴️ Hunt for a British fort that disappeared many years ago on Bear Island, an underdeveloped barrier island only accessible by ferry, canoe, or kayak.

🍉Sink your teeth into everyone's favorite summer fruit. Better yet, compete to eat as much of it as you can! The Hampton County Watermelon Fest is a week-long celebration of all things country, including tractor driving contests and line-dancing.

🌸 This may get us in trouble, so we're going to say it: the NC Rhododendron Festival is more fun than the NC Azalea Festival. Gasp! Do you agree or disagree?

Sign up now to become a Carolina Traveler VIP subscriber and get first dibs on summer break fun, family-friendly activities, and thrill-seeking weekend itineraries in NC and SC.

Winter, spring, summer, or fall, we're always giving away tickets and prizes to Carolina VIP subscribers and members of our Carolina Traveler Facebook group.

Lake Jocassee summer break collage

Lake Jocassee's aquamarine waters need no filter!

Top Summer Break Lakes: Lake Jocassee

Lake Jocassee, one of the best lakes in SC, offers a plethora of activities to make your 2024 summer break unforgettable. Nestled in the Appalachian foothills, this pristine lake is perfect for families, couples, friend groups, and solo travelers alike.

For families, a day of swimming and picnicking at the Devil's Fork State Park is ideal. The park provides safe swimming areas, picnic shelters, and hiking trails suitable for all ages. Kids will love exploring the waterfalls and spotting wildlife along the Oconee Bell Nature Trail.

Couples seeking a romantic escape can rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the lake's serene coves and hidden waterfalls. A 2-hour sunset cruise is another enchanting option, offering breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as the sun dips below the horizon.

Friend groups can enjoy the thrill of water sports, including jet skiing and wakeboarding. Renting a pontoon boat for the day is a fantastic way to explore the lake, offering plenty of space for everyone to relax, swim, and bask in the sun. Don’t miss out on scuba diving in the crystal-clear waters to discover the submerged Mount Carmel Cemetery and the remains of old townsites.

Solo travelers will find solace in the tranquility of Lake Jocassee. Fishing enthusiasts can try their luck catching bass or trout, while hikers can traverse the Foothills Trail for stunning vistas and a peaceful retreat into nature. Whether you're with family, friends, or on a solo adventure, Lake Jocassee promises a memorable summer break in one of the best lakes in SC.

Greenville NC Juneteenth Jamboree fireworks show

Greenville's Juneteenth Jamboree fireworks display is one of the best!

The 2024 Juneteenth Jamboree in Greenville NC: All You Need To Know

The 2024 Juneteenth Jamboree in Greenville, NC, promises a vibrant celebration filled with fun activities for all ages. Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States on June 19, 1865, is a day to honor African American freedom and achievements while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures.

Just because it is summer break doesn't mean there aren't exciting opportunities to learn and grow. Greenville, NC, is an ideal place to celebrate Juneteenth, thanks to its rich cultural heritage and strong sense of community. The city's dedication to inclusivity and diversity makes it a perfect setting for this significant event.

The Jamboree takes place on June 22 from 4-9:30 PM at the Greenville Town Common and Greenville Toyota Amphitheater at 105 E. 1st St., Greenville, NC. The celebration will feature a variety of activities, starting with a festive parade through downtown Greenville, showcasing colorful floats, marching bands, and community organizations. Attendees can enjoy live music and performances from local artists, highlighting the rich cultural contributions of African Americans.

Families can participate in interactive educational workshops and storytelling sessions, where children can learn about the history and significance of Juneteenth. The event will also include a vibrant marketplace featuring local vendors selling handmade crafts, art, and delicious Southern cuisine.

Sports enthusiasts can join in on the community basketball tournament or watch the lively step shows and dance competitions. For those looking to relax all summer break long, the event offers wellness activities such as yoga sessions and guided meditation.

The evening will culminate in a spectacular fireworks display, symbolizing freedom and unity. The 2024 Juneteenth Jamboree in Greenville, NC, is set to be a memorable and meaningful celebration, honoring the past while looking forward to a brighter future.

Sign marking Bear Island

Walk across the sands of history on Bear Island at the Hammocks Beach State Park near Jacksonville, NC. You might make a great discovery!

Summer Break Hunting Expedition On Bear Island!

Here's a hunting trip you may not have experienced on summer break! Bear Island, NC, is a hidden gem off the coast of North Carolina, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and historical intrigue. This pristine barrier island is part of Hammocks Beach State Park, accessible only by ferry, private boat, or kayak, adding to its allure.

To access Bear Island, start at the mainland visitor center of Hammocks Beach State Park in Swansboro, NC. From there, you can take a scenic ferry ride or rent a kayak for a more adventurous journey across the Intracoastal Waterway. Upon arrival, you'll find yourself in a tranquil paradise with unspoiled beaches, maritime forests, and marshlands.

Bear Island is not just about sun and sand; it's also a place for history enthusiasts. Rumor has it that a historic British fort, Fort Hatteras, disappeared here long ago. Hunting for this lost relic can be a thrilling adventure. Begin your quest by exploring the island’s less-traveled paths and engaging with local historians who might provide clues. Although no solid evidence of the fort has been found, the search itself offers a sense of mystery and excitement.

Beyond the historical hunt, Bear Island boasts a variety of activities. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing on its pristine shores. Nature lovers can hike the island’s trails, observing diverse wildlife, including sea turtles and shorebirds. Kayaking through the salt marshes provides a closer look at the ecosystem, while fishing enthusiasts can try their luck from the surf or boat. Bear Island, with its blend of natural splendor and historical mystery, promises an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

Watermelon eating competition in Hampton County SC

Do you have what it takes to win the Hampton County Watermelon Fest watermelon-eating competition?!

Add The Hampton County Watermelon Festival To Your Summer Break Itinerary!

Your summer break just got a whole lot sweeter! The Hampton County Watermelon Festival in South Carolina, a beloved tradition since 1939, celebrates the region’s rich agricultural heritage and the significance of watermelons to the local economy. Held this year (2024) on June 15-22, the festival has grown from a small community gathering to a week-long extravaganza, attracting visitors from all over the state and beyond.

The festival originated as a way to bring the community together and promote Hampton County’s watermelon industry, which was a vital part of the local economy. Over the decades, it has evolved into a grand celebration featuring a variety of events and activities that cater to all ages.

The 2024 Hampton County Watermelon Festival promises to be a spectacular event filled with fun and entertainment. Highlights include the grand parade, featuring colorful floats, marching bands, and local dignitaries. Festival-goers can enjoy live music performances, showcasing genres from country to rock, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Food lovers will delight in the watermelon-themed culinary contests, where local chefs compete to create the most delicious and innovative watermelon dishes. The festival also hosts a lively street fair with artisan vendors, carnival rides, and games.

Family-friendly activities abound, with a watermelon seed-spitting contest, a watermelon-eating competition, and children’s entertainment zones featuring face painting and inflatable play areas. Sports enthusiasts can participate in or watch the annual 5K run, softball tournaments, and a car show.

The Hampton County Watermelon Festival is a testament to the community spirit and agricultural pride of Hampton County, offering a fun-filled and memorable summer break experience for all who attend.

Rhododendrons in North Carolina

Rhododendrons have a remarkable ability to adjust to different climates and environments.

The SC Pecan Trail: Your Next Foodie Road Trip

Who wants to learn a little botany during summer break?! The 2024 NC Rhododendron Festival in Bakersville, NC, promises an array of activities celebrating the region's natural beauty and community spirit.

The festival is set against the backdrop of blooming rhododendrons, which can thrive in the high altitudes of the Himalayas or the temperate forests of North America. They survive in diverse conditions, from the cold, harsh climates of alpine regions to the warm, humid environments of tropical rainforests.

At the festival, you'll enjoy a lively parade with floats and marching bands, showcasing local talent and creativity. Attendees can enjoy live music performances from regional artists, adding a festive atmosphere to the event. For art enthusiasts, the festival includes a craft fair with local artisans displaying handmade goods, from pottery to jewelry.

Families can participate in a variety of activities, including a children’s area with games, face painting, and storytelling sessions. Outdoor enthusiasts can join guided hikes to the Roan Mountain Gardens to witness the spectacular rhododendron blooms up close.

Carolina Traveler Giveaway Central

Our upcoming summer break Carolina Traveler VIP subscriber giveaway guarantees to take you to unparalleled heights…but we're only revealing a few hints for now. Can you guess who's partnering with us for our next summer break giveaway?

  • Named Top 10 best aerial adventure parks by a national publication
  • Fun to do by yourself, but way more fun with a group
  • Cross a sky bridge and plunge 1100 vertical feet
  • Best described as “steep” “fast” and “beautiful”

Have you been inspired by these teasers? Is your heart going thump-thump in all the best ways? Sign up now to become a Carolina Traveler VIP subscriber and get first dibs on free tickets! We're regularly giving away tickets and prize packages to Carolina VIP subscribers and members of our Carolina Traveler Facebook group.

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