The Latest From Carolina Traveler

We promise we're not poking around…from now through June, you can take your family to meet the elusive unicorn of the sea — aka the narwhal — in Greenville, SC!

Pointing your eyes to spring plans for warmer weather? We've got the scoop on lighthouse excursions in NC and SC, the best beaches for shark tooth hunting and camping, and a gold-hunting expedition planned for St. Patrick's Day.

Plus — it's your last chance to win free tickets to the Beer Bourbon & BBQ Festival! The odds of winning are better than witnessing the elusive unicorn of the sea, even when it's in Greenville!

Stay up to date with the best ways to encounter magical creatures like the unicorn of the sea, ways to experience history in the Carolinas, hidden gem day trips, and more things to do and see; follow us on Facebook, where we regularly offer free tickets and other giveaways, and make sure to become a 2024 subscriber to Carolina Traveler magazine!

A display of a narwhal aka unicorn of the sea in Greenville

A visit to the narwhal exhibit at the Upcountry History Museum is a great day trip for your aspiring marine biologist kids and teens!

Meet The Unicorn Of The Sea! Narwhals Are In Greenville, SC…

Join us as we take on a captivating journey into the enigmatic realm of the Arctic with “Narwhal: Revealing an Arctic Legend,” an enthralling exhibition hosted by the Upcountry History Museum from February 3 to June 16, 2024. Delve deep into the mystique surrounding nature's most elusive sea creature – the narwhal (aka the unicorn of the sea).

Hailing from the frigid waters near the Arctic Circle, the narwhal, a member of the whale lineage, faces mounting challenges amidst climate and sea-ice fluctuations. From its portrayal as ferocious sea monsters in ancient lore to its contemporary status as a pop culture icon, the unicorn of the sea, distinguished by its spiral tusk (a specialized tooth), has captivated the imaginations of both Inuit and European societies for centuries.

This immersive exhibition, curated by the National Museum of Natural History and its Arctic Studies Center, unveils the nexus between traditional wisdom, scientific inquiry, and the evolving Arctic ecosystem. Through firsthand narratives from scientists and indigenous community members, visitors gain profound insights into the narwhal's ecology and the repercussions of global climate change.

Spanning 2,000 square feet, the exhibition boasts a stunning 18-foot fiberglass model of an adult male “unicorn of the sea” suspended overhead, complemented by an array of informative banners, graphic panels, and interactive displays. Guests will unravel the mysteries behind the narwhal's iconic tusk, explore prehistoric narwhal relatives through skull casts, and discern the unique adaptations of narwhals and their whale kin to the shifting Arctic milieu. Learn More

View of Cape Lookout from Harkers Island

You can easily admire Cape Lookout Lighthouse from Harkers Island. Photo credit: Harkers Island (Tripadvisor)

How Well Do You Know Your Carolina Lighthouses?

Visiting one of many lighthouses in NC and SC is a perfect spring or summer day trip. Some are only accessible by ferry, providing an extra layer of adventure. It may even be possible to visit all the lighthouses in one state within a single day — what do you think?

Ahead, we're shining the light on the active lighthouses in North Carolina and South Carolina. If you plan on visiting, be sure to check the website before you go. Many lighthouses are undergoing renovations. While this is a good thing, it often means the lighthouse will be closed to climbing.

Learn about NC lighthouses

Read about SC lighthouses

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival logo.

The Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival takes place at the Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park.

Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ: Win Free Tickets!

It's your last chance to win free tickets to the Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival this March 16! The good news is your odds are better than the odds of witnessing an elusive unicorn of the sea…

Get ready for a day of pure Southern bliss – beer, bourbon, barbeque, boots, bacon, biscuits, bluegrass – it's the real deal. Sip on the finest brews, savor smoky bourbons, and feast on BBQ that'll make your taste buds two-step. Read more about the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival.

With a VIP ticket, you're in for a treat – extra sampling hours, a BBQ feast, and a swanky VIP lounge. The Shrine of Swine is making a comeback, with whole hogs stealing the show. Jam to live tunes, explore the Tasting Theater, and dive into a new gaming area – it's a wild ride! Grab your boots, unleash your inner kid, and let the Southern good times roll! Discover more fun things to do in Wilmington, NC.

How can you enter? Only VIP subscribers age 21 and older are eligible to enter. Check your inbox/spam for the “VIP Wilmington Beer Bourbon BBQ” email sent March 4 that you're interested in attending. Each Friday, we'll draw two tickets from our pool of interested Carolina Traveler VIPs. Too easy, right?!

More great news for VIP subscribers: Carolina Traveler is partnering with the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival series through November, which means we'll have more ticket giveaways for fun festivals all over the Carolinas, including “Tacos and & Taps” “Wine & Food” and more! There has never been a greater time to become a 2024 subscriber to Carolina Traveler magazine!

Historic Gold Hill pottery shop

In addition to learning about the fascinating history behind the site of the first Gold Rush in the U.S., you can also go shopping, hike the trails, and dine at the on-site restaurant.

If you loved searching for the unicorn of the sea, you'll love this St. Paddy's Day adventure!

Today's your lucky day — you don't need to be of Irish heritage to celebrate St. Patrick's Day! Fun fact: Gold Hill, North Carolina is home to the first Gold Rush in the United States! We're channeling our inner leprechauns to take a visit to Historic Gold Hill — a perfect day trip for families and friend groups.

Nestled in the quaint town of Gold Hill, North Carolina, Historic Gold Hill offers a captivating journey through time, steeped in rich history and vibrant culture. Visitors to this charming destination can embark on a myriad of experiences that celebrate the town's illustrious past and vibrant present.

Begin your exploration by strolling along the cobblestone streets lined with meticulously preserved historic buildings dating back to the 19th century. Marvel at the architectural splendor of landmarks such as the restored gold mines, assay office, and general store, each a testament to Gold Hill's storied heritage as a thriving gold mining hub.

Immerse yourself in the town's cultural tapestry with a visit to the numerous artisan shops and galleries dotting the landscape. From pottery studios to artisanal boutiques, these establishments showcase the talents of local craftsmen and artisans, offering an array of handcrafted treasures and unique souvenirs to cherish.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Historic Gold Hill provides ample opportunities for recreation amidst picturesque surroundings. Take a leisurely hike along the scenic trails weaving through the verdant countryside, or enjoy a tranquil picnic by the tranquil waters of the nearby river.

History buffs will delight in the array of educational programs and guided tours offered at Historic Gold Hill, providing fascinating insights into the town's storied past and the legacy of its industrious pioneers. Whether you're exploring the depths of the gold mines or perusing artifacts at the local museum, there's no shortage of immersive experiences to be had at this captivating destination.

Complete your visit with a delectable dining experience at one of Gold Hill's charming eateries, where you can savor authentic Southern cuisine amidst a backdrop of rustic charm. From quaint cafes to historic taverns, the town offers a culinary journey that's sure to tantalize the taste buds and leave you craving more. Eats like these are almost as rare as the unicorn of the sea!

MarshWalk at Murrell's Inlet SC

You'll find the most captivating sunsets and liveliest nightlife scene up the road from Pawleys Island at the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk | Photo credit: @MarshWalk at Murrells Inlet (Facebook)

The 2024 Beach Guide Is Here! Subscribers Only

We're featuring more than 25 of the best beaches in NC and SC, broken down by category. That's 25+ reasons to become a subscriber to Carolina Traveler Magazine! Our award categories include:

  • Best beaches for shelling and shark teeth hunting
  • Best beaches with lighthouses
  • Best beach camping spots
  • Best pet-friendly beaches
  • Best family-friendly beaches
  • Best beach boardwalks
  • Best surfing beaches
  • Best beaches with wildlife encounters
  • Best overall beaches in the Carolinas

Read our 2024 Spring Beach Guide

You might also like…