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Make the Most of Your Cultural Exchange: Local Trip Ideas for Ambassador Teachers

Like many Ambassador Teachers with Participate Learning, one of your goals may be to travel and explore different parts of the U.S. With spring break upon us and summer on the horizon, you have the perfect opportunity to do just that. Below we share local spring break destination ideas for Ambassador Teachers, organized by state: North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina. 

With a mix of outdoor activities, cultural and historical sites, and great food, there is sure to be something for everyone, including your friends and family. Most of these places are likely within driving distance of where you live, so pack your bag and hit the road to one of these fun destinations!

North Carolina destinations

Asheville: Asheville is a fantastic spot for families and groups alike, offering a blend of outdoor adventure, arts, and culture. Explore the Biltmore Estate, visit the Western North Carolina Nature Center, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit the vibrant downtown area with its world-class restaurants, art galleries, and live music venues.

Outer Banks: The Outer Banks is a great destination for a relaxed beach vacation in an idyllic setting. Visitors can enjoy activities such as beachcombing, visiting historical sites like the Wright Brothers National Memorial, climbing the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, and exploring the diverse wildlife at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Located on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can hike through scenic trails, go wildlife spotting, enjoy picnics by waterfalls, and take scenic drives through the mountains. The park also offers camping and ranger-led programs.

Wilmington: Wilmington is a charming coastal city known for its historic downtown, riverfront attractions, and nearby beaches. Explore the historic district with its cobblestone streets, visit the Battleship North Carolina, take a scenic river cruise, or relax on the beaches of Wrightsville Beach or Carolina Beach.

Durham: Durham is a vibrant city with a rich history and many cultural attractions. Visitors can explore the historic American Tobacco Campus, visit the Duke University campus and Sarah P. Duke Gardens, or catch a show at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The city also offers excellent dining options and outdoor activities at places like Eno River State Park.

Places to visit in Virginia 

Williamsburg: Williamsburg is perfect for those interested in history and culture. Visitors can explore Colonial Williamsburg to experience life in the 18th century, visit Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, and enjoy attractions like Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach offers a mix of family-friendly attractions and entertainment options. Enjoy the beach and boardwalk, visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, and explore nearby attractions like First Landing State Park and the Cape Henry Lighthouse. You can also enjoy dining options and outdoor activities like kayaking and parasailing.

Richmond: Richmond offers a blend of historical sites, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions. Tour museums like the Science Museum of Virginia and the Children’s Museum of Richmond, explore the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and take a historical tour of sites like the American Civil War Museum. Enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking on the James River, explore the vibrant arts scene in the Carytown neighborhood, and visit craft breweries and restaurants.

Shenandoah National Park: Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Shenandoah National Park offers stunning scenery, hiking trails, and outdoor adventures. Visitors can drive along the scenic Skyline Drive, hike to waterfalls and overlooks, go camping, spot wildlife, and enjoy picnics in the beautiful surroundings.

Chincoteague Island: Chincoteague Island is located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and is known for its pristine beaches, wildlife refuge, and annual pony swim. Visitors can relax on the beach, explore the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, take a boat tour to see wild ponies on Assateague Island, and enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants.

Cities to explore in South Carolina

Charleston: Charleston is a historic city with cobblestone streets, pastel houses, and an elegant French Quarter. Explore attractions such as the historic Charleston City Market, Waterfront Park, Fort Sumter National Monument, and the Battery Promenade. The city also offers excellent dining options, shopping, and beautiful beaches nearby on Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms.

Myrtle Beach: Myrtle Beach is a popular destination with miles of sandy beaches, a lively boardwalk, and numerous family-friendly attractions. Visitors can enjoy amusement parks, water parks, mini-golf courses, and live entertainment theaters. Myrtle Beach also offers plenty of shopping, dining, and accommodation options for all budgets.

Hilton Head Island: Hilton Head Island is known for its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and outdoor activities. Relax on pristine beaches, go kayaking or paddle boarding in the many lagoons and waterways, or explore nature trails in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. The island also offers excellent dining options and upscale shopping.

Greenville: Greenville is a charming city located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Explore the vibrant downtown area with shops, restaurants, and art galleries, stroll along the scenic Swamp Rabbit Trail, or visit Falls Park on the Reedy, home to the iconic Liberty Bridge. Greenville also hosts festivals and events throughout the year, providing entertainment for visitors of all ages.

Columbia: Columbia, the capital of South Carolina, offers a mix of historical sites, cultural attractions, and outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the South Carolina State House, learn about history at the South Carolina State Museum, or stroll through the beautiful Riverbanks Zoo & Garden. Columbia also has a thriving culinary scene and hosts events such as the Soda City Market, a weekly farmers’ market.

These destinations offer a variety of experiences that cater to different interests and group dynamics, making them ideal for seeing more of the United States through quick getaways in the North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia regions.

For more travel ideas and destinations, see Four Can’t-Miss Places to Visit as an Ambassador Teacher, or travel ideas from Participate Learning Alumni! Don’t forget to share pictures of your trips with us and other Ambassador Teachers on social media using the hashtag #UnitingOurWorld.

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