The Outer Banks
Listen, kids, we're going on an educational vacation this year! Now, before you moan and groan, we are going to learn about pirates, and airplanes, and Indians, and ... it's at the beach!
If you've ever noticed the squiggle in the east coast of detailed US maps, you've seen the Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina. Take highway 64. When you see the unforgettable billboard for Dirty Dick's Crab House, slow down because you are about to hit the ocean at Nags Head. Then you have to turn left or right, but in either direction, you'll find something interesting to learn about.
A fascinating confluence of history and vacation, after the jump.
Turn south and you'll enter Cape Hatteras National Seashore, with 75 miles of seashore on each side, limited development, and protected wildlife. Ocracoke Island is the southernmost part of the national seashore, and was recently named the United States' best beach. There are no roads to Ocracoke, so you'll have to get there by ferry or private plane.