Library can help you see popular coastal destinations

I love to travel. Although I have visited Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico, my favorite places are the beaches and quaint towns of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Each location feels like home to me and holds very special memories.

The Bartholomew County Public Library resources can point you in the right direction on any such excursions — and just in time for next month’s spring break.

Charleston, South Carolina

English colonists settled Charleston in 1670, naming it Charles Town. The historic district includes many restaurants, shops, museums and art galleries. Visitors may take horse-drawn carriages down cobblestone streets to view pastel-colored antebellum homes and centuries-old churches and cemeteries.

The first battle of the Civil War took place at Fort Sumter National Monument, located on an island in Charleston Harbor. Boat tours are available to explore the island. Near Charleston are scenic drives through the low country to quiet beaches, stately plantations and quaint small towns.

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Situated between Charleston and Savannah is Hilton Head Island, known for more than 20 world-class golf courses, more than 100 miles of bike paths, 14 miles of palm-lined beaches, tennis and water sports. The island imposes strict design guidelines for buildings, colors, signs and lighting so commercial areas blend harmoniously with the beautiful natural environment. Nearby Daufuskie Island can only be accessed by boat. Golf carts are used to visit secluded white-sand beaches, view wildlife and tour historical landmarks.

Savannah, Georgia

Dating back to 1733, Savannah is known for its rich history, friendly people, Southern hospitality and lively atmosphere. Savannah’s Historic District features beautiful parks and squares lined with antebellum mansions. Visitors can choose from a wide variety of restaurants and nightspots, peruse quaint shops, go on haunted ghost tours and explore museums. Tybee Island, Savannah’s beach, is home to two lighthouses and two forts from the 1800s.

Travel guides “Charleston and Savannah,” by Jim Morekis, and “Charleston, Savannah and the South Carolina Coast,” by Linda M. Lee, highlight the best of the two cities, Hilton Head Island and surrounding areas.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida

Tourists come to Sanibel and Captiva Islands, on the southwest coast of Florida, to enjoy white beaches full of pastel-colored seashells. The atmosphere is tropical with swaying palm trees, lush vegetation and colorful flowers.

According to the Sanibel Island and Captiva Island Chamber of Commerce, there are 250 kinds of shells, 230 kinds of birds, 15 miles of beaches and zero traffic lights. The islands are home to a national wildlife refuge with bald eagles, river otters, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins and native and migratory birds. Outdoor activities are abundant; for instance, cruises to nearby secluded islands, fishing, golf, bike riding, kayaking and snorkeling. Accommodations range from RV parks and campgrounds to luxury resorts. Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and Naples, a travel guide by Chelle Koster Walton, provides information on the area.

St. Augustine, Florida

Founded by the Spanish in 1565, St. Augustine is America’s oldest permanent city. The colorful Spanish historical district is filled with eclectic restaurants, cafes, bars and shops.

Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century stone fort provides scenic views of the town and Matanzas River. Beaches are a short drive from the city with some allowing dogs and vehicles.

Anastasia State Park contains pristine beaches, tidal marshes and abundant wildlife. Visitors are able to participate in many recreational activities and water sports at the park. Visit Hoopla on Bartholomew County Public Library’s website, mybcpl.org, to download one of many e-books for more information on St. Augustine and the surrounding area.

Kathy Campbell is a reference assistant at the Bartholomew County Public Library and can be reached at kcampbell@barth.lib.in.us.