Southern Dip

Wilmington, NC to St. Augustine, FL

    Photo: Joyce Pendola

Southern Dip
Yes, the Southeast is obscenely hot in July. That's why you should stick to the water. Start in Wilmington, North Carolina, and follow the coast into South Carolina on U.S. 17, which practically dunks you in the ocean near the tiny town of Pawleys Island. Stop in Tybee Island, Georgia, and before crashing at the De­Soto Beach Hotel (doubles, $160; desotobeachhotel.com), feast on blue crab. The Crab Shack (thecrabshack.com) serves it, but it tastes better when you've caught it yourself off the rocks at the end of the beach. (Bring a net and use raw chicken for bait.) Two hours down the road, at Jekyll Island, hop into a sea kayak to explore tidal marshes—herons and egrets flock to the island's western shore (guiding from Tidelands Nature Center; tidelands4h.org). At trip's end, bypass the packed beaches in St. Augustine, Florida, and drive 2.5 miles south to Anastasia State Park, just past the local alligator farm. Cast some live shrimp into the surf and you should catch redfish for dinner (tackle available at Island Joe's camp store; 904-461-9322). Miles: 500 Days: 3 Theme Song: "Un­clou­dy Day," Willie Nelson

Take Two
Drive that 4x4 500 miles to a national forest and it'll run you more than $200 in gas, round-trip. My advice: Opt for an on-/off-road motorcycle. They're comfortable on highways, thanks to their upright riding position, and are more nimble on dirt than any truck. Kawasaki's KLR 650 ($5,200; kawasaki.com) stretches a gallon 60 miles. Besides, riding a bike is just more fun. I've driven a Bentley through Tuscany, and it didn't compare to the thrill of working my $500 BMW R90/6 through ten miles of curves outside San Jose. Find a motorcycle driving school through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (msfusa.org).

—GRANT DAVIS

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