Family * Travel * Food

Jul 7, 2023

Exploring the Gems of the Southeastern United States: 10 Must-Visit Destinations

The southeastern region of the United States is renowned for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality. From vibrant cities to charming coastal towns, the Southeast offers a diverse range of experiences for travelers. In this blog post, we will showcase 10 top destinations in the Southeast, highlighting the cost of accommodation, dining out, and visiting attractions to help you plan your trip accordingly. 

Charleston, South Carolina:

Known for its well-preserved architecture and cobblestone streets, Charleston exudes Southern charm. Explore the historic district, take a carriage ride, or visit the iconic Rainbow Row. Accommodation options range from boutique hotels to charming bed and breakfasts, with prices averaging around $150-$300 per night. Dining out can vary from affordable local eateries to high-end restaurants, with an average meal cost of $15-$40 per person. Many attractions, such as the Charleston City Market, are free, while others, like plantations and museums, may charge admission fees ranging from $10-$25.

Savannah, Georgia:

Savannah is a city steeped in history and beauty, with its picturesque squares and antebellum mansions. Stay in elegant hotels or opt for cozy inns, with average prices ranging from $120-$250 per night. Dining options in Savannah cater to various budgets, with an average meal cost of $10-$30 per person. Don't miss attractions like the historic Bonaventure Cemetery or the Mercer Williams House Museum, which typically charge admission fees of $10-$20.

Asheville, North Carolina:

Nestled in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville offers a mix of vibrant arts, natural beauty, and culinary delights. Accommodation in Asheville ranges from budget-friendly motels to luxury resorts, with prices averaging $100-$250 per night. The city boasts a thriving food scene, with diverse options ranging from food trucks to farm-to-table restaurants, typically costing $10-$30 per meal. Explore the famous Biltmore Estate with admission fees of approximately $60-$85 per person.

New Orleans, Louisiana:

Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and unique atmosphere of New Orleans. From the lively French Quarter to the soulful sounds of jazz, the city offers an unforgettable experience. Accommodation prices vary widely, with options ranging from budget hotels to high-end luxury accommodations. Expect to pay an average of $150-$350 per night. Dining in New Orleans can be affordable, with classic dishes like po'boys and gumbo available for under $10. However, fine dining experiences can range from $30-$100 per person. Popular attractions, such as the French Quarter and Garden District, are free to explore, while others, like the National WWII Museum, charge admission fees ranging from $25-$30.

Nashville, Tennessee:

Known as the Music City, Nashville is a vibrant destination with a lively music scene and rich cultural heritage. Accommodation options include downtown hotels and cozy bed and breakfasts, with prices averaging $150-$300 per night. Dining out in Nashville offers a range of choices, from affordable Southern comfort food to upscale farm-to-table cuisine, typically costing $15-$40 per person. Explore attractions such as the Country Music Hall of Fame (admission fees around $25-$30) and catch live performances at various music venues throughout the city. 

Miami, Florida:

Miami is a glamorous city that combines stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and a melting pot of cultures. Accommodation options in Miami span from budget-friendly hotels to luxury resorts, with prices averaging $150-$400 per night. Dining out can be diverse, with options ranging from affordable Cuban sandwiches to high-end waterfront dining, typically costing $15-$50 per person. Explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Miami Beach, visit the Art Deco Historic District (free), or take a boat tour in Biscayne Bay (around $25-$50 per person).

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee/North Carolina:

As America's most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains offer breathtaking natural beauty and abundant outdoor activities. Accommodation options range from campgrounds to cabins and hotels, with prices varying accordingly. Camping fees start at around $25 per night, while cabins or hotels can range from $100-$250 per night. Dining options can be found in nearby towns, with meal prices ranging from $10-$30 per person. Explore the park's scenic drives, hike the numerous trails (free), or enjoy wildlife watching.

St. Augustine, Florida:

As the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement in the United States, St. Augustine is a historic gem on Florida's east coast. Accommodation prices range from budget-friendly hotels to upscale resorts, with averages around $120-$250 per night. Dining out offers a mix of casual seafood spots and fine dining establishments, with meal prices averaging $15-$40 per person. Visit attractions such as the Castillo de San Marcos (around $15 admission fee) or take a stroll down St. George Street in the charming historic district (free).

Gatlinburg, Tennessee:

Nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Accommodation options include hotels, cabins, and chalets, with prices averaging $100-$250 per night. Dining in Gatlinburg ranges from affordable barbecue joints to family-friendly restaurants, with average meal costs of $10-$30 per person. Explore the scenic trails of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (free) or visit popular attractions such as the Ober Gatlinburg amusement park (prices vary). 

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina:

Hilton Head Island is a tranquil coastal paradise known for its pristine beaches, world-class golf courses, and abundant outdoor activities. Accommodation options include beachfront resorts and vacation rentals, with prices averaging $150-$400 per night. Dining out ranges from casual seafood shacks to upscale waterfront restaurants, typically costing $15-$50 per person. Explore the island's beautiful beaches (free), rent bicycles, or tee off at one of the renowned golf courses.

The southeastern United States is a captivating region that offers a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. While the cost of staying, dining out, and visiting attractions may vary, there are options available to suit a range of budgets. Whether you're exploring the historic streets of Charleston, indulging in the lively ambiance of New Orleans, or immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the Smoky Mountains, the Southeast has something to offer every traveler. Plan your visit wisely, considering the expenses, and embark on a memorable journey through these top destinations.


South Carolina Aquarium’s Shark Week Begins with Dive Shows and More

The South Carolina Aquarium celebrates Shark Week tomorrow, July 8 through Sunday, July 16. Visitors can experience a JAWesome lineup of shark-themed programs and activities as they learn more about these incredible creatures of the deep. 

                                            Image credit: South Carolina Aquarium

The Aquarium is home to many species of sharks, all of which are native to the waters of South Carolina. During their visit, guests can seek out the largest cartilaginous creatures that reside in the Great Ocean Tank, the deepest tank in North America at 42 feet deep. At its deepest point, large nurse sharks swim in and out of the reef caves before dazzling a few lucky guests by swimming flat against the windows, just inches from the hands of those reaching toward the tank. In the water column above, blacknose sharks and sandbar sharks glide slowly past, showcasing their rigid, triangular dorsal fins characteristic of many species of sharks. In one of several touch tank exhibits, guests can reach into the water to feel the rough scales of chain dogfish, a smaller species with a uniquely patterned body.

Throughout the week, special education programs will feature these cartilaginous creatures front and center. Guests will have the opportunity to learn about shark biology and behavior and even witness shark feedings. There will be plenty of opportunities to get hands-on through a shark scavenger hunt and a crowd favorite: the shark tooth dig, where guests will sift through sandy substrate to discover real shark teeth to take home as keepsakes.

"Sharks are so often misunderstood and have a notorious reputation that deters many from understanding the critical role they play in the health and wellbeing of our oceans," says Drew Heyward, senior visitor engagement manager. "By celebrating Shark Week — and catering our guest programming to share what truly makes sharks so special and influential— we hope to dispel common myths about sharks and create a greater appreciation of their purpose in our worlds oceans."

Shark Week at the Aquarium is the perfect place to escape the summer heat with a myriad of shark-themed experiences, all included with general admission. 

About the South Carolina Aquarium:

The South Carolina Aquarium, Charleston's No.1 family attraction, is home to more than 5,000 animals, from river otters and sharks to sea turtles and shorebirds, and represents the rich biodiversity of our state — from the mountains to the sea. Visitors can also get an inside look at the Sea Turtle Care Center™, a working hospital dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick and injured sea turtles. While fulfilling its mission to promote education, conservation, and an exceptional visitor experience, the Aquarium also presents sweeping views of the Charleston Harbor along with interactive exhibits and programs for visitors of all ages. 

The South Carolina Aquarium is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Aquarium is open daily from 9 a.m.–5 p.m., with the last entry at 3:30 p.m. The Aquarium is open seven days a week with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, December 25 and a half day on December 24 (open 9 a.m.–noon). Annual Aquarium membership with unlimited visits starts at $99. For more information, call (843) 577-FISH (3474) or visit


Jul 6, 2023

Nostalgic Vibes: Exploring the Hottest Trends of the 80s That Still Reign Today

The 1980s was an era of bold fashion, vibrant music, and technological advancements that left an indelible mark on popular culture. From iconic fashion statements to groundbreaking technological inventions, the '80s continue to influence and inspire modern trends. In this blog post, we'll take a nostalgic trip down memory lane to explore the hottest trends of the 80s and identify which ones have stood the test of time. 

1. Fashion Forward:

The 80s was a decade of flamboyant fashion and distinct styles. Some of the hottest fashion trends that emerged during this era include:

  • Neon Colors: The love for neon hues was unparalleled in the 80s. From clothing to accessories, neon shades were everywhere. Today, neon continues to make periodic comebacks, especially during festival seasons and in activewear.
  • Shoulder Pads: Power dressing was synonymous with the 80s, and shoulder pads were a crucial element of this trend. While they might not be as extreme as in the past, structured shoulder details can still be seen in contemporary blazers and jackets.
  • Denim: The 80s witnessed the rise of denim as a fashion staple. Acid-washed jeans, denim jackets, and denim skirts became iconic choices. Denim remains a timeless fabric, with classic jean styles and denim jackets still being popular today.
  • Leggings and Leotards: Inspired by the aerobics craze, leggings and leotards were a prominent fashion trend in the 80s. Today, leggings have become a wardrobe staple, being worn as both athletic wear and everyday fashion

2. Music Madness:

The 80s was a musically diverse decade that witnessed the birth of various genres and subcultures. Some of the hottest trends in music during the 80s that continue to resonate today include:

  • Pop Music: The 80s saw the rise of pop icons like Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Prince, who shaped the sound of the decade. Pop music remains a dominant force in the industry, with artists like Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars carrying on the tradition.
  • Electronic Dance Music (EDM): The synth-driven beats and electronic experimentation of the 80s laid the foundation for EDM. Today, EDM has evolved into a global phenomenon, with festivals and DJs drawing huge crowds worldwide.

3. Technological Breakthroughs:

The 80s witnessed remarkable advancements in technology, setting the stage for the digital revolution. Some of the trends from that era that are still prevalent today include:

  • Personal Computers: The 80s marked the era of personal computing, with the introduction of the iconic Apple Macintosh and IBM PC. Today, personal computers are an integral part of our lives, albeit significantly more powerful and compact.
  • Video Games: The 80s gave birth to the video game industry, with arcade games like Pac-Man and home consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) gaining immense popularity. Video games continue to be a multi-billion-dollar industry, with modern consoles and online gaming platforms captivating audiences worldwide.
  • Walkman and Portable Music: The Sony Walkman revolutionized music consumption by allowing people to carry their favorite tunes wherever they went. Today, portable music has evolved into streaming services like Spotify, offering instant access to a vast library of songs.

The 80s was an era of bold fashion choices, musical diversity, and technological breakthroughs. Many trends that emerged during this period have managed to withstand the test of time, leaving an indelible impact on contemporary culture. Whether it's the neon colors that periodically resurface or the enduring influence of 80s pop icons, the hottest trends of the 80s continue to inspire and shape our modern world. From fashion to music and technology, the nostalgia of the 80s still holds a special place in our hearts and continues to be celebrated today.

Did you grow up in the 80s? What are your favorite memories of that time?


Jun 22, 2023

The Jonas Brothers + The Children’s Place Launch Best School Day Ever Campaign

In the face of recent budget cuts affecting school districts nationwide, the global music superstars The Jonas Brothers, and the largest pure-play children’s specialty retailer in North America, The Children’s Place, are teaming up to help a school near you. This transformative campaign which starts today and ends July 30th, is not only about monetary support; it’s about igniting change. The Jonas Brothers and The Children’s Place will be hosting their Best School Day Ever campaign, which will gift one lucky school a $100,000 grant to be used for the betterment of their school. Moreover, the chosen school will have the exclusive opportunity to attend a private Jonas Brothers concert at a secret location in August in New Jersey.  

This campaign will not only bring a smile to your face but will make a significant difference to a deserving school. As fathers themselves, The Jonas Brothers are committed to enriching children’s educational journeys and fostering a community spirit. Along with the dedication of the ultimate #gilrdads, The Jonas Brothers and The Children’s Place are also firmly committed to the betterment of children everywhere. This sentiment is echoed by the brand’s initiative last year by opening three research-based learning centers across the country, an incredible stride in tackling the current state of underfunded public schools. 

The deadline to submit applications for this impactful grant ends on July 30. We're calling all parents with children in grades K-8. If your child is enrolled in a non-tuition-based school for the 2023-2024 academic year, we encourage you to nominate their school. To do so, simply visit The Children’s Place mobile app, where official contest rules and the brands’ newest back-to-school product collections, including expressive and empowering t-shirts, fun backpacks, colorful polos, on-trend denim, footwear, and more, can be purchased. 

This campaign features the three brothers giving a first-day-of-school pep talk to Kevin’s oldest daughter, Alena. The video includes the brand’s newest Back-to-School collection and is designed to inspire kids to look and feel their best for their first day of school and beyond. The upbeat video features daydream sequences of Alena’s ‘Best School Day Ever,’ which concludes with a musical performance of the Jonas Brothers’ latest single, “Celebrate!”

“Providing for a better tomorrow for children is what it’s all about. Kids can change the world, and being able to support them and their school communities with this $100,000 prize… we feel a lot of gratitude to join The Children’s Place on their mission to give back and inspire the next generation of learners to chase their dreams,” said Joe Jonas. 

Contest Details:

In addition to the 2023 Best School Day Ever Contest, The Children’s Place will continue to scale its national program of revitalizing public spaces in local communities as Learning Centers by launching three additional learning center locations throughout 2023. Working collaboratively with local libraries and community centers, The Children’s Place Learning Centers will each feature thousands of books, school supplies, and educational toys. Each space will feature comfortable seating arrangements, interactive chalkboard walls, and empowering wall murals and artwork. It will serve as a safe haven where children in each community can access reading materials and learning supplies while allowing themselves to thrive in imagining.


Certified Barbeque Judging Class Coming to Greenville

The South Carolina Barbeque Association (SCBA) will hold a one-day seminar in Greenville to train new barbeque judges. The seminar is July 15, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Project Host, located at 525 Academy St. 

Registration for the seminar is open to SCBA members and costs $50 per person, which includes a catered barbeque lunch. Non-members must join SCBA prior to or while registering for the seminar to be eligible to attend. SCBA annual membership dues are $45 for an individual or $60 for a family. 

The seminar is the first step in becoming a SCBA-certified barbeque judge. After completing the class, potential judges will continue their training with hands-on experience as novice judges at four SCBA-sanctioned barbeque competitions. Competitions are held around the state at festivals and fairs, as well as other community events or stand-alone BBQ contests. 

Those interested in becoming SCBA-certified judges and attending the July 15th seminar should visit to register for the seminar and/or join the SCBA. 

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