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It's Time to Give Yourself a Break: 4 Unexpected U.S. Southern Coastal Retreats That Won't Break the Bank

Damn the high gas prices -- full steam ahead to some serious summer indulgence.

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) who take a meal at the fabulous Beaufort Grocery Co. (book ahead!).  Beaufort dates back to 1713, and you can soak up the history wandering narrow, leafy streets where more than a hundred houses are over a century old. On the last weekend in June, residents throw open their wisteria-draped doors for the annual Old Homes Tour.

The Taylor Creek waterfront has a boardwalk lined with restaurants, shops, and piers that offers pleasant strolling. You can also pack a picnic and take a short ferry to Shackleford Banks, where wild ponies, descendants of Spanish mustangs from shipwrecked galleons, roam among the dunes.  

Lynn Parramore is an AlterNet contributing editor. She is cofounder of Recessionwire, founding editor of New Deal 2.0, and author of 'Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture.' Follow her on Twitter @LynnParramore.

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