Making Waves in Myrtle Beach
by Tammy Grey
Myrtle Beach is South Carolina’s most famous stretch of beach for good reason. I finally got the chance to see it for myself, and it exceeded my expectations. There are a wide variety of activities to keep your days as busy, or relaxed, as you want. Of course, the beach itself will always be the main reason visitors return year after year. The Grand Strand, which includes Myrtle Beach and twelve other communities, boasts sixty miles of coastline.
Myrtle Beach has plenty of options for enjoying fresh air and sunshine. The beaches offer the opportunity to soak up some sun and search for shells. You can rent everything from a canoe to a sailboat and navigate the coastal waters. Scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, and parasailing are popular activities. Want to enjoy being on the water without having to worry about navigating? There are numerous guided tours for dolphin watching or deep-sea fishing. Get a view of Myrtle Beach most never see by riding on The Skywheel or The Slingshot. Both will provide a bird’s-eye view of the city below. But be warned: The Slingshot is not for the faint-of-heart. It was hard for me even to watch other people on it.
Myrtle Beach offers everything from grab-and-go snacks to elegant fine dining. For beautiful oceanfront dining, be sure to check out Sea Captain’s House and enjoy some Carolina-caught jumbo flounder. Ciao Restaurant offers fantastic Italian food for moderate prices, and you cannot go wrong with the lobster ravioli. With over 1,500 dining options, you will find the perfect place for your taste and budget.
Myrtle Beach may be best known for its beaches, but it is also a wine lover’s paradise. Spend a leisurely afternoon sampling wines at Coastal Wine Boutique and Tasting Room, Coastal Carolina Winery, or Boardwalk Winery. All three offer an amazing selection of quality wines; both local and worldwide options are offered. If you are new to wine tasting, you can have the sommelier assist with your selections. You can also pick up wine-related merchandise and souvenirs. If you want to try out your new wine selecting skills, you can go enjoy a nice dinner at Austin’s Ocean One, Aspen Grill, or Collector’s Café. All three have an extensive wine list (including red and white wines, ports, sherries, international wines, champagne, rosé, and dessert wines) and will happily suggest a wine to complement your meal if you ask.
There is always a chance you will experience less-than-ideal weather while on vacation, but that does not mean you and your children or grandchildren will have to camp out in your hotel room. Myrtle Beach has a host of rainy-day activities that ensure a few raindrops will not ruin your vacation. A visit to Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach will allow an up-close-and-personal experience with sharp-toothed sharks from the safety of a viewing tunnel. In addition to the apex predators swimming just inches from your face, there is a wide variety of colorful fish darting about and graceful sea turtles just meandering along. The penguin exhibit is fascinating. Because the viewing glass allows you to see what is going on below the surface, you will be amazed to see how fast they swim. You can also observe the penguins as they “paint” by walking across a canvas with paint on their feet. You also can admire (and purchase) their artwork hanging on the walls. Wonderworks offers kids so many fun activities that they will not realize they are learning about science. Highlights include a tornado simulator, the Bubble Lab, and the Astronaut Training Challenge. Be sure and check out the rope course and laser tag before you leave. Both attractions are located at Broadway at the Beach, which is home to a wide variety of stores and boutiques, restaurants, and tons of attractions, including jet-boat rides and Legends in Concert. You will not be able to see and do everything in one day.
With over ten thousand hotel rooms in the Myrtle Beach area, you should have no trouble finding the perfect place to spend the night. If camping is your ideal vacation, choose from one of the seven thousand available campsites. The Holiday Inn at the Pavilion is moderately priced and is steps from the beach. The property features two pools (one inside and one outside) as well as a hot tub. Since it is right on the boardwalk, it is incredibly easy to get anywhere you want to go. You can also walk out the front door and be on Ocean Boulevard, which is loaded with gift shops, attractions such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium, as well as their Mirror Maze and 5D Moving Theater, and places to grab a bite to eat. Whether you want fresh seafood, a slice of pizza, or some ice cream, amazing options are within walking distance. Fall asleep listening to the sounds of the ocean coming through the balcony and prepare for another day of fun.
Photo credit by Tammy Lynn Grey.
Tammy has been a freelance writer for several years, and has been published on national and regional platforms, including USAToday.com. She currently lives in SE Georgia, just north of Jacksonville, FL. You can read her blog at TammysTravelTales.com, and find her on Twitter @TsTravelTales.