WEEKENDER: Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach, also known as the Grand Strand, stretches 60 miles along the South Carolina coast and encompasses 14 different communities, each with their own identity and attractions. Kids can enjoy mini golf, pirate shows, and the beach boardwalk, while parents can revel in the shopping, tennis, and fresh coastal cuisine. At less than four hours from Charlotte, it’s an easy and accessible weekend getaway. So grab your swimsuits and beach towels, pack up the car, and treat the family to some Vitamin Sea.
North Beach Resort & Villas is great for families, with spacious cottages, outdoor pools with private cabanas, a swim-up bar, and resort spa. Marina Inn at Grande Dunes is less than a mile from the beach along the Intracoastal waterway and offers shuttle service. Kids can watch the boats go down the waterway and play on the private beach. If you came for the golf, book a room at Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort, which has several pools, bike trails, and tennis courts.
Start the day at Benjamin’s Bakery Cafe in Surfside Beach, where you can get fresh-from-the-oven double chocolate cream cheese muffins, apple fritters, and lemon-cheese danishes until they run out. For lunch, head to Murrells Inlet, nicknamed the seafood capital of South Carolina, and grab a table at Wicked Tuna. Order fresh seafood that arrives daily on their own fishing fleet, or feast on prime beef and sushi. Another casual lunch or dinner option is Hook & Barrel, which prepares fresh seafood like oyster stew right in front of you. If you can sneak in a date night, check out The Brentwood & Wine Bistro, located in a 100-year-old Victorian home said to be haunted, and enjoy Lowcountry cuisine with a French twist.
Don’t miss the Skywheel at the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, a 187-foot ferris wheel with 42 climate-controlled, enclosed gondolas, which seat up to 6 passengers. Spend an afternoon at Barefoot Landing and take the kiddos on an Alligator Adventure or a ride on the Barefoot Riverboat. For a bit of art appreciation, visit the Brookgreen Gardens on the site of four former rice plantations and view the largest collection of American sculpture art in the world. The 9,100-acre property includes several themed gardens with figurative sculptures, the Lowcountry Zoo, and trails through several ecosystems in nature reserves on the property.
NEW FOR 2022
If you’re a first-timer at Myrtle Beach—or you haven’t been in awhile—check out what’s new in the Grand Strand. Landmark Resort is building a 9,800-square foot waterpark on Ocean Boulevard, with a grand opening scheduled this summer. Broadway at the Beach will add an indoor/outdoor live music venue to its entertainment district called The Hangout, where families can grab seasonal seafood dishes and beachside burgers. Surfside Beach is reconstructing their iconic pier, which Hurricane Matthew washed away in 2016. The new pier will feature a restaurant and retail spaces, and is slated to be complete this fall.