Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – a resort city on the Atlantic coast – is a popular destination for families and golf enthusiasts. But it also has a lot that other travelers could enjoy. Here are my recommendations for a relaxing weekend getaway in MB if you travel alone or with a partner.
Walk along the beach – then repeat
The Myrtle Beach coastline is part of a 60-mile long stretch of beaches in northeastern South Carolina known as the Grand Strand. It has been named one of the best US beaches by the Travel Channel for its size, white sand, clean water, and an abundance of recreational opportunities. A well-deserved accolade.
When in Myrtle Beach, I spent most of my time wandering up and down the shore. As it was during the off season, the beach was less crowded, even tranquil. In the morning and on rainy days, I felt as if I had the ocean to myself. I walked for hours, passing by piers and dunes, stopping to look at birds, or simply enjoying the setting and being alone with my thoughts.
During busier times (yet not busy by MB standards), I noticed families, couples on a date, and people walking their dogs. There were even a few groups on horseback. In the evening, I heard someone play the guitar in the distance. Whatever your favorite beach activity might be, there seems to be room for it in Myrtle Beach.
Dine with a view
If you want to take a break from walking or enjoy a glass of wine at sunset, there are a number of oceanfront restaurants to choose from. Those on the Boardwalk, surrounded by souvenir shops and other visitor-centered businesses, can be loud and rather gaudy, but there are more options on the piers.
My recommendation for lunch or dinner is the casually elegant, second-floor Pier House Restaurant (110 North Ocean Boulevard). The menu features Southern American cuisine (try the delicious hushpuppies appetizer – fried corn balls), seafood, and a good wine selection.
Ride the SkyWheel
The 187-foot tall (57m) Ferris wheel has been the focal point of the Myrtle Beach skyline since 2011. For panoramic views of the city and ocean – and to feel like a kid again – catch one of the 8-10 minute rides (the VIP gondola comes with a glass floor).
The SkyWheel operates daily (hours vary by season) and there is a light show each night around dusk. 1110 North Ocean Boulevard; adult tickets $13, child ages 3-11 $9, VIP experience $50
Here’s what you can expect above ground:
Catch a show at the Carolina Opry
Founded in 1986 by singer Calvin Gilmore, the Carolina Opry (8901 North Kings Highway) presents musical variety shows in a 2,200-seat theater. It has won numerous accolades, including the Governor’s Cup, South Carolina’s highest award for tourism.
I attended The Carolina Opry Show, which combined live music, dance, and comedy. The cast of talented singers (among them American Idol Season 4 finalist Nathan Herron) performed old and new country songs, bluegrass, and pop tunes. Despite a few so-so comedy sketches, the 2+ hour long program was entertaining and worth the hike to the opposite side of the city. An added bonus was the elegant foyer, featuring an art exhibit on the second floor.
Explore Broadway Street
A few blocks west from the main Boardwalk area is an older part of Myrtle Beach, centered on Main and Broadway streets. Walking on Broadway, you will pass several restaurants, bars, and spas. Even though this business district is relatively small, it’s where you will likely run into locals.
Jetting Around’s picks:
- Fresh Brewed Coffee House (933 Broadway Street) – open Monday through Saturday, this independent shop hosts art shows, unplugged concerts, and open mic nights.
- The Tavern (531 Broadway Street), a laid-back neighborhood bar.
Try local micro brews
The award-winning New South Brewery (1109 Campbell Street) began in 1998 and specializes in hand-crafted ales and lagers. Tours are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00-5:30 pm. The site is about a mile from the SkyWheel and best reached by car.
If you go:
- Consider visiting Myrtle Beach in the off-season to avoid crowds, unless you want to swim (temperatures can range from mid-30s in winter months to 90F in the summer). If you go during the cooler months, I recommend packing a hat, scarf, and gloves, plus an umbrella or a rain coat.
- The city is quite spread-out and taxis can be expensive (a ride from the South Ocean Boulevard area to the Carolina Opry costs about $25 each way). There is public transportation, but many neighborhoods are most easily accessible by car.
- When in Myrtle Beach, you may experience the famed southern hospitality. I encountered many friendly and helpful people, including cab drivers, and was addressed as M’am on a daily basis.
- Bonus tip: gentlemen clubs abound.
Thank you to Visit Myrtle Beach and their associates, including Hampton Inn & Suites Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort, for hosting me in the city. All opinions, as always, are mine.