Beach Week Day 1: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtlebeachfamily

(Photo by Meg McKinney)

Ah.  A week of beaches.  Each day we’ll highlight our favorite places to dig our toes in the sand.

We kick off our Beach Week with one of the alltime family beach destinations:  Myrtle Beach.

There’s a time and place for quiet, sandy isolation. But it ain’t right now, and it ain’t Myrtle Beach.  This South Carolina mainstay is perfect for family fun.  (I declare that hitting all the souvenir shops on Ocean Boulevard while a towering ice cream cone drips down one’s hands should be part of every Southerner’s education.)

With all that said, I’ve circumnavigated the neon lights and bypassed the all-u-can eat seafood buffets to find some of this town’s most authentic stops.

Best Peaceful Beach
Spread your towel at >Myrtle Beach State Park, just 15 minutes south of the craziness. You’ll have to pay a small fee ($4 adults, $1.50 children 6-15), but the more peaceful experience (and restroom facilities) make it worth every cent. Bring your own umbrella and chairs.  843-238-5325. (Map)

Free Beach Parking
Find less crowded public beach access points (free parking, but no restrooms) dotting Ocean Boulevard starting around 34th Avenue N and stretching north. (Map)

For Lunch
Our favorite lunch stop remains the authentically Italian Luigi’s Trattoria with its imported prosciutto de Parma sandwich with fresh mozzarella. 503 61st Ave N, 843-497-7080.(Map)

For Dinner
A local introduced us to the quaint Sun City Café located downtown, and now we’re fans of the spicy fish tacos for life. The limited menu features West Coast cuisine and a laid-back, island-living atmosphere. 801 Main Street, 843-445-2992.  (Map)

Family Fun
More than 100 shops and several restaurants fill the giant, red-brick-paved village known as Broadway at the Beach. Tease the fire-breathing dragon outside the Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf and ahh! at the fireworks show over the lagoon on Tuesday nights (10 p.m.). 800-386-4662. (Map)

Must-Stop Souvenir Shop
It’s simply immoral to leave Myrtle Beach without a hike through the four floors of The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove. For almost 60 years, this family-owned icon has peddled shells and shark teeth. How will anyone believe you’ve been unless you bring something back, right? 916 N Ocean Blvd, 843-448-6550. (Map)

Skinny on the Seasonal Rates
Myrtle Beach’s high season generally stretches from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Rates begin building in June, spike around July 4th, slack slightly the rest of the month, and really drop in August. (Map)

Interactive Map

COMMENTS

  1. Sharon Wilson

    My husband & I are always off of work on Memorial Day. It gives us time to get out of town, and so are all the BIKERS. This is the most unpleasant time we ever go to MB. They just kinda take over the town. This is an unreal situation!!

    June 18, 2008 at 3:14 pm
  2. Tanner Latham

    Yeah, unless you’ve got a motorcycle you want to show off, you might be surprised to find a lot of bike traffic in May in Myrtle Beach. There are actually two bike weeks in MB, and they are traditionally the 2nd and 3rd weeks of the month.

    June 18, 2008 at 3:23 pm
  3. Sam

    I just heard that Myrtle Beach is considering doing away with both bike weeks. That will make a lot of tourists as well as locals very well pleased. The noise is horrible and there are so many fatal accidents involving motorcycles during those weeks. The lack of the requirement to wear a helmet lures those who want to feel the breeze through their hair to cruise up and down Hwy. 17. Unfortunately the lack of protection takes its toll.

    June 19, 2008 at 5:08 pm
  4. Carol Paino

    Speaking as a local, May is the best month weather-wise and the worst month for traffic beacuse of the bikers. I think the businesses that depend on the bikers for income should change their month to July or August. The locals stay in the air conditioning anyway and friends & family could enjoy the weather to come down in May or June. The biker business will still be here and the family tourism business will come too.

    June 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm
  5. Mary Jerman

    The bikers are here and have been for 68 years,for one week of the year. Kids are in school in May and not on the beach. This is the ideal time for those who enjoy riding to come to the beach.

    June 26, 2008 at 8:34 am
  6. Doreen1020

    My family and I are visiting MB from 8-30 to 9-13 2008. As a local do you have any places that are not well known to the visitor? We are looking for places to eat, have fun or just hang out and of course shopping is a must. Thanks so much, Doreen1020

    July 10, 2008 at 11:42 am
  7. Tanner Latham

    Yeah, I’d love to hear from some locals, too. Most of my pics above are more local and off-the-beaten-path.
    The biggest deal right now is the new Hard Rock Theme Park, but I haven’t been there, and I don’t know if that’s exactly what you’re looking for, Doreen.
    Have a good trip!

    July 11, 2008 at 7:49 am
  8. Jeri S.

    Can anyone tell me what the weather is like in September in Myrtle Beach, SC? My husband and I are first time visits and stopping by 08/31-09/04/08. I guess being from Pittsburgh, we never have to worry about tropical storms, hurricanes etc…and want to make sure that is the worst time to be there on the coast. Any other helpful info you have, is much appreciated!

    July 15, 2008 at 10:52 am
  9. Sherry Hurley

    TO DOREEN AND JERI S.
    I LOVE TO GO TO THE MARSHWALK IN MURRELLS INLET. IT IS A BEAUTIFUL WALKWAY THAT WINDS IT’S WAY AROUND THE WATERWAY. VERY PEACEFUL TOO. THERE ARE MANY GREAT RESTAURANTS THERE TOO…GHOST SHIP AND ADMIRAL’S FLAGSHIP ARE JUST 2 OF MY FAVORITES FOR SEAFOOD…SOME EVEN HAVE LIVE MUSIC. AS FAR AS SHOPPING THE NEW COASTAL GRANDE MALL IS GREAT AS ARE THE TANGER OUTLET MALLS. BROADWAY AT THE BEACH IS A NICE PLACE TO SPEND THE DAY BECAUSE THEY HAVE SUCH A WIDE VARIETY OF SHOPS THAT YOU CAN SPEND AN ENTIRE DAY THERE. THE RIPLEY’S AQUARIUM IS WELL WORTH SPENDING A DAY AT. IT IS BEAUTIFUL THERE. IF YOU JUST LIKE A GREAT HOTDOG OR HAMBURGER PEACHES CORNER IS A MUST…AND FOR DESSERT…PAINTER’S ICE CREAM IS A MUST!!
    AS FAR AS THE WEATHER IS CONCERNED,SEPTEMBER WEATHER IS VERY NICE! USUALLY STILL WARM. I WOULD RECOMMEND TAKING A LIGHT JACKET OR WINDBREAKER BECAUSE THERE ARE TIMES WHEN A RAINSTORM COMES UP AND IT CAN GET A LITTLE CHILLY BUT FOR THE MOST PART IT IS STILL VERY NICE WEATHER.
    I LIVE IN NC BUT I HAVE BEEN GOING TO MYRTLE BEACH SINCE I WAS A YOUNG CHILD AND NOW HAVE A CAMPER AT OCEAN LAKES CAMPGROUND AND SPEND AS MUCH TIME IN MYRTLE BEACH AS I POSSIBLY CAN. MY BROTHER ALSO LIVES THERE SO WE ARE THERE QUITE OFTEN.
    I HOPE YOU BOTH ENJOY YOUR TRIP!

    August 24, 2008 at 2:18 am
  10. SHERRY HURLEY

    OH…AND AS FAR AS THE BEACHES…IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR LESS CROWDS..YOU CAN GO TO MYRTLE BEACH STATE PARK OR TO HUNTINGTON BEACH STATE PARK IN MURRELLS INLET WHERE THE BEACHES ARE VERY NATURAL WITH FEW CROWDS. IF YOU LIKE ART, TRY BROOKGREEN GARDENS IN PAWLEY’S ISLAND. WHILE THERE YOU SHOULD TRY TO VISIT THE ORIGINAL HAMMOCK SHOP AT 10880 OCEAN HWY #1 PAWLEYS ISLAND. THEIR WEBSITE IS HAMMOCKSHOP.COM. THEY HAVE SOME BEAUTIFUL HANDWOVEN HAMMOCKS!

    August 24, 2008 at 2:25 am
  11. JP Green

    What is the weather like in mid October?

    August 13, 2010 at 4:09 pm
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    December 5, 2010 at 2:20 am