A Beach for all Seasons - Fall in Love with Myrtle Beach
Our family loves the beach. Being a bit adventurous this year we put it out there -- we asked our friends to suggest a good family-friendly beach destination. Somewhere different (Florida I love ya, but you're too busy and about an extra day's drive with my kids and their relentless restroom and stretch breaks) yet still family-friendly. Somewhere clean, safe, fun, not too far away... and let's not forget, reasonably priced!
Four separate recommendations rolled in suggesting Myrtle Beach -- you know, that golf place?
In my world Myrtle Beach was a place to go for golf, and well, Golf! It wasn't exactly the first family-friendly beach locale that came to mind. But I'd put it out there and with some guidance and help from friends and the Myrtle Beach Visitor and Convention Bureau, we created a plan. So, why not Myrtle Beach?
We headed down I-95 to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, which includes the cities and towns up and down the coast. The scenic drive to get there is part of the charm of this trip. To say the drive is breath-taking would be an understatement. Make sure to charge your cameras! There are lots of scenic stops and lookouts on the way.
The first thing that stuck us was how much there was to do when we arrived. Really, just so much to do! Driving up to clear blue skies, parasails floating over the shoreline, the ferris wheels, waterparks, golf courses, pastel buildings, subtropical flora and fauna, and yes, the sandy beaches. We were smitten from the start.
With an average yearly temperature of 23° Celsius (74°F), it's a perfect climate for our Canadian sensibilities -- a sub tropical climate but one with seasons. It really is a perfect year-round destination, especially for snowbirds since it rarely snows. One local explained that despite rain in the forecast it rarely ever rains on the beach but rather more inland due to the coastal winds.
And yes, there is that one sport they are known for -- Golf -- much to my husband's delight. The golf is year-round, plentiful and reasonably priced with every kind of course and difficulty imaginable. But as I got to plan this trip, he's going to have to wait until next time to actually get out onto the links. With peak golf seasons being spring and fall, It's a great getaway for the shoulder season, with lots of options for the non-golfers in the family, as we soon found out.
We tried to cover as many of the various attractions there were -- way too many to name. And most in such close proximity to our beach-front hotel, the Camelot By The Sea, which was perfect for us because it was so central to everything, and had all the amenities of a condo. But more on that and all the incredible culinary treats later. Your trip need not be expensive as there are lots of free or inexpensive things to do . #1 would be -- The BEACH
With the kids help, I've picked our Top 10 family Friendly attractions to visit in Myrtle Beach... the first time:
1. Ocean Watersports (Parasail Myrtle Beach) - Scratch another one off the Bucket list - the absolute friendliest and most fun staff offering spectacular views of the Grand Strand.
2. Wild Water and Wheels - Waterpark with Waterslides, Water rides, Race Cars and Buckets of Fun.
3. The Carolina Opry (Gilmore Entertainment) - World Class Entertainers that blew us away....literally. The rendition of Carrie Underwood's Blown Away was nothing short of spectacular. In the tradition of an old-time variety show, perfomers mix music, dance and comedy hailing us back to a by-gone era, and by gosh, did they not bring down the house. My kids were in Awe! This was Broadway off the Beach. The performers, including American Idol Finalist Latoya London and clogging sensations, All That, were first class.
4. Murrells Inlet (Marsh Walk) - Get Fresh Local Seafood along the Marsh Walk, Live Entertainment, Local Artisans and great restaurants abound.
5. Brookgreen Gardens - outdoor nature and sculpture museum offering a zoo, cruises and excursions.
6. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk - reopened in 2010 with a new Skywheel 60 years after Hurricane Hazel destroyed the original in 1954.
7. Broadway on the Beach - this massive entertainment complex offers everything from amusement parks, attractions, restaurants, shopping and live entertainment. You could get lost in here!
8. Bulls Island Ferry - want to really explore the splendor the coast has to offer? Expeditions include eco-tours to Bulls Island, Kayaking adventures and tours for bird lovers and photographers alike.
9. Ultimate Gullah - this fascinating museum reflects on the lives of early African slaves brought to the area in the late 1500's. Their culture, their food, their language and their artifacts are on display.
10. ...and yes, there's Golf! A lot of it - Championship courses, Mini Golf and Themed Golf. Fine. There I said it. There's lots of great golfing in Myrtle Beach too.
Many thanks to Kimberley Miles and The Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for providing great information and media assistance for this trip. Have you discovered other hidden gems in Myrtle Beach? Let me know @lrgfamilytravel
Rania Walker is a busy mom of three kids who loves to travel and is always looking for deals and tips to allow her to explore, experience and bond with her "large" family of 5. During her downtime she is the Founding Director of SparQ Street Communications offering Turn-key Integrated P.R., Branding & Marketing Services; Media Relations and Corporate Communications; Media Training and On-Air Presentation Skills. @raniaspeaks