I love to travel – in the US, out of the US, at sea; to theme parks, to beaches, to cities; with family, with friends, with family and friends. I want to see as many different places as I can. But, one place that I love to visit at least once a year is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Myrtle Beach provides a vacation destination that has a little something for everyone. Relaxing time on the beach? Check. Historic and cultural sites? Check. Fun family activities? Check. Shopping? Check. Sports? Check. Restaurants for every taste? Check. It’s the perfect blend of relaxation and activity. Let’s explore some of what makes it so special, shall we?
Obviously, one of the main draws is the beach. There are several ways to spend time on the beach while you’re there, and most depend on where you’re staying. Beachfront hotels and rentals abound in Myrtle Beach. They’re incredibly convenient if you plan to spend most of your time on the beach – it is literally your backyard for the duration of your vacation.
This experience changes slightly depending on your hotel. Some provide beach chairs and umbrellas (most for a daily or weekly fee), but some do not. Most will have a pool with a view of the beach; some even have a lazy river. Beachside food service is not a norm in Myrtle Beach, so prepare to pack some snacks if you’d like a nosh while you’re lounging by the surf. There are often people selling (nonalcoholic) drinks, but they do not generally have a large selection.
There are also places to stay off the beach, which make access a different story. You’ll see plenty of golf carts while you’re there – people will use them for transportation to and from the beach if they are staying (or living!) within a few blocks of the sand.
No golf cart? Some hotels will provide beach transportation. I’ve taken it from Barefoot Landings. It is convenient, in that you don’t have to drive or try to find parking. However, you are tied to the shuttle schedule, so you need to keep an eye on the times, and be sure you’re ready to leave when the shuttle is.
There is also the option of driving yourself, if you’ve taken or rented a car. There are many public access points to the beach. However, parking can be tricky – there aren’t very many lots near public access points, and street parking can’t always accommodate the number of cars that want to utilize it.
Packing for the beach is critical if you’re not staying beachfront. You’ll need to have beach towels, snacks, drinks, sunscreen, and whatever entertainment you’ll want to take. For me, that’s always a book and/or magazine. If I’m going with my brother or some of my friends, we’ll also take beach toys – beach checkers, or paddles and a ball. My niece loves to bring sand toys to build castles and moats. When she was younger, we would also take a small, blowup pool that we’d fill with water for her – that way she could splash all she wanted without getting hit by the waves on days when the surf is rougher.
Whether you’re taking a golf cart, a shuttle, or your own car, make sure you’ve packed everything you need for the day! Going back because you left an important item at the hotel can be an aggravating experience.
If you’re going to drive yourself to the beach anyway, I like the final option, which is to go to one of the state parks for beach access. There are two in the area: Myrtle Beach State Park, and Huntington Beach State Park. This eliminates the parking issue, as both have ample parking, as well as park rangers who will help you find a space on busy days, such as over Memorial Day weekend.
Both have beautiful beaches, as well as a host of other activities, including biking and hiking trails, fishing, and birdwatching. Huntington Beach also has sites for alligator watching.
There are plenty of water activities you can sign up for, including kayaking tours. Huntington Beach even has a castle you can tour.
They also have picnic areas and playground equipment. Again, there is no food service, although there are stores that sell small food items. But, it is not uncommon to see families – even large parties – taking advantage of the picnic areas to have a cookout lunch.
The state parks have camp grounds as well, which are perfect for a more rustic vacation. Camp sites fill up quickly, so it’s important to make reservations as far in advance as you are able. There is a fee to enter the park for the day, but you can get a weekly pass if you’re planning on spending a good deal of time there during your trip.
Each of the options I’ve mentioned has its plusses and minuses, and each is the perfect option for someone. Which would you prefer? Or, if you’ve been there, which is your favorite way to soak up the sun in Myrtle Beach? Let me know in the comments!
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