It’s finally my vacation! I’m so happy! So happy!weeping softly Anyway, I’m off to the beach. I’ve been to Myrtle Beach before, over twenty years ago. I assume the big attraction(the ocean) is still there, but what else would a childless couple on a shoestring budget like to in Myrtle Beach or in route from Atlanta, Ga?
Atalaya, the mansion/castle of Collis P. Huntington, is pretty interesting.
When I used to go there as a kid they had tons of cool miniature golf courses.
Or you could splurge and go slumming to one of those big country music shows. I got dragged to the Carolina Opry as a sullen teenager and will never admit to my parents that it was awesome and the best time. Don’t tell.
In Myrtle Beach
You’ll have to spend some time walking down Ocean Boulevard where you can still see some of the “old” Myrtle Beach, like the Gay Dolphin and the arcade and Peaches Corner. You can waste hours people watching along these few blocks. At 10th or 11th Avenue there’s a practically brand new park if you tire of walking. You can fish off the piers along the beach. Fishing permits are under $10. Some charge a little to walk on the piers if you’re not fishing.
On Highway 17 Business South is a national park conveniently named Myrtle Beach State Park. Again, not expensive to enter and you can easily spend a day there. Across the highway is a large flea market. Every time I visit the area, that flea market seems to get bigger and bigger. Again, you don’t have to buy but it’s interesting to see what’s for sale. There are other flea markets throughout the area, so don’t feel you must make a pilgrimage to that one.
I don’t know if it’s still there but there’s a boat launch in Socastee with a small restaurant/bar. You can while away the hours sipping tea or adult beverage watching people coming and going on the river. To get there, take Highway 17 Bypass. A couple miles south of the mall is a big intersection with Highway 707. There’s a Shell station and McDonalds at the intersection. Turn right–pass between the Shell and McD’s. A few miles down the road is a big intersection with a grocery store on the left and a school and Pizza Hut delivery on the right. i think it’s Dick Pond Road. Turn right and eventually you’ll see the little restaurant on your left by the bridge.
Do you like golf? Last I heard there were about 150 golf courses. You should have no problem getting a tee time. Now that “the season” has ended and with the economy what it is, you may be able to play at outstanding courses at ordinary course price.
Like motorcycles? Lots of 'em there. Don’t be shy about talking to a biker if he has an interesting bike or patches on his vest. You may hear some interesting tales. Speaking of which, a big biker bar in Murrells Inlet is Suck, Bang, Blow. They sell t-shirts.
Here’s something I keep forgetting to do: make a count of each Eagles, Giant, Pacific, and Waves beachwear shops you pass. See which offers the best “free” gift. For the longest time it was hermit crabs. Some give out saltwater taffy that appears to…never mind. I don’t like saltwater taffy so it’s unfair for me to malign it.
Near Myrtle Beach
A few miles (20 or so) south on Highway 17 (business and bypass merge near Murrells Inlet) is Pawley’s Island, of hammock fame. It’s a bit snooty but, hey, they’re used to tourists.
You’ll pass Conway on your way into Myrtle Beach if you take the 501 all the way in. It’s a cute little town to walk through. It reminds me a bit of Mayberry.
As you’re passing into or out of Myrtle Beach, you could get your sugar rush at the Russell Stover Outlet in Marion. At one time it was a true outlet, as you can see a factory behind the store. Unfortunately, the factory is closed and has been for a while.
Speaking of outlets, you’ll see lots of “outlet malls” in the Myrtle Beach area. Quotation marks needed because these aren’t outlets like in the olden days (mid-90’s). True bargains are few and far between. Oh for the days of Waccamaw Pottery!
Traveling to Myrtle Beach
I’ve driven from the Atlanta airport to Myrtle Beach a few times. Because I just got off a plane and it’s just before rush hour, I usually drive to Augusta for dinner or a pit stop, then stop next in either Columbia or Florence, depending upon how tired I am. If you leave Atlanta early in the morning, exit 199 (Augusta) is a good place to stop for lunch. Lots of restaurants. If you can make it the hour to 90 minutes further down I-20 to West Columbia, there are a few places at exit 63, Bush River Road. If you can make it another 11 miles to exit 74, Two Notch Road exit, there’s a major mall and all the surrounding restaurants that you’d expect. Beyond Columbia, I just stop wherever the billboards advertise restaurants.
As for non-food stops, the Columbia zoo is a few miles down I-26/I-126 East from I-20. It’s supposed to be good. I don’t think the entry fee is expensive. Further away from I-20 is South of the Border. It’s on I-95 North, which crosses I-20 near Florence. It’s a little out of the way but, hey, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen the giant sombrero. Pick up a stack of the small South of the Border bumper stickers and stick ‘em on your pretentious friends’ Lexii and Mercedeses. Great fun!
I hope all this gives you some ideas and jogs others’ memories to add some more activities for you. Is there anything special you like to do?
It’s almost October, though - they burn all the Wings down in the winter. God, remember the hermit crabs? Can you imagine any more widespread institutionalized cruelty to animals? Anyway, if you do find yourself in need of a bikini with an American beer company logo on it, Myrtle Beach will offer you an embarrassment of options.
Unfortunately, last year they closed the Pavilion, which was a small amusement park but also the place every teenager in the world used to get together and dance for decade upon decade. It’s really a shame. However, while you’re there you may find a place to dance our state dance, the Shag. It’s not at all a relic - very popular still. Also, it’s a dance you can do and not have to put your drink down, which is why we invented it in South Carolina.
If you do go through Columbia as opposed to taking 85 to the upstate, the zoo is indeed nice, and so is the state museum. If you go through Columbia you’ll end up taking 378 or going up I-20 and down 576. The 378 route is quite nice, IMHO, if you’re not in a huge hurry - you can go through some nice smaller towns and really see part of the country. I haven’t been in years, though.
It is a telling statement of how little I really care about the beach that I have absolutely nothing to contribute to this thread. Used to go to Surfside (just south of Myrtle) every summer for family vacation. My ex-wife lived in Myrtle when we started dating. My ex-mother-in-law lived in and around Myrtle for the better part of the last 10 years.
But seeing as how the Pelicans’ season is over, I got nothin’.
They closed the Pavilion?!!?!?! Man, that STINKS.
Another thought: check with Coastal Carolina University to see what’s happening on campus. They’re in session so you may be able to catch a play or find out what’s going on in the world of marine biology. It’s been so long since I’ve been there I’m not sure exactly what they do.
How could I forget? The The Sea Captain’s House. My favorite restaurant on the beach. It’s decent food at decent prices. This time of year you shouldn’t have a problem getting a table. There’s also a decent German restaurant, Cafe Old Vienna that you’d never guess is good because it’s in a strip center attached to a WalMart or grocery store. Yeah, they call it Austrian but it tasted like what I had in Germany. Aaaah, Germany. There was a decent (for Myrtle Beach) buffet, The Filling Station. It’s a pizza buffet restaurant near the Target/OfficeMax shopping center, sorta next to a huge upscale strip club. Granted, it’s a cheap buffet but it’s not as greasy-disgusting as so many of the other buffets in town are. For Mexican, I go to El Cerro Grande, the one on Highway 17 Business next to the Krispy Kreme. I think it’s near 2nd Avenue South. If you’re heading south on 17, when you see the Walgreens, you’ve gone too far by a block or two.
If you get bored with Myrtle Beach, you can work your way south through Pawley’s Island to Georgetown. It’s not as tacky-touristy as Myrtle Beach and has a decent waterfront. It’s within an hour’s drive from the Beach so it’s easily doable for a morning or afternoon diversion. I think there’s a plantation along the way you can tour. If you go another 45 minutes or so south of Georgetown, you’ll be in Mount Pleasant and can stop by Boone Hall Plantation and the US’s most expensive Lowe’s store. Not the prices, the building’s cost. Hell, keep going south a few more miles and you’ll be in Charleston. The Waterfront Park is free, the historical areas can be fascinating to walk through, and lunches at fancy restaurants are much less expensive than eating supper. Park in the “Garage Mahal” next to the visitor’s center then pick up an all-day DASH (shuttle bus) pass. Ride around and see the city on the cheap. You can also hop on and off the busses as you see things you want to investigate. Jump back in the car and head across the bridge on the other side of the peninsula to the round Holiday Inn to eat in the penthouse restaurant–great view of the city. Charleston’s still a day trip from Myrtle Beach at 2 hours drive each way.
Zsofia, you had to mention The Pavillion. You just picked at a barely scabbed over sore. One of the big things that separated Myrtle Beach from the crowd and they tore it down. To put up what? NOTHING!!! Just a bunch of empty space on the water, at least when I was there in May. And that new “lifestyle mall” down by the airport that’s exactly like every lifestyle mall in every suburb in America. After all, the Abercrombie and Fitch there is soooooo much more exotic than the one back home, whether home is Atlanta, Anaheim, or Anchorage. Those “Tanger Outlets” in Myrtle Beach are so going to give you better deals than the Tanger Outlets in Ohio and Missouri and…And they’re talking about scaring off the bikers for next year’s Bike Weeks. [POP!] Damn, burst a blood vessel.
I apologize to you XaMcQ for this rant but it just irks me that Myrtle Beach, not too long ago, was a fairly unique destination. Now it’s about the same as what I see all over the country. Used to be you could let your hair down, let the gut hang out and just relax. You didn’t have to worry about what others thought because they were laid back, too. Chapin and Burroughs are killing off their golden goose.
Thanks for all the great info! So far, the things that interest us most are playing a few rounds of miniature golf, fishing off the pier(catch and release, I guess? Is there any place that would clean fish for us if we catch something tasty?) eating at a great seafood place(I will try the Sea Captain’s House) and I would like to ride a roller coaster or two.
Should I bother with the aquarium there, or see the one here in Atlanta that I have yet to see?
May as well go to the Myrtle Beach aquarium. It has all the neat features that most newer aquariums have and you won’t have to fight through crowds of tourists to see the fish. The fish you catch? I’d just about guess someone on the pier would clean the for you. I take it you got a room with a kitchen.
Having slept on it, here are a few random thoughts. Somewhere there is or was an alligator attraction. I don’t know where exactly it is but they sell/sold tickets at Broadway at the Beach, not far from the Hard Rock Cafe. There are a few go-cart racing courses. At the backside of the airport on Business 17 they have helicopter tours. You’ll see fireworks shops but I’m not sure if it’s legal to shoot them now. There are a few leather shops if you want to pick up a jacket or pants or something.
If you’re looking for quantity instead of quality, some of the big seafood buffets run about $25 per person. They seem pretty much the same so just stop on in. You’ll see “Calabash Style” seafood advertised all over Myrtle Beach. It’s not; Calabash is only about 30 miles north of Myrtle Beach. Stop in and get the real thing.
It took some Googling but I found what I was looking for in Georgetown: Lowcountry Tours. Boat tour!!! And the Pawley’s Island Music Festival is going on through the end of the month. I knew there was stuff in Georgetown. I know you’re in Myrtle Beach, but this time of year things are closing down so you may have to go further afield for fun.
The only thing I remember well from my trip there besides obviously the beach was the reptile attraction - mostly alligators but also a bunch of turtles, and some kind of garden park with lots of statues and some animals, both of which I reccomend. Don’t bother with the Borders, it’s the worst Borders store I have ever been too! Other than that I think we just drove around randomly, going to restaraunts and beaches and taking pictures. If you’re into fireworks, there’s a fireworks store practically every 500 feet. I didn’t go, but there’s a nice little town south of there just before the border.
The statues and animals is Brookgreen Gardens - worth a visit for sure.
Holy crap, Waccamaw Pottery AND the Pavilion are gone? There went a great portion of my youth…
If you can make it to Murrell’s Inlet, I loved going to Flo’s Place (warning, music, but can be turned off). It’s a great divey-type place with lots of character and yummy food, right on the Inlet.
Myrtle Beach itself is full of tourist traps. Lots of things that little kids eat up, but not much for grownups. Honestly, when I go, I try to avoid the nightlife and the massively touristy places (Broadway at the Beach? UGH) and find the diamond-in-the-rough small restaurants and historical places in small towns to visit. I haven’t been for about four years, so a lot of the restaurants I loved are probably gone (RIP Akel’s, which I KNOW is gone), but I know Flo’s is still there and it’s totally worth a visit.
I haven’t been there lately, but I think the aquarium is the one with a submerged tube thru which the humans walk, with sharks, etc. circulating overhead and all around you, i.e, you are in the inside and the fish are outside. There’s an IMax theatre there if it rains, also the Alabama Theatre: 9/27 Oak Ridge Boys, 10/3-4 George Jones, 10/11 The Coasters, Drifters. & Platters $34-44. 10/25 The Lettermen. see www.AlabamaTheatre.com
Ah yes the aquarium. It looked cool, but it closes really early and we didn’t want to try to do the thing in two hours. But right next door is a cute little shopping ‘village’ that’s a lot of fun.
We spent a couple of weeks there last summer, and really enjoyed the aquarium. Yes, it’s the one with the walk-through tunnel and giant manta rays.
But please, please, don’t go to Dick’s. It’s a seafood place that we had been told does some insulting interactive stuff, but I thought we could try it. We had our fairly elderly MIL and FIL with us, as well as three teenagers. I have never lived down the humiliation of that place! They make paper hats and put on you, but they wrote things on them that were so obscene my MIL and FIL didn’t understand them, and kept asking to have them explained. I could have crawled into a corner and died, because they were paying for this dinner, and here I had picked this place!
… so … what did the hats say? You can’t leave out that important information.
I may have misunderstood, but I think the property is now home to Hard Rock Park (which, bizarrely, features country music shows).
I loved the log flume at the Pavillion…the antique car ride was cute too. Ooo, and the little planes with the levers that let you move them up and down, and the motorcyles with all the noise-making buttons…
You misunderstood. The Hard Rock Park is where the Waccamaw Pottery was. The Pavillion was on the water and across Ocean Boulevard around 9th Avenue North. As of May it was still open land with no signs of prep work for development. You can easily see The Bowery from Ocean Boulevard. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. [chuckle]