By: Maria Smith
I recently spent a weekend with my family in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Being about 350 miles from Atlanta, Myrtle Beach is a simple trip and is perfect for a laid-back family. It is easily accessible from East Coast cities like New York and Washington DC with direct flights.
Myrtle Beach is definitely a “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” kind of town. We planned to be beach bums for the weekend but when the weather wasn’t in our favor (cold, rainy, and windy) we had to find some entertaining “unbeachy” things to do. Here are five fun ways we passed the time:
1. Stay at a good resort. We stayed at the charming and rustic Litchfield Inn in Georgetown County about 30 miles outside Myrtle Beach. It was great to have a two-bedroom suite with a full kitchen and very nice to be on the beach. (Going to sleep with the ocean in the background was fantastic!) However, when the weather didn’t cooperate there wasn’t much for my young children to do. They call this area the “Hammock Coast” because it’s a less hectic, quiet town. If that’s not your scene, check out the Dunes Village Resort. They have a 30,000 square foot indoor water park that would be great during unpredictable weather.
2. Spend the day or night at South Carolina’s best travel destination, Broadway at the Beach. This sprawling complex houses entertainment options, stores, restaurants and delicious candy stores. (The fudge, hand-made taffy, and hand-dipped chocolates were terrific!) They have a free children’s play area for kids five and under and a weather-permitting inflatable playground. Be sure to let the children feed the gigantic fish and ducks in the river.
3. Spend some time at Brookgreen Gardens. It is just north of Georgetown and south of Myrtle Beach and is a botanical garden complete with a zoo! This 9,200 acre property is a mix of natural heritage and spectacular gardens. They have a garden room for children and just opened the Butterfly House where hundreds of butterflies soar free through the tropical plants. This is a great place to add a little education into a carefree holiday.
4. Eat! From fresh from the ocean seafood (Landry’s) to fun for the whole family American fare (Friendly’s) Myrtle Beach offers something for everyone. Stop by one of the many “calabash” seafood buffets famous in the low country of South Carolina. (Calabash means the food is lightly battered and fried.) Just don’t go if you’re on a diet.
5. Shop. If you want to find unique antiques (Hammock Shops) or deep bargains (Tanger Outlet Center) there is something for everyone here. Check out a little local flavor and you may just find the perfect item for your kids (or yourself). And of course, you must bring something unique back home that will always remind you of the time you jetted down to Myrtle Beach.
Maria Smith resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and three kids. In her pre-baby days, she was a TV producer for shows like Oprah, and now fills her child-free time with freelance writing and public relations projects. You could reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MariaRSmith.