An October 2004 trip
to Myrtle Beach by Lovestogo
Quote: Myrtle Beach has a special meaning for us since it was our first vacation trip together over 15 years ago. It had been several years since we had visited the area, so we took a four-day escape to the beach for some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Myrtle Beach has something for everyone. You can do as much or as little as you choose.
We go to the beach to rest, relax, sleep late, and just enjoy the sounds of the ocean. We spend hours just walking up and down the beach, resisting the urge to look down for yet another sea shell. Boring? Maybe. Relaxing and stress free? Yes!
We enjoy the many wonderful seafood restaurants that the area has to offer. A trip to Sea Captains is usually on the list; however, we didn't make it there this visit. Myrtle Beach offers a huge variety of restaurants--the list is extensive.
Myrtle Beach has over 100 golf courses, and the months of September/October are perfect weather to bring out the clubs and enjoy the game without all the crowds. The Pavilion was closed on our visit but is still a main attraction, with its rides and excitement. There are miniature golf courses and water parks to keep the kids occupied. Adults enjoy the many name-brand retail shops that have located to the area, each competing for the millions of visitors' hard-earned dollars. The Carolina Opry, Dixie Stampede, and House of Blues are just a few of the popular places to visit, as well as Barefoot Landing's Broadway at the Beach.
We were amazed at how much Myrtle Beach had changed and deteriorated in the past seven or eight years since our last visit. Of course, spring break, bike weeks, and hurricanes have played an important role in this city's "tired and worn look". With many empty buildings and business spots, it appeared that many businesses were relocating from Myrtle Beach to North Myrtle Beach.
Ocean Blvd. is still a cruiser's delight, with traffic being bumper to bumper on Friday and Saturday nights, even in the middle of October. I can only imagine spring break and summer!
Fall is a great time to visit the area because rates drop drastically after the middle of September and again in the middle of October. The weather is usually in full cooperation as the daytime temperatures are still in the mid 70s to 80s.
And last but not least... the Atlantic sunrises. We normally sleep through them, but on this visit, we caught the sun as it made its grand entrance from the horizon each morning. What a beautiful and exhilarating experience!
Some websites to help you plan your Myrtle Beach vacation are:
Myrtle Beach Living
Myrtle Beach Info
Myrtle Beach Bike Week
Myrtle Beach Area City Guide
A car is needed if you want to enjoy the 60 miles of beaches in Myrtle Beach as well as to explore the neighboring towns surrounding Myrtle Beach, such as Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, Surfside Beach, and Gardenside Beach.
Walking is an alternative way to get some exercise and see the sights unless you are planning on venturing far away from your hotel. Bikes and scooters are usually available to rent; however, I don't remember seeing any this time.
Hotel | "The Palace Resort"
The Palace Resort is located on Ocean Blvd. in Myrtle Beach. While the name indicates a luxurious resort, once inside, the surroundings certainly do not live up to the images associated with a palace.
We stayed at the Palace Resort on our last visit to Myrtle Beach, which was seven or eight years ago. The resort was in decent shape at that time; however, our room had a strong smell of cat urine. Although pets were not allowed, it appeared that some owners did not abide by the rules, apparently thinking that no one would notice. We purchased air fresheners, hoping to mask the horrible smell, and since we were on the 17th floor, we kept the glass sliding doors open at night in hopes that the fresh ocean air would help kill the smell.
On our return visit to Myrtle Beach in October of 2004, we went searching for a place to stay since we had arrived into town without reservations. We went into the Palace to inquire about available rooms and rates (mainly because we were still on their mailing list and had just received a brochure advertising their great rates). We asked to see a room and were promptly handed a key by the registration desk clerk. As soon as we walked out of the lobby area, our noses were met with a ‘funky’-type smell. I commented to my husband that this was not a good sign. When we stepped into the elevator, a gentleman started talking to us about the resort and how he, as an owner, kept telling the business partners that they needed to spend some money to fix the resort up if they wanted to stay in business. We just looked at each other, wondering what we would find if an owner was giving us this kind of information in casual conversation. Needless to say, it didn’t take long to find out. When we walked into the ocean front ‘Sun Suite’, we took one quick look around and quickly left. The rooms were not really clean, and the couch was sitting next to the wall with the back of the seat cushions leaning inward towards the floor, as if it were broken. No attempt had even been made to make the couch appear as if nothing was wrong with it. The cloth on the arms of the couch was completely worn through, and all furnishings inside the room looked very "used". We hurriedly left the room and returned the key to the front desk with a ‘thank you’.
I definitely would not recommend The Palace, even though the outside of the building appears to be fairly well-maintained. However, it is always possible that the resort has been renovated. If I were even remotely considering staying at The Palace, I would definitely request to see a room first.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 27, 2005
The Palace Suite Resort
1605 S OCEAN BLVD
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29577
Hotel | "Atlantic Tropical Winds Resort"
Our stay at the Tropical Winds was destiny, but we didn’t realize it. We arrived in mid-October without reservations and slowly drove up and down Ocean Blvd. searching for a decent looking hotel/motel. As my husband grew more irritated, I finally suggested we park the car and hit the pavement, so we could inquire about availability and room rates and see a room. We went into the Tropical Winds, and as the line was long, decided to investigate some of the surrounding hotels/motels. We should have stayed and waited in line, because after viewing about 10 different properties, we were back at the Tropical Winds.
The building’s exterior looked extremely well-maintained, and I only hoped the rooms were likewise. We requested an oceanfront room, but since "hesitation kills", the last oceanfront room was rented while we were viewing the room. Tired of hunting, we took an oceanview room and were extremely pleased when we walked into a room that appeared to have brand-new furnishings.
On Saturday morning, we inquired at the front desk about moving to an oceanfront room. The registration clerk was extremely cooperative and assured us he would do everything possible to get us an oceanfront room. We returned after breakfast, delighted that we had been assigned to an oceanfront efficiency room on the same floor, and at no additional charge.
Our oceanfront room was slightly more ‘worn’, but still very clean. It had everything that we needed (two queen beds), plus some amenities I didn’t care to use, such as the full-size stove and dishes/silverware/pots and pans stored in the cabinets. There also was a full-size refrigerator, double sink (with dish towels/cloths), microwave, and coffee maker. The room also had a small dining table/three chairs, dresser, TV, and another small table/two chairs. It reminded me of a studio timeshare unit. The ocean-facing balcony had a small table and two chairs.
All rooms at the Tropical Winds have a safe, which was large enough to store our digital cameras and lenses, plus my purse. This safe was unusual because any type of card would lock/unlock it: credit, debit, insurance, supermarket--as long as it had a magnetic swipe strip, it would work. Nice benefit for locking valuables up when leaving the room.
The Tropical Winds Resort has an oceanfront enclosed pool and hot tub from October 1 to May 1. An enclosed lazy river, as well as an on-site video game room, can provide hours of fun for the kids. An hour a day of free bowling (October to March) is available at the Captain’s Quarters, which is a block away. A $2.50 resort fee is charged per day, but a 10-25% discount is available, depending upon the time and length of your visit.
I recently received a mail packet stating the original oceanfront units would have the carpet replaced with tile and that many units will be revamped from kitchen to balcony. If you’re looking for a good family resort, this one is recommended.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 27, 2005
705 South Ocean Boulevard
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29578
Restaurant | "The Giant Crab"
Neither of us wanted to make a decision on where we were going to eat dinner as we slowly drove up Kings Highway from Myrtle Beach to North Myrtle Beach. There were restaurants everywhere, but what did we want? Since we were at the beach, we finally decided it should be seafood!! I remembered seeing The Giant Crab as we drove past, so we decided to try it.
This restaurant grabs your attention as you drive by with its super-sized orange-colored crab hanging over the entrance. Named "Tommy Crab", it is 35 feet wide by 25 feet tall, weighs 4.5 tons, and took six men and a huge crane to place it on the building. The restaurant has a dry-docked ship on one side and a huge red and white checkered lighthouse on the opposite side. With the bright orange awnings stretching across the building’s front and the brilliant royal-blue roof, there’s no way you can miss it!
The Giant Crab had bar after bar filled with wonderful food. Baked, broiled, and fried seafood was a natural, but how many ways can you fix crab? Homemade crab cakes, crab Imperial, deviled crab, and seafood casserole, just to name a few... and all quite tasty. Hand-carved prime rib and Virginia baked ham, lemon chicken, barbecued ribs, fried chicken, meatballs, and pork chops are just a few of the selections you can choose from, in case you don’t like seafood. Good ole country vegetables included mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, steamed vegetables, sweet potato casserole, and macaroni and cheese. My husband loved the stuffed mushrooms, as he made his second trip back for more. The Waterside bakery had fresh yeast rolls and hushpuppies. The raw bar had raw and cooked shellfish, oysters, mussels, and clams. The salad bar seemed a mile long, and just wait until you see the dessert bar... Cherry, apple, and peach cobblers, custard caramel bread pudding, German chocolate and black forest cakes, cheesecake, puddings, and ice cream. The list goes on and on.
A kid’s corner has hamburgers, hot dogs/corn dogs, pizza, chicken fingers, french fries, and nachos. Price for kids is: ages 6-12, $9.95; ages 3-5, $4.95; and under age 3, free. Adult prices were around $19.95, but don’t let the price stop you from eating at the Giant Crab. Coupons can be found in the Strand Magazine for either $4 or $6 off the regular price, depending upon the time you go. Be sure to clip the coupons--we forgot and left the book in the car!
The Giant Crab ads boast a 120-item buffet, and the restaurant was a finalist in the "Best of the Beach". We have eaten at the Benjamin Calabash buffets before and were not impressed. In comparison, The Giant Crab has lightly seasoned food, and the selection is second to none. You won’t leave hungry, and even the pickiest of eaters can find something they like on this buffet.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 27, 2005
9597 North Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29572
Restaurant | "Sir John's Seafood & Steaks"
Sir John’s Seafood & Steaks is a Myrtle Beach family-owned business. We ate at this restaurant on our first night in Myrtle Beach, as we had envisioned and talked about fresh seafood throughout our nine-hour drive. We arrived hungry, since we hadn’t taken a lot of time to eat during the day.
We were greeted at the door by the owner and were seated in a wooden booth alongside the wall. Our waitress quickly took our drink orders and was extremely attentive and friendly throughout our meal. A menu (both adults and children) was available to order from, but we never even considered opening it. Since we had thought of nothing but seafood all day, we chose the buffet so we could have a variety to choose from.
Baked fish, fried fish, shrimp, scallops, deviled crab--it was all good. One thing stood out about the seafood, and that was the lightness of the breading. It was really light and not greasy but tasted bland, as there wasn’t any type of seasoning used.
A soup and salad bar was available with a decent selection of salad-making ingredients--nothing extravagant, but enough variety to make a good salad. The vegetable selections were lacking in our opinions, as they only had five or six from which to choose. Soups were available, but we didn’t eat any. Homemade desserts completed the meal, and my husband still remembers the apple fritters and how good they were.
The all-you-can-eat buffet price varies depending on whether you want prime rib and crab legs. The buffet is $14.95, and if you want the prime rib and crab legs, it is $19.95. A $2 coupon is available in some of the many Myrtle Beach booklets. Sir John’s opens at 5pm, Monday through Saturday, and is located next to the Myrtle Beach post office on Kings Highway.
How would we rate our dining experience: We certainly had plenty to eat, the service was good, the atmosphere was friendly, and the restaurant was clean and attractively decorated. The vegetable selection could have been better, and the seafood would have tasted better if there was some type of seasoning in the batter. Would we eat there again? Probably not, but this conclusion was arrived upon after discovering the Giant Crab in North Myrtle Beach.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on March 27, 2005
Sir John's Seafood & Steaks
411 North Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29577