We spent a morning exploring North and South Myrtle Beach to get our bearings. We did a little shopping at the (South) Myrtle Beach Pavilion.
That afternoon we spent at Broadway at the Beach, a shopping complex surrounding a manmade lake. It’s huge, but there are lots of places to sit and wait for others in your group. You can take a gondola ride for $12. There are free boat rides that will take you from one end of the complex to the next, and there are many bridges you can use to cross the lake. They even have fish-food dispensers so that you can feed the many fish in the lake. There are also quite a few restaurants in the complex, including Plant Hollywood, Joe’s Crab Shack, Hard Rock Café, The Key West Grill, and many more. There’s also the Ripley’s Aquarium, a must-see for children and adults alike! You could literally spend all day here. We broke it up into two afternoons.
We tried to see BB King at the House of Blues, but even though we got there 2 hours before the show to buy tickets, the line was wrapped around the building. This particular concert we found out was general admission and standing-room only. This would have been helpful to know in advance, but could not be determined from the website. Standing the whole time was not an option for some in our group.
There’s the Palace Theatre, where we saw Spirit of the Dance. We went there one other evening for Dean Martin’s Variety Show with celebrity impersonators. This show was held in one of The Palace’s smaller theatres, which was set up like a lounge with small tables and a bar so that you could have drinks during the show. For the older ones in our group, they really enjoyed this.
On Sunday, we had afternoon tea at The Cypress Inn in Conway, SC, about 20 minutes away from our resort in Myrtle Beach. The Cypress Inn is a quaint, local bed-and-breakfast off a small waterway. The owners are very warm and welcoming. We had to prepay for the tea and one-act play, and they had our names on a list when we arrived. After tea, a local playwright presented a one-act murder/mystery/comedy play titled: Murder In The Tea Room. It was quite funny and a perfect ending to the tea.
One day we drove up to Calabash, NC, only 20 minutes from Myrtle Beach for the Hurricane Fleet’s Shrimping & Dolphin Adventure Cruise. It was great!! They took us out into the Atlantic Ocean, where we caught up with a working shrimp boat. While they explained to us how a shrimping operation works, we watched about three dolphin pods approach and start feeding from the nets of the boat, not to mention the tons of birds flying around the boat and fighting for food. Anything brought up in their nets that they cannot use they return to the sea. They bagged some things of interest and tossed it to our boat, and our guide displayed and explained what they were, things like sand dollars, stingrays and butterfly rays, starfish, etc. There was even a blue crab they caught with a fish on its claw. It was fishing also and was returned to the sea. It was very informative and great for kids and adults alike. After the tour, we were hungry for some of the local seafood, so we had dinner at one of the many local calabash restaurants, Captain Nance’s Calabash.
We also spent a day at Brookgreen Gardens, which is a sculpture garden. We went the day before thinking that we could see the gardens in a few hours. After we watched the introductory film about the gardens at the welcome center, we realized we needed a whole day. Our tickets to the gardens were good for 7 days. So we decided to come back the next day. It is really worth spending the whole day. The gardens are a combination of plantations, purchased later by an American sculptor and her husband and converted into the sculptor garden we see today. The garden is laid out in the shape of a butterfly. I cannot begin to describe all of the flowers and sculptures we saw. It’s a beautiful place full of flowers, sculptures, pools, and fountains. All of the sculptures were done by American artists. In addition to the gardens, there is a restaurant, a gift shop, and an animal reserve including bird aviaries and a rice field. There’s a boat tour of the waterway that was used to flood the rice fields. Our tour guide explained how the rice plantation would have been worked during the times of slavery. After spending the day in the gardens, we had dinner off of the water at Murrells Inlet, which is only minutes away. It was a day well spent.
We also did a day trip to Charleston, SC, which is about 2 hours from Myrtle Beach, to do some sightseeing and have dinner at The Sanctuary Hotel on Kiawah Island. The hotel reminded me more of a resort than a hotel. It just opened in September of 2004. It is very beautiful and right on the beach.
While exploring North and South Myrtle Beach, we did spend a couple of hours at the beach with the full intention of coming back for a day. But, as you can see, there are so many other things to do that we never made it back. There is literally something to do for all ages.