Myrtle Beach – Week Out of Big Crowds

So you want to go the the Beach.  Myrtle Beach is the place way too many crowd into during the summer.  End of June through August and every parking lot is full.  Cars from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia freely mix with locals.  There are great beachs and tons of places to rent and eat.  A little primer for sand entertainment, shopping, and food.

Location, location, location.  High tourist area! Plan your place carefully.  I prefer the area called “Restaurant Row”.  Or Lake Arrowhead Road area.  Why?  First name refers to seafood buffet that battle for largest crab on a sign or building.   But there’s tons of restaurants in a couple mile strip of pavement.  Food means getting there BEFORE 6 to avoid lines in summer.  Early dinner/big lunches save big money!  But more on food later.

But there’s a place to stay here as well.  Any condo rental site (my preferences Tripadvisor, VRBO.com, Homeaway) will find you a two bedroom condo with room for six.  They find you hundreds.   But the goal is close to beach, expect a high price to be 800-1000 per week, cheaper earlier and later in year.  But Saturday to Saturday rentals give you a week.  A kitchen, and pool at your disposal.   Check the location on the map! A second row condo is five minutes to water.  Can you feel toes in the sand yet?  Private owner rentals are best.  Beware of parking, don’t chance not having a parking pass.  The beaches are public.  The further north, the wider the sand.  You have miles of sand to choose from. 

Shopping happens.  Two outlets are here (both are Tanger).  There are two retail tourist centers (Barefoot Landing and Broadway at th he Beach), these have mostly name brand stores, plus a couple trinket shops for “real” Myrtle Beach stuff, and some entertainment and bars.  Get coupon books! There are dozen of different types.  If you have a condo, the grocery store is first stop.  They have coupon books there.  Sign up for their shopper card.  Remember with condo, breakfast made at condo is cheaper.

 

Murrill’s Inlet from Marshwalk.com
 
There are several ways to entertain yourself.  Live shows at several venues like Alabama theatre, House of Blues, Legends, and Pirates Voyage.  But you’ll never be able to avoid those ads here.  It’s like on the ocean, so how about seeing how the other half lives!  Yes, find a boat and look at the fishes. Up north are deep water fixing and dolphin tours.  There’s nothing like Murrell’s Inlet to the south.  Nature tours provide up close details of the aquatic world.  Captain Dick’s does a family friendly saltwater marsh tour with shell collecting/fishing options.  Waccama River tours provide history and a chance to see gators.  But the best of the beach thing you don’t know about.. Brookgreen Gardens.   Spulture, large gardens, mix with small zoo, River tour explaining everything you could want to know.  The idea of sculpture becomes really cool when you see thirty foot tall ones in every material.  Smaller ones hiding in the gounds.  Every major artists is here from the last hundred years.  

 

BrookGreen gardens entrance from Brookgeen..org
 
Finally, food in the real world.  You can’t swing a crab leg without hitting a seafood buffet.  Use the coupon books, and they’re still expensive.  Coupons give you greatest discount about 4, so if you plan to stuff yourself like a flounder get there early.  You must go to Simply Southern Smokehouse.  Why, buffet at $10.20 and $1 drinks.  Here’s the best part it’s best food here.  BBQ and southern staples like fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, play with chicken bog, pulled pork, field peas, okra, ….  Really the singing bus boy is worth $12 a piece.  Ciao is a tiny place.  It’s some of best Italian food and most plates are between $13 and $19.  Homemade stuff with great light sauces (they are sweet not spicy).  Fresh bread with dipping sauce!  Really fresh salads with chunks of cheese.  There are hundreds of pizza places.  Delivery is a long game of roulette.  When it will get there? What will it taste like this time? It costs what?  Take a bit of time.  If on north side go to King’s Famous Pizza, time honored (old) simple good thin crust sweet sauce plenty of cheese.  There are chains.  True to form, the further south the better the Waffle House and Cracker Barrell are.  Logan’s Roadhouse has eleven dollars steak you can chew.  This is an economical guide.

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