My husband and I recently went on a press trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and discovered a little area of our country that has summer-like temperatures even in the fall and a myriad of activities for couples, as well as the entire family. I love traveling during the off-season; I appreciate not having to wait in lines for great restaurants and attractions, being able to find parking easily and avoiding 100-degree weather. Coming from New York, I was amazed at how affordable everything was in Myrtle Beach – from airfare to accommodations to food to souvenirs – you can stretch your dollar much more in this part of the country. And can you believe it’s only two hours by plane!? A Fun Weekend Getaway to Myrtle Beach
We landed at Myrtle Beach International Airport in the early afternoon. The airport is very small and we got our luggage within minutes. Car rental is across the street and we picked up our car pretty quickly as well. We drove to The Caravelle Resort, our hotel, and checked into our room. We had a stunning oceanfront room which had this view:
The room was spacious, comfortable and clean. It turns out that all of the rooms at The Caravelle Resort had been renovated recently and all the furniture and appliances are brand-new. The hotel is currently undergoing renovations to the main areas and hallways.
This is how close we were to the beach:
I loved that the room had a mini kitchen, fully equipped, so you can make your own meals if you like.
The Caravelle Resort has several properties nearby; although we stayed in the main one, there are other hotels with different room sizes and different price points. During the autumn, which is considered the off-season, Caravelle is holding a special promotion until November 1st that allows you to extend your summer and enjoy the warm weather at the beach, across the street from the properties, as well at the many pools. This promotion, called “60 More Days of Summer” gives you a 35% discount on the room plus other extras, such as free breakfast at The Caravelle’s own Santa Maria restaurant (pictured below), winner of Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence.
Around dinnertime, we headed out to River City Cafe. My husband had a veggie burger while I had the Blackened Grouper Rueben, which came with sauerkraut and melted swiss. Absolutely delicious. We also loved the relaxed, beachy vibe of the place.
After dinner, we went to the Carolina Opry to see Time Warp, which showcases hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
There were about 8-10 singers, plus several dancers, as well as musicians. (Some singers also played instruments.) We’re used to New York shows with the immense talent so we weren’t expecting much. Suffice it to say we were blown away by the talent on stage. Each song was better than the first. It’s as if the performers kept trying to out-do each other; the show just kept getting better and better.
I loved how all the singers had very special voices and were able to sing a variety of hits. The addition of lights and lasers added to create an unforgettable performance. It was pure fun with a bit of nostalgia.
We especially loved Brad Long – he brought the house down with each one of his songs. The 7pm performance had lots of kids in the audience and is very family-friendly. (There are also booster seats.)
The next morning we woke up especially early and got to see this spectacular sunrise:
We had some time to kill so we walked around the hotel and got to see some of the amenities.
The pool and kids’ water park area:
Lazy river: (there’s also a smaller one for toddlers, not pictured)
There are rooms with larger patios:
We left the hotel and grabbed delicious chocolate croissants at Croissants Bakery and Bistro. We then drove to Murrells Inlet and went kayaking at the saltwater marshes. We booked the tour through Black River Outdoors, a family-owned business. Our guide, Paul, turned out to be much more than a tour guide: he was a historian, a naturalist and an eco-tourism expert all rolled into one. Plus he was funny to boot. He answered all of our questions in detail and was happy to share his vast knowledge and point out all of the wildlife we saw on the way. Paul does eco-tours in Costa Rica in the off-season but in the fall, the marshes are abundant with wildlife; We got to see lots of different types of birds, a bald eagle in its nest and Paul even scooped up a jellyfish for us to hold (it’s a type of jellyfish whose sting doesn’t go through the skin, so we didn’t feel anything).
Paddling the kayak was easy and required very little effort. School-aged kids can kayak alone in a small youth-sized kayak and younger kids can go in a larger kayak with a parent. It was a quiet and relaxing experience. The highlight of the excursion was when a dolphin came up to our kayaks to splash around.
After the kayak tour, it was time for lunch. We drove to Brookgreen Gardens, just down the road from the inlet and had lunch at the Pavillion Restaurant in the gardens.
We had a delicious sandwich and quesadilla and then walked around the gardens looking at the stunning sculptures. Brookgreen Gardens contains the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the country.
We strolled through the gardens, went to the zoo and had a little fun at Enchanted Storybook Forest. We strolled through the Lowcountry Trail where we got to walk by what used to be an active rice plantation. The walk has signs with descriptions of the rice plantation, as well as audio recordings which describe what life was like for the slaves. Archeological digs that have taken place about twenty years ago show parts of the slaves’ housing. The Lowcountry Trail is an homage and tribute to the slaves working on the plantation and I believe that learning about the history of a place is important even if it is at times unpleasant.
Getting a closer look at the former rice plantation:
Walking around the gardens was relaxing but the weather started getting hot. The high was 80 degrees in mid-October but with the humidity rising it was time to get back to our air-conditioned room at the hotel.
We rested a little and then went out to dinner at Pier House, a restaurant with a pretty view of the beach.
There were lots of seafood choices and I’m glad I ordered the lobster roll. It was delicious and a very generous portion for the price ($25). My husband had a pasta dish and a frozen mango daiquiri, which was to die for.
After dinner we went to see another multi-talented man: James Stephens III was performing his one-man show, at the Asher Theatre. This guy is so extremely talented, he can sing, play the piano, tell jokes, impersonate a celebrity and often he does all four things at once. He’s a natural entertainer and we especially loved his impersonations of Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Lionel Richie and Elvis. Adopted as a child after his father’s death, Stephens went to law school and then moved to LA to become an actor. He now continues to perform while raising money for underserved kids. His positive energy was contagious and we had a blast at his show!
We woke up Sunday morning and headed over to Johnny D’s for a hearty and delicious breakfast. I had the salmon benedict and loved the house-cured salmon. It reminded me of the lox I get in New York.
My husband treated himself to a banana split waffle, which was also delicious. In fact, Johhny D’s was voted by the Food Network as the best waffles in South Carolina. Not surprising.
When breakfast was over we decided to do a little shopping. After visiting some stores on the main strips we drove to Market Common. A former air force base, it is now a residential and shopping area with a movie theater and other entertainment venues.
I especially loved shopping at Southern Living and browsing the unique and elegant gifts.
There are about a dozen or so restaurants at Market Common and we ended up at Nacho Hippo. This cute, beach-themed eatery has awesome Mexican food and really yummy margaritas. We had delicious chips & guac and I loved my shrimp tacos. My husband enjoyed veggie tacos with a peach margarita.
After lunch, we wanted to see a little culture. The Myrtle Beach Art Museum is one of the few museums in the country which boast an ocean view.
The museum is small and admission is free. We happened to come during an opening of an art exhibit called Roots Run Deep by Sherry Strickland Martin. Martin creates watercolor paintings and mixed media works in very bright, vivid colors.
It’s a sweet little museum and we enjoyed seeing the permanent exhibits as well.
Around 2pm the weather started getting really hot and humid again. We were hoping to take a dip in the ocean or the pool but ended up taking a nap instead. We woke up refreshed and went to dinner at Art Burger & Sushi. This place is right by the beach and it was fun to just sit, relax and enjoy our meal while looking at the water. I had sushi while my husband had a falafel burger and sangria.
Everything was delicious and after dinner, we took off our shoes and went for a walk on the beach during sunset. By that time the weather had cooled down considerably and there was a nice breeze.
We walked up to the Skywheel, a huge Ferris wheel that’s right on the beach, and took a ride.
Afterward, we walked by the water a little longer and then decided to end our evening with one of the things Myrtle Beach is known for: miniature golf. Apparently, Myrtle Beach is the miniature golf capital of the world, with over 50 courses. We went to Captain Hook’s Miniature Golf Course and had a blast! I haven’t played in years and it took a few tries but I did have some beginner’s luck. This golf course was particularly great for kids as it has scenery from Peter Pan, complete with caves, The Lost Boys’ dwellings and audio recordings of various characters.
The next morning we walked on the beach before heading to the airport to catch our flight back home.
It was the perfect ending to an incredible getaway!
Thank you to www.VisitMyrtle Beach.com for providing me with airfare, accommodations, tickets to attractions and a gift card for expenses.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is a freelance writer and has written for several blogs, including The Huffington Post. She has been living in the New York City area for eighteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 11, 9 and 6) and loves finding great products for her family.