40 Fabulous Things To Do When You Visit Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach, a vacation resort on South Carolina’s Atlantic coast, is commonly referred to as the Grand Strand. The area has a 60-mile long stretch of beaches, golf courses, boardwalks, restaurants and amusement parks! It’s also my home. We often take the place we live for granted when it comes to all that is offered for visitors, but I definitely love all there is to do in my area!

The Beach

The name the Grand Strand came from a newspaper report in the 1940’s. The Grand Strand consists of 60 miles of wide, safe, beautiful, beaches. The beach remains the number one reason why people visit Myrtle Beach. Early-morning beach walks, late night strolls, and all day sunning and swimming along the beaches of the area offer some of the best relaxing vacation spots along the east coast.

Photo via AtlanticWaterSports.com

Parasailing

Soar like an eagle and see out of this world views of the beach!  Myrtle Beach parasailing is an adventure you won’t forget. Over the ocean, but still close to shore, you are safely attached to a harness so the experience is suitable for all ages.

Fishing Charters

The waters off the Grand Strand are fished for dozens of species of game fish by commercial fisherman, and fishing charters who return home with a freezer full of fish. All-day charters head to the Gulf Stream three hours off shore for Tuna, Wahoo, and Mahi-Mahi. Half day charters can bring home Flounder, Mackerel, and Grouper. The many fishing charter boat captains throughout the area know how to find and help you catch fish. They even clean them for you!

Jet Ski Rentals

Jet skis are fast, fun and very safe when operated responsibly. One rider models are larger for up to four riders, jet ski rentals are abundant along the Myrtle Beach area. The Intracoastal waterway, rivers or the ocean all offer a riders open waters to explore.

Kayaking

Whatever kind of kayaker you are, the choices are endless. You can experience the wildlife and relaxation of the marsh, creeks, and rivers of the South Carolina Lowcountry, or get an adrenaline-filled rush of navigating the breakers in the ocean surf. Self guided rentals and guided tours and excursions by kayak are available, affordable to rent and easy for beginners.

Huntington Beach State Park

Explore State Parks

 Myrtle Beach is home to 2 state parks. Both very different from each other. Myrtle Beach State Park is within minutes of the airport. Huntington Beach State Park is about 30 minutes south of Myrtle Beach. Both parks will give you the opportunity to see undeveloped maritime forests that haven’t changed in centuries. Both offer beautiful and pristine beaches for swimming and sites for camping and the beaches of the state parks are rarely crowded.

Camping

What better way to get in some family bonding at one of the many campgrounds in the area. Rough it in a tent or glamp in a luxury RV – however you like to camp, Myrtle Beach has a perfect spot for you. Myrtle Beach State Park even offers cabins with heat and air conditioning. Whether you camp or glamp, you’ll be close to nature and save some money too! Besides the two state parks, there are many fabulous commercial campgrounds throughout the area that combine resort amenities with a family and budget-friendly way to vacation. 

Segway and Bike Rentals

There are a number of  bike and Segway rental companies in the area. Whether you want to leisurely pedal up and down Ocean Boulevard, or enjoy a guided tour on an electric motor-powered Segway, there are options for everyone. You can rent a beach cruise, tandem, or mountain and trail bikes. Be sure to take along a map of the Myrtle Beach Bicycle Trails. Segway is a fun way to sightsee for the whole family. It is suitable for both young and old. Tours appealing to a variety of interests are available, and all Segway tours include instruction and safety equipment.

Golf

The Grand Strand area, with its favorable weather and gentle landscape, is home to more than 100 golf courses suited to a range of skill levels.  The well manicured courses up and down the coast have attracted golfers from around the country. 

Miniature Golf

Mini-golf has been a popular and affordable form of family entertainment along the Grand Strand for over 50 years. The different and challenging courses present golf in an approachable manner for children and first-timers, while offering a tougher test of putting skills, even for the experienced golfer. Miniature golf courses line the Myrtle Beach area with a wide variety of themes; pirate adventures, jungle safaris, castaway islands, and even prehistoric golf with dinosaurs on every hole. Not surprisingly, the Grand Strand is also host of the Masters of Mini Golf tournament each year.

Helicopter Rides

Experienced helicopter pilots give visitors a bird’s eye view of the coast and interior of the Myrtle Beach area. As low as $25 per person and you can have a quick tour over the area that offers a full view of the city and the beaches. Tours are available daily, weather permitting, and knowledgeable staff will help you find the perfect tour. All ages are welcome and photography is a must! 

Image via DiscoverSouthCarolina.com

Horseback Riding

Along the beach or along many of the trails of the Low Country, horseback riding is a favorite of many visitors. Several local equestrian businesses offer lessons, short trial rides, and even overnight adventures all with well-trained, and well cared for horses. Summer camps offer young riders a group experience they’ll never forget, and in the winter, as the law allows, you can even horseback ride on the beach, as part of a guided tour.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

Nothing says “summer” quite like a visit to an iconic seaside boardwalk; great songs have been written in its honor. Because of the great weather, Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk runs all year long. The new updated Boardwalk and Promenade opened in 2010 and stretches from the 2nd Avenue Pier to just north of the 14th Avenue Pier and 8th Avenue No. Along the Boardwalk you will find great food, great drinks, a beautiful ocean view and lots of fun and games! An evening stroll “along the boards” is a highlight for many visitors and locals too!

Zoos & Wildlife Attractions

The area is full of zoos, animal sanctuaries, aquariums and wildlife attractions. Featured on National Geographic, The Travel Channel, and other national and international media outlets, these very special places should make it to every visitor’s (and local’s) bucket list. From the rare and exotic, to the cute and cuddly, they’re all here and waiting for your visit. Alligator Adventure and Tiger Preservation Station are my favorites!

Haunted Houses & Attractions

Everybody loves a good haunted house! Vacationers to the Grand Strand flock to our interactive haunted houses and spook zones in large numbers all year long.  Dazzled by Hollywood special effects, you’ll be amazed at the skill from the creators of all this mayhem. From the granddaddy of haunted houses, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, to its spooky neighbor, Nightmare Haunted House, to the newcomer, Outbreak at the Hollywood Wax Museum, there are thrills and chills for all.

Pirates

Myrtle Beach is home to several pirate adventures – from miniature golf to dinner shows, pirate lovers won’t be disappointed when they get to Myrtle Beach. Dolly Parton’s Pirates Voyage Dinner Show will have everyone in the family wanting to be a pirate! Myrtle Beach is home to several ways to escape to the time of ships, booty, planks, and rum.

Zip Lines

One of the newer adventures popping up along the Grand Strand is zip lining. What a great way to get a birds eye view of the area. Low to the ground or high up in the trees – there’s a zip line for everyone! 

Myrtle Beach SkyWheel

This 187-foot Ferris Wheel made its debut in 2011. The wheel consists of 42 glass enclosed gondolas with temperature control for the hot summer sun or heat for the winter months. Each car can hold up to six riders. A normal ride is about ten minutes long (and boy what a view!) or go for the VIP ride in a leather seated gondola car that last twice as long.

Water Parks

Obviously we have the beach and the Atlantic Ocean but sometimes you just don’t feel like building sand castles. Myrtle Beach has a few water parks to choose from full of slides, wave pools and lazy rivers.

Art Museums & Galleries

Myrtle Beach is home to several galleries where fine art is on display throughout the year. Handmade work by local artists, exhibits by renowned painters, photographers, and sculptors from all over the world ~ there is always a wonderful variety of artwork to spend an afternoon enjoying. 

Historical Sites & Plantations

Located just south of the Myrtle Beach, the Low Country of South Carolina is one of the most scenic and history-rich regions around. Just a short drive outside the city will have you right in the middle of many cultural beauties. You can visit several in one day trip.

Variety Shows

There are numerous shows throughout the area. You can see several during one stay at the beach. Professionally created and carefully choreographed song and dance shows are a perfect way to spend an evening.

Tribute Shows

Some of the best tribute entertainers call Myrtle Beach home. Did you miss seeing your favorite artist while they were in their prime. Don’t worry – Elvis and the Blues Brothers are performing here! The shows are full of action and many made more enjoyable through audience participation.

Fireworks Shows

Although the Myrtle Beach area is full of shops that sell fireworks (for you to take home) it is technically illegal to possess or discharge fireworks within the city limits or on the beach. So if you don’t want to add a $200 fine to your vacation budget, don’t set off what you buy. Instead, spend an evening viewing one of the many fireworks shows along the beach. With many attractions in the area offering at least one show per week you will be able to witness some great fireworks.

Beachfront Bars

There’s no better way to spend an afternoon or evening than sipping a cold one along the beach! There are so many spots along the beach – each offering their own theme. Karaoke, dancing, sing-alongs – you name it, you will find a beach front bar that has it gong on!

Live Music Venues

Everybody loves a good concert! There is quite a large variety of spots to catch live music in Myrtle Beach. Big names in the entertainment business fill large area venues regularly. Small local spots showcase smaller groups. Whatever you like, you’ll be able to find it in Myrtle Beach. Free summer concerts during the summer months help families enjoy music without breaking the bank.

The Market Common

Upscale dining and shopping all nestled together in a picturesque spot right outside the city limits. Formerly the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, now the Market Common, the location is a popular spot with locals and visitors. Dining outdoors in the warm weather, walking the dog, segway rentals, running trails, bakeries, movies – all in one place! 

Barefoot Landing

Barefoot Landing is a shopping, dining and entertainment complex located in North Myrtle Beach. Both the Alabama Theater and the House of Blues are located at Barefoot Landing. SummerFest is hosted each year with weekly fireworks, outdoor performers, family entertainment and more!

Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach offers a mix of shopping, dining and entertainment right in the heart of Myrtle Beach. Specialty shops, eateries, speed-boat rides, mini-golf, and ziplines ~ Broadway at the Beach has something for everyone. An ideal spot for family friendly activities as well as nightlife for the young at heart. 

Hammock Shops Village

The Hammock Shop Villages located south of Myrtle Beach in Pawleys Island offers a unique shopping and dining experience. The Hammock Shops feature winding brick paths through cottage-style stores. Southern charm and hospitality at it’s finest!

Historic Georgetown

The third-oldest city in South Carolina, Georgetown offers a glimpse of the state’s history along with great shopping, dining and scenery. Georgetown is located halfway between Myrtle Beach and Charleston with a Main Street feel of traditional old south downtowns. The wooden boat show is a yearly event held in Georgetown that shouldn’t be missed.

Seafood Restaurants

Hundreds – yes, hundreds of seafood restaurants call Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas home. Shacks, fine dining, large expansive buffets – all serving fresh seafood cooked in typical southern Calabash style or any other way you choose! Fleets of fishing boats bring in the freshest catch daily making the area a seafood lovers dream!

Waterfront Dining

Enjoying a meal at a restaurant with a waterfront view is one of the best ways to spend an evening along the Carolina coast. Each restaurant on the water offers a special view for diners whether you choose to enjoy your meal overlooking the ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, a creek, the inlet or a marsh. 

Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk

What started as a simple creek side boardwalk in a little fishing village, the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk is now one of the most visited destinations for food, drinks and live entertainment along the Grand Strand. Family friendly, full of good food and good times, the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk is just a short 20 minutes south of the heart of Myrtle Beach.

Wine Bars & Wineries

Along the Grand Strand, the options for enjoying wine start begin right at the grocery store and go all the way to fine dining restaurants. There are many  wine bars in the area focusing on pairing really good wine with really good food. No matter what you prefer – crisp white wines, medium bodied pink and blush wines, or rich reds – there’s a perfect flavor and style for all. Myrtle Beach Wine Tasting and Shop (Duplin Wines), La Belle Amie Vineyard and Carolina Vineyards are just a few of the locations that offer tastings, festivals and fun!

Sporting Events

Minor league baseball, Division I collegiate athletics, a world-class high school basketball tournament during the holidays, and numerous amateur youth baseball tournaments throughout the year make Myrtle Beach a great place for sports. There’s nothing quite like hearing the crack of the bat, the shoes squeaking on the gymnasium floor, or the crowd celebrating when you are cheering on your favorite team.

Festivals

FOOD FESTIVALS: Any area that has hundreds of restaurants has multiple food festivals and competitions each year. The perfect way for area chefs to show-off their creations while visitors and locals get to try some knew things.  and bars, which is a good thing for locals and visitors alike. Myrtle Beach is home to festivals that showcase food, wine and craft beer.

GENERAL FESTIVALS: Myrtle Beach likes to party and welcome visitors so the area definitely likes to throw festivals. Whether it be food, nationality themed, drinking celebrations or seasonal – there is usually a festival on the calendar in the not too distant future and are a great way to celebrate during your vacation. The Carolina Country Music Festival takes place in Myrtle Beach in June and welcomes big name country stars to the stage during a weekend of old fashioned country fun. The 2017 festival will welcome Kenny Chesney center stage!

Car Shows

Myrtle Beach has a long history of hosting car shows and events that have vintage autos, classic cars, Corvettes or Mustangs lined up on exhibit and touring along the Grand Strand. The area plays host to multiple car shows each year.  

Concert Series & Music Events

If you’re a fan of live music events, Myrtle Beach is the place for you. Along with the many venues that host bands nightly, Myrtle Beach is also home to several concert series during the spring and summer. No matter what you like – rock & roll, country, jazz, pop – there’s always something for everyone. The series also take place at a variety of locations along the Grand Strand, from under the live oaks at Brookgreen Gardens to oceanfront in downtown North Myrtle Beach or at an outdoor bar. One thing for certain is you won’t be disappointed.

Dinner Cruises

Waterfront dining is a great way to enjoy a meal. In Myrtle Beach you have the option to dine aboard large ships that offer views you will never be able to see from the window of a restaurant. Take a dinner cruise Vegas style on one of the casino boats in the area! Dinner cruises in the area are affordable and fun! 

No matter what you decide to do when visiting Myrtle Beach, one thing for sure is that you will never be at a loss for something to do. Unless of course you just want to sit on the beach!




Be Our Guest and Enjoy These Beauty and the Beast Coloring Sheets!

Beauty Beast Coloring Sheets

It’s almost time! It’s almost here! Beauty and the Beast arrives in theaters March 17! Beauty and the Beast is already loved by millions so the anticipation of this new live version has everyone in their best Belle attire ready to dance! While you wait – Be Our Guest – and enjoy these coloring sheets. I’m getting out the crayons and sharpening my colored pencils now!

Beauty Beast Coloring Sheets

 

After finishing your coloring, I hope you enjoy this featurette: Bringing Beauty to Life:

And . . . Here’s Belle!

 

Like BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyBeautyAndTheBeast

Follow BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on Twitter: https://twitter.com/beourguest

Follow BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/beautyandthebeast/

Visit the official BEAUTY AND THE BEAST website here: http://movies.disney.com/beauty-and-the-beast-2017

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST opens in theaters everywhere on March 17th!

 

Previous trailers, posters and Beauty and the Beast information:

A Magical and Delightful Beauty and the Beast Trailer

The Characters of Beauty and the Beast

Celine Dion to Perform New Song for Live Action Beauty and the Beast 

Beauty and the Beast Latest Teaser Trailer

Walt Disney Studios 2017 Movie Line-Up

A Tale As Old As Time Comes Alive March, 2017




Celebration at theTop ~ New Event at California Grill ~ WDW

Celebration at the Top – Sip, Savor, Sparkle Debuts February 26 at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Celebration Top California Grill

The California Grill is one of my favorites. The restaurant offers great food and an unbelievable location. Imagine being able to delight in the sparkle of the Magic Kingdom fireworks spectacular from an intimate and private observation deck. Celebration at the Top, a new dining event coming to California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, can be perfectly summed up in three words: savor, sip, sparkle.

For the Celebration at the Top event, you will check in at California Grill an hour before fireworks. After being whisked up to the California Grill, high atop the Contemporary Resort on the 15th floor, you will be taken to an intimate and secluded banquet room where you will enjoy canapés, a selection of sushi rolled by the expert California Grill sushi chefs, a selection of flatbreads and other small plates. A complimentary bar offering craft beers, California wines, cordials and coffee will also be available.

Just before the night spectacular begins, you will be lead to a private observation deck, which offers stunning views of Magic Kingdom park and the fireworks. After taking in the breathtaking sights and sounds, you can return to the private room for petit four desserts including decadent chocolate confections and fruit tarts.

Reservations for Celebration at the Top are now open for Thursday evenings from February 26 to March 26. Cost is $99 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Complimentary valet parking is included.




Doing Key West on a Budget

Key West Budget Travel

When you think of budget travel, Key West is probably not one of the first destinations that comes to mind. However, there are tons of free and cheap attractions in Key West. Here are some of my favorites!

Lodging

Lodging is going to be your biggest expense in Key West. Whether you choose a Bed & Breakfast, a hotel, or a beachfront house rental, you want to save the majority of your budget for lodging. I was reading a post from the Florida Rambler about lodging in Key West. Their suggestion was to find a place with a shared bathroom. If that’s something you can handle, you could save a pretty penny!

Outside of sharing bathrooms, to save the absolute most money, your best bet is to book a Bed & Breakfast in the off-season. Watch out for resort fees, parking fees, and any additional fees they might try to tack on (regardless of where you stay). You’ll want to add these in to get your final total, and compare total to total instead of base price to base price. You’d be shocked at how big of a difference the final price can be, even when several spots have the same base price!

Affordable Fun in Key West

Admission to the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory is $8.50 for kids and $12 for adults. The whole family will enjoy this place!

The Harry S. Truman Little White House is great for history buffs and political fans alike. You can buy tickets online for $25 each.

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum is another one for the history buffs, but everyone enjoys this museum. Admission is $5 for kids and $14 for adults.

Water Fun

Did you know many beaches in Key West have admission fees? If you’ve never visited before, you might be caught off guard! Here is a list of public beaches in Key West. Some beaches are dog-friendly, so be sure to check those out, too, if you brought your furry friend along.

Taking a jet ski tour for two can set you back about $200, but it’s 90 minutes of fun you can’t experience anywhere else. Pair it with a glass bottom boat tour or a snorkeling tour and save some money.

Kayaking is also popular in Key West. It’s more affordable than most people realize. This list of the Top 10 Kayaking Adventures can help you find the best option for your budget.

Oh, and you don’t want to miss the famous Key West Sunset.

Other Fun in Key West

Much like Oahu, Hawaii, Key West is home to many wild roosters and chickens. They’re very vocal, and adorable… until you’re trying to sleep and they’re outside your window crowing all night.

Can’t get enough of the animals? Visit the Key West Wildlife Center.

Take a free historic walking tour by printing this PDF.

What’s your favorite thing to do in Key West? Let me know in the comments!


Previous Posts in the 2017 Traveling on a Budget Series:

Doing Maui on a Budget




3 Perfect Spots to Experience Southern Hospitality in Charleston, SC

Charleston South Carolina

South Carolina is a destination that offers something for everyone in the family – mountains, beaches, rafting and more. Some of the most beautiful historic cities offer great food, amazing tours and welcome visitors with wide open arms in the most amazing ways full of southern hospitality. Charleston, SC is a city full of history, culture, shopping, night-life and more ~ A city everyone should visit at least once! If you plan to visit soon, here are 3 perfect spots to experience southern hospitality in Charleston: 

Charleston South Carolina

Wentworth Mansion

A 21-room tribute to Charleston grandeur, The Wentworth Mansion is a downtown Charleston inn that exemplifies splendor with Italian crystal chandeliers, hand-carved marble fireplaces, gracious hospitality, luxurious amenities – all just steps from award-winning dining, art, history, and shopping.

True to its original role as a private residence, The Wentworth Mansion embraces guests with warm, intuitive service. Like the greatest family traditions, it preserves its original intrigue and ensures that each guest is not a mere witness to the magic, but integral to it.

Built by a cotton baron in 1886, the palatial private home welcomes guests seeking a personalized and decadent touch to their Charleston visit. The rooms are spacious, come with free WiFi, king-sized whirlpool tubs and some are dog-friendly with direct lawn access. Enjoy breakfast (included) on the porch each morning and come back after a day of exploring for sherry and hors d’oeuvres in the historic paneled parlor each evening.

The Restoration

Made up of five buildings that offer a look and to what traditional Southern living might have been, the easy going and relaxed nature of the staff remind you that you couldn’t be anywhere but South Carolina. The rooftop terrace offers fantastic views of the city. Included in every room at The Restoration is a curated assortment of Beekman 1802 soaps and lotions, all handmade on the Beekman farm. The luxurious rooms blend modern decor like stainless steel appliances and leather headboards with exposed brick and authentic historical elements that reflect the building’s 100 + year history.

At The Watch Rooftop Kitchen and Spirits, The Restoration’s very own farm to table restaurant, it’s all about celebrating the bounty of local ingredients, sourced directly from nearby purveyors, and enjoying one of the best views in the entire city. Charleston’s architectural history, from 350 year old church steeples to Greek Revival period buildings that inspired Edgar All Poe will be your view while dining. Classic low country food served along with fresh seafood picked up at the docks just hours before you order will leave you wanting more and more!

French Quarter Inn

Comforting amenities and friendly service are offered to all who stay at this Charleston boutique hotel. With a perfect location in the heart of historic Charleston, the French Quarter Inn is close to many of the city’s famous shops, world-class restaurants and event sites. French Quarter Inn is the perfect combination of luxury and location that is unrivaled by other hotels in Charleston. Upon check-in, you’ll be greeted with champagne to toast your arrival ~ there’s that southern hospitality again! The Inn is located among the old cobblestone streets and just a short walk away from the horse carriages, art galleries and restaurants of Charleston.

A nightly wine and cheese reception invites you to mix and mingle with other guests and the nightly turn-down service includes a glass of fine port wine (or milk if you prefer) and fresh baked cookies. Continental breakfast is served each morning in the lobby or can be delivered to your room.

If a visit to Charleston, SC is in your plans, be sure to look at one of these great locations that will welcome you with southern hospitality!