One of the East Coast's top vacation destinations, the Myrtle Beach-Grand Strand area draws millions of summer travelers annually to its tawny Atlantic beaches, shopping opportunities, and acres of well-manicured golf courses. A burst of development in the 1990s created a boom in restaurants, condos, and golf courses, and with a spiffy new boardwalk and promenade opened in 2010, this family-friendly resort shows no sign of slowing down. The slower-paced signs of Southern life can be found in vintage mom-and-pop restaurants in residential neighborhoods.
Hotels, condos and resorts create a mini-skyline along downtown, the oldest part of Myrtle Beach, where the sandy beaches are long and deep and the crowds are family-oriented. At the southern end, Myrtle Beach State Park provides more than 300 acres of piney woods and access to a sandy beach; cast your line into the ocean water from a fishing pier. Kayaking the back bays of Murrells Inlet provides time for quiet contemplation.
Things to Do
Meet locals on the golf course -- there are more than 100 to choose from -- for 18 holes in the morning. Southern-fried entertainment draws crowds to the Carolina Opry. On a cloudy day, sample one of the many impressive themed miniature golf courses or visit the state-of-the art Ripley's Aquarium, home to 10-foot sharks. Family Kingdom, a waterfront amusement park, is home to the state's largest Ferris wheel, where a ride offers superlative views of the ocean.
Specialty shops line the pathways of the shopping centers at Barefoot Landing and Broadway at the Beach, and fireworks in the summer lend a festive air. Bargain hunt for brands such as Reebok and Polo Ralph Lauren at Tanger Outlets. Urban critics applaud the work-play-live development Market Common, which offers restaurants, a movie theater, and residential homes atop upscale storefronts such as Pottery Barn and Anthropologie.
Eating and Drinking
Virtually every major chain and sports-celebrity restaurant is found here, whether it's the NASCAR Sports Grill, House of Blues, or Greg Norman's Australian Grill. Away from the chains, look for waterside spots serving fresh local seafood in unvarnished Low Country preparations. Or give decorum a rest and head to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, which packs in crowds nightly for a rollicking combination of dinner theater and rodeo.
Travel page content provided by Zagat © 2013, Google.
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