Myrtle Beach, South Carolina may conjure images of Spring Break or, these days, family fun. But there’s plenty to keep you and your friends entertained.
A short drive from most major Southern cities, the Grand Strand stays warm for much of the year. And in addition to its stunning beaches, there are cultural offerings as well.
You’re sure to dine well during your trip, especially on fresh seafood, but it might surprise you to know that there are wineries nearby as well.
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You’ll find seafood dishes just about everywhere in the area, especially in Murrells Inlet, the state capital of the industry. But there are also plenty of Southern eateries as well as a handful of Mexican, Japanese, and Thai restaurants.
Croissants Bistro & Bakery– In case the name didn’t alert you, this is a French-inspired eatery with some of the best breakfasts in town. Their breakfast and brunch menu features decadent dishes like eggs benedict on croissants, pictured, crepes, omelets, and french toast. They also have light options if you need them. But be sure to take pastries or cake to go!
Pawleys Island Bakery– On nearby Pawley’s Island, this strip mall bakery may not look like much, but has delicious breakfast sandwiches and sweet treats. Croissants, doughnuts, and pastries are made fresh daily. They open at 6 am, which is perfect for the early risers in your group.
Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery– Located one block from the beach, this breakfast and lunch spot caters to both locals and visitors year-round. If you’re there before 8:30, you can get a full breakfast and coffee for only $5. The full menu features dishes like omelets, waffles, pancakes, skillets, and benedicts.
Co Sushi Myrtle Beach– Located at Market Commons, Co has fast options, whether you’re craving sushi rolls, sashimi, or a heaping bowl of noodles. They also serve cocktails and sake if you need a shopping break.
Nacho Hippo– Also at Market Commons, the folks behind River City Cafe have perfected their fast-casual Mexican eatery with locals around the Grand Strand. The menu features signature nachos, quesadillas, and tacos with margaritas.
Tupelo Honey Cafe– At this regional chain’s local outpost, seek out Southern favorites and light options like the veggie bowl or signature salad. The Southern Fried Chicken BLT is another great lunch choice, paired with corn jalapeno slaw.
Blue Elephant Thai Cuisine– In an otherwise seafood-heavy area, Blue Thai offers authentic Thai cuisine with the heat to prove it. Their curries, soups, and pad thai are made in house along with Thai iced teas and non-alcoholic beverages. Be warned that they only take cash.
Wicked Tuna– Set on the water, this seafood restaurant is in the new era of Murrells Inlet restaurants. They have a modern menu with craft cocktails, sushi, surf and turf, and a selection of local fish cooked just about any way you like.
Art Burger Sushi Bar– Liquid nitrogen cocktails, a space featuring local artists, and a menu of both burgers and sushi make this restaurant truly unique. Dishes are named after notable artists and their work, including Van Gogh and Whistler’s Mother.
No matter your preferred beverage, you’ll likely find it in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand. The nightlife scene includes nightclubs, dive bars, and even upscale cocktail spots. There aren’t many local coffee shops or juice bars, but you will find a few if you know where to look.
Duplin Winery North Myrtle Beach– Based in North Carolina, Duplin opened this Myrtle Beach tasting room to service visitors to the area. You can purchase from their massive store and book a tasting session, which includes six samples. The venue also hosts live music at Barefoot Landing.
La Belle Amie Vineyard– This local spot is on the north end of the Grand Strand and has a tasting room surrounded by the vineyard where they host live music and festivals. Try samples from their Twisted Sisters line.
Carolina Vineyards Winery– The Myrtle Beach storefront sells wines from the local vineyard that creates dry to sweet varieties. All of their labels are inspired by their surroundings in the Grand Strand.
Coastal Wine Boutique And Tasting Room– Visit this wine bar to ask the experts about the best varieties from around the world while you nosh on bites like salads, hummus, and paninis. They also have hookahs.
Bay Naturals– Myrtle Beach’s original health foods market also sells ready-to-eat sandwiches as well as juices and smoothies.
The Roasted Bean– Grab a cup of coffee at Myrtle Beach’s favorite local shop. They serve freshly baked pastries and other light bites as well.
Relaxing, Beauty and Fitness
If you want to relax during your stay in Myrtle Beach, you’re surrounded by some of the best beaches in the country. But there’s also plenty of activities and pampering to be found nearby.
Yoga In Common– Conveniently located at Market Common, this yoga studio offers a drop-in rate of $15 per class or visitor’s one or two week passes. The shop also has a boutique featuring local artisans.
Anderson Ocean Club and Spa– Located in this oceanfront resort, the Awakening Spa features treatments like mineral baths, full body massage, skin treatments, and prenatal massage.
Elan Day Spa– Book your whole day at this spa, which offers packages that include massage, nail treatments, facials, foot treatments, and body wraps.
Kokopelli Surf Camp– This outfitter does lessons, rentals, and tours for beginners to surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking in the Grand Strand. They’re only open seasonally, but deliver gear to your chosen location.
Guided Myrtle Beach Kayak Tour– Explore the waterways of the Grand Strand on a guided tour with your friends. All levels of expertise are welcome.
Guided Stand-Up Paddleboard Tour– Take a two-hour tour of the waterways around the Grand Strand, which leaves from Murrells Inlet. Equipment and instruction are included.
Most shops in the greater Grand Strand area are chains, but there are some deals to be found there. You’ll also find a few boutiques in shopping centers around town.
Hammock Shops– A necessary stop for drivers on US-17, the hammock shops are tucked away on Pawley’s Island, where the original island hammock was created. Shop for cooking wares, souvenirs, and clothing.
Anthropologie– Browse the store’s selection of clothing, accessories, gifts, and home decor at their Market Commons location.
Tanger Outlet Myrtle Beach Hwy 501– There are so many deals in town that they have two outlets! This location has Banana Republic, Coach, J.Crew, Loft and Forever 21.
Tanger Outlet Myrtle Beach Hwy 17– The location a few miles away features brands like BCBG, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Lululemon.
ivy & leo– This shop sells women’s apparel and accessories at an affordable price. The brand is sold exclusively in North and South Carolina.
Most of the area’s attractions are geared towards families, so don’t expect to schedule much sightseeing during your trip. There are, however, a few attractions appropriate for adults just in case of a rainy day.
Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum of Myrtle Beach– Set in a former home, many of the exhibits featured at the museum focus on the artists of the region or with ties to the area. The collection features photographs, paintings, sculptures and more.
Brookgreen Gardens– It’s easy to spend a full day at the gardens, which include acres of plant life, sculptures scattered throughout, and even a small zoo.
Myrtle Beach SkyWheel– Skip the lines during the day and instead check out the Ferris wheel at night, which offers unrivaled views of the Grand Strand. When you’re done, hop off and head straight to the bar underneath.
Atalaya– Located in a nearby state park, this former winter home of a local philanthropist and his wife was used as a base for the army during World War II. It has been open to the public since 1960.
Anderson Ocean Club– The hotel is, as the name implies, oceanfront with an in-house spa and fitness facility with all the amenities of a hotel with the convenience of a condominium.
Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort & Arcadian Shores Golf Club– The property includes the Royale Palms condominiums, which have access to the features of Kingston Plantation.
Marina Inn at Grande Dunes– This luxurious hotel boasts AAA four-diamond status with in-house dining and other amenities. The spacious rooms are ideal for groups of friends.
Visit Myrtle Beach hosted my most recent stay, which helped me gather information for this guide.