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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina


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Blend the pearly sands of Florida with a dash of Atlantic City and a pinch of Gatlinburg and you’ve got the delights of Myrtle Beach.

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Blend the pearly sands of Florida with a dash of Atlantic City and a pinch of Gatlinburg and you’ve got the delights of Myrtle Beach.


Your arrival in the lowland country in South Carolina is heralded by the appearance of cotton fields, Spanish moss, and palmetto trees. If you’re coming from the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll also see plenty of billboards for Sparky’s – a fireworks joint that grew into a giant emporium, and is worth a stop.


True to our motto of traveling on the cusp of the season, we enjoyed Myrtle Beach without the crowds in early October. Daytime was still warm and evenings cooled down nicely. Perfect camping weather. We happened to be there during Bike Week, when hundreds of motorcycles arrived to cruise Ocean Boulevard. The Fall Rally is quite a bit tamer than Bike Week in the spring. Cyclists are a little older, more prosperous, and are riding expensive tricked-out machines. More like the Doctor/Lawyer Club than Hells Angels, and a lot of fun to watch.


Myrtle Beach State Park was a perfect spot to camp. There are several loops to choose from, all offering deeply shaded sites. The state park has a long stretch of pristine beach (the Grand Strand), unspoiled dunes topped with sea oats (where loggerhead turtles nest), and multiple pavilions to picnic among sculpted oaks. From the campground, paved sidewalks wind along the dunes - great for a walk or to access the beach.


Also on the State Park property is a popular fishing pier and small gift shop. We slurped ice cream cones and watched a small shark circle slowly around the fishing lines sniffing for chum. Schools of dolphins are also a common sight in these waters.


The pier offers a free Sand Wheelchair for use – a clever device with big balloon tires that rolls easily on the beach and even into the surf. One gal had so much fun using the Sand Chair that she made her good-natured husband push it up and down the beach for several hours.


A short drive north of the State Park puts you at the scene of the action on the Boardwalk. It’s a great place to stroll in the evening, with plenty of restaurants, entertainment, and beach shops. The Skywheel Ferris ride is illuminated with changing colors at night. Be sure to stop at The Gay Dolphin souvenir shop. It’s crammed with the most merchandise I’ve ever seen in one store.


Just off the main drag is Broadway on the Beach - a large complex of attractions connected by walkways over man-made lagoons. We enjoyed libations at the lively Margaritaville, where waiters on stilts twist clever balloon art to help you celebrate any occasion. The UFO Encounter attraction has alien exhibits and movie props on display, and Ripley’s Aquarium offers Mermaid shows several times a day.


Overall, we found Myrtle Beach to be clean, safe, and thoroughly enjoyable. Easy camping and great beach access can be had at Myrtle Beach State Park.


October 13, 2023


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