US Travel | My 5 Favorite Ways to Enjoy the Grand Strand Beaches in SC
image: My 2009 Family Beach Trip
by: Grayson Leverenz
Generations of southerners flock to Myrtle Beach, SC and the surrounding beaches annually to soak up the sun and enjoy the relaxed coastal vibe. My family frequents Surfside Beach, “the family beach” about 10 miles south of Myrtle, and spends a good deal of time in Garden City. Thanks to a fabulous golf scene, SC beaches evolved from regional hot spots to international destinations. If you are a golfer, click here to learn more about golf vacations. If you’re not a golfer, no worries, there is plenty to do off the course!
After building sandcastles and jumping waves, here are 5 of my favorite ways to experience SC beaches:
1. Watch the movie Shag.
You may want to do this before you actually leave for the beach, but it’s also a good way to spend a rainy afternoon once you’re there. Shag is set in Myrtle Beach in the 1950’s. The lead character and her best girlfriends hit the beach for one final weekend of fun before she gets married. I love the scenery, the accents, and especially the SC state dance, the Shag. My favorite line, “Now girls, we can have fun, but we can NOT be wild.”
2. Explore the piers.
Try your hand at sea fishing or watch the locals catching dinner off the side of the piers. Surfside pier offers great views and good ice cream. Garden City pier is the larger of the two. There you can play skee-ball, shop for frivolous beach paraphernalia or elevate your adrenaline with the new amusement rides.
3. Indulge in local specialties.
Playing on the beach can really build up an appetite, and the Grand Strand is a good place to be when hunger strikes. For some of the best seafood in the area, try Sara J’s in Garden City. You can sit on the porch under the ceiling fans and enjoy seafood, some of which is caught right off the dock out back. Brandon and I always order the Surf and Turf; one of us gets shrimp and the other gets scallops so we can share.
Check out The Golden Egg Pancake House for breakfast. There’s something spectacular about enjoying a giant breakfast before you roll out on the beach, and the Golden Egg really does breakfast right. Eggs, bacon, grits and pancakes (of course) are a perfect way to start the day.
4. Go to a show.
Entertainers strut their stuff up and down the Grand Strand in shows like Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, The Carolina Opry and my personal favorite, The Alabama Theater. The shows welcome family members of all ages, and provide a wonderful evening of entertainment. My cousin, Kelly Cutts, performs at the Alabama Theater, and I LOVE watching her sing and dance with all the other stars.
5. Shoot fireworks.
It wouldn’t be a beach trip without shooting fireworks off on the beach. Fireworks are illegal in Surfside, but drive 3 miles down to Garden City, and you’re perfectly fine. Brandon and I like mortars, the ones that fly high and explode in showers. Please use caution when shooting off fireworks. Safety first!
In case you’re wondering, yes, I did take shag lessons when I was in middle school, and my dad and I can still execute an impressive pivot when the beach music calls us to the dance floor.