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Why Myrtle Beach Is the Best Summer Vacation Destination You Haven’t Thought of Yet

SmarterTravel

Let’s get the surprise over with: The summer’s “it” destination is Myrtle Beach.

Why? First, the value-to-fun quotient is off the charts, whether you’re traveling with the family, taking a girls’ trip, or getting away with your significant other. Second, it caters to every travel style. For those thinking, “I’m not a golf person” or, “I’m not a beach person,” you’ve got a completely outdated idea of this place. Let’s get you up to date.

The Strand Can Still Surprise You

Whether you’ve visited Myrtle Beach a hundred times or have never been, it’s hard not to stumble on something new. The area’s 60 miles of coastline make it possible to find a stretch of sand that’s yours and only yours—even in the peak summer months.

They key is getting off the beaten path. Huntington Beach State Park has more than three miles of secluded sands flanked by dunes, plus trails around salt marshes ideal for wildlife viewing.

Carve out time to stop by Atalaya Castle. Known for its Spanish-style architecture, this mid-20th century home is on the National Register of Historic Places and has one-hour tours for $2 (kids under six are free) during the summer months.

Closer to all the action, you can take a chance at spotting sea turtles off the undeveloped beach at Myrtle Beach State Park. Its iconic pier is a favorite for fishing.

There’s More Than the Beach at Myrtle Beach

Sure, there’s a lot of beach. But the communities that make up the greater Myrtle Beach area make this more than a beach town. Nearby Georgetown, called “Little Charleston,” is a colonial-era seaport chock-a-block full of history. Antebellum mansions along oak-lined avenues and a shop- and restaurant-lined Harborwalk make it an ideal daytrip.

Sandy Island, spanning 9,000 acres, is only accessible via boat, making it largely undiscovered by tourists. The mostly undeveloped island is preserved by the Nature Conservancy and includes a two-mile hiking trail.

Entertainment Comes in All Forms

For good old-fashioned amusement rides, Family Kingdom Amusement Park will bring you back to your childhood vacations. The 13-acre seaside park with more than 30 rides is free to enter. You can purchase tickets for each individual ride, so there’s no need to ride every single thing to feel like you got your money’s worth.

If you’re not into rides, Myrtle Beach’s minor league team the Pelicans gives you the chance to watch America’s favorite pastime at an affordable price (tickets are around $10 per person, depending on seats). The Chicago Cubs’ Single-A affiliate plays in a stadium that has seats into the sand along the left-field line. It’s like you never have to leave the beach.

And if you prefer to get a little bit more active, the beach in Myrtle Beach is good for more than just swimming and sunning on the sand. Downwind Surf and Paddleboard Company offers two-hour surf lessons that get you out on the water and understanding the basics of surf safety and etiquette.

Wine and Moonshine

The Muscadine grape thrives in the Myrtle Beach area, and word of the local vineyards and wineries is starting to get out. La Belle Aimee Vineyard, just outside North Myrtle Beach, lets visitors taste six of their wines for $3. Depending when you go, you may find live music and food.

If wine isn’t your beverage of choice, pay a visit to the Palmetto Moonshine. The free tour—and tasting—shows you how moonshine is made and allows you to find your favorite flavor. The distillery also produces a rye whiskey.

The Best Summer Hotel Deals in Myrtle Beach (Sponsored)

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