Extending Your Trip in Myrtle Beach
• Creeks and critters: Nature-loving groups should consider a visit to Brookgreen Gardens, a 9,100-acre sculpture garden and wildlife preserve near Murells Inlet. The work of more than 350 sculptors is on display here, an artsy complement to the flora that thrives in what was once the grounds of four former plantations. From March through November, groups can enjoy pontoon boat rides along the property's creeks, as well as private group tours with guides who explain the history of the gardens. Planners can set up a "meet the animals" program at the on-site Lowcountry Zoo, which is home to native animals like alligators, grey foxes, owls and white-tailed deer.
• Music city: Live entertainment is the draw at the Carolina Opry Theater, a venue that stages five unique shows, including the Carolina Opry, a two-hour extravaganza with music, song, dance and comedy that has showcased vocalists from TV shows including "The Voice" and "America's Got Talent." The Time Warp features live performances of hit music of the 1960s,'70s and '80s, while Thunder and Light blends dance, laser lights and magic with eye-catching results. Planners can arrange pre-show meet-and-greets, themed parties and catering, with seating for 2,000.
• The team that bakes together: Hands-on culinary creativity is the focus at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach, which is part of Horry-Georgetown Technical College. The institute's new facility, which opened last year, features production and training kitchens, an outdoor barbecue kitchen, a wine cellar and a chef's table. The venue is available for buyouts and private cooking demos and classes, with tasty themes like baking and pastry arts, culinary arts technology and cake decorating.
• Spend the day enjoying the soft, sandy beaches. When you want a break from the surf, hit the Boardwalk or visit several old-school amusement parks for some oceanfront thrills.
• Groups can travel centuries back in time with a visit to the historic Hopsewee Plantation (https://hopsewee.com). Spanish moss dangles lazily from the trees of this 70-acre property, where an elegantly restored home dates from 1735, decades before the Revolutionary War. Groups can stroll the grounds, tour the home and learn about the workings of a centuries-old Lowcountry rice plantation, including details about the lives of both the former plantation owners and the slaves who lived and worked on the grounds. Planners can organize lunches and dinners of Lowcountry specialties like crab cake with spicy remoulade sauce, okra fritters, and pulled pork with a mustard-based barbecue sauce.
Getting Active & Outdoors
• In the swing: Myrtle Beach is golf country, so savvy planners will want to incorporate the sport into their events. The Classic Swing Golf School offers custom-designed corporate golf clinics and individual classes at Legends Golf Resort, which is home to five championship courses. The Glen Davis Golf Academy offers personalized classes at Indigo Creek Golf Club, a Willard Byrd-designed course in the scenic Lowcountry region. Duffers can enjoy a a round or two one of Myrtle Beach's countless courses like the popular Legends Golf Course, with five premium layouts, or the Heritage Club at Pawleys Island, set amid giant magnolias and 300-year-old oaks.
• Go fishing: Voyager Deep Sea Fishing and Dolphin Cruises runs half-day fishing trips offering the opportunity to catch mackerel, barracuda and sea bass. Private sport fishing charters are available aboard six-passenger and 20-passenger vessels. Calabash Fishing Fleet has a 130-passenger ship named the Atlantic Star, complete with climate-controlled cabin and restroom, which is available for private fishing charters as well as festive cruises.
Myrtle Beach Excursions
• Head to Conway, a town graced with oak-lined streets and a historic downtown that's perfect for strolling, shopping and dining. One of the best introductions to the town's rich history is provided at the Horry County Museum, which is set in a 1905 former school that's on the National Register of Historic Places. Its exhibits include textiles, vintage military gear and an aquarium filled with local marine life. Nearby, the affiliated L.W. Paul Living History Farm recreates life on a one-horse family farm from the first half of the 20th century.
• Murrells Inlet is another noteworthy destination for groups looking for a fun day trip. Once a simple fishing village, Murrells Inlet has become a favorite with nature lovers thanks to its wide variety of outdoor activities. Groups can enjoy everything from kayaking to parasailing, jet skiing to banana-boat riding.
• Groups can take a trip back in time with a visit to Pawleys Island, an Atlantic coast barrier island that measures less than four miles. Once a summer getaway destination for pre-Civil War rice planters, it's now a historic treasure with a laid-back island vibe. The Pawleys Island Historic District, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, is home to 12 original residences, some of which date to as early as 1780. A variety of shops, stores and restaurants provide additional diversions. To appreciate the island's natural beauty, consider an outing with Black River Outdoors, which runs guided kayak eco-tours, swamp tours, fishing trips and private birding tours.
Top Restaurants in Myrtle Beach
Among top spots to grab a bite in Myrtle are:
- The Melting Pot - American, fondue
- Pop Pop's Pit BBQ - American, BBQ
- Cafe Old Vienna - German, Austrian
- Villa Romana Italian Restaurant - Italian
- Luigi's Tratoria - Italian
- Toscana Italian Kitchen - Italian
- Sun City Cafe - Mexican
- Ciao Restaurant - Italian
- SoBaya Japanese Bistro - Japanese, sushi
- Johnny D's Waffles & Benedicts - American
Among must-try dishes across the city are:
• Chow down on low-country comfort foods at either of two outposts of the Croissants Bistro & Bakery. Fresh, locally grown produce figures heavily in the menu here, with specialties like shrimp and grits, bananas foster French toast and a turkey pretzel club sandwich.
• Hook and Barrel makes the most of Myrtle Beach's coastal location, with fresh seafood choices like steamed shrimp by the pound, Myrtle Beach paella, "angry clams" made with cherry bomb peppers, and oyster stew, which is prepared in front of patrons.
• Planners can inject their program with culinary holiness at the Parson's Table, a restaurant and bar set in the historic former home of the Little River Methodist Church in the town of Little River. The venue's main dining room dates to 1855, with eye-catching décor that includes a gorgeous chandelier and stained-glass windows from a Baptist church in Mullins, South Carolina. Today, patrons worship appetizers like local fried green tomatoes and oysters Rockefeller with spinach, bacon, heavy cream and Tabasco. Entrée specialties include slow-roasted prime rib au jus, as well as shrimp and chicken curry.
• For a sophisticated and scenic dining event, consider the SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar, a stylish venue on Grand Strand that makes good use of French cooking techniques to craft a menu of contemporary American fare. Chef Kenneth Norcutt's most favored creations include boneless airline chicken breast served with pheasant cognac sausage, and SeaBlue-style filet prepared with haricot vert and asiago potato gratin, finished with 12-year-aged balsamic vinegar.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Guest Rooms - 400
Meeting Rooms - 39
Largest Conference Room - 100,003 sq. ft.
Total event space - 245,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $139-$257
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Guest Rooms - 255
Meeting Rooms - 37
Largest Conference Room - 14,520 sq. ft.
Total event space - 51,446 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $228-$345
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Guest Rooms - 453
Meeting Rooms - 26
Largest Conference Room - 9,000 sq. ft.
Total event space - 35,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $144-$270