Extending Your Trip in Myrtle Beach
• Market Common is a retail and entertainment development that occupies the former site of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and the Myrtle Beach Army Air Field. The venue offers a free, one-hour military history tour for groups of 20 or more, which highlights the venue’s role in U.S. history. The facility is home to a variety of retail establishments and several group-friendly eateries, including 810 Billiards & Bowling, which complements its American menu with activities that range from darts to glow-in-the-dark mini-golf.
• The Myrtle Beach Art Museum, set in a building that dates to 1924 near the Long Bay Golf Club, features permanent and temporary exhibits that include antique maps, historical prints and works by southern artists. Groups of 10 or more can arrange private tours of the galleries; small groups (under 10) can take a pottery class at the museum’s Lineta Pritchard Pottery Studio, which offers six pottery wheels, glazing stations and a kiln room.
• 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.
• Carolina Food Tours launched a Myrtle Beach tour this year. The foodie adventure includes stops in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Conway restaurants.
• The Arts Grand Strand, a not-for-profit organization that promotes creative endeavors on Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand, has teamed up with 18 galleries and three culturally enlightened restaurants to create the new Grand Strand Art Trail. The route can be followed independently or as part of an organized group outing. Among the venues are the Franklin G. Burroughs–Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum and the Rice Museum, where exhibits highlight the history and culture of South Carolina’s Georgetown County in the historic Old Market Building. Participating restaurants include the aptly named Art Burger Sushi Bar, which offers rotating exhibits of local artists, and the Collectors Cafe & Gallery, where the sizeable gallery provides a backdrop for a menu of Mediterranean cuisine; dining rooms accommodate 10 to 70 guests for private events.
• 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.
Getting Active & Outdoors
• Pack the swimsuits: Track Family Fun Park recently added a new Blaster Boats attraction, equipped with water cannons for lively “battles” that drench all participants. The park, located in North Myrtle Beach, also has two elevated electric go-kart tracks and a game arcade. Finish off the night with a dinner at The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood, a restaurant adjacent to the park with 11 dining rooms and capacity for 1,000 guests, as well as an antique nautical collection.
• Myrtle Beach is often singled out for its superior golf venues; the region ranked highly in Golfweek’s recent list of the “Best Courses You Can Play.” Top winners in the area include the Dunes Golf & Beach Club, a Robert Trent Jones signature course with its own oceanfront pool and beach. Group facilities include a ballroom that accommodates 500 guests for cocktails as well as two additional banquet rooms, each of which can host up to 75 attendees. Also ranking high is the picturesque Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, set on a former rice plantation graced with giant oak trees and Spanish moss. The club’s unique venues include the Caledonia Fish Shed, which has a gazebo and picnic tables for events of up to 75 people. The Inlet Sports Lodge, meanwhile, has a 1,600-square-foot outdoor courtyard and an 850-square-foot indoor club room that accommodates 75. And for an especially scenic setting, consider Azalea Row, which can host up to 400 guests in an open-air setting lined with soaring 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.
• Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach has become the first Certified Autism Center in South Carolina. The designation, awarded by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards, requires that staff members complete autism sensitivity and awareness training, to help them better deal with the safety and communication needs of visitors who have autism. The facility has also debuted programs for guests with autism, including Sensory Friendly Days and Sensory Friendly Camps. In addition, Ripley's Aquarium recently announced that it will open a new attraction called Penguin Playhouse in early 2020. The exhibit will house African penguins and feature large viewing windows. The aquarium, which has a maximum capacity of 3,200 for buyouts, offers a number of group‐friendly experiences, including diving with sharks, stingray encounters and overnight programs that includes accommodations in the Dangerous Reef Tunnel, a 340‐foot acrylic structure that is offers memorable views of the giant tank filled with sand.
• 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 - $117-$245
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 - $191-$291
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 - $160-$311