Saturday, July 28, 2012

North Myrtle Beach Nature Activities

If you are lucky enough to be on vacation this week, chances are you already have your week planned out with beach activities, golf, shopping, or visits to the many famous attractions around Myrtle Beach. But if you find a gap in your schedule and want to treat your family to an all-day adventure, head south to Huntington Beach State Park.

The park is just outside of Murrell’s Inlet, south of Myrtle Beach on Highway 17. For a small admission fee, you can view an incredibly diverse southern coastal environment, which has been called one of the best spots for bird watching on the east coast. You can even spot wild alligators and other wildlife from the numerous observation decks. Huntington’s beach is one of the best around, and is typically less crowded than Myrtle Beach. If you want some exercise, rent a bike and explore the park’s 26 miles of bike trails! You can even stop for a picnic lunch in one of the public shelters by the beach. Another great site to visit at Huntington is Atalaya, a fortress by the sea that was built almost 100 years ago for sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington.

Atalaya Castle at Huntington Beach State Park

Brookgreen Gardens is just down the road from Huntington Park and will take your breath away with its many acres of botanical gardens. Take a self-guided tour through the expertly landscaped grounds, with several displays of flowers, shrubs, trees, and sculptures. Enjoy a relaxing walk around the gardens and admire the beauty of nature.

Pawley’s Island and Litchfield Beach are small beach towns just south of Brookgreen Gardens, and are worth stopping for. Little stores like the Hammock Shop invite you in with their local crafts and southern charm. Have dinner in one of the small seafood restaurants in either town, or in Murrell’s Inlet on your way back. You won’t find fresher seafood anywhere on the beach! South Carolina’s environment is unique and interesting. Take a closer look at the natural splendor and quiet beauty of the area while you’re here on vacation – you will not regret it!

By Brandon Moss of Ocean Drive Beach Rentals

Monday, July 23, 2012

North Myrtle Beach’s “Endless Summer”

One of the greatest benefits of living or vacationing in South Carolina is the mild climate. The winter is relatively warm and snow-less, the spring is cool and green, and the summer weather lasts well into autumn. Of course early to mid-summer is the season of choice for vacations, especially for families with children that head back to school in August. As the tourist exodus occurs around the beginning of the school season, it leaves almost half of the summer open for prime vacationing opportunities.

The period from mid-August until late September may be the best time to take a trip out to the Grand Strand. First, the rental rates for condos and houses decrease dramatically. It is not uncommon to find a condo for half the cost of a weekly rental in July. If you were not able to book a trip to North Myrtle Beach due to price, look for great deals in September. Accommodations become much more affordable after Labor Day, even for luxury properties.

Dates are also more flexible. Most rental companies will only allow a weekly stay during the summer, but partial week rentals become available in September. If it’s a weekend vacation you want, then plan your trip for a week or two after Labor Day. You’ll enjoy great summer weather and a welcoming beach community at a fraction of the cost of a typical summer vacation!

The Cherry Grove Beach in North Myrtle Beach

Perhaps the best reason to plan a trip for late summer is the diminishing crowd. After most people head home around the first or second week in August, the Myrtle Beach area will become much less congested. Traffic is lighter, restaurant wait times are shorter, and the beach and popular attractions are less crowded. You’ll have room to spread out, which will make relaxing much more effortless. The Atlantic Ocean stays warm until October, so don’t worry about swimming in cold water. Come stretch out on the beach, catch some waves, and enjoy North Myrtle Beach’s “endless summer”!

By Brandon Moss of Ocean Drive Beach Rentals

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Shopping in North Myrtle Beach

Perhaps the best thing about vacationing in the Grand Strand is that there is something for everyone. Kids have museums, Ripley’s Aquarium, mini golf, and water parks. Men have fishing and golf. And women can take a day of their own and shop ‘til they drop! With several world-class shopping outlets and establishments throughout Myrtle Beach, the deals and merchandise are endless!

If you want to take a ladies’ day out and go shopping from North Myrtle Beach, go south to the Tanger Outlets, located on Hwy 17 at Hwy 22. There are literally hundreds of stores with designer brands from every category. From American Eagle to Zales Jewelry and everything in between (including a food court serving top-quality food), you could spend your whole day at this famous shopping Mecca!

But you don’t have to stop there; drive further south to Broadway at the Beach to browse the outdoor mall and boardwalk. One-of-a-kind shops line the cobblestone “streets”, inviting you in with interesting gadgets, homemade fudge and candy, novelty gifts, designer clothes and accessories, and exotic d├ęcor. While you’re there, check out Celebrity Square, an array of fine dining restaurants and nightclubs. Bring your kids to Broadway at the Beach and treat them to customized souvenirs like teddy bears at Build-a-Bear or tricked-out model cars at RideMakerz.

The Market Common at Myrtle Beach is truly shopping at its best. Upscale stores and restaurants are encased in historic-style architecture, with private lofts above that house year-round residents. This creates a "town square" kind of feel, complete with a central park for special events. After your full day of shopping, pamper yourself with a massage at Dolce Lusso Salon & Spa, and have dinner at P.F. Chang’s or Tommy Bahama.

The Market Common at Myrtle Beach

On your way back to North Myrtle Beach, stop at Barefoot Landing to check out the gift shops and take a walk across the lake on their wooden bridges. There are plenty of specialty shops and unique restaurants, where you can relax and have drinks and dessert. There is simply too much shopping to do in one day, so you might have to split your time between a few days, or just hit one or two of these shopping complexes. Also, you are never too far from a beach store when you vacation in North Myrtle Beach. It seems there is one on every corner! Pick up beach towels, gifts, and souvenirs at shops like Eagles or Pacific Beachwear. When you check in to your Ocean Drive Beach Rental, ask a friendly staff member for suggestions on shopping!

By Brandon Moss of Ocean Drive Beach Rentals

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Traffic Tips for Your North Myrtle Beach Vacation

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, North Myrtle Beach and the surrounding area become a melting pot of vacationers, hosting people from all over the eastern half of the United States. The Grand Strand is a great drive-to destination, but with so many cars on our roads, traffic can become a bit of a headache unless you are familiar with the short-cuts and alternate routes. Keep the following tips in mind while driving around town, and they will save you some frustration and valuable vacation time.

There is a string of small towns surrounding Myrtle Beach, from the border of North Carolina all the way to Georgetown, about 60 miles south. Highway 17 conveniently connects all these towns together, and makes navigating between them simple. But in the summer, simple does not mean quick. While some might enjoy a two-hour cruise from North Myrtle Beach to Pawley’s Island, most vacationers are trying to get somewhere in as little time as possible. Highway 31, also called Carolina Bays Pkwy, was built to relieve traffic on Highway 17, giving drivers a quick alternate route from Little River to Murrell’s Inlet. Vacationers reap the benefit of this freeway, particularly if they are going from their condo in North Myrtle Beach to the popular attractions in Myrtle Beach. Getting to Highway 31 is easy; just head west on Main St, cross Highway 17, and after about 2 miles, take a left onto SC 31. From there you can exit near the Tanger Outlet Stores off Highway 22, Take Robert Grissom Pkwy to Broadway at the Beach, or get off on Highway 501 for access to Myrtle Beach.

Highway 31 near North Myrtle Beach

If you’re not going far and just want to drive to Restaurant Row or Barefoot Landing, you can take a short-cut to avoid Highway 17 and its heavy traffic. For guests staying in Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, or Crescent Beach, you can take Ocean Blvd as far as 27th Ave South, and cut over to Highway 17. For those staying in Windy Hill, you can take Ocean Blvd all the way to 48th Ave South. Ocean Blvd has lower speed limits, but is less congested and has fewer traffic lights. If you do find yourself stuck in traffic, try not to let it ruin your day. You can amuse yourself and your family by planning the rest of your trip, talking about your favorite parts of your vacation, or seeing how many states are represented by license plate. While you’re at our office getting the keys for your rental property, ask a staff member for other tips for traffic and attractions. We’d love to help you!

By Brandon Moss of Ocean Drive Beach Rentals