Myrtle Beach was our go-to summer place every year for several years. We would hook up the camper, load up the kids and the dogs, and head to Myrtle Beach State Park. One of my favorite state parks, Myrtle Beach State Park is a shady, private park with beach access. Every day we’d take our bikes or walk to the beach, and in the evenings we’d go back with the dogs (since they are allowed on the beach after 6 p.m.). We had our favorite locations – a fresh seafood store in Murrell’s Inlet, a touristy, kitschy all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant, a great little pizza joint, a quaint little antique store on King’s Highway, and the indoor flea market across the street from the campground. It became a running joke that we should just find an apartment in Myrtle Beach and stay there – it felt that much like home.
Three years ago, we decided to head somewhere different. My husband thought we should explore new locations, so we set off on different adventures to St. Augustine and New York. And although exploring new locations is exciting and fun, there’s something about Myrtle Beach that’s calling me back. Since summer is almost officially over and the kids are back in school, I won’t make it this year – but next year, we are heading back to our familiar stomping ground.
I have a feeling it won’t be as familiar, though. Big changes have happened in three years – there’s a new Sky Wheel attraction, for example. This looks wonderful and I think the idea of soaring 200 feet over the ocean in a glass-encased gondola is the perfect way to entice my family back to Myrtle Beach. Just last year, Myrtle Beach opened a 1.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk that varies from peaceful and natural to a carnival-like atmosphere complete with rides, arcades, and sidewalk cafes. If that doesn’t do it, there’s a new Pirates Voyage theater, complete with a five-course dinner and a live pirate show.
Unfortunately I have a long wait for my next summer vacation. First we have to get through football season, concert band season, the holiday season … but that doesn’t mean I can’t start planning. I can start thinking now about the familiar sights -- the vivid pinks and greens of the garish surf shops, the unspoiled natural areas of the state park – and start planning some new places to visit. Even though a place is comfortable and familiar, it can still be an adventure.