Recently Dave and I were invited down to Myrtle Beach for Blue Monday which is the unofficial “most depressing day of the year.” With winter hitting us hard here in Michigan, freezing temperatures, blowing snow, and gray skies, we were definitely ready to ward off Blue Monday with a trip to the beach.
Flights, accommodations, and a gift card were provided.
We had a fantastic trip! We enjoyed where we stayed, everything we did, and every place we ate, so much so we said we’d go back to all of them again on a future trip. Often as travel bloggers, we have a lot of highs and lows, hits and misses, but not this time. Our flights went smoothly, we enjoyed time on the beach, some sunshine, sand, shells, and so much more that we couldn’t have asked for a better trip.
Before heading out on this trip, we were aware that traveling to Myrtle Beach in January meant that many things might be closed. It’s the time of year for maintenance on many attractions, so before you book your travel if there’s anything specific you want to see and do, be sure you double check that it’s open prior to traveling.
A huge benefit to visiting Myrtle Beach this time of year is that we had many places to ourselves.
This meant that we were able to get some amazing photos that weren’t cluttered with strangers, we didn’t have to wait for kids to climb down or off things to snap a photo, and our meals came out of restaurant kitchens at blazing speeds (and tasted delicious too!).
Often when planning a trip it can be hard to decide what to do. We were given free reign to explore on our own, which was amazing! Before going I spent a lot of time on travel forums reading advice, looking at pictures on Pinterest, reading reviews on Yelp, and visiting the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau page for ideas when planning our itinerary.
We really enjoyed our trip and everything we did was perfect for us. If Kora & Logan were with us, we may have done things a bit differently (i.e. not as much sleeping in and staying up late!) but for the most part this plan would work for single travelers, as well as couples, and families.
So here goes. Our 3 Days In Myrtle Beach from start to finish:
Arrival – Noon
We flew in on American Airlines and the flight went well and arrived on time. I loved the view flying in – our first glimpse of the beach!
We walked across the street from the airport and picked up our rental car. The weather was in the 50’s so we left our light jackets on but rolled down our windows as we drove to our hotel to see if we could check in early.
Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes
We stayed in the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes and loved that the resort was on the north end of Myrtle Beach sandwiched between a golf course and beautiful homes, away from the hubbub. Our room wasn’t ready yet, which we thought might be the case. They took my phone number to call when it was.
Afternoon Day 1
Broadway at the Beach
Broadway at the Beach is a fun place to stroll around any time of day. It’s full of shops, restaurants, attractions, and live entertainment all surrounding water with wooden walkways and palm trees scattered throughout. We were hungry so we were happy to see the many choices for dining including:
- Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville
- Hard Rock Cafe
- Extreme Pizza
- Key West Grill
- King Kong Sushi
- Landry’s Seafood
- Rooster’s Restaurant & Bar
- …and many more.
We decided to grab lunch at Key West Grill and we were glad we did! The view was beautiful, overlooking the water.
- Key West Conch Chowder
- Mojito Grilled Chicken Breast
- Island Pork Loin
- Blackened Mahi Sandwich
- Key West Key Lime Pie
- Plantain Churro Sundae
After lunch we wandered around Broadway at the Beach doing a little shopping. Some of our favorite stores include:
- Del Sol
- It’s Sugar
- Marbles: The Brain Store
- The Mole Hole
There were some sculptures that caught our eye including one of stingrays and another of children and their parents and/or grandparents playing in water.
- Backstage Escape Maze
- Helicopter Adventures
- Old Tyme Portraits
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- Soar & Explore – zipline & ropes course
- …and many more
We had a great time at Broadway at the Beach and could see how you could easily spend an entire day or even two there especially in the warmer months when the Beach Rider Jet Boat and Myrtle Waves Water Park are open.
As we were wrapping up eating, shopping, and browsing, we received a call from the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes letting us know our room was ready. We headed over to the resort and checked in.
We took some time to unpack and then wandered around the resort. We were happy to see a beautiful indoor pool and hot tub to go along with the outdoor pool. There is also a lovely spa and a nice restaurant as well. Keep your eye out for an upcoming review of the resort with more photos.
Evening Day 1
We spent the early evening driving around town checking out the sites. When in Myrtle Beach we always enjoy seeing and playing at all the different putt-putt courses, but they were closed for maintenance this trip, all the same it was fun driving by and getting an almost behind the scenes look at them with the water drained out and the workers painting.
We then drove around the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade area. It was fun checking out all the little shops and restaurants along the way, seeing the Skywheel, driving past the Ripley’s attractions including Believe It Or Not, the Mirror Maze, and more. We also were amazed at the Skyscraper and Slingshot rides – they look like something our daughter Kora would be begging to try!
Liberty Tap Room
We chose Liberty Tap Room for dinner because of both it’s proximity to our hotel, the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes, but also because we were in the mood for a friendly tavern type atmosphere where we could enjoy good food while watching the latest NFL game.
We were extremely pleased with our food and while I’m not a big salad person, my Strawberry Spinach Salad was so delicious that I’ve been thinking about it ever since!
Dave loved his wings too. He ordered them hot and said they were done perfectly. Juicy but crisp at the same time, and just the right amount of heat.
- BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Southern Smothered Chicken
- Shrimp & Grits
- Chicken & Waffle
- BBQ Baby Back Ribs
- Smokehouse Burger
- Jerk Chicken Sandwich
On Thursdays starting January 5th, they are offering a Two For One Menu where you can enjoy two dinner entrees for the price of one. A great deal for some fantastic food!
After a long, fun day we headed back to the resort and crashed for the night.
Morning Day 2
Flapjacks Pancake House
We started the morning off with breakfast at Flapjacks Pancake House. The sign outside said, “Best Breakfast on the Beach” and Dave is a pancake connoisseur so we had to eat here and we were glad we did! The food was fabulous!
Dave had the Flapjack Breakfast with a side of hashbrowns and couldn’t decide whether he liked the pancakes, eggs, hashbrowns, or sausage more! I had a Belgian Waffle topped with whipped cream and strawberries and it was every bit as good as it sounds and looked.
The menu at Flapjacks Pancake House is extensive and you can order nearly anything you are in the mood for including:
- Traditional & Specialty Omelets
- A He-Man Breakfast
- Buttermilk Pancakes
- Belgian Waffles
- French Toast
- Eggs Any Style
- Pigs in a Blanket – sausage wrapped in pancakes, yum!
- Breakfast Burritos
- Crabcake Benedict
- A Variety of Skillet Breakfasts
- Breakfast Sandwiches
- … and much more.
After breakfast we headed back to Broadway at the Beach to go to Ripley’s Aquarium.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach
Dave and I always enjoy going to aquariums so we were really looking forward to visiting Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach. There were a number of different areas and the aquarium is very well designed allowing you to easily wind from one section to the next. We visited each one and loved all of the informative facts posted throughout.
We checked out Friendship Flats the stingray touch tank, loved the underwater view of sharks, sawfish, giant turtles, and more along the easy going walkway of the Dangerous Reef, learned a lot in the Living Gallery, stood in awe at the size of the sting rays in Ray Bay and all the different types of jellyfish in Planet Jellies.
We enjoyed the aquarium and know that next time we are in town we have to bring Kora & Logan. It’s a fantastic place that brings you up close and personal with underwater life and broadens your horizons at the same time. The Dangerous Reef or underwater shark tunnel is the longest we have been on and gives you an incredible number of views and angles of all of the creatures in the reef and if you want to walk through or ride the walkway again you can!
There is also a glass bottom boat ride as well as opportunities to take a behind the scenes tour or swim with stingrays for an additional fee, all of which would be incredibly memorable experiences!
Afternoon & Evening Day 2
Hammocks & Beach
After the aquarium we went back to the hotel excited to explore the grounds a bit more and hit the beach – it was a bit warmer and we were excited to spend some time outside. While wandering around the pool area of the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes we discovered hammocks! Lots of them! They looked so comfortable we had to give them a try for a few minutes.
Once we finally decided to get up from the hammocks we headed out to the beach.
It was wonderful feeling the sand on our feet, seeing the ocean, and hearing the waves crash. We walked around a bit so happy to be at the beach in January that we even dipped our toes in the ocean.
After cleaning up from the beach, we went out for dinner. Carolina Roadhouse isn’t too far from the resort and we were amazed by the menu. So many delicious dishes to choose from!
I got the Club Sandwich, which hit the spot.
We were very happy with our meals and also thought there were a number of other items on the menu that looked fantastic:
- Basket of Croissants
- Roadhouse Chef’s Salad
- Monster Burger
- Very Big BBQ Sandwiches
- N’awlins Chicken
- Apple Walnut Cinnamon Pie
- Key Lime Pie
After dinner we headed back to the resort and turned in for the night, ready for a big day tomorrow.
Morning Day 3
On our last day the weather was in the high 60’s and mostly sunny so we decided it would be the perfect day to visit Brookgreen Gardens – a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve. We wandered around the gardens admiring the sculptures and the flowers that were in bloom.
While there we saw many of the volunteers taking down the holiday lights. Even though it was bright outside and the lights weren’t on, we were amazed at how many lights there were and marveled at how beautiful it all must have looked lit. One of the volunteers said it takes 3-4 months to put up all the lights and 2-3 months to take down. Dave and I agreed that we’d love to come down to see everything decorated for the holidays sometime, it just looked like it would be mesmerizing.
While at the gardens we visited the animals in the nature preserve and saw horses, fox, otters, and eagles.
Afternoon Day 3
Simply Southern Smokehouse
After Brookgreen Gardens we were hungry so we headed to Simply Southern Smokehouse. I had been very excited to visit this southern buffet restaurant because it was rated #2 on Yelp. It did not disappoint.
- Pulled Pork
- Fried Chicken
- BBQ Chicken
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Mashed Potates
- Sweet Potato Soufflé
- Green Beans
- Collard Greens
- Peach Cobbler
- Oreo Chocolate Pudding
- Ice Cream
- …and so much more!
The food was amazing! I couldn’t get enough of the Sweet Potato Soufflé or Peach Cobbler – phenomenal! If you go at dinner time they also have BBQ Ribs and Mac & Cheese. Yum!
I highly recommend a meal at Simply Southern Smokehouse on your trip to Myrtle Beach. Just be sure to check the website in the winter because they close for a week or two for winter cleaning and repairs.
After our late lunch, we headed back to the resort to get back out on the beach to enjoy the sunshine.
Beach & Shelling
We spent the afternoon walking along the beach and doing some shelling and loved having the beach to ourselves.
After all the walking and the sun started setting, Dave wanted to relax in the resort’s hot tub before dinner to loosen up his muscles so while he did that I was excited to dive back into a book I had started on the plane.
Evening Day 3
We wanted to do a bit of shopping and had heard good things about Tanger Outlets, which wasn’t too far from our hotel. So after relaxing we drove out there. I was impressed by the number of stores, there’s something for everyone. Some of my favorites include:
- The North Face
- LOFT Outlet
- Nine West Outlet
- Kitchen Collection
- Disney Outlet
- Harry & David
- and many others.
River City Cafe
For our last night’s dinner we decided to try out River City Cafe. We had driven by it a few times and it wasn’t too far from the hotel. It’s brightly color, beachy, decor had caught our eye and drew us in. When we entered the restaurant, we were the only ones there!
Once we ordered our food, we couldn’t believe no one else was in the restaurant, the food was fantastic! I got a Grilled Ham & Cheese sandwich with sweet potato waffle fries and Dave ordered the Nacho Crunch Burger which was topped with guacamole, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, spicy chipotle mayo, and Doritos. Yep, Doritos!
The menu was impressive, full of all kinds of wildly creative burgers we’d love to try sometime including:
- California Pizza Burger
- Cheetos Burger
- Fork & Knife Burger
- Peanut Butter Burger
- Fried Mac & Cheese Burger
- Three Alarm Fire Burger
- Texas BBQ Burger
- and many others.
After dinner we headed back to the resort to pack and get ready for our early flight the next day.
We had a fantastic time in Myrtle Beach and crammed a lot into 3 days. As I mentioned above I don’t think we’ve ever said that we would go back to every single attraction and restaurant at a destination, but this time it’s true. We enjoyed every minute of our trip as well as our time on the beach, shopping, dining, visiting attractions, and relaxing.
The last evening of our trip there was a beautiful sunset which was the perfect sendoff as we headed back to Michigan.
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