Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

As the largest resort along South Carolina's 60-mile Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is the East Coast's ultimate vacation hub. The town teems with summertime action: the population explodes during summer months from 26,000 to over 400,000 on any given day and includes tourists from around the globe.

Of the many beaches dotting the Strand, Myrtle Beach boasts the greatest number of amusement and water parks, restaurants and live entertainment. As an added bonus, the beach's location is in proximity to an eclectic assortment of museums, nature preserves and outlet shopping. Over 100 golf courses are a club's stroke away, and most are open to visiting guests. Despite having so much to do, it's impossible to overlook the biggest attraction of all - sun, surf and lots of sand! Myrtle Beach's actual beach is an extensive stretch of silky white sand, and offers opportunities for fishing, swimming, sunbathing, sailing and surfing. The region is rich with activities, and has successfully maintained the image as a family getaway, with most attractions, entertainment and eateries being geared toward families. In fact, many area hotels offer water rides, activity programs and playgrounds for youngsters.

Best Luxury Accommodations: Kingston Plantation

Kingston Resorts

Well-heeled travelers will find that the Kingston Plantation exceeds their expectations of luxury accommodations. The plantation is 145 acres of gardens, woods and lakes, and features a variety of well-appointed lodgings to suit guests' needs, including a Hilton resort, an Embassy Suites Hotel, Oceanfront Condominium Towers, Lakeview Lodges, town homes and villas. Families will love the property's on-site activities, including a half-mile of beach, a 50,000-square-foot sport and health club, SPLASH! Beach Club for kids and a sprawling Caribbean water playground.

Best Bed and Breakfast: Cypress Inn

The Cypress Inn
The Cypress Inn
Experience the decadence of southern hospitality at the Cypress Inn, located just outside Myrtle Beach. The inn overlooks the gentle Waccamaw River, far enough from the coast's touristy bustle to be a peaceful escape. Twelve unique guest rooms are richly decorated with satin drapes and hand-carved mahogany furniture; some even feature views of the marina and fireplaces. For an extra fee, guests can indulge in a trip to the day spa, or take advantage of other amenities such as flower bouquets, chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne - all will be brought to your room.

Best Family Accommodations: Coral Beach Resort and Suites

Coral Beach Resort & Suites
Coral Beach Resort & Suites
Families are hard-pressed to find a dull moment while staying at the family-oriented Coral Beach Resort and Suites located in the heart of Myrtle Beach. Many of the guest rooms have ocean views, and management's variety of seasonal packages ensure a great value. When they're not splashing in the ocean, kids will enjoy the resort's 10 pools, Lazy River tube ride, on-site bowling alley and snack bar, and children's activity center filled with games and jungle gym equipment. While the kids play, parents can unwind at one of the restaurants or pubs.

Best Local Seafood: The Sea Captain's House

The Sea Captain's House
Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Sea Captain's House has been serving up Myrtle Beach's tastiest seafood for more than half a century, while gaining almost legendary status. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with freshly caught and prepared seafood. Among the more decadent breakfast items are the Seafarer Omelet, made with crabmeat, shrimp, mushrooms and cheese and the crab cakes Benedict, dripping with hollandaise sauce. For dinner, indulge in the gluttonous Captain's Platter - shrimp cocktail, clam chowder, salad and a seafood platter (fried or broiled) of shrimp, scallops, flounder, oysters and deviled crab. No reservations are taken, so plan to arrive early in summer!

Best Mix of Dining and Culture: Collector's Cafe and Gallery

Collector's Cafe and Gallery
Collector's Cafe and Gallery
If the souvenir shops and neon signs of Myrtle Beach get under your skin, the Collector's Cafe will come as a welcome, cultured respite. The brainchild of artists Mike Smith and Thomas Davis, the cafe serves up a mix of funky atmosphere, food and fabulous art. Approximately 45 artists are showcased in the cafe's six different rooms, and nearly every object in the place is for sale. Among the enclaves is the gallery dining room with its 30-foot-suspended sculpture, the lounge - a hotspot for night owls seeking drinks, a coffee shop with hand-painted tables and a wine bar featuring painted tiles depicting the winemaking process. The cafe is modeled after 17th century art bistros in Europe, a rare glimpse of culture at Myrtle Beach. Not into art? The fusion-inspired cuisine has earned itself a reputation on its own merit.

Best Outdoor Adventure: Alligator Adventure

Alligator Adventure
Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
The unimaginable is possible! Cozying up to crocodiles and alligators is easy at Alligator Adventure - an 11-acre outdoor reptile zoo. Visitors will come face-to-face with over 700 of these fierce creatures, and will also encounter a variety of snakes, lizards, giant tortoises, frogs and exotic birds. The property's natural swamps and marshes are easily traversed via wooden boardwalk, which guests follow as they are guided through the wilderness. Find out when feeding times are and watch as the alligators chow down on giant rats!

Best Golf Course: International World Tour Golf Links

World Tour Golf Links
World Tour Golf Links
After teeing off at International World Tour Golf Links, players travel the world in a round of golf - experiencing the best courses from across the globe. The World Tour course features 27 holes derived from the world's most admired courses, including Augusta National, Pine Valley and St. Andrew's. This golfer's fantasy was the brainchild of creator Mel Graham, whose inspiration includes 23 courses spanning six countries. Bronze plaques along the course describe the inspiration for each hole. An ambassador greets guests upon arrival and guides golfers around the immaculate course, making for a unique and upscale golfing experience.

Best Day Trip: Brookgreen Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens
Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
A lovely day can be spent strolling and exploring the 300 acres of Brookgreen Gardens. Operating for over 70 years, Brookgreen is the oldest and largest sculpture garden to showcase American figurative sculpture, and is also home to a Lowcountry Trail where native wildlife can be observed. Over 550 works of art from more than 300 artists are found in a series of gardens divided into well-manicured "garden rooms." Tours, excursions and seasonal programs allow visitors to gain full knowledge of the art and nature in their surroundings.

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