Myrtle Beach offers 60 miles of soft, sandy beach on the East Coast’s Grand Strand, along with some distinctly different attractions. Here are 5 activities groups can experience after 5 p.m.:
1. The historic village of Murrells Inlet is widely considered to be the “seafood capital of South Carolina,” and its famed Marshwalk offers a half mile of boardwalk lined with award-winning waterfront dining options. Overlooking a pristine salt marsh, the many restaurants boast fresh local catches and the opportunity to sample several distinct Carolina cuisines, from Lowcountry cooking to the Calabash style.
Calabash takes its name from a small fishing village on the southeast coast of North Carolina, but is ubiquitous throughout the region. It involves seafood such as deviled crab, shrimp, oysters, scallops and whiting, lightly fried in a cornmeal coating. It is typically served with coleslaw, french fries and hush puppies (small balls of deep fried seasoned cornmeal, which take their name from when hunters and fishermen would “hush the puppies” by feeding the delicious treats to their dogs during cookouts and fish fries.)
Lowcountry cooking originates in the coastal estuaries of South Carolina and Georgia. It absorbs a cultural influence from France, Spain, West Africa and the Caribbean, and has much in common with Cajun and New Orleans cooking styles. The Lowcountry Boil, also known as Frogmore Stew, is similar to the Crawfish Boil popular throughout Louisiana, although typically milder. It includes ingredients such as shrimp, corn on the cob, sausage and red potatoes, cooked together in a large pot.
2. South Carolina is steeped in tales of the supernatural, and Myrtle Beach has more than its share of ghost stories. Join a walking tour around the historic beach town and learn about its famous hauntings, such as the ghost of the notorious pirate Blackbeard, who operated in the region; the tragic tale of doomed Alice Flagg; and the mysterious Gray Man of Pawleys Island. Alice Flagg, and her brother, Dr. Allard Flagg, were a prominent family within South Carolina’s colonial aristocracy, and her ghost is believed to haunt the area endlessly searching for her lost ring from a doomed relationship, while the Pawleys Island Gray Man was a young soldier who was thrown from his horse and broke his neck on his way home to marry his sweetheart.
3. On the lighter side, the Carolina Shag is a regional style of swing dance that originated in the Ocean Drive section of Myrtle Beach in the 1950s and 1960s, and has seen many revivals over the years. Myrtle Beach fixture Fat Harold’s Beach Club—despite a change of location—still endures in the downtown district since it opened in 1962. Its 50’s diner-style facade and sawdust-covered dance floor evoke a vanished age of malt shop rhythms, while its interior is like a museum of Beach Music history. Dance lessons are available, offering groups a chance to learn the basics of the Carolina Shag steps, or they can just sit back and watch the experts take to the floor.
4. Myrtle Beach has a thriving art scene, with galleries such as the Myrtle Beach Art Museum, housing a collection of works by both historic and contemporary Southern artists. Or unleash your group’s creativity by booking a two-hour wine and painting party at Wine and Design, conveniently located on North Kings Hwy, where local artists will guide attendees in creating their own masterpieces. There is a calendar of regular scheduled events that you can join in on, or you can book the studio for a private party, teambuilding session or corporate event.
5. Billed on its signage as “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” and located 50 yards from the Atlantic Ocean, The Bowery has been a Myrtle Beach tradition since opening in 1942. The venerable honky tonk saloon has no dance floor and serves only one unnamed draft beer delivered by the fistful, but its southern hospitality and live country music has been a magnet for decades.
In the 1970s, the country supergroup Alabama was the house band; the current house band is Lee Travis and The Bounty Hunters, who perform for enthusiastic crowds six nights a week. The waiters have a reputation for entertaining the crowd as well, and one of their number holds the world record for carrying 34 mugs of beer without a tray. For a broader selection of ice cold beers and a full menu of southern cuisine, the Bowery is attached to Duffy’s Bar and Grill, which offers specialty burgers, wings, shrimp baskets and more.