Summer vacation is precious, so choosing a convenient destination that offers a bit of everything in beautiful surroundings is the best way to get the most out of your time away. Whether it’s a full week and or a quick weekend jaunt, Myrtle Beach is the nearby escape that hosts a summer-full of cultural events and is home to both classic and cutting edge culinary experiences — not to mention the roughly 60 miles of beautiful beach for relaxing where there’s always room for your towel. While the city’s festival calendar is packed year-round, these are upcoming fests you don’t want to miss, along with standout restaurants and restful accommodations.
Kicking off Summer with the Carolina Country Music Festival
The unofficial start to summer in Myrtle Beach is the Carolina Country Music Festival. This year’s lineup featured the likes of legends like Darius Rucker, Eric Church, and Luke Combs along with up and coming artists like Outlaw Apostles and Leo Brooks. The three-night concert features music right on the boardwalk with warm summer breezes rolling in off the Atlantic. And the party doesn’t stop when the festival is over—the city’s many live music venues keep the party going all summer long, and you can get a head start on next summer’s fun by booking now for 2022.
For a contrast to the buzz of the stage, book a dinner reservation at the Fowler Dining Room, a student-operated restaurant at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach. Home to an always-changing menu, the restaurant prioritizes local ingredients and highlights the culinary culture of the region. Expect contemporary takes on Southern classics along with Latin and Caribbean influences that reflect the makeup of the Myrtle Beach area.
While Fowler Dining Room offers a taste of the next generation of culinary talent, the best of traditional beach fare is on the menu at one of Myrtle Beach’s most iconic restaurants: The Original Benjamin's Calabash Seafood. Across the 170-item buffet you’ll find the literal bounty of sea on offer. Crab legs are a favorite here, but don’t miss the flounder and lightly fried shrimp cooked in the Calabash-style – a particular way of battering and frying seafood that originated 30 minutes north of Myrtle Beach in Calabash, NC.
For a truly memorable hotel experience, look to the Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. Both close to the action and tucked away in seclusion, the Inn features access to a private beach club and an onsite infinity pool for all-day relaxation. If you’re looking to work up a sweat, there’s a tennis club, two renowned golf courses, and a complete fitness center.
Soak up Southern Carolina Culture at the Conway Riverfest
Only 15 miles inland from Myrtle Beach along the Waccamaw River lies the charming, historic riverfront town of Conway, SC. Every summer, the Conway Riverfest brings visitors from around the country to kick back and slow down. Situated on the lush banks of the Waccamaw River, the festival showcases local cuisine and artisans. And it wouldn’t be summer without a fireworks show and parade.
While visiting Conway, make sure to stop by a few local restaurants. The town is home to a bustling culinary scene, thanks to the town’s proximity to great ingredients and Myrtle Beach. Stop by the Crafty Rooster for an in-house brewed craft beer. Then head to Bonfire, a local favorite that offers both top notch Southern barbecue and world class tacos, all served alongside regional craft beer. Expect live music and a lively scene on the weekends at this riverfront hotspot.
After a day on the river, head back to the beach for a stay at the Grande Shores Ocean Resort in Myrtle Beach. Wake up on the ocean and head for a morning dip in the warm waters of the Atlantic before posting up poolside for some rest and relaxation.
Immerse Yourself in History and Culture
Chronicling Myrtle Beach’s long and fascinating history, the Horry County Museum plays host to a rich calendar of exhibits and events. Upcoming exhibitions include a photography show highlighting milestones in the area’s history as well as a concert of musicians playing inspirational songs that came out of the Great Depression. Check the museum’s events page for the latest programming.
After a visit to the museum, keep the history theme going with a meal at the Sea Captain’s House. Though the restaurant has stood tall at its current location for over half a century, the Sea Captain’s House traces its roots back to 1930. Famous for its fresh, expertly-prepared seafood, this mainstay is famous for its broiled crab cakes, jambalaya, and locally caught flounder.
No exploration of history in the South is complete without acknowledging slavery and its legacy on both the region, the country, and the world. The Hopsewee Plantation is 30 miles south of Myrtle Beach but it offers visitors an immersive experience into the past. The site is renowned for its tours led by Gullah descendants, a regional group that traces its ancestry back to West Africa. After a tour of the grounds, take a hands-on traditional sweetgrass basket weaving workshop where you’ll learn this traditional craft and its impact on life in the lowcountry.
Now the only problem is figuring out how many things you can pack into your time in Myrtle Beach — because with so many options, it’s nearly impossible to choose. For more information on all, head over to VisitMyrtleBeach.com.