Spooky Ways to Spend Halloween in Myrtle Beach

Traveling during the holidays can be lots of fun, especially when visiting Myrtle Beach.  Halloween is quickly approaching and there are numerous activities to participate in while touring the Myrtle Beach area.  Whether looking for something to do with the family or a place to party, Myrtle Beach is the destination for endless fun throughout this creative, fun, and spooky season. You can be certain Myrtle Beach will get you in the mood for the Halloween traditions with costumes, sweets, haunted houses, and more!

If searching for family-friendly Halloween activities, you may choose from various Grand Strand attractions, such as trick or treating, or costume contests. Ripley’s Haunted Adventure opens its doors to visitors of all ages with a thrilling haunted house, high-pitched screams and scary effects. Live actors prowl behind every corner of this spooky asylum, terrorizing your every step.

Myrtle Beach Halloween - children having fun

Boardwalk fright nights on the Boardwalk make walking with zombies possible. Stop by the Nightmare Haunted House on 10th Avenue North on Ocean Boulevard and face the shivering evil laugh of a crazy clown as it haunts you up and down the dark corridors. Good luck finding your way without being followed!

Many trick or treating events and costume contests will be held at various locations throughout the Grand Strand. For example, the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk and Barefoot Landing will both be holding children’s costume contests, as well as trick or treating and other enjoyable activities.  Barefoot Landing will even include a pet costume contest!  Other fun spots include Broadway at the Beach, Market Commons, North Myrtle Beach, and both Tanger Outlets.

Myrtle Beach Halloween - Decorations

 Halloween parties may be your choice of entertainment. Captain Quarter’s Resort sponsors a family-friendly Halloween costume party and contest, with prizes awarded for various age groups from children to adults. They also have a family category for families who dress up as a group. The Children’s Museum of South Carolina offers games, candy, and activities from five different decades: 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s on Oct. 24, from 5-7 p.m. Riley's Aquarium's Boo-Quarium Bash will take place Oct. 25 from 3-8 p.m., featuring a costume parade, build-a-scarecrow workshop, and a scavenger hunt.

Riplaye's Aquarium Halloween Party

If this Halloween involves more of an adult theme, there also are plenty of exciting adult events.  Broadway at the Beach and Murrells Inlet Marshwalk are both holding adult costume contests with great prizes. Celebrations Nitelife at Broadway at the Beach will be throwing a Halloween night bash and costume party with a DJ and loads of fun.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Halloween

Myrtle Beach is definitely the hot spot for the Halloween season. Family-friendly fun and adult entertainment are both options all throughout The Grand Strand. So don’t miss out on the costume contests, parties, trick or treating, or just a plain fun time! Why would one search anywhere else to spend Halloween when there are so many exhilarating choices in Myrtle Beach? Just pick your haunt-- an amazing time and spooky memories will be had. Happy Halloween!

Enjoy Cultural Diversity at the Irish-Italian Festival in North Myrtle Beach this Weekend

I may not have many aunts, uncles, cousins, or other family members to be a part of my daily life, but I never miss an opportunity to join my dear Irish and Italian friends for a pint of green beer and  a lot of good cheer. Both Irish-Americans and Italian-Americans have an enormous sense of pride associated with their heritage, visible even in a small beach town like North Myrtle Beach.

There may be a nip in the air and some color in the maple trees while we say good bye to the summer, but we switch from fun to more fun after Labor Day in North Myrtle Beach. Following the tradition started 11 years ago, the City of North Myrtle Beach puts together another ambitious Irish Italian Festival. Downtown Main Street running, into Ocean Drive, will fill up once again with more than 15,000 merry people on Sept. 27. Visitors and residents will be ready to celebrate the joyful mixture of cultures with street performers, arts and crafts vendors, and dance groups.
Irish-Italian Festival - Dance
Image courtesy of Bill Burris
Two stages of live entertainment will be set up on Main Street. The Irish stage will be at a very strategic location, right in front of  Flynn's Irish Tavern; while the Italian stage will be placed near the junction of Main Street and Hillside Drive.

North Myrtle Beach is, by definition, a family-friendly beach town—so, be sure to  bring the children with you. A dedicated children's area will include  street magicians, balloon art, inflatables, and face painting.

My wife and I are anxious to taste the food from the local restaurants, including, but not limited to, the spicy grilled sausages, pasta, and pizza. Nothing bad can ever come out of a competition between restaurants , each trying hard to win the title for the best entrée, best decorated, and best dessert.

If you think you have what it takes, you may enter into Claudio’s Spaghetti Eating Contest, sponsored by Villa Romana. First to clear his or her plate (without using  hands, of course) wins bragging rights and a stylish plaque.
Irish-Italian Eating Contest
Image courtesy of The City of North Myrtle Beach - Parks and Recreation
The festival continues with much celebration around  the Irish and Italian gifts of music, food and culture. Come down to Main Street this Saturday for the North Myrtle Beach Irish-Italian Festival. Make sure to bring a lawn chair and a beach blanket with you to sit and enjoy the shows. For more details, visit the City of North Myrtle Beach website.

Go Ape to Live Life Adventurously in North Myrtle Beach

Some people are adrenaline seekers, thrilled by amazing rides. Others are simply in love with nature, looking for natural trails and difficult climbs. But what if you can combine the two? That is exactly what North Myrtle Beach has amazingly achieved with Go Ape, South Carolina’s first Zip Line and Treetop Adventure course.

Located just minutes from the popular Grand Strand, Go Ape's six-acre adventure ground is set within the newly opened North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex, although far from being a typical park addition. The course takes you a few times across a 25-acre clear blue lake on the Southeast side of the park.  The views are simply stunning as you zip over the water from one side of the lake to the next.

The course, which takes a couple hours to complete, takes young or old through five different zip lines, nine ladders and about 40 obstacles, as well as Tarzan swings with names like Spider Web, Zigzag Bridge, Flying Carpet and Jungle Crossing to test your strength both mentally and physically.

Remember that old tree house you used to climb in the back yard when you were a kid? That was maybe a simple warm up for the amazing zip line that sweeps you across the forest canopy and ending with a spectacular crash into a giant net. How's that for feeling like Tarzan for a moment?

We all know that even Johnny Weissmuller practiced before shooting for Tarzan, so before you get equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners, you receive a 30-minute safety crash course and training. Then, you can get your adrenaline pumping, free to fly on zip lines, swing through the trees, tap into your inner ape and monkey around.

I found Go Ape North Myrtle Beach Site Manager Evan Dwyer working hard on a hot Sunday afternoon. He stopped for a minute to talk with me and excitedly shared his enthusiasm and joy over the opening of the new course. He kindly offered me a few technical details. Evan assured me that you may be hanging in the trees, but you are not lost in the forest, since instructors are always on hand, regularly patrolling the course. You have to be 4'7'' and 10 years-old or older to participate in Go Ape. Also, if you are not 18 years of age, you have to be supervised by an adult. Please say "hi" if you happen to see the assiduous Evan Dwyer around the adventure course.

The Go Ape Treetop Adventure course in North Myrtle Beach is an excellent al fresco activity for families, friends and groups. South Carolina’s first treetop and zip line course will open August 30.

Plan your beach vacation with Thomas Beach Vacations. Choose one of our oceanfront condos or beach homes here and Go Ape in North Myrtle Beach.

Trippo - The Premier Water Slide in North Myrtle Beach

He took the final step up the ladder, hesitantly, eyes wide open, browsing the beach left and right for familiar faces. Nobody was there to hold his hand when he sat down at the top of the slide, with the cold water flowing down by his side. That was the beauty of it: to find the inner strength and face the challenge! He closed his eyes and boldly let himself slide, with a final gasp. ... The unknown welcomed him with joy and a huge splash.

My son has just tamed the beast, the giant "Trippo," a huge inflatable water slide placed for the summer in North Myrtle Beach. This was his first ride on a giant inflatable water slide and he enjoyed every moment of it, just like many other kids on the beach—judging by the long line of children anxiously waiting to climb up the back of the giant.

And what a climb it is...standing 40-feet tall, Trippo needs the brave sliders to climb many tall stairs before getting a chance to glide down one of its three 170-foot long shuts. The blue giant, strategically set up on the beach between 1st and 2nd Avenues South in North Myrtle Beach, is open daily between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, from 10:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.

I will always remember the look on my son's face after he got off the chute on his first slide down the Trippo. I only saw that look in a movie with Cervantes' Don Quijote de la Mancha after the ingenious gentleman won the battle with the mean dragon—in his mind, a mere windmill for the rest of us, simple paysans. My son was excited and proud, ready to try it again... and again... and again. ...

There are few things contributing more to a successful family vacation than happy children, getting excited and burning out their energy on the beach. That's exactly what my son did, climbing up the Trippo's stairs, sliding down the curved shuts on the side or catching up speed on the main one, rotating on his back or gliding on his belly, just to end at the bottom in a big, happy splash.

If you happen to be in North Myrtle Beach, let your children experience Trippo. It is well worth the $3/ride or the $20/day wristband for unlimited rides. Tickets and wristbands are available a few feet away, at Ocean Park. For a perfect beach vacation, choose one of our oceanfront vacation rentals from our large selection here and add unforgettable memories to your family trip at the beach with Trippo.

Experience the Ultimate Fondue Effect at The Melting Pot Restaurant in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is... Well, it has never been easy for me to finish this sentence since my experience here has always been so rich, colorful, intense and vibrant. Another adjective has made its way through lately, and that is "tasteful!" A visit to the Myrtle Beach area is delicious any time of the year. One thing is for sure: Myrtle Beach is taking food very seriously.

A defining aspect of the Grand Strand dining scene is its endless variety. From the mom-and-pop restaurants on Main Street North Myrtle Beach to the upscale places of Murrells Inlet or Pawleys Island where condiments like ketchup are a sacrilege. This area can satisfy any gourmet's fine palate.

I have been looking recently for a relaxing dining place to spend some quality family dinner time so I decided to try The Melting Pot in Myrtle Beach. I've learned about the place from a good friend who was absolutely convinced my experience there would be memorable. He was spot on. So here I am, excited to share with you that experience.

Normally, I tend not to be impressed with restaurants, especially while on vacation. This time though, as soon as I went in I became aware of The Melting Pot's charming and intimate atmosphere. The Melting Pot was the perfect place to reconnect with my family, with its dim lights, ambiance and love songs playing in the background. If you look in the dictionary for the definition of a polite and knowledgeable person you'll see the picture of our server. He took his time to explain the menu in detail and never rushed us through the fondue experience.

You can order 1-3 or more courses. We chose the 4-course experience: cheese fondue, salad, entree and chocolate fondue.

Cheese Fondue

The Melting Pot - Cheese Fondue

Of the 4 choices of cheese, I chose the Melting Pot Cheddar Cheese fondue, which is prepared tableside. The cheddar cheese fondue was served with artisan breads, apples and seasonal vegetables for dipping. Mmmm, mmmm, delicious!


The Melting Pot - Salad

We had 3 salad options, but we stuck with what we knew and had the Caesar salad. The kids enjoyed the salad, even openly admitting how much they loved it, a thing I don't hear too often from them when it comes to salads.


The Melting Pot - Entree

The Melting Pot - the Entree

At the Melting Pot, you also get an opportunity to cook your meat. The restaurant has everything from ravioli to filet mignon. We ordered the "Land and Sea" meal with premium filet mignon, herb-crusted chicken, and Pacific white shrimp. We cooked our Seasoned Court Bouillon entree at the table, and fresh seasoned vegetable broth, recommended by our server. It was served with seasonal vegetables: mushrooms, potatoes, and broccoli and the signature dipping sauces.

Chocolate Fondue

The Melting Pot - Chocolate Fondue

Our chocolate fondue came with fresh strawberries, blondies, bananas, pineapple, cheesecake, Rice Krispy treats, marshmallows, pound cake and brownies. We chose the "Pure Chocolate" fondue - milk chocolate melted to perfection.

I can honestly say that this was one of the best dining experiences I've had the last 10 years I've been visiting the Myrtle Beach area. At The Melting Pot, it all seems to be about making the guest feel welcome and leave the restaurant with an unforgettable dining experience. In the end, I have to give credit to my friend who recommended the restaurant: It truly was a pleasant and unforgettable experience.

Travel through Time on the North Myrtle Beach History Trail

Waccamaw Indian
Waccamaw Indian - Credit USFWS
Few places on the Atlantic Coast of the "land of the free, home of the brave" are richer in meaningful history than South Carolina and the North Myrtle Beach area. I invite you to join me for a dive into the local history of the North Myrtle Beach area. Let’s travel through time to meet the brave people whose deeds, resilience and persistence against all odds made this place the great vacation destination and wonderful place to live it is today.

North Myrtle Beach lies on an area the Winyah and Waccamaw Indians used to call "the Land", or "Chicora" in their native language. Chicora was one of several Carolina Siouan territories subject to their king, Datha of Duahe.  Long before the European settlements, North Myrtle Beach has been part of the Indian trail, the route from the northern states to Charleston and Savannah.

The Spaniards from Hispaniola, led by Lucas Vasques de Ayllón, founded the first colony in North America somewhere in the area in 1526. Among the settlers were two Dominican friars, Fr. Antonio de Montesinos and Fr. Anthony de Cervantes, who led the very first Catholic mass in what today is the United States of America. The settlement lasted only three months of winter before being abandoned in early 1527 due to scarcity of supplies, hunger, disease, and troubles with the local natives. Ayllón himself gave his last breath in the arms of one of the Dominican friars. The 150 survivors left on two vessels to return to Hispaniola, but one sunk on the way; the other made it back.

North Myrtle Beach experienced better times after English settlers established in the area. By 1705, large scale rice cultivation formed the foundation of the Carolina lowland economy. Blessed with long growing seasons, the indigo plantations in the Cherry Grove beach area were more economically viable than cotton or rice plantations in the 18th Century. The goods traded across the ocean soon became an attractive target for scores of pirates, of which Blackbeard was the most daring, crafty and frightful. Edward Teach (Blackbeard’s real name) got his nickname because of his coal-black beard which he twisted and tied into tails. Teach captured a French merchant vessel, renamed her, equipped her with 40 guns and adopted his fearful pirate name.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Blackbeard and his 40-guns ship Queen Anne's Revenge, one of the most formidable pirate ships ever, terrified the Atlantic between the years of 1716 and 1718, a period known as the "Golden Age of Piracy." Blackbeard emphasized the importance of image and made sure he looked like a devil who had stepped right out of hell. He used to put slow burning fuses in his hair and beard and strap a few pistols on his chest. Most of the ships he attacked surrendered without even putting up a fight. After a daring blockade of the entire port of Charleston, Blackbeard was eventually hunted down and killed on Nov. 22, 1718, in a glorious fight.

George Washington's Goodwill Tour Schedule
The Goodwill Tour Schedule written by George Washington himself
Copyright: www.mountvernon.org
He was engaged by two ships sent to find him and since most of his crew was on shore, he fought with just a handful of people along his side. He died bravely--killed by 5 gunshots and 20 sword cuts. Since 1997, archaeologists have been excavating the Queen Anne's Revenge, run aground on a sandbar in 1718 near Beaufort, NC. Blackbeard's sword is among their latest finds, presented here by National Geographic.

George Washington’s goodwill tour of 1791 passed through the North Myrtle Beach area. At that time, the Waccamaw Neck was a long, inaccessible area without a major port. It was the last part of the road between Boston and Savannah to be served by stagecoach. On April 27 at 12:30 p.m., Washington entered the state crossing the northern border of South Carolina near Little River, riding his overhauled, handsome white coach decorated with designs of the four seasons and bearing the Washington coat of arms. The old road was lined with forests of tall, stately trees, spreads of pine needles mixed with a low ground cover and patches of sand.  He followed the King’s Highway to near the ocean at Myrtle Beach from which point he traveled along the Grand Strand south to Surfside Beach.

Until the 1900s, when the railroad connected inland towns to the ocean, the beaches of Horry County were virtually uninhabited due to the county's geographical inaccessibility and poor economy. The Intracoastal Waterway opened the area further in 1936.

Cherry Grove Fishing Pier
I caught mine at the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier
Cherry Grove Pier is a popular landmark of Cherry Grove Beach. It was built early in the 1950s. Hurricane Hugo destroyed the pier in 1989, but the ambitious reconstruction plans added a two-story observation deck. Ten years later, the pier was damaged again by Hurricane Floyd and yet again the observation deck has been rebuilt, to last to this very day. The new pier brought good luck to many fishermen who cast their lines from the wooden deck into the generous waters washing the pillars. It became a tradition for people to take a picture with their catch in front of the "I caught mine at the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier" sign.

Walter Maxwell's world record tiger shark
Walter Maxwell's world record tiger shark
On June 15, 1964, Walter Maxwell caught a 1,780-pound, world record tiger shark. The Guinness Book record lasted for 40 years, until a bigger shark was caught off the coast of Australia, which was only 5- pounds, 11-ounces heavier. You can read more about Walter Maxwell's amazing perseverance and the three days it took him to catch the shark on Grand Strand Magazine's website, and you can see pictures of other people's catch on the Cherry Grove Pier's website.

In 1968, Cherry Grove Beach merged with Windy Hill Beach, Ocean Drive Beach, and Crescent Beach to form the city of North Myrtle Beach, ready to build its own unique identity and path toward future!

Shag Dance in North Myrtle Beach
Shag Dance in North Myrtle Beach
Many believe North Myrtle Beach to be the birth place of Shag, adopted as the official state dance of South Carolina in 1984. The roots of shag can be found in the '40s in the unconditional adoption of the R&B music by the vivacious white teenagers dancing frantically in the clubs around the Myrtle Beach area. The youngsters played the music on jukeboxes and danced on the rhythms of the black music banned from being aired by the mainstream radio stations of the '40s South. Soon, they started dancing on the beach; thus, molding the Shag, a dance meant for people holding a beer in one hand and their darling in the other.

Barefoot Landing is a true North Myrtle Beach landmark, a large shopping complex consisting of several divided sections of stores and attractions located on filled land over top of Louis Lake, next to the Intracoastal Waterway. The shopping complex, started originally in 1972 as The Village of Barefoot Traders, consisted of only 15 stores. The Barefoot Landing as we know it today opened in 1988, soon becoming one of South Carolina's most impressive tourist destinations. Currently, Barefoot Landing includes more than 100 stores, restaurants and attractions. On March 1, 2013, Burroughs & Chapin bought Barefoot Landing, paying $43 million for the 64-acre complex, according to the Register of Deeds office of Horry County. The complex has since witnessed a facelift and improvements, including the replacement of some of the aging boards in the wooden walkways. The Barefoot Landing area of North Myrtle Beach also hosts the House of Blues, the Alabama Theatre, the Alligator Adventure, and a golf resort.

North Myrtle Beach Historical Museum
If you are looking for more information to immerse even deeper in local history, stop by the North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum located at 799 2nd Avenue North, North Myrtle Beach or visit their website. As mentioned on the website, "the Museum promotes a strong sense of community pride and fosters an appreciation for our place in the region's rich history."

The city has witnessed great development and sustained growth over the last few years, with numerous facilities built for its growing number of residents, like the modern Aquatic and Fitness Center and the newly built public library. Today, North Myrtle Beach is a popular family tourist attraction for vacationers from around the country and Canada. A state-of-the-art 145-acre park and sports complex has recently opened to encourage sports-tourism, featuring 6 ball fields, 8 regulation soccer/lacrosse fields, 3 playgrounds, walking trails, concession stands, picnic shelters, a 25-acre lake for water-related activities, and a 2,000-seat amphitheater. North Myrtle Beach is poised for continued growth, with many available commercial and residential sites across the waterway. The future looks bright for North Myrtle Beach!
North Myrtle Beach today
North Myrtle Beach today

A Visit to Historical Georgetown, South Carolina

While on vacation in North Myrtle Beach, I broke routine and took my family to Georgetown on a quick escape from the bustle foot traffic and craziness of a crowded weekend. There's no denying, tradition and tumultuous history is at the heart of Georgetown, a small time-honored town at the southern end of the Grand Strand. Located only 38 miles south of Myrtle Beach, Georgetown is a special historical landmark, the third oldest city and the second largest seaport of South Carolina which some call mini Charleston.
Georgetown - Street Restaurants

My family and I enjoyed the laid-back delights of the walkable historic part of Georgetown. The district is a place where art galleries, antique boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and mom-and-pop stores still make it a go-to destination for those who savor village charm. Locals are friendly,  and each of them extol the joys of living in Georgetown.
Georgetown - Store front

Georgetown - street chairs

I am truly impressed by how the community has rallied with invigorated energy to revive and preserve Georgetown's history and its landmarks. A mere few years ago, the historical downtown looked deserted, with old buildings looking run down, a dusted grey spot on the parchment of time. The area is now colorful, elegant, filled with welcoming people greeting visitors with large smiles and renewed hopes. Historical downtown Georgetown is not about business anymore, it is about tradition, rich history and proud preservation.
Georgetown - Restaurant

The area dynamics are incredible, considering its population of only 9,000 people stretched over only 7.2 square miles. Georgetown has experienced many ups and downs that triggered economic diversity, dwindling away from the rice culture of the past to lumber export, to the world's largest Kraft paper mill in 1942, to commercial fishing and tourism.
Georgetown - boats

Georgetown - tourism and boats

In its long and colorful history, the city has seen many changes. Georgetown is the probable site of the first European settlement in North America in 1526. The city was officially founded in 1729 and bears the name of King George II of Great Britain. According to the city's official website: "Georgetown played an active role in the American Revolution by sending Thomas Lynch, Sr. and Thomas Lynch, Jr. to the Continental Congress where the younger was a signer of the Declaration of Independence."
Georgetown - the tower

If you decide to enjoy your summer vacation on the Grand Strand, book your oceanfront condo with Thomas Beach Vacations and take your family to Georgetown's historical downtown and  travel back to glorious times of courageous beginnings, endurance, and victorious come-backs.
Georgetown - historical site