I worked hard the last week I lived in Burlington. Many things about life after the move were still uncertain, so I needed as much capital as possible in order to, well, keep eating and out of the rain at night. Fear not; life has a way of working out even when you can’t possibly expect it to. I was able, therefore, to really enjoy myself on vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
I’ve discussed before how beach vacations are low on my list of ideal getaways. Admittedly, this is a bit like saying “my least favorite kind of beer,” as, if either are offered to me, it’d be ludicrous to turn it down. I decided to go with it (rather than being a shard of glass in the sand) this time around, and boy did I have fun. Reading on the beach, swimming in the surf, night life on the Strip (where the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk lives) made the week fly by in the best possible way, and I’m here to give you a place to start planning your own vacation (though I suppose this’ll probably be more helpful next summer, as it’s already September).
Our (temporary) mailing address was not actually in the city of Myrtle Beach. Instead, we were staying in a town called Surfside Beach, not ten minutes’ drive from the Strip. It must be an actual rule that your town name can only include the word “beach” if it’s actually able to boast oceanside property, as the shuttle ride from our building to the intersection of sand and sea took about two minutes. Late August ocean water is an incredible temperature (especially when you’re considerably south of the water I’m used to). I didn’t resist sunscreen this time around, and the places I applied it are now a lovely tan. I’m not used to using it, though, so the rest of me had more in common with lobsters and sycamore trees than perfectly cooked marshmallows that week.
I thrive at night on a normal day, a fact that’s even truer when my skin cries out in horror when touched by the sun. Add to that the colorful night life to be found on the Strip, and “making the most of” turned into “fully enjoying” after the first ridiculous thing we did. The Gay Dolphin (named in the Forties; you decide) is certainly not to be missed; it’s a labyrinthine gift shop full of everything anybody might want to buy at a tacky little beach shop. They sell shirts that say, “I got lost in the Gay Dolphin,” and if it weren’t for all my experience exploring confusing areas in video games, I’d not have been able to resist buying one once I found my way back to the front of the store.
Just next door—and boasting a patio with an incredible ocean view—is a restaurant called Hurricanes. My girlfriend and I made it a point to fuel up there just about every time we hit up the Strip. They specialize in premixed alcoholic slushies in a variety of flavors, and mixing is encouraged. They come in three sizes and are priced by size, not drink. The best part, though, is that the cups are opaque Styrofoam, so while I can’t encourage you to break rules of any kind, I will tell you that nobody’s at the door enforcing them—and nobody asked us questions about our cups as we went and did other things around the Strip. I also highly recommend riding the Sky Wheel; it’s absolutely worth admission. It’s the largest ferris wheel east of the Mississippi River, and provides an exceptional view of the Strip and the surrounding area (pictured at the right). It’s no thrill ride, but it does provide a wonderful bit of privacy in a crowded, crazy town.
Unfortunately, my experiences with the restaurants on the Strip were a bit mixed. I only ate one full meal down that way, but it was also my least favorite restaurant meal of this vacation. Tune in next time, when I discuss the better places to catch a meal.