Just because I didn’t have a meal I enjoyed on the Myrtle Beach Strip doesn’t mean there isn’t one out there. The next time I’m in that neighborhood, I’ll absolutely be looking for it. It also doesn’t mean that I wasn’t well fed while I was in town; Myrtle Beach is a vacation town and therefore is packed with restaurants. My favorites were at Broadway on the Beach and in Murrell’s Inlet, both five or ten minutes away from Surfside Beach, where we were staying. US-17 runs parallel to the Atlantic in the Carolinas, directly though Myrtle Beach. Broadway at the Beach is just north of Surfside; Murrell’s Inlet is just south.
At Murrell’s Inlet, there isn’t a whole ton. It’s not a proper town like Surfside Beach, partially because it has very little (if any) sandy beach. What it has instead is a simply gorgeous salt marsh, and a half mile of boardwalk overlooking it. You can find the MarshWalk on the other side of the Wicked Tuna from US-17 BUS. That link will bring you to sorts of information on the area. The restaurant my family enjoyed, however, is not present on that site (too far away from the actual MarshWalk, I suppose). The Hot Fish Club has a bit of boardwalk with a marsh view itself and a bar gazebo with a stage inside it just inland from the boards. The Fish Club has two full bars and a drinks menu that makes full use of them (but doesn’t seem to exist online). I got a Blood Orange Margarita from their signature cocktails menu, and, had I been paying (and not driving), I might have had three or four more, delicious as it was. Of course, I didn’t have much room after my Lowcountry Steampot (a big, hot pile of local shellfish), but I’m confident I’d have found a way to put them back. These were the freshest oysters and mussels I’ve ever eaten, though that’s more because I go for crab first (and I’d failed to understand the Crab Steampot at the time) than because of my discerning taste in shellfish. Two of my party ordered non-seafood dishes (though The Vegan did order shrimp n’ grits—she loves shrimp and was dying to try the dish), and their reports both came back as positive as ours who ordered seafood. I’d definitely go again, though the pricepoint would limit my visits to probably one per week at most.
In the opposite direction from Murrell’s Inlet on 17 BUS (and then after it joins back with 17 proper) lies Broadway at the Beach, a huge plaza with shops, rides, restaurants, and a water feature with stunt boats selling ride tickets. The Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium is right next to a Margaritaville, there’s a Dave and Buster’s, and Paula Deen’s restaurant and gift shop sits beside a nostalgia shop I spent an embarrassing amount of time in. Perhaps the best part is that the whole shebang isn’t ten minutes’ drive to the Myrtle Beach Strip.
There’s a ton of fun to be had in and around Myrtle Beach. Even a solid week isn’t enough to do everything I saw that looked like fun. There were two ropes courses (though one appeared vastly superior), an unbelievable amount of mini golf, and two go kart tracks, and that doesn’t even begin to factor in the 60 miles of uninterrupted sandy beaches, which Myrtle Beach is simply a part of. In terms of lodging, there is no shortage of hotels in the area, and I was surprised by how many campsites with good locations I saw. I don’t always go for the particularly commercial vacations, but this was one that will sit well with me for some time. Up next, we take a day trip to the historic city of Charleston, just two hours south of Surfside.