9 reasons Myrtle Beach is the perfect vacation spot

Experience the magic of vacations at the beach. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a popular year-round beach destination, but something special happens at Grand Strand every November and December. Enjoy all of the season’s favorite activities in a beach vacation atmosphere.

During the holiday season, Myrtle Beach is filled with holiday cheer. From traditional events like tree lighting, parades and photos with Santa Claus to new festivals, live music, a boat parade and even some surprises. There’s nothing better than vacationing in Myrtle Beach. Here are nine reasons why.

The wheel of heaven in the winter wonderland on the beach

The wheel of heaven in the winter wonderland on the beach

Photo credit: Visit Myrtle Beach

1. Winter wonderland on the beach

It’s the season and Myrtle Beach is a fantastic vacation destination. There is something for everyone at Winter Wonderland at The Beach. The fun begins at the Skywheel and continues south along the Beach Boardwalk and Boardwalk for nearly a mile, ending at 2nd street pier.

Take a waterfront stroll through Toyland and the North Pole, among many other delightful vacation scenes. Listen to holiday tunes as you stroll along and gaze at the illuminated displays – more than 100,000 dazzling lights. For even more fun there are live, walking carol singers. Catch vacation movies with the whole family on Friday nights at Nance Plaza.

Winter Family Fun Zone

The whole family will enjoy the Winter Family Fun Zone at Plyler Park (home of the Skywheel). The area will feature holiday themed attractions including inflatable boats (great photo ops), s’mores making, snow angel areas and other fun surprises.

There is entertainment every night on the stage in Plyler Park. These performances include live music, dancing and more. A holiday pop-up market featuring unique vendors will be in the park Thursday through Sunday evenings.

Photos on the beach with Santa Claus

Yes, Santa will be visiting Myrtle Beach. Santa and his sleigh are available for photos every Saturday night from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Ninth Avenue Beach Access. The sleigh is available every evening for photo ops with or without Santa Claus.

These events start on November 17th and run until December 23rd from 6pm to 9pm. Check out all featured activities at Winter Wonderland at The Beach.

2. The Festival of Trees

Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach hosts a holiday event each year – the Festival of Trees. Here, the diversity and culture of the United States is celebrated with over 55 decorated Christmas trees, one for each state and territory of the country. The South Carolina tree is (of course) a favorite, reaching over 18 feet tall. It features seashells, magnolias, golf balls and all kinds of Grand Strand symbols.

Visitors can test their knowledge of each state with their individual scavenger hunt or simply enjoy the beauty of the many Christmas-lit trees throughout the aquarium. This special holiday exhibit runs from November 5th to January 2nd and is included with regular admission to the aquarium.

3. Horse-drawn carriage rides

Suit up and enjoy a free horse-drawn carriage ride at the beautiful Market Common, decked out for the holidays.

The horse-drawn sleigh rides take place on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. from November 22nd to December 27th. Pick-up and drop-off are in front of Dolce Lusso Salon & Day Spa. No reservations are required.

Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens

Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens

Photo credit: Visit Myrtle Beach

4. Nights of a Thousand Candles

This year’s holiday event is bigger and brighter than ever with Nights of a Thousand Candles taking place in historic Brookgreen Gardens. In November and December you can experience a light show like no other when Brookgreen Gardens comes alive with millions of twinkling lights and nearly 3,000 hand-lit candles. Celebrate the season as you stroll the pathways with a warm cup of cider or hot chocolate and listen to the sounds of Christmas music.

Nightly entertainment under the tent and a choice of restaurants make it a great place for a date and family event. Open from 4pm to 9pm, tickets for this popular winter event must be purchased in advance.

Celebration of Lights in Conway

Celebration of Lights in Conway

Photo credit: Visit Myrtle Beach

5. The Celebration of Lights

The town of Conway is one of the most charming places to visit during the Christmas season for a number of reasons. Its downtown holiday exhibits, quaint shopping on Main Street and quaint Riverwalk are worth a visit alone – the Celebration of Lights is the icing on the cake.

The Drive-Through Celebration of Lights takes place in December on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. The nearly one-mile drive features thousands of Christmas lights and holiday scenes. Families can enjoy the marshmallow roasting, a s’mores station, hot chocolate every night, and visit Santa on Fridays and Saturdays.

6th Inshore Christmas Regatta

Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, locals flock to the shore to watch this spectacular maritime (boat) parade, the Intracoastal Christmas Regatta. The lighted flotilla departs Little River Inlet at 5:00 p.m. and heads south several miles to Dock Holidays Marina, where it finishes at approximately 7:00 p.m. Gather your family and watch the parade of festively decorated ships of all sizes as they pass various vantage points along the waterway.

Holiday show in the theater

Holiday show in the theater

Photo credit: Visit Myrtle Beach

7. Holiday shows in the theater

Myrtle Beach theaters love the holidays. They go all out with their many holiday-themed productions. The magic begins the moment you step through the front doors. The large foyers are completely decorated in their most beautiful holiday form. Red and green decorations, dozens of twinkling lights and very tall, fully decorated Christmas trees take center stage.

You’ll be thrilled to see everything from ice shows and light shows to traditional Christmas variety shows. Each one is characterized by igniting the Christmas spirit in their listeners. If you’re vacationing in Myrtle Beach, you won’t want to miss out on one of these amazing vacation spectacles.

Train ride at the Great Christmas Light Show in North Myrtle Beach

Train ride at the Great Christmas Light Show in North Myrtle Beach

Photo credit: Visit Myrtle Beach

8. The Big Christmas Light Show

The Great Christmas Light Show is a massive lighted celebration that is sure to capture the true spirit of the season. The North Myrtle Beach Park & ​​Sports Complex is home to the two-mile “drive-through” light show, featuring millions of lights in over 500 celebratory displays. Visitors will be thrilled to see enchanting animated holiday scenes where the lights come to life. Park at Santa’s Village, where families can hop out and enjoy hot chocolate, train rides, and photos with Santa.

Admission to the Great Christmas Light Show is per vehicle from November 21st to December 30th.

The Market Joint Shopping Center

The Market Joint Shopping Center

Photo credit: Visit Myrtle Beach

In case you need to do some last-minute shopping for loved ones, we’ve included some great holiday shopping in our Perfect Getaway list. Christmas shopping at the beach couldn’t be more fun. You’ll find everything you need to house your Christmas tree in Myrtle Beach at places like Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach, Market Common, Gay Dolphin Gift Shop and more. See the link above for a full list of Grand Strand malls and malls.

If you’re looking for a great beach vacation, look no further than Myrtle Beach and The Grand Strand. Not only are there great vacation events, but staying at The Strand is affordable, family and pet-friendly, and with over 2,000 restaurants, you’re sure to find something for everyone. See the Myrtle Beach Holiday Guide for details.

For more information on traveling to South Carolina, see these articles:

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