Travel

South Carolina’s Coastal Towns

It’s almost time to say goodbye to summer, so we’re taking one last trip to the beach. I hesitated a good bit before agreeing to the trip — so much suffering going on in Houston and Florida from Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. My friends in these areas insist they’re okay, including the ones in Avon Park who are still without power. But they won’t leave because of the looters and there is little good I can do down there right now other than be completely in the way. My husband convinced me to take a romantic weekend getaway to relax and shake off the worries of the world for a few days.

We’re going to one of our favorite places, Hilton Head. While packing, I started thinking about the big coastal towns in South Carolina and how they all have completely different personalities. If you’ve never been, allow me to introduce them to you.

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From www.destination360.com
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Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

At the top of the state is Myrtle Beach (and North Myrtle Beach). Since so much of our family is from that area, we end up spending a lot of time there. Myrtle Beach is a tourist town. Think Pigeon Forge, Branson Missouri, or the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, but with an ocean instead of mountains or a giant waterfall as its focal point. If you get bored, there’s no helping you.

The major draws are Spring Break, Biker Week, family vacations, and golf (boasting an incredible 102 golf courses). There is a cheesy gift shop on every corner (Gay Dolphin FTW!), a great boardwalk, and tons of things to do with the kids. Head just south of Myrtle Beach and you’ll find Pawley’s Island and Litchfield Beach, where we prefer to stay.

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Isle of Palms Beach

Charleston sits just south of the center of the coast and if you’re looking for someplace that oozes Southern, this is it. I prefer the beaches over Myrtle Beach simply because they’re less crowded. The charming downtown area has a crazy number of amazing restaurants and some touristy stuff, but not like the loud “WELCOME TO VEGAS” feel of Myrtle Beach.

Some of the fun things to do in Charleston include the Battery, Patriots Point, the Charleston City Market, and of course, Fort Sumter. If you’re into dollhouses, one of the best I’ve seen is Memories Gifts & Antiques. I have definitely contributed to the local economy in this arena.

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The Omni Hilton Head

The southernmost spot on the South Carolina coast is Hilton Head Island and easily my favorite of the three. My husband and I visited a couple of times when we first dated, but then my husband had a horrible experience there and refused to go back for several years. Thankfully, he eventually disassociated the place from that experience and we returned, loving it even more than we did before.

Where one visits Myrtle Beach to play and Charleston to “experience,” one goes to Hilton Head to relax. Everything runs a little bit slower in this calm and laid back place.We like the Omni Hilton Head Resort, but there are plenty of fantastic resorts to choose from. Savannah Georgia is only an hour away, making for an awesome day trip. Among my top suggested Hilton Head to-dos: The bike trails, Pinckney Island, shopping the outlet malls, some of the most challenging golf courses I’ve ever seen, and my favorite — absolutely nothing. That’s our plan for this weekend. Hang out by the pool, spend some good quality time together, read a book, maybe write some, and a whole lot of napping. Bon Voyage!

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