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Visit Myrtle Beach

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We have been looking forward to this vacation all summer. I always wanted to take a vacation right at the end of summer and have one last big hurrah before the children start school. Then our memories would be fresh, we’d be rested and happy to start the school year. So, this was the vacation!

For some reason, my daughter thinks it is fun(?) to get up super early and go to the airport. That is just what we had to do for our great fare deal out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport to Myrtle Beach. It’s also nice to have friends who will pick us up at 4:00am to get us to the airport in time. I guess if one is trying to get as much fun out of a day as possible, this combination of my daughter’s excitement and the energy of our kind friend is a great way to start.

 

We flew Spirit Air. People laughed at us when we told them what airline we were flying. We didn’t understand the strange looks we got . . .until we flew them. Our flight was 2 hours late leaving O’Hare. So, getting up before 3am lost some of its appeal when our plane didn’t make it out of the maintenance hanger until 2 hours after it was supposed to be at our gate. (Our flight home was uneventful, so the airline saved face there. Also, the pilot was hilarious as he joked, “Not a bad landing for a first timer!”

We had been to Myrtle Beach three years ago for just an overnight. We were so excited to spend five days lounging on the beach and playing in the ocean. We decided to splurge on our hotel accommodations. The reviews for many of the hotels were good but there were at least a few negative reviews for each one. We decided to go with a solid hotel – Hampton Inn and Suites Oceanfront – that had only overwhelmingly positive reviews. We were not disappointed.

The light and airy nautically decorated hotel offered a complimentary breakfast which we enjoyed each morning. Then we headed to the beach. I am known for my fast pace. I like to keep moving. But, we agreed this was going to be a relaxing slow pace vacation. I had a book, my sunglasses, my swimsuit and a towel, the beach and ocean and my family. I was all set.

The beaches are beautiful and the ocean even more so. We bought 2 boogie boards to ride the waves and finally on our last morning, I learned when to hit the wave to ride it partly to the beach. My daughter mastered it early on and was thrilled when she could ride the waves all the way in. The lifeguards will only let you go a certain depth into the ocean. We learned that it’s as far as they can swim fast enough to save you – if need be. No one needed saving, but it was nice to know.

We nicknamed our lifeguard, “Lifeguard 13”. He arrived on the beach around 7am and pulled his lifeguard stand to the appropriate spot on the beach, then he proceeded to set up about 40 blue beach chairs. Then, using a sand auger, he drilled holes and installed 40 umbrellas for the hotel guests who chose to pay the $30 chair rental fee (cheaper if you booked for the whole week). Then around 4:30 he would dismantle everything, and pack it up for the next day. Quite a job and quite a hard worker. We respected Lifeguard 13.

Myrtle Beach had rain and thunderstorms the whole week before we arrived. The rain ended Sunday just in time for our Monday arrival. The weather was nice and hot so the cool ocean felt refreshing. We played football and Frisbee and boogie boarded each day. My son found it amusing to toss me the football just as the wave was coming in, so that if I missed the catch – which happened often – I had to chase the ball on the waves crashing the beach. It was special time spent together, and I’m glad I could humor him!

We awoke by 6:15am several mornings to see the sunrise and go shelling. The sunrise was glorious and worth waking early. The shelling was fun but not overly productive. We found small shells and many pieces of shells, but other coastal areas are better known for their shelling. Many people were out with flashlights at night and in the morning to search for good shells. I wonder if they found anything different.

For those of you who want more to do in Myrtle Beach, the options are plentiful. There is a beautiful boardwalk with shopping, restaurants and novelties. There is an aquarium, amusement park, race track and more. Oh, and of course, there are golf courses. For those who live in the Carolinas, when they talk about going to the beach, the only place they think of is Myrtle Beach. When they visit the area, they golf, eat and enjoy the ocean. Myrtle Beach is also known for its abundance of putt-putt (mini-golf) courses.

We decided to play Mount Atlanticus and had a terrific time. Be prepared to climb a lot of steps but the views and décor are worth it, plus I was the champ on the first 18 holes! I tend to lose focus plus the second 18 was mainly located in full sun, so we were hot and sweaty and I lost my championship reign to my daughter. The 19th hole gives you the opportunity to win a lifetime membership by sinking a long putt on a narrow hole. It was fun trying.

Whether you desire a slow or fast pace, Myrtle Beach is wonderful. We rose with the sun, picked up our favorite shells off the sand and walked the beach and played in the beautiful ocean. We enjoyed waking to the sounds of waves crashing on the beach, and we had great together time with our family. It was glorious! Try it some time.

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Cindy Wendland is a web designer, writer and creative director of Brain Brawn & Body. You can contact Cindy at cindy.wendland@brainbrawnbody.com.

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Guest Wednesday, 20 September 2017