Do you guys have a guilty pleasure vacation destination? It’s kind of like a guilty pleasure television show — it has few educational or cultural or mind-expanding properties, and some of it may even be in poor taste. But it’s fun and it’s bright and it just feels so damn good.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is mine. I’ve been going there since I was about 13 with my best friend Kristin’s family, who have a condo in one of the high rises right smack on the beach, and happen to be some of my favorite people on the planet. Since then I’ve been back maybe six or seven times, but I hadn’t been back in years — years which have been busy with international travel instead! With my insane travel schedule this summer, I fielded a lot of questions about what I was most excited about. Despite an exotic jaunt to Iceland, I never hesitated with my answer — Myrtle Beach was the summer destination I was Squeal Level 10 excited for.
The one thing I was not looking forward to? Flying with Spirit Airlines. My girlfriends are nervous flyers and between their hatred of the old airplanes and my bitterness over the baggage fees, we all found ourselves wishing we had booked Southwest flights on flights24!
The group shifts over the years, but this time around it was Kristin, our childhood friend Michelle, and Kristin’s college friend Lauren, who I adore. Four girls on vacation together can often be a recipe for drama, but not this crew. We spent five days living on top of each other without even one Real Housewives of Myrtle Beach style showdown.
The days in Myrtle Beach take on a familiar pattern and start to run together somewhat. It goes something like this: Wake up hungover, loudly swear off drinking for life, park it on the beach, play in the waves, walk along the sand, have lunch on the condo balcony, play in the pool, try on every item of clothing we packed, go out to dinner, repeal the no-alcohol-pledge, flirt with southern boys, buy shot rounds, dance until the clubs shut down, return home, have an illegal after hours pool party, incur wrath of condo security guard, pass out. Rinse, repeat.
For someone like me, who usually goes to a beach destination and then runs ragged trying to scuba in ever dive site, hike every scenic trail, and eat at every locally recommended shack, it is a rare place indeed where I can totally decompress and not feel any pressure to sight-see or check off activities. The only time I leave my beach chair in Myrtle is to go for a swim or a stroll up and down the sand. My daily beach walk is my favorite part — the people watching is nothing short of fantastic.
And then there is the after-dark portion of the trip. I started to write a post entitled “The Best Nightlife in Myrtle Beach”, but I only got as far as this: Go to Broadway at the Beach. The End.
It’s true — while Myrtle Beach has tons of destination for shopping and dining and nightlife, Broadway at the Beach is our favorite and we checked in there every single night. But with a huge variety of different restaurants, bars and clubs, we had more than enough to keep us entertained.
I’m pretty sure we shut the place down four out of five nights of our trip. It’s just so much fun — the drinks are cheap, the music is pop-y and perfect for dancing, and everyone has that “I’m on vacation!” glow. This is MTV’s Spring Break style nightlife, indeed.
As I made note of before, we did not endear ourselves to the condo security guard. In fact, we once came home to a sign made up in our honor after an impromptu pool party with some new friends from Senor Frog’s got us kicked out the night before. Whoopsie!
So there you have it, I went away for five days and I did nothing but lay on the sand like a beached whale all day and party like a spring breaker all night. I got a tan, I danced until my feet felt like falling off, I spent time with some of my favorite girls and I laughed so hard I thought I might break a rib. I have so, so many amazing memories in Myrtle Beach and this year just added to the fun. It was the greatest guilty pleasure trip I’ve ever had. And I hope we get to do it again next year!
Do you have a guilty pleasure destination?
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I love that you kick back and relax and step out of your travel blogger role sometimes. We all need that. I have never been to Myrtle Beach, but this post makes me want to grab a few girlfriends and go!
At this point, I think I have two guilty pleasure destinations: Disney World in Florida (I’ve been so many times, I can just kick back and do what I really want rather than race around like a fool) and Bermuda (I’ve been twice and seen everything worth seeing, so another trip would just be relaxation central).
Thanks Jen! I’ve had this weird obsession with doing a cruise from NYC to Bermuda. I just love the idea of taking my suitcase on the subway to the harbor, hopping on a ship, and getting to a beautiful island without ever stepping foot on a plane!
We live a couple of hours from Myrtle Beach and it is totally a guilty pleasure. Most people that live around here ONLY go there for vacation. I like to compare Myrtle to Panama City Beach – the Redneck Riviera!
Haha, that’s a great way of putting it 🙂 I’ll have to check out Panama City beach someday!
I am anxiously awaiting the letter from the homeowners association telling us that rates have gone up in order to pay for increased security required, due to a spike in misbehavior during the summer tourist season 🙂
Haha, thanks again as always Marc for letting us stay and putting up with our shenanigans. I think this year proved we need adult supervisions… you guys need to come along next time!
Guilty pleasure or not – if you feel great and having the best time, why not to go there? Mine is Haad Rin in Thailand 🙂
Ah yes, that is another amazing guilty pleasure destination!
I’ve never been to Myrtle Beach or even seen pictures of it, so I was surprised at how empty it is. I was expecting to see huge crowds of giant tourists beneath brightly colored umbrellas. Then again, I suppose it is October.
I’m still searching for my guilty pleasure destination. It definitely can’t be Myrtle Beach though–I need somewhere a little cheaper to get to. It can’t be a guilty pleasure if I’m never actually able to go.
Actually… this trip was in August 🙂 I’m just super behind! But yes, Myrtle Beach is usually packed. We had kind of spotty weather that week so in a moment of sunshine I ran out and snapped pics, hence the lighter than usual crowd. Myrtle Beach is super cheap for us because we have the condo to use, so we pay almost nothing for accommodation, our only entertainment cost is nightlife (and drinks are cheap!) and we use the condo kitchen a lot.
I’m surprised to hear it’s so cheap and I guess with your mom’s new investment you’ll have a place to escape to whenever you want it.
For a lot of us, the expensive part is just getting there. Flights to the US are rarely cheap and when I do spring for one, I end up going to Seattle where my parents live. I guess they have beaches there too, but the sand is a little big for my taste (i.e. rocks) and the water is freezing.
My mom’s new place is actually in Martha’s Vineyard, not Myrtle Beach… but yes, now I can finally return the favor of hosting everyone! And yes I agree… flights are definitely the big ticket item. If plane tickets were priced like bus tickets, I’d be all over the place!
Oh, yeah. I always get those two mixed up for some reason. Of course, it doesn’t help that you visited one immediately after the other–or at least wrote posts about them in close succession. So thanks….
Ha yeah I worried that would be confusing because the names are so similar. Its ironic though because the two places could NOT be more different.
Looks like it was an epically fun girls trip! I was in Myrtle Beach this past weekend and thought about you as I was driving past Broadway at the Beach. I really need to take some time to explore MB in more detail. Something about convenience makes you take a place for granted.
Don’t I know it… it’s hard to make time to explore your own backyard! Since I’ve become a “full time traveler” I keep it going when I’m at home too… feels good to keep traveling even at home.
I loved the octopus in the sand – I have seen so many great and weird sculptures in the beaches, and that is an easy, free art show. Just wander out of the door of the resorts in Myrtle Beach SC and wander down the beach. These pics make me want to get back to the beach!
I love Myrtle Beach! Here’s hoping I can find a way to get back there this summer…
You got us! My wife and I both stay at a variety of our favorite N Myrtle Beach hotels every year! We just can’t resist the area, the food, the fun, the shopping, everything in such a tight, neat walking distance! We love the strand!
Nice, you should check out hawaii waikiki, have you been to hawaii
I have! Check out my Hawaii archives… I spent six weeks on the islands about a year ago.
This is really awesome!
Thanks Allen! It was a great trip.
Woohoo!! Glad to see you love my soon-to-be city! Do you have any favorite restaurants that you could suggest?! Thanks!
Hey Alison! Unfortunately it’s been years and so I can’t quite recall the names of any standouts! We almost always did breakfast and lunch in the condo and just went for dinner somewhere on the boardwalks (like Broadway at the Beach). We stayed pretty touristy, I’m sure a local could sniff out better over time 🙂
I love MB, in fact that was the location of my girls trips for 10 years. and now i live there, i found a great D.R Horton community in MB so the girls come stay with me and we have so much fun. I’m glad you loved your trip. Planning to go back?
I would love to Millie, one of these days! Glad you’re loving life!
I am going to be a first timer to MB. I have been searching for the right place to stay. I would love to be able to see the ocean from my room. I also would like to be able to join in on the nightlife fun without having to uber all the time. Do you have any suggestions for me? your advise is much appreciated.
I love Myrtle Beach. With Sixty miles of beautiful sandy beaches, first-class live entertainment, exciting attractions for everyone, endless shopping, exquisite dining, thrilling water sports plus so much more. Glad you had such a good time!
It was definitely one of the defining destinations of my youth. Loved it!
Thanks to this post I have decided to take my wife to Myrtle Beach this next weekend. I looked up the fall activities and I think she will love it. Thanks for the great post and suggestion!
Hope you had an incredible trip! I miss Myrtle Beach 🙂
Thanks Amy 😉
Thanks for the post, Alex. We spent quite a few summers in Myrtle Beach growing up, usually at the Chesterfield Inn, which sadly was torn down a few years back. It was a great family hotel with meals included and down home southern cooking and hospitality. Miss those Myrtle Beach days!
I do too! Just nice simple beach trips with friends — I am always trying to convince them we should go back 😉