Myrtle: a grand place in winter

Beach has plenty to do plus mild weather

December 30, 2007|By Jane Welborn Hudson | Jane Welborn Hudson,Cox News Service

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- Why would you plan a Mid-Atlantic beach trip when the weather outside is frightful? Because the Grand Strand has a lot to offer in the winter, including inexpensive lodging, smaller off-season crowds and tons of shopping.

There are fewer crowds during the off-season, and many of the resort properties that remain open year-round offer lower rates and holiday packages to entice tourists to travel to the coast during the winter. Many of the large oceanfront hotels offer rooms at a fraction of the cost in the summer.

It might not be warm enough in the winter to work on your suntan, but some days the weather is so mild you can walk along the beach without a sweat shirt.

Myrtle Beach has an average temperature of 64 degrees with an average of 215 sunny days a year. And because many of the resort properties have heated pools, don't forget to pack your bathing suit.

Some of the region's 1,800 restaurants close after Labor Day weekend, when the summer season ends. But a number of fine dining establishments remains open all year.

If you want to impress, consider making reservations at The Library, Myrtle Beach's only restaurant with a three-diamond rating from AAA.

The classic French menu includes Caesar salad, Steak Diane and Cherries Jubilee, all prepared tableside. Don't miss owner Shad Velasco's popular Blueberry Martini.

Another popular restaurant, the oceanfront Sea Captain's House, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout winter. The breakfast buffet is popular with golfers.

If you'd like some gospel music with your breakfast, head over to The House of Blues for music and a buffet. While you're there, check out the largest collection of folk art in South Carolina.

The restaurant/concert venue also offers concerts throughout the winter months - including Styx on Jan. 19.

There are two Tanger Outlet Center locations in Myrtle Beach, offering shoppers more than 200 brand-name manufacturer and designer outlet stores. And the small specialty shops at Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing sell gifts, toys, artwork, clothing, beauty products and one-of-a-kind items.

The beach might not be your first thought when you consider a midwinter vacation, but Myrtle Beach offers a great getaway.

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