While we love our great state of North Carolina, it’s no secret that we like to travel around. One of the perks of living here is our location, which is sort of in the middle- we are about 8 hours from NYC and about the same from Atlanta and Orlando. So it’s easy to just get in the car and drive to our next vacation. This time we chose something closer which is only three hours away- the lovely city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
We heard great things about Myrtle Beach- that there is a bunch of stuff to do there with the kids and, of course, you have the beach, but we chose an odd date for this one- Christmas. So we thought we will get to enjoy parts of it, which was okay since the main goal of this trip was just to spend some quality family time and bond with the kids. Only we were in for a surprise!
Day one- Heading down south
We packed our Mini-Van with some food for cooking, our belongings, two tablets (for our peace of mind on the road), and snacks and hit the road early in the morning (after another long night of not sleeping and dealing with the kids, that meant around 9 AM). For breakfast, we stopped at one of the iconic chains of the South- Cracker Barrel and had a nice breakfast.
As we were driving down South we kept noticing that the weather was really good- skies were blue, the sun was shining, and not that cold for a late December. When we got out of the car at Myrtle Beach, the weather felt like we are in the middle of spring. It was perfect. And that weather stayed the same for the whole weekend which just added to the fun since we were able to do a lot more than what we expected.
The Location- Dunes Resort
Since it was winter, we thought it would be best to get a resort with an indoor pool and water park so we can use it no matter what the weather would be. After looking at a bunch of options we decided on Dunes Resort, as it had the best prices and we were able to get a family of five into one condo. They also had two different waterparks which I will get into later. Aside from that, we left everything else open since we have young kids and plans change on a moment’s notice, so better to be flexible and go with the flow.
The hotel has two towers. After checking in on the right tower we were sent to the left one. I later realized the reason for that- the pool on the left one was more suitable for younger kids. We then unloaded and went to our condo which felt much bigger than the pictures and had everything we needed- 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, a kitchen which was mostly stocked with tools to make meals, a washer/dryer, and a great view of the ocean. You don’t need more than that.
Back to day one, we put on our swim close and headed to the pool. The pool/waterpark is fairly big for an indoor one and has two hot tubs, one pretty long course pool, a baby/toddler pool, and two water slides. Aside from that, they had some ping pong and pool tables. We spent about 2 hours there. And if we were not starving at that point, we could have stayed for a couple more. The pool is open from 9 AM – 11 PM every day, so you can plan your pool time whenever you want to throughout your day. For dinner we ordered some Vietnamese (from Pho Claire) food which was pretty good.
Day Two- Boardwalk
The next day we headed out to the famous Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. Since it was Christmas time, it was fairly empty and quiet, which was nice since I could imagine how crowded it could get during the summertime. We spent some time on the beach and let the kids play in the sand and then gift shops and visited the Reply’s Believe it or Not Museum, which was really fun. They have a couple of attractions (mirror maze, aquarium, scary ride) and you can purchase combo tickets. So I recommend checking their site before you get there. Afterward, we headed back to the hotel and straight into the pool before cooking Shakshuka for dinner.
Day Three - Wrapping Up
On our last day, we wanted the kids to have another quick run at the pool so we headed down early when it opened and spent another hour on the water slides. It was too early for most of the hotel visitors, so we basically had the entire waterpark for ourselves. Then, we packed everything, checked out, and went for some mini-golf. Turns out Myrtle Beach is also famous for it’s Mini-Golfs and you can find a course about every other mile on the main road. We randomly picked Spy-Glass mini golf and had a full hour of pirate mini-golf courses. The kids had a blast. We then finished at a very cool burger place called River City Cafe, which has a huge variety of burgers and is very family-friendly. Time to head back home…
Overall, we had a great weekend vacation. The weather was perfect for this time of year, the hotel is well suited for families with kids of all ages and Myrtle Beach has enough attractions to keep you busy for probably a full week. Also, the fact that it was not very crowded was really fun and helped with having a much-needed relaxing time. We will be back soon!