Myrtle Beach is famous for its sand and surf, its amusement rides and water slides, its fresh seafood and refreshing ocean breeze, and its championship golf courses and putt-putt palaces.
But one of the Grand Strand's best-kept secrets is a bustling music scene that is as diverse as it is unique. From the country roots of South Carolina and the beach music of the Carolina coast to the rock-and-roll, reggae and rap genres all rolled into one, the music of Myrtle Beach has a rhythm and sound as recognizable as the crashing waves.
So hit all the attractions, restaurants and shops Myrtle Beach has to offer, but be sure to set aside some time to catch a live band or a local show while you're in town. There are concert venues and off-Broadway-style theaters to suit every taste, and you might even expand your musical horizons and find a new favorite band on the Strand.
Here are the top five places to see a live show in the Myrtle Beach area:
* The Boathouse: Boasting the best backyard in Myrtle Beach, The Boathouse is located on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway beneath the Highway 501 bridge. The outdoor stage plays to large summer crowds during the free Sunday Funday Concert Series, which attracts top regional and small national acts while patrons relax on the grass or in the water. A smaller indoor stage welcomes local bands throughout the week, including a weekly NashVegas country music showcase.
* The Bowery: This historic honkytonk in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach is an institution. Country music super group Alabama served as the house hand at this beachside bar back in the 1970s and The Bowery has been kicking ever since. Don't expect a lot of frills; the outdated decor and limited bar selection are part of the appeal, and the music being made inside the wooden walls is still as authentic as back when the joint opened in 1943. Line dancing and two-stepping are allowed and encouraged.
* Carolina Opry: Calvin Gilmore's theater near Restaurant Row attracts large crowds to see world-class entertainers and talented touring casts take the stage. Its off-Broadway productions of “Good Vibrations,” featuring pop music of the 1960s, '70s and '80s. From The Beatles to Michael Jackson and everything in between, this showcase includes outstanding singers and musicians, along with dancers and comedians, to keep the audience dancing, singing and laughing along. “Thunder and Light,” featuring the popular All That! clogging group also performs, and laser light shows to classic rock are also on the lineup.
* House of Blues: This music-themed restaurant also boasts the best concert venue in town. Holding just over 2,000, the concert hall attracts national touring acts to North Myrtle Beach that would normally bypass the area if not for an HOB to play. Seating is limited but that only leaves more room for dancing and large parties. The combination of high-tech sound and lighting make this the best place to see a show on the Strand. Have dinner at HOB before the concert and get special early seating to the show.
* Ocean Annie's: Catch some live music while you catch some rays on the oceanfront patio of the Sands Beach Club. Featuring an outdoor stage on the pool deck, some of the best local bands play daytime gigs to hundreds of swimmers and sunbathers who dance both in and out of the water. The outdoor bar provides another way to beat the heat, or simply stroll down to the beach for a dip in the ocean.