“The Strip,” as Ocean Boulevard in downtown Myrtle Beach is commonly called, is famous for its oceanfront restaurants and beach bars and neon-lit attractions. But sprinkled in between are some of the Grand Strand’s most unique shopping opportunities. From the basic beachwear stores to one-of-a-kind novelty shops, here are five places you don’t want to skip when you’re on The Strip:
Gay Dolphin Gift Cove: If you have a shopping list for loved ones back home, the Gay Dolphin has everything you need to knock it all out in one trip. Located in the heart of the downtown district, the Gay Dolphin is the oldest and largest of its kind on Ocean Boulevard. Featuring three stories of stocked shelves and displays, this 70-year-old store is packed with everything from collectable beach items, decorative pieces, glass and ceramic knick-knacks, wacky gift ideas and more. If you can't find it here, there's a good chance it doesn't exist. Start at the ground floor and work your way to the top, where a winding staircase leads to a crow's nest that offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and downtown area.
General Store: Located next to Family Kingdom in the downtown district, this shop lives up to its rather generic name. The general Store is much like the old-fashioned general stores of old, offering a wide selection of food items, drinks, candy, gum, T-shirts, knick-knacks and souvenirs. If you are downtown shopping for other items, the General Store offers a great opportunity to pop in and pick up a few things that will keep you from having to make a bigger trip to the grocery store or a department store in the future.
I Love Sugar: If the name of this store rings true to your taste buds, this downtown candy store is like a little slice of sweetness paradise. Featuring wall-to-wall displays of all kinds of treats, such as lollipops, candy bars, liquorish sticks and Gummy Bears (along with just about any other animal you can think of), I Love Sugar has everything your sweet tooth craves and more. Guests select a plastic bag and fill it up with generous scoops of M&Ms, gumballs, and all kinds of name-brand candies. Simply place it on the scale at check out and pay by the pound.
LandShark SurfShack: If you ride the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, you have no choice but to visit this small but stocked beach-themed shop. It's an old tourist-trap trick to make the exit run through the souvenir store, but this is one you don't mind passing through this offshoot from LandShark Bar & Grill. In fact, folks come off the street to see the Jimmy Buffett-licensed merchandise and SkyWheel souvenirs. Named after the iconic “Son of a Son of a Sailor's” own brand of beer, the LandShark SurfShack has tons of nautical-themed apparel and gifts that speak to Buffett's free-spirited lifestyle. This is a must-stop for Parrotheads, and for those with Caribbean souls.
Tsunami Surf Shop: Get all your beach needs in one location at this huge surf shop in the downtown district. Located across Ocean Boulevard from the Myrtle Beach, Tsunami has everything you could possibly need for your beach trip and more. T-shirts, swimsuits, flip-flops, sunglasses, hats and cover-ups are among the long list of apparel and accessory items available. For those who prefer the wet surf over the dry sand, Tsunami offers a wide selection of surf boards, boogie boards, floats, water wings, water cannons and other devices. To add some fun to your day at the beach, Tsunami also has a nice game selection, such as cornhole, ladderball, MyrtleBall, as well as popular beach toys like foam footballs and soccer balls.