Some folks may scoff at your idea of a cold-weather getaway to the beach — but then they may be forgetting that our definitions of “cold weather” vary a bit. (Our average daily high in December is 60 degrees; In Chicago, for example, it’s close to 36 degrees.) So what do with your brood in the (more or less) out of doors when most of the country is shivering and you’re in a light jacket? Quite a bit. Read on.
1) The Beach: No, you won’t be swimming or sunbathing at this time of year, but you will surely be reveling in the beauty —and virtual emptiness — of the beach in the offseason. Take a nice, long stroll along the coast and make a game out of shelling with the kids. Assign them each a type of shell (auger, clam, whelks, even sand dollars) and the child who collects the most unbroken shells wins —wins what? That’s for you to decide. But since you will pretty much have the shore to yourself, everybody wins with that one.
2) Ripleys Aquarium: This Broadway at the Beach attraction is an incredible way to spend a morning or afternoon with the family. Big-city folk have remarked that it blows their respective aquariums out of the (ahem) water. Pet a horseshoe crab, glide on through a shark tank, or watch a mermaid show —if your family is bored here, well, they’re lying to you. While it’s a great place to visit any time of year, keep in mind that the wintertime means far, far smaller crowds and a much easier time navigating the space. And if you’re there between now and December 31, enjoy their Festival of Trees in which they’ve decked out a different tree for each of the 50 states.
3) Brookgreen Gardens: For the same reason as above, Brookgreen is fabulous in the wintertime —all the beauty and fun of the summer months with a fraction of the people. Select nights in December will dazzle with the Nights of A Thousand Candles wherein the whole place is lit with an ethereal glow (new this year is the Peppermint Forest in the Children’s Garden, a must-do with the kiddos). Another cool, new addition this year is the free app just for the “Nights”event, keeping you in the know with entertainment and dining options, an event schedule, and ways to easily share your photos, tweets and status updates.
4) Fishing: While it might be a little chilly for the wee ones on an ocean charter, a leisurely afternoon at 14th Avenue Fishing Pier is fun and comfortable for all. With a bait and tackle shop offering rentals located right there, you don’t need to worry about bringing your gear from home. And of course, thinned-out winter crowds mean a better chance of catching something —red drum, sea bass, trout and maybe even a shark! (Reminder: sharks need to be released.)
5) Shopping: We love a good outlet trip, and while most kids turn into antsy little balls of wants and needs when shopping, the two Tanger Outlets in town are open, out of doors, and offer lots of intriguing spots for children and teens to while away a morning —think the Disney Store, Sports Fanatics and Hot Topic. But be warned, there’s a new Toys R Us outlet (http://www.tangeroutlet.com/myrtlebeach17/) here so you likely won’t be leaving empty handed. And good news for the clothes horses among us: winter is a fabulous time to shop in Myrtle Beach since most retailers are clearing out stock to make room for the incoming summertime staples and swarms of visitors. What does that mean? Deals galore!
What’s your favorite thing to do with kids in the Myrtle Beach in the cooler months? Let us know!