Myrtle Beach, South Carolina & Calabash, North Carolina

To take advantage of the “work from home” flexibility our jobs provide before being forced back into offices, a friend and I decided to spend a week based out of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s a small, seaside town boasting a number of beautiful beaches, wildlife preserves, and about as much mini-golf as you could ever want (I think we counted about 25 within a 30 mile range!). We attempted to vary our experience from the typical (i.e., no cheap mini-golf or beach bars for us), taking advantage of the weekend before and after the work week to explore and enjoy all the area had to offer.

The first weekend, we wanted to take full advantage of the weather. We spent our first day walking Myrtle Beach itself, enjoying the sunshine and walking past the various boardwalks and shops. We also got a bit too excited and jumped straight in the water – on the good side, sand is white and fine, the water is absolutely the perfect temperature (legitimately warm!) and the waves were plentiful.

On the bad side, we immediately surrendered both my prescription glasses and her sunglasses to an especially big wave. After wading around for a while in a completely vain attempt to salvage them, we decided to call it a night and make some dinner back at our Airbnb.

Our Airbnb was so cute and quaint!

On our second day, we decided to venture beyond Myrtle Beach’s tourist shops and drove down Highway 17 about 30 miles south to the area near Litchfield by the Sea. Our first stop was Huntington Beach State Park, which is a beautiful natural preserve which also houses the Atalaya Castle.

The Atalaya Castle is a fascinating property, home to a rich Northeastern family who moved south after the matriarch came down with tuberculosis and was ordered to get extra rest and warmth. The property was modeled in the Moorish style, and legitimately looked and felt like some of the places I’ve visited in Andalucia, Spain (which was the home of the Moorish empire in the Iberian peninsula). The property is entirely empty, but does show what life would have entailed for people living in the early 1930s.

The property also had a variety of interesting features, like beautiful wrought iron and interesting built-in cabinets (and some amazing bathtubs!).

After the Atalaya Castle, we decided to briefly check out the Huntington Beach itself, which was a gorgeous beach packed with holiday-makers.

Lastly, we checked out the “park” part of the area on our way to our next stop. The park itself offers a variety of inlets and marshland areas, home to many species of birds and many alligators (we even spotted a gator with it’s eyes slightly above water, but couldn’t see it’s full body).

Then, we proceeded to our next stop: Litchfield Beach, a secluded beach that seems to be primarily utilized by residents / renters of picturesque beach houses.

Thankfully, no glasses were harmed on day two of our beach-going. After a couple hours of lounging, we then proceeded to lunch at Quigley’s, a cute little restaurant perched above an artificial pond housing many turtles (and, apparently, more alligators according to the “Do NOT feed the alligators” sign). I indulged in a pulled pork sandwich, and it ended up being the most ridiculous sandwich I’ve tried recently: pulled pork, gouda, and bacon (accompanied with tater tots, which I did not have room to eat).

Then, we gave in to the many tourist billboard’s we’d seen and headed to check out the $20 helicopter rides we’d seen advertised literally every mile or so along the highway. We opted for a slightly upgraded helicopter experience, and paid about $50 each to do the “North Beach” tour. We weren’t sure what to expect, but it ended up being a fantastic experience (and way less shaky than we expected!).

I absolutely loved getting to see the beach from above – it was also spooky seeing so far out into the Atlantic after so many months stuck inside of my small-ish apartment!

The next day, we decided to expand our horizons and travel to Charleston, SC (separate post!) before returning to our home base in Myrtle Beach for the remainder of the week.

Sadly, Hurricane Fred decided to make an appearance and we got a couple days of rain. We waited that out with wine, home cooked meals, and bad TV, and then explored a bit more after work the next couple days. Hands down, our favorite post-work activity (other than the beautiful beaches!) was visiting the Brookgreen Gardens for their evening light show in the sculpture garden.

We arrived just as the sun began to set, and it was the perfect timing to see some of the sculptures in dusk lighting, and some of the light exhibits in full force once the darkness set in fully.

I also loved the Spanish moss hanging in many of the trees – it really could not have been more beautiful to see the shadows set in and the different lights illuminating the walkways.

At the end of the week, we decided to take a little detour and visit Calabash, North Carolina, the self-proclaimed “seafood capital of the world”. Just over the border, Calabash is a quiet little town with lots of little fishing restaurants and some beautiful views. Due to a lack of outdoor dining options, we ended up grabbing lunch at a bigger restaurant with a more limited seafood menu – overall, it was good but nothing to write home about.

After that, we drove over to Bird Island, a small island just over the Calabash River where there are a variety of beach homes.

The beach was stunning – I really could not believe how beautiful it was, with clear water, soft sand, and pristine dunes.

Overall, it was a great week in the Carolinas! We didn’t get any bbq (except for that first meal) but we definitely got our fill of sun and ocean.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s