Jesse Broadt: Contributor
If strolling on beautiful beaches rather than shoveling mounds of snow sounds appealing, you have probably considered snowbirding at least once. If so, it is almost certain that Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand have come up in the conversation. This is because the Grand Strand is considered an ideal snowbird destination for those who want to enjoy coastal culture and the great outdoors.
The Grand Strand is awe-inspiring to virtually anyone who takes pleasure in pristine beaches, world-class golf courses, impressive live entertainment and delicious cuisine–not to mention substantial discounts on just about everything. Living the snowbird lifestyle in this outstanding area is easy. That’s why “flying south for the winter” to this one-of-a-kind location might just be the best decision you ever make.
Take a look at this list of facts you may not know about Myrtle Beach.
Human snowbirds get their nickname from their fine feathered friends, both of which leave their primary homes for similar reasons. Snowbirds of both varieties migrate here from the Northeast, the Midwest, the mid-Atlantic states and Canada to take advantage of a better climate, low tides, and uncrowded beaches.
However, there are additional benefits for human snowbirds, such as classic southern hospitality, a quiet, off-season atmosphere, and discounts on lodging, dining, entertainment and shopping.
Snowbirds love Myrtle Beach and the same can be said for how the Grand Strand feels about snowbirds. Once the backbone of the economy only during summer, tourism is now the lifeblood of the Grand Strand throughout the year.
Dining establishments that once closed for several months during winter are now open year-round. Similarly, houses, condos and hotels that formerly sat empty after the summer exodus are now filled with people who call Myrtle Beach their second home. Even though these units are offered at deep discounts, local businesses recognize this as a gain and offer a friendly welcome to those escaping harsher climates. In fact, it is difficult to drive down any resort-lined street without seeing “welcome snowbirds” on multiple marquees.
The flock is gathering for take-off and you don’t want to miss your “flight.” Therefore, it’s a good idea to create a strategy so that you are not packing in haste or making last-minute decisions about what to take and what to leave behind. Start a running list a few weeks prior to your departure and jot down anything pertinent to ensure it is not forgotten.
Do your best not to overpack. Try to avoid the trap of thinking you will suddenly wear items that have lingered untouched in your closet for years.
If you plan to rent a home or condo, make sure you know exactly what’s included prior to your arrival. This is because “furnished” means different things to different people. To some, it simply means basic furniture, to others, it means everything right down to the pizza cutter. Clarify this in advance to avoid unnecessary hassles. Even if your condo or studio unit is well-stocked, you probably want to bring along some of your favorite cooking utensils, pans and even spices. If you can’t imagine cooking without your ‘secret’ spices, then consider a travel spice container set like this one.
If you don’t have the proper luggage, invest in it before you leave. Consider handy gadgets such as space bags, which allow you to use fewer suitcases. If you travel very light, you may also wish to consider one, jumbo size rolling suitcase to share with your significant other and pack additional items in backpacks or plastic containers. Regardless of the type of suitcases, duffel bags, totes or space bags you use, organizing well ensures an easy transition.
Here is a selection of luggage hand-picked by our expert travel shopper, JoJo.
Obviously, snowbirding is attractive to many people due to the discounted rates offered by virtually all lodging establishments. Your feathered counterparts choose their Grand Strand destination and must immediately begin building their off-season home. You, on the other hand, are saved from this task, as all you must do is decide what type of accommodation you prefer and reserve your home away from home. When making a decision, consider whether you want an oceanfront unit with a view of the sand and surf, or accommodations that overlook one of the many beautiful golf courses in the area.
Because the Grand Strand is so expansive, you have many options from which to choose with regard to atmosphere as well. For example, the heart of the Grand Strand is, of course, Myrtle Beach, and typically has the most visitors regardless of the time of year. The southern end of the Strand, such as Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island are all but deserted during the off-season. The northern end of the Grand Strand is its own little world. It offers seafood restaurants galore and is home to several theaters as well as the iconic Barefoot Landing–a complex of shops, restaurants and attractions.
Grand Strand off-season rentals provide the best of both worlds. Amusements, eateries, and attractions are just outside your door as they are in the summer; however, accommodations are often a fraction of the cost you would pay when the average temperature is 90°. From simple studio units and basic hotel rooms to three bedroom condos or six bedroom homes, you can enjoy discounted rates on practically any type of lodging.
Check out the great selections available here.
You have come to the right place if you want to feel catered to and welcomed. Snowbird deals abound at many Myrtle Beach restaurants up and down the Strand. As a way of showing their appreciation, numerous Grand Strand eateries offer snowbird discounts, as well as the ever-popular, two-for-one special.
There is also a broad range of restaurants that provide a substantial “early bird” discount for those who prefer to have dinner between 4 and 6 PM. The area is famous for seafood, but offers virtually every type of cuisine under the sun. For this reason, you will find a win-win situation regarding both price and variety during the Myrtle Beach off-season. Whether you are looking for simple boardwalk fare or a full course meal at a fine dining establishment, you’ll never run out of restaurant choices. Here are a few of our favorites.
By the way, breakfast here is a big deal, too. Want to impress the locals? Then order a heaping serving of grits with your eggs.
Fortunately, because Myrtle Beach caters to snowbirds, it is not difficult to find discounts for a broad range of activities, from shelling to live entertainment. And of course golf is a big deal here. Sales on local merchandise are always underway this time of year as well. Exclusive discounts and seasonal offers are available from a variety of theaters and attractions, which means you don’t have to worry about your shopping and entertainment budget.
There is so much to see and do on the Grand Strand and without the summer crowds, everything seems a bit more enjoyable. You can delight in a spectacular show at one of the area’s many theaters, or shop on Ocean Boulevard, at Tanger Outlets or visit that infamous shopping paradise called Broadway at the Beach. You may even decide to take shag dancing lessons.
Myrtle Beach is also regarded by some as the Golf Capital of the World, with more than 100 impressive courses created by famous individuals such as Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones, Arnold Palmer and Gregg Norman.
Check out our golf course directory. February through May is peak golfing season demanding the highest rates but most courses offer lower rates in other months.
Looking for something less daunting that a full 18 holes of golf. Try your hand at mini-golf. The Grand Strand is rated as the mini-golf capital of the world. Here is a list of a few of the courses that give it that distinction.
And be sure to leave a note in the Kindred Spirit Mailbox on Bird Island during your stay.
“No pets” policies were once commonplace at many hotels and resorts, making traveling with pet a daunting endeavor. Fortunately, there are currently many pet friendly establishments on the Grand Strand that welcome your furry best friend, thus allowing you to snowbird with Rover or Buffy.
Some tips you should follow when traveling with animals include bringing along your pet’s health record if any chronic conditions exist, and finding a veterinarian in the area in case such services become necessary before you go home. You should also add an extra tag to your pet’s collar that includes your snowbird address in the event you become separated.
Find a great selection of pet travel items at JoJo’s Beach Shop.
Interestingly, one of the most fun activities on the Grand Strand is watching your avian friends as they descend on the region. During winter, snowbirds of the feathered type can be seen in abundance. They are more prolific on beaches and much less timid due to the reduction in human activity that comes with the off-season. Waterfowl, birds of prey, storks and even eagles can be viewed from multiple locations along the Grand Strand. You should also consider a trip to Huntington Beach State Park or Myrtle Beach State Park, where a full day of birdwatching can be enjoyed. In fact, Huntington Beach State Park has recorded sightings of over 300 verified birds species. Below are just a few of the creatures you may see when spending winter in Myrtle Beach:
Each day of retirement should be a new experience, and “migrating” to the Grand Strand is a great way to make that a reality. Enjoy milder weather, fewer crowds, and authentic southern hospitality when you spend winter in Myrtle Beach. No matter what your personal preferences are regarding specific activities or entertainment, everything you want can be found in this extraordinary South Carolina playground. So what are you waiting for? Head off the winter blues and make your reservations today.
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