Everyone knows about Myrtle Beach's summer attractions and festivals, but many visitors miss out on all the area has to offer during the holiday season. From Christmas lights displays to off-Broadway entertainment, the Grand Strand becomes a winter wonderland (minus the wintry weather) for folks looking to celebrate the season with a beach getaway. Here are four little known facts about all the great things there are to see and do in Myrtle Beach this holiday season:
- The oldest and largest botanical sculpture garden on the East Coast is also the site of one of the top Christmas lights displays in the Southeast. Located in nearby Murrells Inlet, Brookgreen Gardens holds its annual “Nights of a Thousand Candles,” Thursdays through Saturdays during the holiday season. Featuring more than 5,000 lights used to illuminate the botanical garden and beautiful works of art, Brookgreen Gardens comes alive at night. See floating candles in the fountains, Christmas lights dangling from 200-year-old live oak trees and scenic sculptures casting shadows over the decorated gardens. The gates are open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., but guests can come early to enjoy the natural beauty of the gardens by daylight before the park is set aglow at nightfall.
- The Grand Strand is home to two new Christmas celebrations and displays – the Holidays at the Boardwalk event in downtown Myrtle Beach and the Christmas Wonderland exhibit at the North Myrtle Beach Sports and Recreation Complex. Holidays at the Boardwalk sees the downtown district decorated for the season and holds a series of concerts, events and even fireworks shows. Christmas Wonderland features a hayride lights display, a 3D Polar Express attraction and many more activities for the whole family. Both events are free and open to the public, although additional charges may apply for certain additional activities. Both events run through New Year's Eve.
- The day after Christmas is the start of one of the nation's top and longest running high school basketball tournaments in Myrtle Beach. The 35th Annual Beach Ball Classic attracts some of the top teams and talent in the country to compete for the title in this six-day hoops-a-palooza at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. This year's field welcomes teams ranked in the top 25 nationally and highly-rated recruits to play in the showcase. The Myrtle Beach Convention Center also hosts a girl’s tournament, the CresCom Bank Holiday Invitational, as well as a women's college basketball tournament, the Carolinas Challenge, the week before Christmas.
- Myrtle Beach is home to six live theaters, and all of them perform special holiday-themed shows during the month of December. The Carolina Opry (“Christmas Show of the South), the Alabama Theatre (“The South's Grandest Christmas”) and the Palace Theatre (“Christmas Wonderland”) offer crowd-pleasing performances of their holiday shows, and Legends in Concert features a tribute the popular Christmas renditions by artists like Elvis Presley and Nat King Cole. Popular dinner shows such as Pirates Voyage and Medieval Times also host their usual shows with Christmas twists and holiday-oriented meals.
We hope these hints help you and your family have a happy holiday season in Myrtle Beach at the Ocean Reef Resort.