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Capture the Thrill in North Myrtle Beach


North Myrtle Beach offers adventures nowhere else can

Looking for a weekend that’s outside the ordinary? Extraordinary, even. On the water, in the air or on the dance floor, North Myrtle Beach has you and your friends covered. DWalking on the beach in North Myrtle Beachiscover the sensation of cruising the inlets and waterways, the scream-and-shout fun of zip lining through the treetops, and the delight of dancing late into the night at a high-energy beach bar.

It’s all here on the north end of South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Come along on a trip to remember.

A morning stroll

Grab some iced coffees and start the day with a sunrise stroll in Cherry Grove, the northernmost point of North Myrtle Beach. The area offers picture-perfect scenery. In one direction, you’ll see a salt marsh teeming with seabirds. Turn around and you’ll face the majestic Atlantic Ocean. The Cherry Grove Fishing Pier is a long-time favorite, stretching nearly 1,000 feet over the sand and water. You and your friends will run into tons of friendly locals here, who offer warm morning greetings to the fellow early birds. Stop to take in the views: the two-story observation deck at the end of the pier offers panoramic views of the ocean and shoreline. Bring a camera and capture the sky changing from dove gray to amethyst to magenta to piercing blue—an Instagram timelapse looks great here, no filter necessary!

Beach time

For a day on the beach, the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach is home to one of South Carolina's widest beaches, with plenty of spots to soak in the sun, toss a Frisbee or play a raucous game of Spikeball. Take a dip in the water, where the waves are perfect for bodysurfing or boogie-boarding. Or try gliding along the shoreline in just a few inches of water at low tide on a skimboard. You can even bring your pup along for some beach fun; the city allows leashed dogs on the beach before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. from May 15 through Sept. 15, and any time of day the other eight months of the year.

Add some adventurePaddle boarding near Waites Island

If your crew is feeling more adventurous, head to Kokopelli Tours and Rentals or Great Escapes Kayaking, where you can learn to maneuver a stand-up paddle board through North Myrtle Beach’s salt marshes to nearby Waites Island. Lessons are included if you’ve never been on a paddle board, and the calm waters nearby make it easy for beginners. When you’ve mastered your balance, take a look around—the scenery and light in these coastal wetlands is magnificent. You might even see an eagle soaring in the sky above you.

Join them! Or something like that. Go Ape is a treetop obstacle course with Tarzan swings, a zig-zag bridge and a series of zip lines that take you through the forest and over the water. Set aside two to three hours for this outdoor experience at the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex. Gliding through the treetops and swinging through the jungle is guaranteed to get your heart pumping. Plus, you’ll have some great stories to swap when you and your friends reunite on solid ground.

Wakeboarding at Shark Wake ParkIn the same sports complex, you’ll find Shark Wake Park, offering adrenaline-pumping cable wakeboarding. Never heard of it? It’s like a combination of wakeboarding and skateboarding. Riders are pulled by a high-tech pulley system around the lake—no boat needed. Lessons are available for beginners, while more experienced riders can try out new tricks gliding over the ramps and rails. There’s also a viewing deck if anyone in your group isn’t quite ready to take the plunge.

If you’re looking to soar even higher—and see for miles and miles—Aloha Watersports offers parasail rides, leaving from the Cherry Grove beach and flying high above the Atlantic. Don’t forget to look down and take in the beautiful blue and green shades of the ocean found along the coastal Carolina beaches. You may even spot some dolphins offshore. It’s an exhilarating ride. Once you’re back on the sand you can check out the professional photos of your ride (and the funny faces you made during it).

For those who have dreamed of riding a horse along the beach at sunset while doing their best hopeless romantic impression, you can do it all-year-round in North Myrtle Beach. Meet your horse—and your guide—at the stables at Inlet Point Plantation, cross the Dunn Sound and ride along undeveloped Waites Island. They even offer special occasion private rides, which are perfect for any horse lover and their friends.

Out-of-the-water entertainment

Next stop: a few miles south on U.S. 17 at Barefoot Landing for your shopping and dining fix.

Stop in at Bully’s Pub and Grill, where there are 32 options on draft, including a wide selection of craft beers. Order a pint of Hell or High Watermelon or a New Belgium Citradelic and head outside with your friends to the waterfront picnic tables, where you can talk about the day's highlights and plot your next adventure. (And debate your favorite craft beers.) For those interested in a little more sophisticated happy hour experience, check out local wineries & vineyards, including Duplin Winery and La Belle Amie Vineyard.

Post-happy hour, try Greg Norman's Australian Grille. The Australian golfer modeled the restaurant after eateries in the Sydney harbor, and the grille refers to itself as “the upper crust of Down Under dining.” Dine indoors or on the outside deck overlooking Barefoot Marina, and choose from entrées such as lobster ravioli, seared Ahi tuna with a truffle and mushroom-infused risotto, or filet au poivre served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and creamy peppercorn demi. The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine list, including bottles of the golfer’s own brand. It’s the perfect combination of easy-going beach atmosphere with exquisite food.

NightlifeNight life in North Myrtle Beach

Big M Casino offers daytime and evening gaming cruises on two luxury yachts leaving from Little River. Try your hand at blackjack, craps, roulette and other Las Vegas-style games, along with slot machines and video poker. The cruises offer optional breakfast, brunch or dinner buffets. I recommend an evening cruise, so you can use your winnings for a night on the town, starting at the world famous Flounders Fish House in Cherry Grove. The laid-back, cozy atmosphere is paired with great seafood, from the flounder chowder made from an old family recipe to seafood platters served fried, grilled, blackened or baked. Or go a little more upscale with the flounder imperial—blackened flounder over Capellini pasta topped with a sautéed crab cake, grilled shrimp, hollandaise and crab beurre blanc sauce. Choose a seat on the upper deck and you’ll find Southern hospitality on a plate with an unbeatable ocean view.

Head back to historic Ocean Drive—long-known for its nightlife—to hit the beach bars. Bust out your best Carolina Shag (South Carolina's state dance, sort of a slowed-down jitterbug) at O D Beach Club, home of the iconic “Shaggers Hall of Fame,” or at Fat Harold’s Beach Club, which has two party rooms with DJs.

Just around the corner from the O D Beach Club, you’ll find the Spanish Galleon, one of the area’s best-known and most popular nightclubs. DJs play a variety of music—from hip-hop to Top 40 to beach—so you can let loose on the enormous dance floor. Some nights bring live bands. Or head over to Pirate’s Cove on Main Street in Ocean Drive, where there's an indoor stage with live music, a spacious wooden dance floor and a rooftop bar.

You can walk from club to club, and chances are the fun will last into the wee hours as you eat, drink and dance the night away. It’s the perfect end to a perfect day. The best part? You can fall asleep to the sound of the waves and wake up ready to start the adventure again. It’s all here waiting for you—you just need to book your stay and get out in it.