Visions of sugarplums mix with sun, sand and surf during the holidays in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Part of the “grand strand,” a 60-mile stretch of beach from the N.C. state border down to laid-back Pawley’s Island, Myrtle Beach offers an array of holiday activities for kids and kids-at-heart. While thousands flock to the beach for the top-notch holiday musical productions at the Alabama Theater, Carolina Opry and Palace Theater, they’re missing the boat if they miss the plethora of other festive attractions at this magical time of year. Best of all, most of these activities are free.
The holiday season kicks off early at the Dickens Christmas Show and Festival, an art, craft and gift show at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, November 14-17, 2013. You can enjoy Victorian high tea among costumed characters, music and demonstrations.
Continuing the early kickoff theme, Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach gets festive on Friday, November 15, 2013, with a classic car show all afternoon. Starting at 7 p.m., there’s the “Lighting of the Landing,” a fireworks display, and finally the arrival of Santa. Barefoot Landing’s also holding a month-long Toys for Tots drive.
On Saturday November 23, 2013, Broadway at the Beach joins the Arthritis Foundation for the Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K starting at 2 p.m. This fun-filled holiday themed event is designed to raise awareness and money to support arthritis research. Later that day, the annual tree lighting takes place at 6 p.m. Music and dancing performances add to the festivities, and a fireworks show at 8 p.m. tops off the activities.
Thanksgiving weekend hosts a myriad of opportunities for festive fun, starting with great down-home music at the annual S.C. State Bluegrass Festival at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, November 28-30, 2013.
Before you stuff yourself on Thanksgiving day, head over to Surfside Beach for its annual Turkey Trot fun run, held at 8 a.m. starting at the Surfside Pier parking lot.
Black Friday brings the annual tree lighting ceremony at The Market Common. Visit at dusk, and enjoy the tree, ballet performances, music and free carriage rides through the lighted streets of the village.
For something completely different and uniquely coastal, the annual North Myrtle Beach Christmas Regatta presents a parade of boats decorated with lights galore that cruises down the intercoastal waterway. It takes place Saturday, November 30 at dusk, and there are plenty of viewing sites along the waterway; bring a new unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots collection.
Sunday December 1, 2013, at 3 p.m. brings the annual Murrels Inlet Community Christmas Parade complete with floats, marching bands, beauty queens, dogs and more. If you pre-register, you may
be able to be in the parade.
Surfside Beach holds its annual tree lighting ceremony on Thursday, December 5 at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall.
The town of North Myrtle Beach holds its tree lighting on Friday, December 6; Saturday, December 7 brings the North Myrtle Beach Christmas Parade from 5:30-7 p.m., complete with floats, music, beauty queens and a visit from Santa.
You can enjoy The Long Bay Symphony, along with singers and dancers, for “Musical Classics for the Holiday Season” at Trinity Episcopal Church on December 7, 2013, at 7 p.m.
Saturday, December 14, 2013, brings the annual Murrels Inlet Holiday Tour of Homes from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Advance tickets are needed.
Just down the road that day, the town of Surfside Beach holds its annual Christmas parade on Saturday, December 14 from 2-5 p.m. This traditional family-friendly parade features floats, marching bands, and of course Santa.
Sunday, December 15, brings “A Gospel Christmas” at Conway’s Mason Temple Church of God in Christ. The Carolina Master Chorale joins the Mason Temple choir to bring a Christmas musical feast. They’ll perform this show in Myrtle Beach on Saturday, December 14.
Several events run throughout the holiday season, so you have plenty of choices to suit your schedule:
Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland is a mile-long drive-through show of lights and music that takes place at the Myrtle Beach Pelican’s stadium. There’s also a Christmas village on site. The show runs November 8 through January 5, 2014.
Brookgreen Gardens in Murrels Inlet has special displays of Christmas trees, toys and trains beginning November 29 and running through January 1, 2014. Their annual “Night of a Thousand Candles” display takes place weekend nights from December 5-21, 2013.
The Alabama Theater holds “The South’s Grandest Christmas Show” daily (except Sunday) starting November 1 and running through December 31, 2013.
The Carolina Opry presents “The Christmas Show of the South” starting November 1 through January 4, 2014.
The Palace Theatre brings its new “Jersey Nights Christmas Spectacular” featuring the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, along with Christmas classics, from November 5-December 21, 2013.
With so many activities, you may need to spend the whole holiday season at the coast. What could be more fun? Stay a while and live like a local. Happy holidays!