Live the magic of vacations on the beach. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a favorite year-round beach destination, but every year something special happens in November and December along The Grand Strand. Enjoy all the season’s favorite activities with a beach vacation vibe.
During the holiday season, Myrtle Beach is filled with holiday cheer. From traditional events like tree lights, parades, and photos with Santa to new festivals, live music, a boat parade, and even a few surprises. There’s nothing like a Myrtle Beach vacation. Here are nine reasons why.
1. Winter Wonderland on the Beach
It’s the season and Myrtle Beach is an amazing vacation destination. There is something for everyone at Winter Wonderland at The Beach. The fun starts at the Skywheel and runs south along the Beach Boardwalk and Promenade for nearly a mile, ending at 2North Dakota Street pier.
Take a walking tour of the Toyland coastline and the North Pole, plus many other enchanting vacation scenes. Listen to Christmas music as you stroll around looking at all the light up displays – over 100,000 dazzling lights. For added fun there will be live Christmas carols. Watch Christmas movies with the whole family on Friday nights at Nance Plaza.
winter family fun zone
The whole family will enjoy the Winter Family Fun Zone at Plyler Park (home of the Skywheel). The area will feature holiday themed attractions including inflatables (great photo ops), s’mores making areas, snow angels and other fun-filled surprises.
There will be entertainment every night on the Plyler Park stage. These performances will include live music, dancing and more. A holiday pop-up market with unique vendors will be in the park Thursday through Sunday evenings.
Photos in front of the sea with Santa
Yes, Santa is visiting Myrtle Beach. Santa and his sleigh are available for photos every Saturday night at Ninth Avenue Beach Access from 6:30-8:30 pm The sleigh will be available for photos every night with or without Santa.
These events begin November 17 and run through December 23 from 6-9 pm Check out all the highlights at Winter Wonderland at The Beach.
2. The festival of trees
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach hosts an annual holiday event: the Festival of Trees. Here, the diversity and culture of the United States is celebrated with more than 55 decorated Christmas trees, one for each of the states and territories in the country. The South Carolina tree is a favorite (of course), standing over 18 feet tall. It features seashells, magnolias, golf balls and all manner of Grand Strand symbolism.
Visitors can test their knowledge of each state with their personalized scavenger hunt or simply enjoy the beauty of the many Christmas-lit trees throughout the aquarium. This special holiday exhibit is viewable from November 5 through January 2 and is included with regular aquarium admission.
3. Horse-drawn carriage rides
Bundle up and enjoy a complimentary horse-drawn carriage ride at the beautiful Market Common shopping plaza, decked out for the holidays.
Horse-drawn carriage rides are held November 22-December 27 on Tuesdays from 4-7 pm Transfers take place in front of Dolce Lusso Salon and Spa. Reservations are not required.
4. Nights of a thousand candles
This year’s holiday event is bigger and brighter than ever at Nights of a Thousand Candles, held in historic Brookgreen Gardens. During November and December, you can experience a light show like no other when Brookgreen Gardens comes alive with millions of twinkling lights and nearly 3,000 hand-lit candles. Celebrate the season as you walk the trails with a cup of cider or hot chocolate and listen to the sounds of holiday music.
Nightly entertainment under the tent and dining options make it a great date night spot as well as a family event. Open from 4 to 9 pm, tickets must be purchased in advance for this popular winter event.
5. Holding the lights
The city of Conway is one of the loveliest places to visit during the Christmas season for a number of reasons. Its downtown Christmas displays, quaint shops on Main Street, and picturesque Riverwalk are all worth a visit on their own—the celebration of lights is the icing on the cake.
The drive-thru Celebration of Lights takes place Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout December from 5:30 to 10:00 pm The nearly mile-long driveway features thousands of holiday lights and festive scenes. Families can enjoy roasting marshmallows, a nightly hot chocolate and s’mores station, and visiting with Santa on Fridays and Saturdays.
6. Intracoastal Christmas Regatta
Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, locals flock to the shoreline to watch this spectacular maritime (boat) parade, the Intracoastal Christmas Regatta. The illuminated flotilla begins at Little River Inlet at 5pm and travels south several miles to Dock Holidays Marina, ending around 7pm. along the waterway.
7. Christmas shows at the theater
Myrtle Beach theaters love to party. They go all out with their many holiday-themed productions. The magic begins the moment you walk through the front door. The grand lobbies are fully decked out in their Christmas finery. Red and green decorations, dozens of twinkling lights and very tall, fully decorated Christmas trees are at the center of it all.
You’ll be delighted to see everything from ice shows and light shows to traditional Christmas variety shows. Each excels at igniting the holiday spirit within their audience members. If you’re in Myrtle Beach for the holidays, you won’t want to miss one of these fantastic holiday shows.
8. The Great Christmas Light Show
The Grand Christmas Light Show is a massive illuminated celebration sure to capture the true spirit of the season. The North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex is home to the two-mile-long “drive-through” light show that features millions of lights in more than 500 festive displays. Visitors will delight in seeing enchanting animated Christmas scenes where the lights come to life. Park at Santa’s Village where families can get out and enjoy hot chocolate, train rides, and photos with Santa.
Admission to The Great Christmas Light Show is per vehicle, November 21-December 30.
In case you need to do some last-minute shopping for your loved ones, we’ve included some great holiday shopping spots on our list of “perfect getaways.” Christmas shopping on the beach couldn’t be more fun. You’ll find everything you need to put under your Myrtle Beach Christmas tree at places like Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach, Market Common, Gay Dolphin Gift Shop and more. See a full list of Grand Strand malls and malls at the link above.
If you’re looking for a great beach vacation getaway, look no further than Myrtle Beach and The Grand Strand. Not only are there great festive events, but staying at The Strand is affordable, family-friendly and pet-friendly, and with over 2,000 restaurants, you’re sure to find something for everyone. See the Myrtle Beach Vacation Guide for detailed information.
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