By Pam Stultz
When I was 8 years old, my parents took the family to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for an unforgettable beach vacation. We made sand castles, rode the waves, swam in the hotel pool, played putt-putt and ate seafood and ice cream.
It was a very simple beach vacation, but one of the most memorable for me.
I wanted to plan a summer vacation just like the one I enjoyed most as a child for my own family, including our 10-year-old son. So, we recently headed to Surfside Beach, S.C., a small (as in 2 square miles small) seaside town that prides itself on its family appeal.
Nicknamed “The Family Beach” for good reason, Surfside Beach is very community oriented and tucked away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Myrtle Beach. Through the years it has remained a quiet, family-friendly, laid-back, wholesome beach town.
I knew Surfside Beach would provide the same vacation experience for my son that I was able to experience as a kid, never to be forgotten.
When making vacation reservations, we decided to join together with another family on a beachfront condo. It was much more affordable that way and extra fun since our kids are best friends.
Surfside Realty Company found us exactly what we were looking for: a beachfront condo with a swimming pool, large enough for two families.
The main mode of transportation by the locals and regular vacation-goers is by golf cart (I knew I was going to like this place!).
Surfside Beach has 2 miles of beautiful beach, a town-owned pier, restaurants, markets, mini-golf and a water park.
My son absolutely loves the beach for making sand castles, hunting for seashells and riding the waves on his boogie board all day long. The waves at Surfside Beach didn’t disappoint.
Surfside Beach provides a joy to all senses. The vacation homes lining the beach are painted in pastel colors, bright, cheery, clean and inviting. The smell of the salty sea, the feel of the sand between your toes, the sounds of the waves hitting the shore, were some of our favorite things.
And tasting what Surfside Beach restaurants have to offer was a great bonus. On our first night, we headed to Crabby Mike’s Seafood Buffet Restaurant, the epitome of getting-your-eat-on. Their buffet offers every type of food imaginable: seafood, prime rib, steak, chicken, ham, ribs, pizza, sides, salads, soups, fruit and desserts. If you go, go hungry, but also be prepared to wait. The place is huge and draws large crowds.
River City Café is another great family-friendly place to eat if you’re looking for a good burgers-and-fries joint. Serving American fare, “rustic and fun” is this place’s motto. Seven days a week, they serve up “world famous” burgers. Beef isn’t your only option. Turkey, chicken, and veggie burgers are available, too. Be sure to try the fried pickles, homemade french fries, sandwiches and salads. The café is located in the center of town and offers something for everyone: you can even throw your peanut shells right on the floor.
You can’t visit the beach without eating some ice cream. There are several places to get the sweet treat in Surfside Beach, but we loved Meyer’s Ice Cream Parlor for their friendly service and their enormous variety of ice cream flavors and creations. Offering more than 50 ice cream flavors, Meyer’s makes hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, milkshakes, Italian ice, soft serve, and homemade waffle cones and bowls. They have a huge menu of specialty sundaes such as the Moosey Mess, Myrtle Turtle, Sloppy Snicker Sneakers and Peanut Butter Bomb, my personal favorite. Most of the time there’s a line out the door, but the line moves quickly and it’s so worth the wait.
Looking for a casual little beachfront place to stop in and grab a cocktail or a bite to eat? Scotty’s Beach Bar is just the ticket. It’s a great place for people-watching and live entertainment. Sit on the covered deck overlooking the ocean and order one of Scotty’s signature drinks, Scotty’s Sharkbite, Seaside Sipper or Surfside Shipwreck. Located directly next door to the Surfside Beach Resort Hotel and close to the pier, Scotty’s will be in walking distance from wherever you are staying in Surfside Beach.
During those days that you want to camp out on the beach all day long, it’s nice to stock your vacation home’s refrigerator with food staples. Surfside Beach has a weekly farmer’s market, offering baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh flowers, seafood, plants, artisan crafts, jams, jellies, honey, pies and nuts. It’s a great reason to take a walk, pick up some local goodness and get back on the beach without ever having to get in your car. If you’re looking for break from the beach, Wild Water & Wheels is a one-stop shop for fun. They have mini golf, multiple slides, pools, bumper boats and go-karts. This place is great for kids of all ages, including the adults.