Top 6 places to stop on the way to myrtle beach


It’s well known that Myrtle Beach is a vacation destination unlike any other.

When you visit Myrtle Beach, you’re sure to see a few of the “Only in Myrtle Beach” sights. From tacky airbrushed T-shirts and gaudy fluorescent beachwear to the over-the-top decor at theme restaurants and fiberglass characters adorning our mini golf courses, there’s always something unique to see.

Myrtle Beach is a great place to visit, and the drive there is half the fun.

On the way to the beach, there are various unique and quirky stops. Here are the 15 best (and craziest) things to do on the trip to Myrtle Beach:

1. South of The Border & Pedroland


Pedro is a colorful and clever roadside attraction located just south of the S.C.-N.C. border, where U.S. 501 and U.S 95 meet, that has been attracting travelers for more than 65 years with attractions including a reptile lagoon, Pedroland kiddie ride park, and the Sombrero Tower, a 200-ft tall observation deck. There are also 3 restaurants, an ice cream shop, meeting facilities and tons of shopping – including a Myrtle Beach store – at this unique highway oasis

2. Sparky's


Sparky’s is a visitor center, gas station, and downhome southern bar-b-que restaurant located east of Marion, S.C. on U.S. 501. The gift shop and fireworks store offer items for beach trips such as sandals, fudge, new boots, and fireworks galore!

3. The Holy City (a.k.a. Charleston, S.C.)


If not for already being well-known as one of the state’s best standalone vacation destinations, Charleston would easily rank #1 on this list of top places to stop. From Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter to The City Market and Rainbow Row there is plenty of history and amazing architecture here, as well as top-notch southern cuisine. Sure, it may be a little more refined – some might say uppity or highfalutin – than Myrtle Beach but if you are coming from the south and have an afternoon to kill it is a great place explore!

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Though the all-inclusive Myrtle Beach gateways lack some of the more exciting attractions on this list, they do include names that seem to always include official “best” or “world’s largest” in their titles.

Despite their lack of credibility, these information centers offer useful advice and a plethora of money-saving coupons. You’re sure to find one on the way in any direction. Locations include Florence, Marion, Little River and Murrells Inlet.

5. Southern Plantations


Many visitors to the beach resort town of Beaufort, South Carolina, enjoy the southern flair and hospitality on offer. However, if you want to truly experience what it was like to live in the south hundreds of years ago, a trip to one of Beaufort’s many historic plantations is a good idea. Here you can learn about farming popular crops like rice and indigo as well as tour the grounds from palatial plantation houses to slave quarters.

If you’re coming from the south on U.S. 17, you’ll find several plantation homes to visit in Mt. Pleasant, Santee, Georgetown, and Brookgreen Gardens.



If you’re driving into North Carolina from the north, U.S. 17 may take a detour down NC 179 to the coastal town of Calabash. Known as The Seafood Capital of the World, this small town is known for its delicious Calabash-style seafood which is battered and fried until golden brown perfection. There are also plenty of great gift shops in Calabash, including Callahan’s of Calabash and St Nick’s!

7. Georgetown Harborwalk


Though many tourists just pass through on their way to other places on the Grand Strand, making a stop in downtown Georgetown is definitely worth the trip. There are great restaurants, shops and historical attractions along Front Street, and you can also get some of the most beautiful views on the entire strand with a quick walk down Harborwalk. Additionally, you can hop over to Harborwalk Marina for several great boat tours and dolphin tours.


8. Sweetgrass Basket Stands


The art of coil baskets made of sweetgrass and pine needles sewn with Palmetto leaves has been passed down from generation to generation in the South Carolina Lowcountry for more than 80 years. These beautiful pieces make great gifts, and buying one from a roadside stand is a rite of passage for locals.

9. Traveler's Church (a.k.a. Tiny Chapel)


This tiny chapel, which can only seat up to 12 people, is located just past Conway on US 501. According to Roadside America, it has survived multiple disasters, including a tree falling on it and vandals setting it on fire. Hundreds of marriages have taken place here over the years, Deacon Tommy Jones says. The chapel’s doors are never locked so if you’re looking for a quick wedding ceremony in town this is your spot.

10. Little River Waterfront



If you’re coming in from North Carolina, don’t just breeze through this small town. Instead, take a quick jaunt down Mineola Avenue to the Little River waterfront and check out this charming little area. You’ll find several restaurants worth trying as well as charming gift shops like Pirate’s Treasure House.

If you’re looking to get a jumpstart on hitting the water, you can also hop on a fishing charter or hit the Big M Casino Boat for an adrenaline-filled gambling fix. Who knows, you could double your money before you even get to the beach!

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11. Fireworks shops


There are many locations around Myrtle Beach where fireworks can be set off, even though they’re not allowed within city limits. You can find plenty of sparklers and larger displays for your enjoyment at these locations.

If you’re traveling to Myrtle Beach by yourself, you’re likely to pass at least two or three shops on the drive in. Additionally, there are many fireworks stores in Myrtle Beach. Some good places to check out include Atlas Importers and Sparky’s in Marion, Hugo Fireworks, Great Scott Fireworks and Cheap Charlie’s in Conway, Williard’s Fireworks, Area 51 Fireworks and State Line Fireworks in Little River, and Factory OutletFireworks on S.C 9 near Loris.

12. Local Museums


If you’re interested in learning more about the local area, several museums are worth checking out. The Ingram Planetarium and Museum of the Coastal Carolinas in Sunset Beach, N.C., focus on space and astronomy, while the Horry County Museum and L.W. Paul Living History Museum in Conway cover farming and local history respectively. If you’re into cars, Wheels of Yesteryear is located near Tanger Outlets on U.S 501 on your way into town.

13. Awendaw Green & Sewee Outpost


The last hour or two to the beach can be a bit bland if you’re heading south from Charleston and Mt. Pleasant. However, with long deserted stretches through Francis Marion National Park, there’s not much to look at. Luckily, though the small town of Awendaw provides a bit of break from the monotony with attractions such as Awendaw Green, Sewee Outpost and Buck Hall Recreation Area. Here you can check out some great live music during one of the area’s famous Barn Jams,” grab a bite to eat at Sewee Restaurant or even stop and play a round of disc golf or two.

14. Roadside Produce Markets


If you’re looking for something local to taste while on your way into town, there’s no better place than the many country markets and produce stands. Here you’ll find some of the freshest produce around from corn and tomatoes to sweet potatoes and locally-caught shrimp. If you just need a snack, there’s a great selection of local treats like candied pecans and boiled peanuts available.

Some farmers’ markets you may encounter include Green Acres Country Market in Florence, Po Boys Produce in Galivants Ferry, Aynor Produce in Aynor, Lee’s Farmers Market in Murrells Inlet and Holden Brothers Farm Market in South Brunswick, N.C.


15. The “OLD BALDY” Lighthouse

For some people, driving a half an hour out of your way to see two lighthouses may seem crazy, but if you do take the time to visit these amazing attractions, you’ll be glad you did. Both the Oak Island Lighthouse in Oak Island, North Carolina and the Bald Head Island Lighthouse (a.k.a Old Baldy) near Caswell Beach, North Carolina offer tours which allow visitors to explore the grounds and go up inside for breathtaking views of the ocean and its surroundings.

To fully enjoy the experience, it’s best to drive into downtown Southport and take the ferry across the Cape Fear River to Bald Head Island.

1. South of The Border & Pedroland · 2. Sparky’s · 3. The Holy City (a.k.a. Charleston, S.C.) · 4. “Official” Myrtle Beach Visitors Centers · 5.

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