The best way to avoid the pitfalls of tourist traps is to ask a local. The folks who live here year-round know where to go, and more importantly, where not to go. Although these places aren’t exactly secrets, you can at least rest assured of getting your bank for your buck if it also gets a thumbs-up from locals. Check out these local favorites:
Attraction: Myrtle Beach SkyWheel. Passengers on this 190-foot high-tech Ferris wheel can see the Atlantic Ocean, downtown Myrtle Beach, and entire Grand Strand, the 60-mile stretch of Carolina coastline. The only thing you won’t see is a better attraction.
Bakery: Croissants. Located at the corner of Robert Grissom Parkway and 38th Avenue, this European bistro doubled as a bakery that specializes in cakes, pies, cookies and pastries. Go for lunch or dinner and take home something sweet for a late-night snack.
Bar: Bumstead’s: Located in downtown Myrtle Beach, this English pub is perfect for hanging out with friends and making new ones. Lots of locals grace this place for the live music, pool, ping-pong and darts. The booths have their own private TVs so you can watch your home team while you are away from home.
Beach Bar: Bummz Beach Bar. Located on the oceanfront at 20th Avenue North, this old beach home boasts the best back yard in Myrtle Beach. Sit outside on the deck, enjoy cold drinks and live music, and order a famous burger, shrimp basket or fish tacos.
Breakfast: Mammy’s Kitchen: This is one of the few places that locals will venture downtown for during the summer months, primarily because of the huge breakfast spread. Family owned and operated since 1953, Mammy’s breakfast buffet is loaded with fresh fruit and all the country classics.
Coffee House: Fresh Brewed Coffee House. Located in downtown Myrtle Beach, this place has a wide selection of coffees, teas and smoothies, and fun activities, such as board games, live music and poetry slams.
Donuts: Donut Man. Sure, Myrtle Beach has all the national chains (not mentioning any names, but their initials as DD and KK), but the best spot for donuts is a local shop in the heart of downtown. Offering a wide selection of donuts and pastries, Donut Man is da man!
Fine Dining: Bistro 90. While the oceanfront restaurants are packed with patrons, many locals go inland to this small bistro on Highway 90 for a great meal and atmosphere. But the food is the main draw, and Bistro 90 has a delicious selection of creative cuisine.
Golf Course: The Dunes Golf & Beach Club. With nearly 100 golf courses on the Grand Strand to choose from, local golfers love this classic. Located on the oceanfront and surrounded by dense forest, this semi-private club is the most coveted tee time in Myrtle Beach.
Miniature golf: Hawaiian Rumble. The putt-putt pros (yes, there is such a thing) flock from all over the world to compete at this North Myrtle Beach course. Home of the US Open and Masters of Mini golf, this volcano-based course is also fun for amateurs.
Piers: Second Avenue Pier. There are several piers on the Grand Strand coast boasting great fishing, tackle shops, bars and restaurants, but this downtown spot has all four. The Pier House restaurant and rooftop bar make the pier as popular as the good fishing.
Seafood: Mr. Fish. Popular places like Sea Captain’s House and the seafood buffets draw big crowds, so locals know where to go to get the freshest seafood in Myrtle Beach. Catch of the day specials, excellent sushi and great happy hour deals keep this place hopping.
Shopping: Market Common. The Grand Strand is lined with major malls, outlet stores and shopping centers, many offering the same cookie-cutter national brands you can find anywhere. But this unique urban-style shopping district has great shops and atmosphere, including nearby parks for taking a break.
Waterparks: Myrtle Waves. Let’s face it; there aren’t any bad waterparks, especially in the sizzling sun of summertime. But because of a huge savings offered by annual passes and discounted admission after 4 p.m., the largest waterpark in South Carolina is also the pick among locals.