While the Myrtle Beach area’s summers may get more attention from the tourists and travel writers, savvy vacationers (not to mention the region’s year-round residents) know a bit of an insider’s secret — that the fall is also a great time (and some might say an even better time) to enjoy the Grand Strand. After all, after the peak season passes, area visitors can enjoy all of the same wide-ranging attractions and activities, but with cooler temperatures and smaller crowds.
In addition, the Grand Strand’s fall schedule is filled with fun festivals and events, and their focuses are broad enough to appeal to guests of nearly all interests and age groups. Consider these five festive reasons to plan your Myrtle Beach getaway during autumn’s cooler months:
Atalaya Arts & Crafts Festival — Held on the grounds of Atalaya Castle — a historic structure inspired by Spanish architecture that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean near Murrells Inlet at Huntington Beach State Park — this annual arts and crafts fair is set for September 27-29 this year. The festival’s 44th running will put a spotlight on the works of 100-plus artists and vendors, in addition to providing enough music and food to keep its attendees entertained and well-fed. Bonus: Visitors can explore the park and castle at no additional charge with their festival admission fee.
Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art — Running for nearly three weeks in October, this annual festival proves that the “arrogantly shabby” South Strand resort town of Pawleys Island knows how to throw a good party. Marking its 28th season in 2019, the festival features a range of events spotlighting regional artists’ works, serving up some of the area’s best food and drink, and putting nationally renowned musicians on local stages. (Among this year’s highlights are Blood, Sweat & Tears; Pablo Cruise; and Soultown.) To sweeten the deal, the festival’s venues include some of the most scenic settings in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Little River ShrimpFest — Set for October 12-13 this year, this 15th annual event is held in the quaint fishing village of Little River, which sits just south of the North Carolina-South Carolina line on the banks of the waterway that gives the town its name. As the name of the festival suggests, an array of tasty shrimp dishes (and other favorites from the sea) will be cooked up and served to the lucky attendees here, along with a full schedule of live music presented on two different stages, plus plenty of dancing in the streets. Other attractions include approximately 150 vendors selling arts, crafts and more; a children’s area offering activities like balloon artists and face painting; stilt walkers … and did we mention all the fresh-caught seafood yet?
St. John’s Greek Festival — Scheduled for October 17-20 this year, this annual celebration of Greek culture and cuisine at Myrtle Beach’s St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church consistently draws the crowds. While the event also features authentic Greek music, dancing, and vendors selling arts & crafts items, the top attraction for many visitors is the food — which regularly includes Greek delights the likes of spanakopita, gyros, baklava, Greek cookies, breads and pastries, and more.
Coastal Carolina University Football — Taking the field at Brooks Stadium on the CCU campus in Conway, the Chanticleers bring a taste of Division I college football to the Grand Strand each year, and it’s accessible without having to fight the much heavier game-day crowds found on fall Saturdays in Columbia and Clemson. This year’s home schedule runs from late August through late November, and the visiting teams primarily include a range of Sun Belt Conference rivals like Texas State University, Troy University and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
This is just a sampling of the great options filling the Grand Strand’s loaded events schedule this fall — other opportunities for family fun in the Myrtle Beach area abound.