As America's favorite family beach vacation destination, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, offers a long list of spectacular tours of the coast – both at sea and on dry land. But once the month of October arrives, the Grand Strand loves to show off its spooky side. In fact, the nights leading up to Halloween offer several fall festivities, ghost tours and haunted houses where visitors can get into the spirit of the season. Guests at Bay View on the Boardwalk can get a sample of the Myrtle Beach area's make-believe monsters and folklore legends at these local haunts, arranged from kid-friendly to very scary:
* 6-Acre Corn Maze: Here’s a great way for all ages to celebrate the holiday without the fear factor. Thompson Farm in the nearby community of Bucksville holds a fall festival that includes a 6-acre corn maze. This year’s maze is themed after “Beauty and the Beast,” and tours will be held every weekend in October. Flashlight Fridays run from dusk to until 11 p.m., with daytime tours available on Saturdays and Sundays.
* Conway Ghost Walk: Step back in time and take a scenic but spooky stroll through the streets of Conway, which is located about 15 miles inland from Myrtle Beach. The historic Southern town goes all out to share its haunted legends, as tour guides and actors clad in period costumes tell the secrets of some of Conway's most notorious past residents. The tour covers about a mile throughout the downtown district, and its fear factor ranges from spooky to sometimes humorous – but it definitely provides an entertaining night out for the whole family. This year's tours take place Oct. 19-21 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., with groups departing every 15 minutes. Advance tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.conwayalive.com
* Ghosts & Legends Tour: This Barefoot Landing attraction takes guests on a tour of the surrounding boardwalk for a ghost hunt and a show at the live-action theater for a scary but entertaining night out. The Grand Strand's scariest stories come to life at night so guests can get to know the ghosts and legends that once lived here. Patrons can take the ghost walk or the psychic tour, and special shows like Blackbeard's Seance provide a spine-tingling experience for the brave souls who take the tour.
* Nightmare Haunted House: This production is a fixture on the Myrtle Beach Strip, but the latest transformation puts a new twist on the term “brain food.” Located only blocks from Bay View on the Boardwalk in the downtown district, Nightmare Haunted House's “Zombie Zone: Undead Adventure!” features a 4,000-square-foot facility filled with mutants and monsters in search of fresh brains. The nearly Ripley’s Haunted Laser Strike allows patrons to zap zombies to avoid losing their noodle.
* Terror Under the Bridge: This haunted house is no longer located under the Highway 501 bridge, but there is still plenty of terror at the new location just a few blocks away at the X Gym Sports Mall. Part of the warehouse is transformed, taking visitors on a frightening foray into a world of monsters, zombies and ghouls. Limited to ages 10 and up, this one is off the spooky charts and isn’t for the faint of heart, regardless of age. Visit on Oct. 28 for a special celebration called the Grand Strand Halloween Festival, featuring fun, games and a stage show that is perfect for the youngsters.
After a spooky night at all the ghost tours and haunted houses, head back for a relaxing evening on the oceanfront at Bay View on the Boardwalk, your home away from home for a happy Halloween getaway.