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Published: June 25th 2018
Ever since I’ve known my husband, I’ve traveled with him and his family to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina every single summer. That means I’ve gone with them 15 times! For the first 10 years or so, we always rented out the same single-family house at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. This particular stretch of shoreline is incredibly sweet and special, separated from the mainland by a long, scenic bridge that stretches over the sound.
Ocean Isle is incredibly family-friendly, with an on-site ice cream shop, a few beach gear stores, two great diner restaurants and a bike rental shop that we always stop in first thing. It’s also home to my hands-down favorite beach treat, Sunset Slush! For the uninitiated, Sunset Slush is similar to a slushie, but a firmer consistency that’s more akin to sorbet. It’s utterly delicious and when our hometown of High Point, NC opened up a franchise a few years ago we were so thrilled!
Yet, for the last five years, we’ve made the trek to Myrtle Beach, SC for our family getaway. The reason we made the transition is that my father-in-law is a minister in nearby Mocksville, NC. A kind and generous man
from his congregation offered to let my in-laws use his timeshare at Myrtle Beach for no cost. It was an offer that no one could pass up, especially considering that a week staying in a home on Ocean Isle can cost into the thousands. So, we’ve packed into our vans and traveled the five hours south every June and it’s been a wonderful opportunity to get away.
I’ll admit that I was hesitant at first to bring our small kids to Myrtle Beach. I’ve watched it grow in size and scale over the years and I was a little concerned it would be too much, or too commercialized, for our crew. Yet, I’ve been pleasantly surprised every single time we’ve come. The condo that’s associated with the timeshare is neat and clean and spacious enough to house all 12 of us comfortably.
We also have our little local haunts that we love to frequent. One of our favorites is Iggy’s on the Boardwalk. This is a little hole-in-the-wall establishment that you could easily walk right past if you didn’t know it was there. It’s attached to the arcade, which is huge, but the signage blends in and for
years, we didn’t know it was even there. I’m so glad we decided to give it a try, though, because it’s quickly become one of our favorites. We always order the Crazy Fries, which come topped with nacho cheese, jalapenos, and pulled barbecue! It’s a wild combination but so delicious and we’ve even introduced our kids to this delicacy, minus the jalapenos of course!
We’ve had our share of the tourist attractions while we’ve been down here, as well. Both kids have been on the SkyWheel and have fished off the pier. We’ve also enjoyed shopping and dining at Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing in the past. Yet, this year, we decided to do things a little differently. We didn’t make the trip about seeing everything we possibly could and doing a ton of activities. Our son just turned two and is very mobile and we knew it would be a handful to keep up with him if we had him out and about everywhere. Plus, it’s been unseasonably hot in the Carolinas this summer and we wanted to stay indoors or in the shade as much as possible! So, we made the trip primarily about the kids and doing things that they would enjoy.
That meant several trips to the nearby Dairy Queen and Krispy Kreme to get some treats before bedtime. It meant finding an incredible new playground at Myrtle Common (an upscale shopping, dining and residential community near our condo) that was outfitted to accommodate a range of age groups and abilities. It meant making a last-minute decision to extend the trip two extra days so we could go camping at nearby Pirate’s Landing. Thankfully, my brother-in-law had done his research on the best air mattresses
for camping, and he helped us find some great ones while shopping down at the beach. We packed those and all shared a big tent and had a fantastic time. It also meant shopping in the evening, when the sun finally started to set and provide some relief from the scorching heat. It meant baseball games on the coast and long afternoons spent holding my son under the beach umbrella while his sister played with her cousins in the pool and jumped waves with her papa and her uncles.
There was a country music concert going on the entire week that we were there. Just five years ago, I would have made attending that concert my top priority. Yet, over time and especially after becoming a parent, I’ve started to look at family vacations as just that -- time to spend with the ones we love. Maybe we don’t get to see and do quite as much as we used to when we were teens or college students. Yet, the trips are that much richer and that much sweeter because we can spend time together and at the end of the day, that’s such a gift.
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