I was recently invited by the Myrtle Beach Tourism Office to visit for an extended weekend in October – smack dab in the heart of the shoulder season. After four days and three nights in the Myrtle Beach Area in October – I can confidently say that the shoulder season is the absolute best time to visit “The Grand Strand”.
Now I know what you’re thinking, how can an extended weekend someplace make me confident to make such a bold statement? Well, I happened to have traveled to Myrtle Beach a handful of times a few years back, mainly during their peak tourist/summer season. As such, I was extremely interested to get back to experience Myrtle Beach without the extreme summer heats and especially avoiding the peak season crowds. The stark contrast between my peak season and shoulder season experiences are how I drafted the following seven reasons to visit Myrtle Beach in the shoulder season.
The average high in Myrtle Beach in October is a perfect 75 degrees (with the low averaging at a cool and comfortable 57 degrees). While I was visiting – there was zero humidity, hardly any clouds in the sky and the best part? The month of October typically garners five cumulative rainy days – meaning your chances of sunny with a side of “perfect” weather in Myrtle Beach in October is pretty-high. I found the weather especially perfect for strolling the beautiful Brookgreen Gardens. From exploring the botanical gardens to checking out the masterful sculptures – the weather was perfect for walking around outdoors at Brookgreen Gardens.
Touring the Brookgreen Gardens in shoulder season was a special treat as not only was the weather perfect but there were no crowds!
Availability At (and deals on!) Hotels:
One of the greatest things about Myrtle Beach in the shoulder season is that practically all of the hotels have availability! Additionally, possibly one of the best reasons to travel – is because of a great deal on said travels. Not only will you see substantial nightly drops on hotel prices when comparing to summer nights – but many hotels also offer extra discounts, on top of the already reduced nightly rates. For example, as this article went to publish, the property I stayed at during my stay in Myrtle Beach, Anderson Ocean Club and Spa , is offering an additional 30% off bookings from November 1, 2018-February 28, 2019.
I stayed in an Ocean View Studio which boasted not only a fully equipped kitchen (perfect for someone looking to spend a little more than a little time in Myrtle Beach) but also a washer and dryer! My room also had a great balcony with two chairs and beautiful views on the ocean.
(left) Anderson Ocean Club is located right on the beach and (right) the café in the lobby serves Starbucks coffee – perfect to enjoy by the pool in the morning!
A beach view from my balcony at the Anderson Ocean Club was an added bonus!
Worried about the threat of a potential tropical weather? Fret not! Many hotels offer a travel insurance type of program on the off-chance of a tropical storm or hurricane. Check with the property before booking! Alternatively, may credit cards and travel insurance companies also offer coverage that extends to storms, as well.
No Waits at the Best Restaurants:
There’s really nothing worse than getting excited for dinner at a great restaurant – only to have to wait in the lobby while all the other patrons enjoy their meal. Take it easy in shoulder season in Myrtle Beach because nearly all the best restaurants have little to no wait! I was actually mind-boggled to see how much (weekend!) availability there was at hip restaurants such as Strong Waters Craft Cocktails & Kitchen or Hook & Barrel or at Myrtle Beach staples such a Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery, Nacho Hippo or at The Wicked Tuna.
(left) A charcuterie board and (right) crab and tomato salad from Strong Waters Craft Cocktails and Kitchen.
(left) A seafood tower and (right) salmon salad at Hook & Barrel.
I *loved* the décor at Hook & Barrel! And as you can see – the delicious, trendy restaurant wasn’t all that busy in the shoulder season.
Most known for their dishes such as the chicken and red velvet waffles (left) – I opted for a lighter omelet (right) with an avocado topper and side of fruit at Johnny D’s.
Everything at Wicked Tuna from the sushi starters (left) to the perfectly plated rose shaped apple “pie” dessert were delicious!
Is there anything more stressful than a busy day at work? Peak season in Myrtle Beach means that local tour guides are working overtime to accommodate all the tourists in town. But in shoulder season tour operators can take a bit of a break and are (understandably) less stressed.
I had a wine tasting at Duplin Winery and while I’m not the biggest fan of sweet wines (the Duplin Winery specialty) I still had a great time at the winery, thanks to the staff. For $10 you can have a tasting of up to twelve different wines with a side of crackers and a cheese dip – a bargain!
(left) The exterior welcome set-up and (right) the tasting set-up at Duplin Winery.
I also loved my Eco-Kayak Tour with Black River Outdoors. We took a tour through Murrells Inlet and the salt-marsh and while our kayaks were self-guided, we definitely would not have been able to explore the salt-marsh without getting lost if it weren’t for our guide. He was also super informative, pulled a puffer fish right out of the water with his bare hands and managed to help us find an alligator in the salt-marsh, which is fairly uncommon.
Kayaking through the salt marsh with our small group of five.
Extra Relaxing Spa Time:
I know what you’re thinking, “how is ‘extra relaxing’ spa time possible?” Well, let me enlighten you. Have you ever gone to a spa that was fully booked? Maybe you couldn’t find a seat in the pre or post treatment relaxation room? Perhaps you’ve had to wait for a locker to free up from one of the other spa-goers?
You can relax knowing you won’t bump into any of these issues at the Awakening Spa at Anderson Ocean Club! Not only were my treatments ahhh-mazing, but the staff was super accommodating and provided a truly relaxing experience. I started with a mineral salt soak followed by a deep tissue massage and I left feeling like I was on cloud nine!
Both the relaxation room (left) and the locker/changing room at The Awakening Spa were beautiful!
I opted for a lavender infused mineral salt soak and loved the relaxing room the treatment was held in!
I don’t know what it is about autumn, but some of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen have occurred during this post-summer season. And there was no shortage of beautiful sunsets during the shoulder season for me in Myrtle Beach! My hotel room at Anderson Ocean Club came equipped with a westward facing balcony that had a perfect view of sun-setting skies. I went three for three with #PinkHour’s in Myrtle Beach during my visit and was so glad I managed to be able to capture them all!
The views and hues of the sun-setting sky (left) from the left of my balcony and (right) from the right of my balcony!
And when there’s a perfect #PinkHour – there’s a perfect #PhotoOfaPhoto op!
Super Quiet and Peaceful:
As I mentioned earlier, I had visited Myrtle Beach a few times in the past – all during peak, summer season. The contrast between the busy, peak season crowds and the quiet, shoulder season is stark. The shoulder season has heaps to offer on its own and a bit of peace and quiet goes a long way on a vacay!
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Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with Visit Myrtle Beach. My opinions, as always, remain my own.