If you’ve ever watched Jenelle “I seen you wiff Keifah” Evans from Teen Mom 2… or watched Trailer Park: Welcome to Myrtle Manor… or were a fan of the reality TV show Party Down South… you’ve seen and heard of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, which more than lived up to its nickname, the Dirty Myrtle.
Myrtle Beach is, by far, my least favorite American city I’ve visited, and my least favorite travel destination overall, period. This is MY opinion, based off of MY experiences. If I ever find myself having to stay on a beach again, I will go somewhere like Beach Haven, NJ, south Florida, or California. To me, Myrtle Beach is simply one large tourist toilet. The beach was gross and the water brown. Trash is everywhere. Literally everything is dirty or covered in sand. It’s extremely overpriced and an endless money pit.
So, once again for those who missed it, ✨✨✨this blog is based off MY experience, which helped shaped MY opinion.✨✨✨
We were originally going to the Gulf Coast, but Hurricane Barry forced us to change plans last minute, and we had very slim pickin’s regarding hotels. We couldn’t book the majority of what was left, as most were extremely pricy (upwards of $1,500 to $2,000), so we settled on the Landmark Resort. We had read the reviews, which mistakenly made it sound decent. (Please slowly read those three sentences again before deciding to leave a hateful comment about why we chose the Landmark). Alas, this is no resort. Landmark claims to have a guest/souvenir shop. They do not. They claim to have a waterpark. They do not. They claim to have multiple nice restaurants. They do not. They claim their rooms are like apartments or condos. They are not.
The guest/souvenir shop simply did not exist, and 3 of the 4 days we were there, most of the “waterpark” and inside pools/spas were closed due to children pooping and vomiting in them. The only “restaurant” we ever saw open was the bar. To call the rooms “condos” is a joke.
As soon as you walk in, you’re in a small room with two beds that looks identical to a Super 8 motel. There is then a narrow kitchen (the nicest part of the whole room) with a bathroom attached directly behind the stove, which was great. Past the kitchen/bathroom was a living room with a small, rickety table, an extraordinarily hard couch, and extra Murphy bed. Next was the balcony, which was the only plus of the room, as it faced the ocean.
There were also issues with the hotel as a whole. First, the floors on the upper levels were all carpeted. Carpet next to the ocean means constantly wet carpet. Second, people would dump their entire ice bucket outside their hotel doors, directly onto the carpet, causing even more wetness. Third, there was a thin, wet layer of sand on all the floors, including every single elevator, at all times. Fourth, therefore sand constantly got everywhere. Even on the days we didn’t go to the beach, we’d somehow find sand in our hair, in our mouths, and in our beds.
But wait, there’s more! On our last night there, as we laid in bed trying to fall asleep, not only did we hear the loud, distinctive “squeakkkkk” of a mouse, we also caught this huge, nasty bug under one of our bags. Neither of us know much about bugs, but it sort of looks like an Oriental Cockroach (per my quick Google search). 🥴
A good part? We did get to use the outdoor lazy river one, single, night. It’s nice, albeit shallow, and constantly moving, so you basically float and try to avoid playing bumper cars with people. We also got to experience the indoor lazy river on our very last night, after they finally excavated all the bodily fluids…
As aquariums go, Ripley’s in Myrtle Beach is pretty nice. Located at 1110 Celebrity Cir, Myrtle Beach, it’s humongous, with so many things to do that even adults will have a grand time. It’s open daily from 9am to 8pm, and comprised of two levels, with countless massive fish tanks filled with various fish including sea horses, clown fish, and angle fish. There are also tanks full of sting rays that swim over the top of you as you walk through the hallways.
There’s the classic touch pool where you can touch Horseshoe crabs. Apparently, even though they have these stingray-like tails, they are not poisonous. They actually use their long tails to flip themselves over if they happen to be pushed on their backs. You’re allowed to gentle stroke their backs with two fingers, but no picking them up.
Then there is the Dangerous Reef which is essentially a conveyor belt through a tank filled with sharks. You step onto a 340-foot long “gliding glidepath” and be gently whisked through the tank. There are nurse, sand tiger, and sandbar sharks, as well as green moray eels, green sea turtles, and tarpon fish. This is naturally a popular attraction, but due to the way it’s set up, you don’t have an impeded view. It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.
Aside from the Dangerous Reef, there are many other exhibits, including Rio Amazon, Planet Jellies, Discovery Center, and Rainbow Rocks. There are also “encounters”, like Penguin Encounters, Stingray Experience, and Dive with Sharks. They do allow sleepovers, where families and groups can stay the night.
Lastly, the Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure. Located on the 2nd floor, the glass bottom boat floats on the top of the same tank as the sharks and turtles in the Dangerous Reef. You’ll see the people gliding along as you look down at the sharks swimming beneath you. You can get tickets at guest services or at the glass bottom boat area itself. They send a maximum of 8 people per tour, so you may have to wait a go-around. We had to wait for the next boat, which was approximately 30 minutes.
It’s a bit costly, priced at $29.99 per person. I’m not sure it’s worth it, but if you have children, they will love it. Also, the boat only operates Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 10am to 4:30pm.
Broadway at the Beach is a huge shopping and entertainment center, with more than 150 stores, attractions, restaurants, and carnival rides. Some of the attractions include Ripley’s Aquarium, Legends in Concert, WonderWorks, and the Hollywood Wax Museum. There are also 3 hotels; a Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, and Holiday Inn Express. Be forewarned, Broadway at the Beach is not by the real beach. It’s built around a large, man-made lake and meant to resemble a beach pier.
As mentioned, there are a lot of stores, many of which are speciality ones. Some examples include wine, magic supplies, sunglasses, moonshine, flip flops, candy, kites, candles, and toys. Plus there are well-known stores like Victoria’s Secret, Harley Davidson, Crocs, Build-a-Bear, Claire’s, and more. There’s also small booths throughout the pier. All meant to resemble a good-time beachy pier vibe.
We chose Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen for dinner, which is “down home cooking”. If that isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of other restaurants, including the Hard Rock Café, Dave & Busters, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Senor Frog’s, Wahlburgers, and more.
At the hostess booth outside, we heard her tell the woman in front of us that it would be a 2-hour wait to seat her entire large party, or they could seat them at different tables after a shorter wait. It was foreboding, but we found out there are benefits in only being 2 people. Since many of these places are family vacation hotspots, it tends to leave the smaller tables and booths available. We were able to be seated immediately.
Paula Deen’s is “family-style”, i.e. you order shared sides and then you get your own entrée. You can choose up to 4 sides – we choose the baked mac n’ cheese, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn. Our main entrées were chicken & dumplings and Georgia fried catfish, plus we also got “Grandmama Paul’s Fried Green Tomatoes” as an appetizer. The food was excellent 🤌🏼, but it was way too much, and they don’t do to-go boxes. We couldn’t finish it all, so that was disappointing. It says it on the menu and the waiter will tell you person. Also, you only get two options: 2 entrées with 4 sides or 3 entrées with 4 sides. Both come with a dessert per person.
Better come hungry!!! 😅
We fully planned to have a jam-packed stay at Myrtle Beach, but everything was way too overcrowded, too overpriced, and it was way too hot. To be fair and truthful, there are tons of things to do in the Dirty Myrtle, many of which are family friendly. However, many require a decent amount of $$$, pre-booking, or enduring large swaths of people. Some of these include parasailing, dolphin cruises, snorkeling, jet skis, the Ferris wheel, planation tours, deep sea fishing, helicopter rides, zip lining, and a Medieval Times.
Overall – in my own personal opinion, based off of my own person experience, which may be very different from your own personal experience – I’d easily and quickly rank Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as my least favorite travel destination. I even rank it below Las Vegas (Las Vegas: Overpriced & Overrated.). I’ll be fine never revisiting (especially after enduring the hate from people who love it there). If I’m ever in the mood for unrelenting tourist bombardment, I’ll just head to Gatlinburg or Disneyland. At the very least, it’ll be sand free!
Until never, Myrtle Beach. Stay dirty. ✌🏼
One last note: We went in mid-July and people lit off fireworks on the beach every single night 💥. It would usually begin around 10pm and continue for about an hour. Reality is, you are not going to stop people from lighting them off, and apparently neither will the hotels nor the police, as we never saw any. If this will be an issue to those with small children, you may want to consider finding lodging off of the beach.