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OnSite in Myrtle Beach

The fun never stops for groups visiting Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

That’s what 20 tour operator and travel planner readers of The Group Travel Leader discovered during a four-day familiarization tour in the area in May. Hosted by the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, this trip introduced participants to the beautiful beaches, scenic waterfronts, lively entertainment and exciting attractions in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and nearby communities.

During the trip, participants visited some of the area’s most popular attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium, the Barefoot Princess and Duplin Winery. They enjoyed tours and meals at several oceanfront resorts, as well as plenty of fresh seafood. And during the evenings, they experienced three of the area’s signature stage shows at The Carolina Opry, Alabama Theatre and Legends in Concert.

Follow along on this itinerary to begin planning your group’s next seaside adventure in Myrtle Beach.

Day 1

Travel planners from around the country arrived in Myrtle Beach by car and airplane and had the balance of the day to enjoy their accommodations at Grande Shores Ocean Resort, which would be the group’s home base throughout the tour. Grande Shores sits directly on the beach (part of the 60 miles of beach that compose the Myrtle Beach area) and features beach access, a restaurant, a pool and other resort amenities.

For dinner, the group visited Kingston Bistro, a relatively new Myrtle Beach restaurant blending classic American dishes with Balkan cuisine. Then they returned to the Grande Shores to rest up before beginning their adventure the next day.

Day 2

Brookgreen Gardens

Cocktails at Mojo’s Marina Bar & Grill

Dinner at Wicked Tuna

Travel planners spent the morning at their leisure enjoying the beach and amenities at Grande Shores while several other participants made their way to Myrtle Beach. Once everyone had arrived, the group gathered and boarded the motorcoach to make the 25-mile drive down the coast to Brookgreen Gardens, a stunning attraction blending sculpture and horticulture. After a guided tour, they proceeded to Murrells Inlet, a nearby waterfront village, where they enjoyed cocktails and appetizers at Mojo’s Marina Bar and Grill, followed by dinner at Wicked Tuna. 

Brookgreen Gardens

With more than 9,000 acres, Brookgreen Gardens is the largest garden in the country. It features thousands of varieties of plants native to the Carolinas. In addition to impressive floral displays, the garden is filled with more than 3,000 sculptures, many by artist Anna Hyatt Huntington. The group enjoyed a private docent-led tour, during which they saw highlights such as Live Oak Allee and Huntington’s sculpture “Diana of the Chase.”

Dining in Murrells Inlet

Murrell’s Inlet, a charming village located on a body of water of the same name, is home to numerous waterfront restaurants. The group enjoyed a sunny cocktail hour on the patio of Mojo’s Marina Bar and Grille, where they sampled appetizers and a variety of mojitos, mules and mai tais. They proceeded next door to Wicked Tuna, where they had an upscale dinner of some of the freshest seafood in the Myrtle Beach area. 

Day 3

Breakfast and Tour at Avista Resort

Helicopter Adventures

Lunch at Dave and Busters

Ripley’s Aquarium

Beach and Boardwalk

Dinner and Tour at Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood

Alabama Theatre

Carolina Opry

The third day of the tour was packed with action, beginning with a breakfast and tour at Avista Resort, followed by a spectacular helicopter tour that gave participants breathtaking views of the beach and boardwalk. Next, travel planners enjoyed lunch and arcade games at Dave and Busters, then proceeded to Broadway at the Beach to visit Ripley’s Aquarium. After that, they spent some time taking in the sights, sounds and shops of Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk before indulging in a seafood feast at Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood. After dinner, they sampled the entertainment at two of Myrtle Beach’s most popular theaters: Alabama Theatre and the Carolina Opry.

Helicopter Adventures

Travel planners got an unforgettable view of Myrtle Beach during five-minute helicopter tours with Helicopter Adventures. In groups of three, they boarded choppers with expert pilots, who ascended to an altitude of 900 feet and took them flying over Broadway at the Beach and the oceanfront, offering commentary along the way about what the passengers were seeing below.

Ripley’s Aquarium

Travel planners came face to face with a variety of ocean animals from around the world at Ripley’s Aquarium, one of the anchor attractions of Broadway at the Beach. Highlights included a 5,000-square-foot Penguin Playhouse, which opened early this year, and Ray Bay, where visitors can touch stingrays in a special shallow tank. Planners also enjoyed seeing sharks swim overhead via the tunnel in Dangerous Reef and gazing at the otherworldly creatures swimming in Planet Jellies.

Beach and Boardwalk

Planners got a taste of classic Myrtle Beach when the group made a short stop at the beachfront boardwalk, a retail and recreation area full of unique shops, restaurants and ocean scenery. They browsed the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove, a Myrtle Beach institution with thousands of beach-inspired gift items, and spent some time strolling the boardwalk, where Myrtle Beach SkyWheel is another popular group attraction. 

Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood

Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood has been a fixture for food lovers visiting Myrtle Beach since 1986. Both a museum and restaurant, Original Benjamin’s features the largest antique nautical collection in the Southeast. The group enjoyed touring the collection and meeting the resident model-ship maker, as well as feasting on a buffet featuring more than 170 items. The highlight of the buffet is the Calabash seafood, lightly battered and deep fried.

Alabama Theatre

The tour planners enjoyed the first half of “ONE The Show,” the signature production of the Alabama Theatre. Throughout the performance, singers, musicians and dancers interacted with elaborate staging and video screens to create immersive musical experiences running the gamut from Broadway tunes and country hits to the music of Disney movies and more.

the Carolina Opry theater

After a short drive during intermission, the FAM group arrived at The Carolina Opry, where they caught the second half of the company’s signature show, “Time Warp.” Featuring musical hits of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, the show stars a talented cast of singers performing music by the likes of Janice Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the Bangles, complete with costumes and multimedia effects.

Day 4

Breakfast and Site Visit at Dayton House

Barefoot Landing

Lunch and Cruise on Barefoot Queen

Site Visit at Beach Cove Resort

Tasting at Duplin Winery

Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Crooked Hammock Brewery

Legends in Concert

The final day of the familiarization began with a tour and breakfast at the Dayton House hotel. From there, the group headed to Barefoot Landing, where they enjoyed some free time to shop and explore before boarding the Barefoot Queen for a scenic lunch cruise. Next came a site visit at Beach Cove Resort. The group enjoyed a tasting experience at Duplin Winery after that, followed by a tour, tasting and dinner at Crooked Hammock Brewery. The day ended with a rousing performance at Legends in Concert, a fun end to an exciting trip in Myrtle Beach that left the travel planners full of ideas for return trips with their groups.

Barefoot Landing

Set along the Intracoastal Waterway, Barefoot Landing is a shopping and entertainment complex modeled after a quaint waterfront village. Beach-themed restaurant Lulu’s, owned by Jimmy Buffet’s sister Lucy, is among its prime attractions, but the landing features more than 40 other shops and restaurants. The travel planners enjoyed some free time to explore Barefoot Landing, and a few came back with souvenirs and other special finds from the shops.

Barefoot Queen

Not far from Barefoot Landing, the Barefoot Queen offers scenic cruises, dinner cruises and sunset cruises along the Intracoastal Waterway aboard an authentic 70-foot paddle-wheeler. The FAM group was treated to a private lunch cruise, during which they enjoyed live music, tropical drinks and food catered by Hook and Barrel and Croissants. They also got an up-close look at the beautiful homes lining the waterway.

Duplin Winery

Originally established in North Carolina in the 1970s, Duplin Winery has become famous throughout the Carolinas for its distinctive sweet wine made of the muscadine grapes that grow in the area. The winery’s Myrtle Beach location has become a popular destination for wine lovers on vacation. The travel planners had a private tasting, during which they learned the history of the winery and sampled six of its products. 

Crooked Hammock Brewery

A relatively new attraction at Barefoot Landing, Crooked Hammock Brewery is a sprawling site where visitors can dine, sample house-made beers, take a brewery tour, play games and relax in a casual, inviting waterfront setting. The tour planners enjoyed a leisurely late afternoon there, sampling beer and touring the facility, as well as a delightful dinner al fresco.

Legends in Concert

For their final activity in Myrtle Beach, the group took in a full show at Legends in Concert, a production with tribute artists performing as some of the greatest musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries. With detailed costumes and makeup, careful choreography and precise vocal execution, the singers don’t just cover songs by famous artists — they virtually re-create the legends’ very presence on stage. The group enjoyed singing along with Elvis, the Blues Brothers, Luke Bryan, Michael Jackson and other tribute artists.

For more information on this itinerary or planning a trip to Myrtle Beach for your group, contact:

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce & CVB

Sandy Haines


Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.