Myrtle Beach, South Carolina continues to rank as one of the fastest-growing family and vacation destinations in the nation, attracting roughly 18 million visitors annually. Given the accessibility and multitude of attractions for families, the Myrtle Beach area received several new accolades in 2018 including being ranked by Google as the “Third Most Searched Travel Destination in the World”, one of the Travel Channel’s “Best East Coast Beaches” and a “Top 10 Beach Town with the Highest Quality of Life” by Coastal Living. The following is the latest information on new tourism developments in the region, listed alphabetically by category.
ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS
810 Billiards and Bowling Entertainment Complexes in Myrtle Beach and Conway
Two new entertainment venues are coming to the region by the same owner. Named 810 Billiards and Bowling, both complexes will include bowling, billiards, darts, Ping-Pong and other amenities. It will also serve gourmet food, craft beers and inventive cocktails that can be enjoyed on luxurious couches at each lane or in the well-appointed dining room. One location will be in Conway across from Coastal Carolina University and the other will go into the Market Common district in Myrtle Beach at the former location of the Piggly Wiggly grocery store. Both locations are planning to open by late spring 2018.
The Asher Theatre is Myrtle Beach’s newest live performance, conference and event center. They are bringing Vegas and New York City acts to the area in a family-oriented, hip and cultural, theater setting. Their feature act is the widely-acclaimed impressionist, comedian, and musician – James Stephens III performing his title show, Man of a Thousand Voices, which includes spot-on impressions of stars like Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Randy Travis, Sammy Davis, Jr., Elvis, Stevie Wonder, Lil’ Wayne, and even Kermit the Frog. The season will begin on April 7, 2018. For more information, visit www.ashertheatre.com.
Gateway Galleria Mixed-Use Complex Coming to Ocean Boulevard
Plans have been approved for a mixed-use complex on Seventh Avenue North and Ocean Blvd. in downtown Myrtle Beach called the Gateway Galleria. The $20 million project will include a four-story 75,000-square-foot complex that will house over 40 visitor condos and a bottom floor filled with restaurants, fitness and retail. A completion date has yet to be determined.
Ocean Boulevard Facelift and Mixed-Use Building
Changes are coming to the 14th Avenue South area of Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach. The former Cabana Inn has been demolished and plans are in the works for a mixed-use retail and commercial building. The 32,000-square-foot, four-story building will be similar to Myrtle Beach's Market Common development, with retail and commercial on the ground floors and visitor accommodations on the upper floors. The building will have a bright, multicolored façade with balconies. A completion date has not been set.
Oceanfront Beach Club Entertainment Complex and Boardwalk Extension
Construction has begun on a new 55,000-square-foot complex along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk at 14th Avenue North. The new beach club will bring several new restaurants, retail stores, and a live music venue. They will include Tin Roof, a Nashville-based live music venue, and the national chain BurgerFi. The Mexican restaurant Bandito’s will also be moving to the new complex, which had formally resided at that location. The new development will include a ground floor retail store selling light groceries, beach essentials, fashionable brands, and sundries. A national coffee franchise is likely to sign a lease agreement and new tenants are being sought to fill remaining space. In addition, the Boardwalk will be extended another block on the north to connect to a new Hilton hotel property. An oceanfront park will be built as part of the project. The beach club complex is expected to open by April 2018.
Pure Magic at The Carolina Opry Theater
A new live production has debuted at The Carolina Opry Theater for the 2018 season. Starring The Wagsters, this magic show brings magic, amazement, comedy and drama together with card tricks, confounding disappearing acts and sleight of hand. In 2017 they were featured as a special act of Calvin Gilmore’s Thunder and Light Show and The Carolina Opry Christmas Special, but now have a stand-alone show. For more information, visit www.thecarolinaopry.com/myrtle-beach-shows/pure-magic.
Ripley's Aquarium Pearl Harbor Exhibit
Ripley’s Aquarium is introducing its Pearl Harbor Exhibit, opening in February 2018. Visitors will be able to go through the timeline of world events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and experience the environmental impact that continues to this day. The exhibit will feature models of ships and planes, an interactive map, a life-sized figure of President Roosevelt, a crawl-through replica of the USS Arizona, a theater with memorabilia from the 1940s as well as various aquatic animals native to Hawaii and invasive species now living in Hawaii that were brought in from the Japanese ships during the attack. The exhibit will be open for most of the year. For more information, visit http://ripleysaquariummyrtlebeach.com.
Thunderbolt Park at The Market Common
The City of Myrtle Beach is planning to open a new park and building complex in the Market Common district. Features of the park will include three miles of new paths, picnic tables and a lawn. The paths can be used by bicyclists, walkers and runners and will have an outdoor reading room, bike racks, bike repair stands and an outdoor classroom. It will also include the renovation of a building originally used for support for the Thunderbolt jets when the area was an air force base for use as a classroom and recreation facility. Expected completion is by summer 2018.
The Myrtle Beach Community Appearance Board has approved a new 38,382-square-foot building at 29th Ave. and Robert Grissom Parkway. Topgolf features point-scoring golf games, food, drinks, big-screen TVs and live music for golfers and non-golfers alike. The golf games feature micro-chipped golf balls that produce instant scores, while also showing players their accuracy and distance on a TV screen. Most venues have two floors of hitting bays and normally feature 102 climate-controlled hitting bays that can accommodate up to six players at a time. Topgolf features events for kids and families, golf tournaments, golf instructions and social leagues. Topgolf has 30 venues in the U.S. Their Myrtle Beach location is scheduled to open in late 2018.
Delta Announces Flight from China to Myrtle Beach, Summer of 2018
Delta and Myrtle Beach officials have announced that a flight from China to Myrtle Beach will soon be available. The flight would be direct from Shanghai to Atlanta on Delta. Passengers would have the option to stay on the plane to fly to Myrtle Beach International Airport. That means Chinese travelers can now connect to MYR with one stop, no baggage transfer and won't have to change airlines.
Frontier Airlines Coming to MYR, New Service from Denver, Long Island & Trenton
Frontier Airlines has announced new seasonal non-stop service to Myrtle Beach. Three new markets will start serving MYR and include Denver, CO (DEN), Long Island, NY (ISP) and Trenton, NJ (TTN) in May 2018. This is the first time Myrtle Beach will receive non-stop service from as far west as Denver.
Sun Country Airlines Coming to MYR, New Service from Minneapolis/St. Paul
Sun Country Airlines announced new seasonal non-stop service to Myrtle Beach via Minneapolis/St. Paul International (MSP) from April 6 through June 4, 2018. The new service will fly twice a week, Monday and Friday. This is a new airline to the Myrtle Beach International Airport.
Existing Carriers New Non-stop Service to Myrtle Beach
American is adding new non-stop seasonal service from Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW) starting April 7 and Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) starting June 9.
Elite Airways is adding non-stop seasonal service to three markets not served by any other airline. Those are White Plains, NY (HPN) and Albany, NY (ALB) starting April 5, and Newport News (PHF) starting April 6.
Spirit Airlines is adding non-stop seasonal service from Columbus, OH (CMH) starting March 23 and Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) starting April 12.
Barefoot Landing New Restaurant District
A new restaurant district is going into the Barefoot Landing shopping and entertainment complex at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. The district will be known as the Dockside Village and feature waterfront dining along the Intracoastal Waterway as well as new outdoor attractions and live music. It will be anchored by Lulu’s restaurant, owned by musician Jimmy Buffet’s sister, Lucy. The restaurant will also have live nightly music, a large sandy beach area, and a ropes climbing course, arcade and other activities in the 20,000 square-foot-space. A new Mexican concept restaurant is also planned. Lulu’s is scheduled to open by spring 2018. For more information, visit www.bflanding.com.
The Good Day Café
A new restaurant has opened in the downtown Superblock area of Myrtle Beach. Good Day Café specializing in Bubble tea, a frothy milk-based Taiwanese creation containing fruit and chew boba balls. It’s like a tea milkshake without all of the guilt of calories and fat. The menu includes salads and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches plus wraps and panini’s. The décor is 1950s and 60s inspired with vinyl records and album covers decorating the walls. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/gooddaycafemyrtlebeach.
Local Restaurateur Heidi Vukov Named South Carolina Chef Ambassador
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster named Heidi Vukov, local restaurateur and pastry Chef, as a South Carolina Chef Ambassador for 2018. Each year, chefs from the across the state are nominated to serve as a culinary ambassador and the governor chooses four to participate. Heidi will participate in a number of culinary and tourism events throughout the Southeast. Visitors to Myrtle Beach might also catch her at any one of her three establishments with two locations of Croissants Bistro and Bakery and a new sustainable seafood restaurant, Hook & Barrel. For more information, visit http://www.discoversouthcarolina.com/chef-ambassadors-2018.
A new restaurant has opened near the Market Common district of Myrtle Beach. Sandlapper Grill was opened by a local family to serve up home-cooked Southern comfort food with diner flair. Most items are under $10 and homemade such as the cakes made using their grandmother’s secret recipes. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/sandlappergrill.
Tin Roof “A Live Music Joint” and Restaurant
Tin Roof “A Live Music Joint” out of Nashville will feature tasty food and a full bar in a fun, eclectic environment. A venue for talented musicians, discovered and otherwise, Tin Roof will occupy the entire third floor of a new expansive oceanfront complex, which is currently under construction along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk at 14th Avenue North. For more details, visit http://www.tinroofmyrtlebeach.com/.
Water Tree Café
A new restaurant opened in January in the Market Common district of Myrtle Beach inside the Farrow Commons complex. Chef Philomena Mazzochetti comes from the Philadelphia area and is planning to offer something different to the area with eclectic modern cuisine. The menu includes pan-seared salmon, shrimp ceviche tacos, chicken satay and even fried tofu. They are also serving creative desserts and cocktails. For more information, visit http://thewatertreecafe.com.
Carolina Country Music Festival New Artists
The Carolina Country Music Fest (CCMF) will return for its fourth consecutive year to Myrtle Beach from June 7-10, 2018. The festival features more than 30 of the industry's biggest stars, including headliners Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith and Luke Bryan, among many others. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.carolinacountrymusicfest.com.
Second Annual Food Truck Festival
The inaugural festival was such a success in 2017, they will once again offer this fun festival in the boardwalk area of downtown Myrtle Beach at Burroughs and Chapin Pavilion Place on April 20 - 21, 2018. The second annual food truck festival will showcase the local food truck scene as well as provide a selection of craft beer and wine options, live entertainment, arts and crafts, kid's activities and various other vendors. For more information, visit www.myrtlebeachboardwalk.com.
Saltwater Highland Games
The Myrtle Beach Highland Games, which first began in 2016, is relocating to a new larger location at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex along with a renaming to the Saltwater Highland Games. The event will take place March 23-25, 2018, and will include athletic competitions, a Clan Village, Scottish Whisky Tastings, Kid’s Glen, live music and entertainment, and much more. New for 2018 will be a 5K Run/Walk, a Quidditch tournament made popular by the Harry Potter movies and a Pipe & Drum competition. For more information, visit www.saltwaterhighlandgames.com.
Wings Over Myrtle Beach
A new air show is coming to Myrtle Beach April 28-29, 2018, at the Myrtle Beach International Airport. This is the first air show in Myrtle Beach in more than a decade. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels will headline the show and there will be a host of world-class aerobatic and war bird performers. Additional information can be found at http://wingsovermyrtlebeach.com.
Hilton Ocean 16
Strand Capital Group is collaborating with Hilton Grand Vacations to build a new hotel featuring 330 luxury oceanfront units reaching a height of 260 feet. Now under construction with a projected completion date in the summer of 2019, the hotel is located at 1600 North Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach and will be named Hilton Ocean 16.
Marriott Hotel at 21st Avenue North Myrtle Beach
Plans are in the works to demolish two Breakers Resort hotel buildings managed by Brittain Resorts & Hotels and replace them with a Marriott-branded resort. The project will be in two phases with one tower being constructed and then another proposed tower built with the addition of public space at the end of 21st Avenue North in Myrtle Beach. The public space would consist of a 60-foot vista to represent a maritime forest. Developers also plan to add two mixed-use areas that would house retail, restaurants and entertainment. Construction is set to begin on the first phase tower in the fall of 2018. The second phase does not currently have a start date.
Residence Inn Marriott
Construction has begun on a Residence Inn Marriott on 26th Avenue South Ocean Boulevard. The 305,964-square-foot hotel will be 17 stories high and include its own parking structure and pool. A completion date has not yet been set.
South Bay Inn & Suites
A new oceanfront resort property developed by Buchanan Motels LLC is currently under construction on 6th Avenue North Ocean Blvd in Myrtle Beach along the boardwalk. South Bay Inn & Suites will total 237,000-square-feet, 19-stories high and include 242 guest rooms, an exercise gym, game room, full service bar area and sit-down restaurant. Envisioned to be the premier family-friendly hotel in the area, it will also have an onsite waterpark featuring two slides, a lazy river, a small kids water play area, a larger pool and two separate hot tubs. Opening is planned for May 2018. For more information, visit www.southbayinnandsuites.com.
The Myrtle Beach area, popularly known as the Grand Strand, stretches from Little River to Pawleys Island, comprising 14 distinct cities along the South Carolina coast. Home to 60 miles of sandy beaches, an assortment of entertainment and family attractions, Southern hospitality and world-class golf, the Myrtle Beach area presents the quintessential vacation experience.