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Need some advice on a first time visit

Old Forge, PA
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Need some advice on a first time visit

We are thinking about traveling to Myrtle Beach with 2 teenage girls. We are traveling from NE PA and it will be a 12 hour drive. My daughter absolutely loves the Jersey Shore, but with the recent devastation from Hurricane Sandy, we are deciding on another vacation this year. She actually suggested Myrtle Beach. I have been reading the posts and understand depending on where we stay we will have to drive to attractions. Is their enough parking where the boardwalk attractions are located and is their a charge for parking? Some posts mention a one or two mile distance and other posts mention a 30 minute drive to attractions. We are looking at the the Monterray Bay and Sea Watch. Are they reallly far from the tourist attractions? We typically spend all day on the beach, but any suggestions on activities or shows that teenagers would enjoy is greatly appreciated.

Dundee, Michigan
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1. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

The tourist attractions in MB are quite spread out, so you would be driving to some of them no matter where you stay. For example, Broadway at the Beach, Market Commons, and Barefoot Landing, are all removed from--and definitely not walking distance--from Ocean Blvd., where all of the oceanfront resorts are located.

The Boardwalk, IMHO, is just okay. I have never been to the Jersey Shore, so I have nothing to compare it to in terms of what you might be looking for, but in MB, the Boardwalk is along a section of S. Ocean Blvd. that is very congested and filled with kitschy souvenir shops, lower end motels interspersed with better high rise resorts, and people everywhere. We own a condo at N. Ocean Blvd. and 77th Ave. N. and it is like night and day in terms of being quieter, less congested, and safer. The resorts that you are considering are both away from the S. Ocean Blvd. Strip, so unless you want a party atmosphere all the time, you are making a good choice either way, although I have never personally been to either of those resorts, I just know where they are located.

When we visited last May, we drove down to the Boardwalk area because we had never been on the Boardwalk and we had to pay $10 to park in a lot behind the Ripley's Museum across Ocean Blvd. from the Boardwalk, which I thought was ridiculous. I'm not sure if there is any free parking down there, but if so, we sure couldn't find it!

Edited: 03 February 2013, 23:42
Any Beach
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for Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, West Virginia
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2. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

Neither Monterey nor Sea Watch are far from attractions. Good locations both. But...I would pick Monerey Bay. More of a residential area just to the south, so not as crowded. (beach-wise)

North Carolina
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3. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

I've been to most of the Jersey Shore and to Myrtle Beach. Both places have great beaches. At the Jersey Shore, each town has it's own beaches and amusements (Seaside Hts, Wildwood, etc). Some places have no amusements at all. In Myrtle Beach, there are public beach access points all along the oceanfront. In the 'main part' of town, each resort has its own beachfront area. Many have pools along the ocean, too. Unless you stay in the very center of town (near the sky wheel, zip line, etc Not the kind of rides you find in Ocean City, Wildwood, etc), there will not be a 'boardwalk', but there will be a wide, clean beach. It won't be as congested as some of the Jersey Shore beaches.

There are a lot more 'attractions' in Myrtle Beach than in any specific Jersey Shore town. Lots of folks love the shopping. Some go for the shows. If you are looking for a nice resort with a good beach, both of the places you mention are good. We've stayed in both, and we're going back to Sea Watch for Easter Break. If you want to be within walking distance to the center of town, try looking at the Carribean. Close to the 'action', but on the north end of it.

Destination Expert
for Myrtle Beach
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4. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

As stated above, MB is VERY spread out. You will be driving to most area attractions and parking at most will be free. (Broadway At The Beach, Barefoot, Tanger and other outlets, etc). If the walking crowds, arcades, cotton candy, hot dog on a stick type of area is what you enjoy, then the area around the Boardwalk is OK. IMO , with 2 teenage girls I would stay either north or south of that central area for less crowds and more family friendly accommodations. North would be closer to Barefoot and Tanger, south will be closer to Tha Market Common, Murrells Inlet. First timers really do need to do their homework to pick out what will suit them better. Knowing if they are early or late teens will help in making attraction/activity recommendations.

Rehoboth Beach...
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5. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

mom2b, I'm not trying to talk you out of MB (or the Grand Strand in general), but what is it your teens love about the Jersey shore besides the beaches? I ask this because if the boardwalks (with their shops and amusements)are on that list, they may be disappointed with the one in MB...it's more of a "promenade," nothing to compare with those in Wildwood, AC or OCNJ.

Sandy devastated NJ beach communities from OC north, but from there to Cape May, her impact was much more moderate. In DE and MD, there was some bayfront damage but the oceanfront (with notable exceptions) sustained only light damage, and repairs are ongoing. In other words, although you might notice some evidence of Sandy's visit, there's no reason to avoid southern Jersey or the DE/MD resorts this summer.

If you were looking for a change anyway, I would compare MB thusly:

PRO's: More affordable, warmer climate & ocean temps, longer season, more varied accomodation options, water amenities at most resorts are way more extensive, more to see and do, nearly limitless restaurant options, the list goes on.

CONS: The drive & gas. Summer heat & humidity. Boardwalk. I wouldn't say the amusement ride/waterpark selection tops Wildwood or OCMD's, and taxes are very high (especially on accomodations). But you do have unique places your teens would enjoy, notably Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing, or perhaps upscale Market Commons.

As has been said, the beach communities you are familiar with are more condensed and walkable (or bike-able). In MB, you can find a central location that will have plenty to do within a walkable radius, but to fully experience the area you will be driving. And while it's very family friendly, you don't have that "cozy small town feel" that some of the NJ/DE/MD beach resorts exude. But you would enjoy the favorable "culture shock" of being in "the south."

If you go, take a good look at the areas. Monterey Bay (a great value!) & Seawatch are in good locations but not easily walkable to attractions. You might be better off looking in the 20's (Aves. N). Look at Breakers or Carribean for great water amenities, and there are plenty others in between.

Edited: 04 February 2013, 14:35
Bethpage NY
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6. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

Sea Watch is located at the very northern end of MB. It's a nice resort with good water features and is oceanfront just north of Kingston Plantation. You will have to drive everywhere you go because nothing is within walking distance. Monterrey is up in the north 70's on Ocean Blvd and it's a very nice area and there are a few restaurants within walking distance. If you are looking at resorts within walking distance to attractions such as Piers, restaurants, Skywheel, Slingshot, The Boardwalk and many restaurants you would have to move to more of a central location but I would stay north of 21st street which is a nice area and some very good resorts. My favorite is The Caribbean which is the last Resort on the strip and the beach and area is not overcrowded. Also take a look at the Anderson which has great accomodations, the only negative about the Anderson is the pools are smaller and the water features do not compare to the Caribbean. Good luck

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7. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

We prefer the northern part of Myrtle beach. In fact, this yr we are actually staying in the town of North Myrtle Beach. It is actually a different town to the north, but several towns all run together to make up the Grand Strand. If you are looking for a boardwalk like Seaside Heights, you will be disappointed. The boardwalk area is more of a novelty than the main attraction. You should go to googlemaps.com or google earth and get a real life view of the area. You will see that although Myrtle beach is spread out, you can get to just about anywhere in a few minutes. I would recommend a trip to Myrtle Beach to anyone. It's fantastic! The weather is great, prices are reasonable, and the people are very friendly. You should give it a shot.

Wilmington, North...
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8. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

We live an hour north of MB, and we like No Myrtle the best. You need a car. We are timeshare owners and LOVE Sea Watch! (I am going w/ a girlfriend this weekend for 2 days!) Sea Watch is literally on the beach. So you walk outside, there are 9 pools, 2 lazy rivers, tons of areas dfor summing yourself and you walk across a tiny bridge and you are at the beach.

The chair rentals and umbrella rentals are costly, better off to go to Walmart and buy them and give to Goodwill than rent if you are staying for a week.


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9. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

When I was a teenager I loved Wildwood NJ. I even lived there one summer while I was a student in college. (I had a GREAT TIME by the way).

When visiting Wildwood, we hung out at the beach during the day, but couldn't wait to get to the boardwalk at night. If your daughter is into the boardwalk scene at the Jersey Shore, she will be disappointed with the Myrtle Beach boardwalk.

There's much more to see and do in Myrtle, but it's not all within walking distance from any one location. If she likes shopping, dinning, shows, and of course the beach, she will have a great time at Myrtle Beach.

There is so much more to do in Myrtle Beach than in Wildwood. My wife and I went back to Wildwood for a couple of years, but we both agreed that, for us, Myrtle is the place to go.

As some others have posted, check out Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing. Go to a show at the Carolina Opry or the Alabama Theater. Visit Medieval Times for dinner. And by all means stop down at the Boardwalk area, there are things to do in that area too. (Just not as much as Wildwood)

Overall, the accommodations are better and you get more for the money, the water is better, good restaurants are more plentiful, there are many more things to see and do in Myrtle Beach. The ONLY thing better in Jersey is the boardwalk. However, when I was a kid, nights on the boardwalk were the highlight of vacation.

Best Wishes. Thanks for allowing me to relive some great memories.

Edited: 05 February 2013, 22:28
Philadelphia, PA
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10. Re: Need some advice on a first time visit

Spent many summers down the Shore. The differences are numerous between Jersey/MD/DE beaches and MB as mentioned above by posters.. Easter break will mark our third trip to the Breakers w/ two teenage daughters. Love the variety of restaurants, shows, shopping, accommodations, and sights to see. Still return to Avalon, NJ every summer and enjoy the Ocean City, NJ and MD boardwalks! They are unique. Take a chance and visit MB! You won't be disappointed. Sand and surf!