We arrived Friday afternoon and checked into Sandy Beach Resort without any problems.
Went to Food Lion to pick up stuff for our stay while the kids and wife unpacked and
got some beach time. We cooked in Fri, Sat and Sunday evening. I'll do a separate review
for Sandy Beach, but our room 1712 is minimally stocked in the kitchen. We've rented many
condos and homes and this unit was the worst if you intend to cook dinners. The unit is
very nice otherwise and the view from the balcony and southern window is great. The walls
between units are not well sound insulated. We had some smokers next door who smoked on
the balcony. This place is non-smoking including the balcony. I had the front desk call
them but they didn't stop, so I had to tell them directly, balcony to balcony, that they
can't smoke. They seemed surprised; what is wrong with you smokers! If you want to do
water activities like jet ski, para sailing, banana boat rides, Oceans Watersport is about 100 yards
south of here. So you can walk on the beach there. But you will see and hear them all day.
My realization of how restrictive MB came Saturday morning. The life guards setup the rental
chairs and umbrellas all the way across the condo. In fact they stretch it out from Family
Kingdom area to the 2nd ave pier. So there is no way to get an unobstructed view of the beach
when you setup your stuff because you have to be behind their rentals. On top of that they
setup the umbrellas so low that it is at eye level when you are sitting in your chair. I know this
is not new, but I did not know this until I started looking at this forum in the last 6 months.
This is nuts in my opinion. The rentals for 2 chairs and an umbrella is reasonable $35 per day.
One family didn't know this and was very upset! They ended up renting a spot but used their
equipment since the rental chairs are pretty disgusting. I wouldn't lounge on them either.
The fact that rentals prevents me from getting the spot I want is enough to NEVER consider MB
for my beach vacation again. I may consider other parts of the Grand Strand though.
Also you can not set up your umbrella until 8am. You can put all your stuff on the beach but
can not put your umbrella up until then. What? The rentals are available from 8 to 4:30ish.
Some other rules: no skim boards, no blow up mattresses, and you can only go out to chest level
even when it's a blue flag day!
I've also read different views about beer on the beach, so I asked 3 different officials. They
all told me I can have cans of beer in my cooler but I must have a koozie when I'm drinking it.
I saw no police/security searching coolers on the beach.
My thoughts about the beach/water. I thought the beach overall was ok but the water clarity was poor.
From our 17th floor you can clearly see big blotches of brown water along the beach. I though it was
from the swash, but it's up and down the beach as far as the eye can see not just around the swash.
I know waves can stir up sand but this was different and we clearly saw better quality in Garden City.
Also the area seems devoid of sea life. I saw no crabs and very few if any small
clams and critters that live in the sand. I also saw very few small fish that usually live close to shore.
Not sure if this is due to pollution in the area? I hope not. Usually, the beaches we've been to are rich
in wildlife. Not here for some reason. Lastly, this beach has almost no shells to collect. To me this is
a very dull, lifeless (aquatic) beach. My smallest even commented where are the seaweed? None here. Our
kids love wildlife and have always caught and released wildlife from the beach but you won't be able to do
that in this section of MB. On a positive side, I think the city does a good job at cleaning the beach.
The cleaning machine does a good job picking up the bigger items but no so well for cigarette butts.
My kids playing sand kept finding them in the sand and made a pile of them; what's wrong with you smokers?
Why can't you properly dispose of them???
We visited Garden City area and found the water clarity and sand quality to be much better. I would
consider vacationing in this area instead of MB.
Try to avoid Ocean Blvd, traffic gets very heavy during late afternoon/evening. We visited Broadway
at the Beach but didn't see all of it. After the kids got their gifts, we got some ice cream and left.
We're not here to shop, been there done that. But I would say this is a better shopping/entertainment
area than the Boardwalk. My youngest wanted to shop at the Gay Dolphin so we drove to the Boardwalk.
It is not an upscale area, you will see people of all kinds here. We saw drunks and people smoking dope.
Is it kid friendly? I tend to say not. Take the family with small kids to Broadway at the Beach. We're
actually shocked that MB hasn't created a better Boardwalk experience for tourists.
Other places we've visited.
Mcadoos Beach Bar (next to Sandy Beach resort): Place is a dive, weak drinks and a bartender that looks like
he's high on something (younger guy). (went on 3 occasions). I asked him what's the most popular drink around
here. He said look on the board. Older guy was nice and helpful gave me some useful info.
Family Kingdom: My kids didn't want to go (they're used to Six Flags) so I went on my own. Lots of rides
for small kids. I think it's nice to have a place like this to go to for a change of pace. I think the all
you can ride wristband is $27.
House of Blues Sunday brunch: The food was good to very good. We went mostly to hear gospel music. Wife was
apprehensive because she thought it was going to be more of a comedy "show" that might not be appropriate
for our preteen kids. But she was pleasantly surprised. The group called Glory gave a really quality
gospel performance. Very inspirational group. We like them so much, we bought their CD. We have a HOB at
home but getting there is very much a hassle.
Conch Cafe: We saw countless Calabash buffets in town and knew those are not the place to go for good food.
Wanting a place with a nice view and based on recommendations from TA, we drove to Conch Cafe. We loved the
area there and would consider vacationing here in the future. The CC is nice enough, not fancy. Let me just
say that if the place is supposed to be a seafood restaurant, they should have more than 2 choices. It's
either salmon or a plate of fried seafood. I figured they would have a daily fish special, nope! So I had
their big seafood platter (all fried items), kids shared the salmon and the wife got the crab cakes. We also
got the she crab soup and side of salad. Having said that, I would say what we did get was very good. The
soup was really good and the salad was a mix of greens and was very fresh. The salmon and the fried items
were cook perfectly. Crab cakes big and very good also. I just wanted more fish selection, especially
local fish. I asked for a local beer, but they don't have any. What?
Inlet Crab House and Raw Bar: We did a quick visit to Murrells Inlet and enjoyed the marshwalk. It was dinner
time so we when to Drunken Jacks but 2 hour wait was just too long for us (they don't take reservations!).
Russell's was also about an hour, so we ended up at he Inlet Crab House. We tried their hush puppies, raw
oysters and peel and eat shrimp. These were really good. But the dinners and she crab soup was average.
We tried the shrimp and grits and seafood pasta. Both were just ok. Again, I don't understand why they don't
serve locally caught fresh fish. Their special was mahi mahi.
Overall, we enjoyed our stay in MB but we will not come back nor recommend coming here in the city of MB where
all the action is because of the stupid beach chair rental situation and the crowds.