You packed up the family wagon in the wee morning hours, got a jump on rush hour traffic, there weren’t excessive bathroom breaks along the way, and somehow your crew landed in Garden City Beach ahead of schedule.
Because Garden City Realty’s (GCR) vacation rentals are booked at 100 percent occupancy through July with limited availability in August, do not expect an early check-in, in fact average check-in time has been between 5-7 p.m. recently.
What to do with a car-full of weary, but anxious travelers, including impatient young ones until you can check in?
We feel your pain, so we’ve compiled this Garden City Realty Early Arrival Survival Guide.
First and foremost, to stay informed on the availability of your vacation rental, make sure to provide your GCR reservationist with the number to a mobile phone that you will have with you on your journey. When your property is ready, you will receive a text message from the GCR office.
VERY CLOSE DIVERSIONS
If you don’t want to stray far from the Garden City Realty offices at 608 Atlantic Avenue, there are plenty of options for making the most of your time within a quarter-mile radius.
Get your non-perishable grocery/toiletries shopping done:
Directly across the street is Kroger, with a pharmacy and large selection of non-grocery items, at 2939 U.S. 17.
A more intimate experience is available at Angela’s Fresh Market, featuring local produce, seafood – and don’t miss out on the hot boiled peanuts. It’s at 611 Atlantic Avenue.
Pick up that shampoo you forgot to bring or load up on sunscreen and snacks at Walgreens at 2872 U.S. 17.
One-stop-shopping is the calling card of Walmart, and the Supercenter at 545 Garden City Connector is no exception with on-site pharmacy, hair salon, money services, garden center and Subway sandwich shop.
Get your grub on:
Perhaps you’d like to sit down and enjoy a bite to eat.
You can’t get much closer to the GCR office than Old Chicago Pizza and Tap Room, 2859 U.S. 17.
And next door (2851 U.S. 17), there’s Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin if breakfast food is on your mind.
If you’re on the scene before 2 p.m., Garden City Pancake House, 2908 U.S. 17, is another option for primarily breakfast foods.
There’s also the tried-and-true American fast-food tradition: McDonald’s (2913 U.S. 17) is basically in the Kroger parking lot.
If you are hankering for pastries and java, Dunkin Donuts, 2901 U.S. 17 South, is the cure. Also serving sandwiches, iced drinks, and bagels.
Grab some beach/surf gear:
Only a few blocks from the GCR office, is the local institution Village Surf Shoppe at 500 Atlantic Avenue, outfitting local surfers since 1969. You can even sign up for surfing lessons.
Adjacent to the aforementioned Dunkin Donuts is big box beachwear store Wings (2901 U.S. 17), featuring clothing, novelty items, beach chairs, towels, etc.
Let’s say you arrived way early and have a few hours to kill.
Why not take a family walk on the beach? There are numerous public beach access spots with parking up and down Waccamaw Drive in Garden City Beach and Ocean Blvd. in Surfside Beach as well.
If your four-legged family member is along for the trip, remember that dogs are not allowed on the beach during the summer season from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in unincorporated Horry County and Surfside Beach, although Georgetown County beaches allow canine companions year-round. Nearby Huntington Beach State Park is also dog-friendly year-round, but you’ll have to pay an admission fee ($8 for adults, $5 for South Carolina seniors, $4 for ages 6-15; free for ages 5 and younger). Or take Fido to Myrtle Beach’s Bark Parc South located on the former Air Force Base, 700 Mallard Lake Drive, or the Surfside Beach Dog Park at 412 First Avenue N., Surfside Beach.
Include the iconic Pier at Garden City in your family stroll. It’s free to walk the pier, where you’ll get majestic views of the Atlantic. The pier includes an arcade, bait shop (including fishing gear rentals), a café, and bar at the end. The café and bar also feature live music.
Another option for stretching your legs and getting some fresh salt-filled air is the half-mile wooden boardwalk along a picturesque saltwater estuary known as The Murrells Inlet Marshwalk. The Marshwalk has a collection of waterfront eateries, many of which feature live music. Include the adjacent Veterans Pier in your Marshwalk ambling, which offers a different view of the inlet and boardwalk.
Maybe you’d like to cool off and relax indoors? Go see the latest Hollywood flick. With the cinemas shut down at Inlet Square Mall, the closest theater complex (14 screens) is at The Market Common on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, but fret not, it’s only nine miles from Garden City Beach. There’s plenty of other diversions at The Market Common as well, including shopping, dining, and playgrounds.
And speaking of playgrounds…Let the kids burn off some steam at All Children’s Park or Fuller Park both in Surfside Beach, or the somewhat hidden, more intimate Sanford D. Cox Community Park at 470 Elizabeth Street that offers marsh views.
Challenge the family to a round of mini-golf at nearby Gilligan’s Island Funland, 3009 U.S. 17, Garden City Beach, or Runaway Bay, a 36-hole Jamaican-themed mini-golf course at the Tupelo Bay Golf Center, 1800 U.S. 17, Surfside Beach.
Get nostalgic with games of pinball and Skee-ball, along with modern video games and carnival-style challenges at Garden City Pavilion and Arcade. Upstairs features a slew of old-school video games including Frogger, Defender, Asteroids, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Super Mario Brothers, Galaga and more.
Let the good times roll. There are two options for getting your roll on at local lanes – including the previously Market Common, where 810 Billiards & Bowling is located: as well as Surfside Bowling Center, 510 U.S. 17, Surfside Beach.
Other Close-by Dining Options
For more dining options further away from the GCR office and to get into the mood with a beachy feel, try these waterfront dining spots in Garden City Beach, Surfside Beach, and Murrells Inlet: Sara J’s Seafood Restaurant (opens at 4 p.m. daily), Gulfstream Café, Conch Café (closed on Mondays), River City Café in Surfside Beach, Scotty’s Beach Bar in Surfside Beach, the collection of eateries we referenced at the Marshwalk – Bovine’s, Creek Ratz, Drunken Jack’s, Dead Dog Saloon, The Claw House, Wahoo’s Fish House, The Wicked Tuna and Tuna Shak and Mojo’s Marina Bar and Grill – along with Hot Fish Club, Graham’s Landing, American Steak & Oyster Bar, Nance’s Creekfront Restaurant, Inlet Provision Company in Murrells Inlet.
By Kent Kimes for Garden City Realty
Note: Viewers are responsible for independently verifying information regarding locations, open times, admission fees, etc.