Thriving in the off season: Winter on the South Strand

Courtesy of the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk Facebook page.
The summer months bring large crowds to the Grand Strand for obvious reasons—sun, sand and surf, but over the years the area has become a year round destination. With winter temperature averages in the sixties, the Grand Strand boasts moderate weather pretty much all year long, and even in the winter months, there is no shortage of things to see and do. The winter months are a great time to come enjoy the salt air and relax before the crowds make their way back. 

Are you a foodie? The very best seafood can always be found on the South Strand in the Seafood Capital of South Carolina, Murrells Inlet. Many of the best seafood restaurants are located right on the scenic Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, and Feb. 27-28 the MarshWalk holds its annual Taste of the MarshWalk. Don’t miss this opportunity to sample creations from award winning chefs, enjoy live entertainment and kids activities all along the backdrop of the picturesque Inlet views. Samples will be available from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day with the live entertainment running into the night.

Is history or art your scene? There is no lack of either in this area. Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet is a treat any time of year, but the “Gullah Culture…Remembering While Evolving” exhibit featuring the artwork of Patricia Sabree runs through Apr. 24 at the gardens. Additionally, in line with Gullah history, the Gullah Geechee program series will be held on Wednesdays, Feb. 17 and 24 at 1 p.m. Both programs are included with admission to Brookgreen.

New Orleans has Mardi Gras, but down on the South Strand, we celebrate “Marshi Gras”. On Feb. 9, in the spirit of the French Quarter, each Murrells Inlet MarshWalk establishment hosts its own Mardi Gras themed festivities along with a costume contest and parade weaving through the MarshWalk. There will be Cajun inspired dishes, drinks and live entertainment—you don’t want to miss this. Festivities begin at 5 p.m.

Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so what better way to spend Valentine’s weekend than with a trip to the beach? Treat your sweetheart to a romantic mini-vacation with walks on the beach, intimate dinners, serene views and salt air. There are many wonderful restaurants right here along the South Strand that offer the perfect setting for a romantic Valentine’s dinner, but be sure and make reservations as this is a busy dining weekend. You may even want to pick up your own fresh local seafood from one of the South Strand’s seafood markets and make your very own private candlelit dinner.

When all else fails, there’s always retail therapy. The Grand Strand is a shopper’s paradise with outlets malls, indoor shopping malls and outdoor shopping centers, but there is also great shopping on the South Strand with stores and merchandise you won’t find just anywhere. In recent years boutiques and repurposing shops have popped up all over the South Strand offering everything from custom monogramming to handmade jewelry, antiques and one-of-a-kind artwork. These are great places to find that vacation keepsake, special gift, or something none of your friends back home will have.

As you can see, gone are the days when the South Strand vacation season ended on Labor Day and didn’t pick up until Easter—no tumbleweeds here. Come enjoy the South Strand while it’s still just a little quieter. Fill your trip with events and activities, or just enjoy the peace of the beach! Hope to see you soon…

Christi W. Bessinger
Advertising and Marketing Manager
Garden City Realty, Inc.

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