Saturday, June 13, 2015

Myrtle Beach 2015

It had been 5 years since we took a family vacation. 5 years! We went to Disney World and St. Pete Beach when Isabelle was 7 and Seth was only 4. Parker was yet to be born! So we decided that another family vacation was way overdue. We looked at several places with beaches and ultimately decided on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!

We left home on Friday, June 5, right after the kids got home from school. Since we had already booked our hotel before June 8 was added to the school calendar due to snow days, the kids had to miss the last day of the school year. They were ok with that, since it was for a vacation. We left home at 4:30pm and, after stopping to eat at Wendy's and at one rest stop, arrived at Days Inn in Princeton, WV at 9:45pm (driving time was about 4 hours 20 minutes). Saturday we woke up, got ready and left at 9:40am, stopped to eat at Bo Jangles in Bennettsville, South Carolina, and arrived at our hotel at 4:30pm (driving time was about 6 hours).

We stayed at the Crown Reef resort on S. Ocean Blvd. We picked this place for their pools, lazy river, kids water area, water slides and oceanfront rooms.

Lazy river

The "Yellow Bridge Pool"

We had a bit of a rough time getting the right type of room when we checked in, so we had to stay in a small room with only 2 beds the first night (room 840). For our trouble, they gave us a voucher to use at their restaurant, Loco Gecko.

The next day we were moved to the correct room (room 314), which had a bedroom with 2 beds, a full kitchen, and a living room with a sofa bed and a Murphy bed. It worked out very well because each kid had their own bed, and they even switched beds throughout the week. We did, however, have another set back with the room because the keys to our room stopped working twice. After trying to have them re-programmed without success, maintenance had to come to our room both times to try to fix the lock and door handle. The second maintenance guy had to actually climb from the balcony next to ours over to our balcony and into our room - scary! Finally, our room ended up with a brand new door handle!

On Sunday we went to the ocean to swim, swam in the pools, ate lunch at Nacho Hippo (located at Market Common), went grocery shopping and hung around the beach and hotel.

At Nacho Hippo

Corn hole outside Nacho Hippo
Monday morning we went to the beach and pools (we did this EVERY morning!) and then to Family Kingdom amusement park. This park was great because there were so many rides that Parker could ride, and there were rides for older kids too. We took a break and ate dinner at Friendly's, then headed back to the park.

We got back to our hotel after 10pm that night, and when we got back, Barb and Steve had arrived! Before they got to Myrtle Beach, they stayed in Knoxville, Tennessee and stayed in Asheville, North Carolina after touring The Biltmore.

Tuesday we hung out with Grandma and Grandpa on the beach and at the pools.

We know one lens is darker than the other!

Later in the day, we drove to the Boardwalk, a stretch along the beach filled with restaurants, gift shops and attractions like a mirror maze and the Skywheel. Unfortunately, it started raining while we were there, so we had to cut our walk short. We did snag a few souvenirs while we were there.

Wednesday was a busy day. Aside from the beach and pools, we walked the Springmaid Pier. It appeared that a lot of locals use this pier for fishing. One fisherman showed us some Spanish Mackerel he caught, and we saw one person catch a shark (that got away)!

Also on Wednesday, we saw the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show. This was really neat. They didn't miss one detail in the show. There was a pre-show where pirates entertained us with songs, juggling, and other circus-type acts, then we entered the main show area where the stage was a pirate ship in actual water. The show also included sea lions, mermaids, dogs and ducks! We cheered for the "Sapphire Blue pirates" (vs. the Crimson Red) as they competed in various competitions. We were served a dinner with tons of food. The kids said this show was their favorite part of the trip.

On Thursday, Steve, Shane, Seth, Isabelle and I got to ride in a helicopter over the beach! We were in two separate helicopters since they can only hold 3 passengers plus the pilot. Shane and Isabelle took the "South Beach" trip, while Steve, Seth and I took the "North Beach" trip. The South trip flew over Myrtle Beach State Park and the less touristy part of the beach.


Shane and Isabelle's helicopter

During flight

View from the helicopter

South view

Steve, Carrie and Seth's helicopter
North route

Our hotel was the first large one from the bottom

View of the Skywheel and Boardwalk area

Later that day, Isabelle had a hair wrap put in her hair. It measured 18 inches long!

Thursday night being our last night in Myrtle Beach, we sat at one of the patios around the hotel and had a drink.

Friday morning we packed up the van.

Before we left, we stopped at the beach one last time. Isabelle filled a bottle with sand and ocean water, and we were able to get a nice family photo.

We left the hotel at 10:53am, stopped at Wendy's for lunch and twice for gas, then arrived at the Hampton Inn in Princeton, WV at 6:00pm. This part of the trip was 353 miles and took roughly 7 hours with the stops.

On Saturday, we left the hotel at 9:05am and stopped at a rest area in Gallia, OH. We arrived home at 1:30pm, after a total of 600 miles on the return trip. Overall, our trip including stops took just over 11 hours each way and was about 1200 miles total.

Farewell, Myrtle Beach!