Myrtle Beach great for family break

Myrtle Beach has always been a centre for family fun, a great place to spend a relaxing day or...

Myrtle Beach has always been a centre for family fun, a great place to spend a relaxing day or night. (QMI Agency files)

CATHY STAPELL, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:46 PM ET

Myrtle Beach is a favourite destination for an end of winter or spring getaway. Families enjoy plenty of attractions, entertainment and dining options, plus the incredible Grand Strand -- 96 km of white sand beaches with room for sand castles galore. Serious and not so serious golfers can choose from more than 100 golf courses and nearly 50 miniature golf courses.

Can-Am Days, March 12-20

Each March, Myrtle Beach parties with its Canadians pals during Can-Am Days. This year's 50th-anniversary celebrations, March 12-20, include the 23rd-Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival (March 12). Visitors can stroll through more than 100 arts and crafts booths and food vendors, plus groove to musical entertainment on two stages. Kids will love the children's area, which is full of rides and games. There will also be St. Patrick's Day celebrations on the Boardwalk downtown with eight bands and lots of entertainment.

Additional Can-Am events include a concert series with performances by No Strings Attached and Top Hat Marching Orchestra, both from Burlington, Ont., plus a golf tournament, South Strand Wildlife & History Day, military band concerts and the National Shag Dance Championship. Contact CanAmDays.com.

Hello Dolly Parton and pirates

Shiver me timbers! Dolly Parton is opening a new pirate-themed show in June with plenty of piratey adventures and attractions, acrobatics and live animals plus new music by Parton and Mark Brymer. In an interactive experience, viewers will start out in the Pirate's Lair and Crow's Nest and then make their way in the Crimson and Sapphire pirate camps in the main arena. Contact piratesvoyage.com.

Give SkyWheel a whirl

Opening in May, SkyWheel Myrtle Beach will provide fabulous views over the Grand Strand and add yet more pizzazz to the newly renovated Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade. The new attraction stands 60 metres -- 18 storeys -- high and includes 42 Swiss-made glass-enclosed, temperature-controlled gondolas that can hold six people. When complete, SkyWheel Myrtle Beach will also include a Jimmy Buffett's Landshark Bar and Grill restaurant, an observation deck overlooking the ocean, a night-time light show and a gift shop.

Wonders of science

Wonderworks -- a hands-on science attraction at Broadway at the Beach -- is slated to open this spring, and will include an upside-down building, a volcano, a lighthouse and an Egyptian pyramid. At Wonderworks, people will feel what it's like to be in an earthquake and hurricane, fly a NASA space shuttle or fighter jet, or ride a virtual rollercoaster. Contact wonderworksonline.com.

Getting there easier than ever

For the second year, Porter Airlines is providing seasonal service from Toronto to Myrtle Beach. From now until through May 23, travellers can fly non-stop from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to Myrtle Beach International Airport on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. Contact FlyPorter.com or 1-888-619-8622.

Spirit Airlines is offering a new option for travellers beginning May 5, with seasonal service to Myrtle Beach from Niagara Falls, N.Y., three times per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Contact spiritair.com.

More on Myrtle Beach

For information on travelling to Myrtle Beach, contact visitmyrtlebeach.com or 1-888-Myrtle-1.


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