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Myrtle Beach Sans All-You-Can-Eat

Carol Sottili

My oldest child graduated last weekend from Coastal Carolina University, in Conway, S.C. just outside Myrtle Beach. We had a nice-size crowd coming in for the festivities (two aunts and one grandma from New Jersey; one uncle and one grandma from New York; and my husband, daughter and myself from Virginia). Being the travel writer geek that I am, I planned it like a military campaign. And I learned a lot about Myrtle Beach's accessibility, accommodations, restaurants, etc. in the process. Here are some thoughts:

* Myrtle Beach is not easy to get to. It has an airport, but the only airline that now flies nonstop to Myrtle from the Washington area is United, and fares are high (about $379 round trip for a weekend jaunt). Spirit Airlines used to fly there from Reagan National, but has discontinued service. Hooters Air used to fly there from BWI, but it's also stopped service. The best way to get there is to drive. It took us less than seven hours, and once you get past Richmond, it's easy.

* There is plenty of lodging in Myrtle Beach. Most of doesn't cost all that much, especially off season, but it's not exactly upscale. We've adopted the Hampton Inn Oceanfront as our place. Price is right ($143 a night for an oceanfront room last weekend) and includes a nice continental breakfast. Hotel is located just .95 miles from the airport, which worked for our guests who were flying in. Rooms have great beds (go to www.thenewhamptonbed.com for the details). Service is very pleasant. We've also heard good things about the Breakers. Farther north is the new Marriott, about as upscale as it gets in Myrtle Beach.

By the way, don't get confused between North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach. Yes, they're adjacent to one another, but especially during summer when traffic is awful, it can take forever to drive between the two.

* As with hotels, there are plenty of restaurants in Myrtle Beach and most of them aren't worth writing home about. But we have discovered several winners. If you're looking for an authentic Low Country experience, go to Sea Captain's House, an oceanfront house built in 1930. The servers all have serious Southern accents, and the sweet tea is excellent. Food isn't top notch, but it's better than average. And if you happen to be from the Northeast, and you're trying to entertain a bunch of pizons (Italian slang for friends) or you just like Italian food with atmosphere, go to Villa Romano. Tony Soprano would love the place. Portions are more than generous, and food is excellent. Entertainment is a wise-cracking accordion player who loves the Redskins, and will happily play the team's fight song.


This enough meat for ya? The Veal Osso Bucco and Risotto from Villa Romano.(Carol Sottili - TWP)

Anyone else have tips about visiting Myrtle Beach?

P.S. Off topic here, but if you're one of the few people left in this area with a child who isn't gifted and talented, Coastal Carolina is a very nice university that will accept kids with average grades and SAT scores.

By Carol Sottili |  May 11, 2007; 9:14 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili , Tales from the Road
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Myrtle Beach? Really? With so many other, nicer beaches so close by, it's a shame. OTOH, I guess I don't need more people ruining my favorite out of the way places.

Also, thanks for being a proponent of Coastal Carolina. There are a lot of schools like it throughout the southeast.

Posted by: N.C. resident | May 16, 2007 10:13 PM

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