South of the Border

My friend Selena and I kind of got into a fun routine of finding funky, unusual things and places to take our kids to see.  South of the Border is hands down one of the weirdest, most random places we happened upon.  Situated in South Carolina, not far from North Carolina (get it? South of the Border?), is a town that gives Speedy Gonzales a run for his money.  Picture this… You are driving along a typical southern highway, trees and road on either side; monotonous, really.  You round a bend in the highway and BAM!  Out of nowhere, this is what you see:

I can’t even lie, when I first saw it I was dumbstruck.  What is this place?  Why is it here?  I will admit that I wasn’t sure I wanted to get out of my car, but I am so glad I did.  We made memories that day that will last a lifetime (unlike the sombrero magnet I got as a souvenir that broke within the week).

Most of the attractions were shut down the day we went- not sure if it was the temperature, the season, or if they were broken.  No matter, there was still fun to be had.  We took the time to enjoy the many statues by taking pictures with them.

When we got hungry we went to the only place I could see, which was a small little diner.  It consisted of your basic, run of the mill hotdogs, hamburgers, and french fries.  The best part? The prices were out of this world.  I think I spent maybe $12 to feed me and two kids.  Unheard of.

After eating we made our way across the street to a beach store.  Beach store you may ask?  Yes!  A Myrtle Beach store to be exact, and being totally honest here, not a very good one.  Surprisingly, this is where we had most of our fun.  The kids found some interesting toys in there and in the back of the store there was a huge shark.  Very odd place to come across a beach store but that is part of what made it so fun.

After that we looked around town a bit more, played in an arcade for a little bit and eventually headed home.  If you live in South Carolina or some parts of North Carolina, this would be a neat trip to take for a quick getaway.  They had some rides and a reptile exhibit we were unable to see, but they looked like a good time.  I guarantee you won’t soon forget this place and you will definitely find some fun if you keep an open mind.  I’ll leave you with some more shots of this quirky town before I go…

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Myrtle Beach

The first beach trip I can remember was when I was four years old.  We went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  I only have one distinct memory of the trip and that was of me swimming in the ocean while my family and the lifeguard stood on the shore screaming for me to come back in closer.  I had just learned to swim and the ocean seemed like a fine place to practice my newly acquired skills.  I did come back to shore and was chastised by my family and told not to go in past my knees.  Following that trip I have found myself at Myrtle Beach at least ten more times.

In the past five years, I have stayed at 3 different hotels in Myrtle Beach; the Landmark Resort, the Springmaid Beach Resort (now a DoubleTree by Hilton), and a Fairfield Inn close to Broadway at the Beach.  Out of those three, the only one I would suggest staying at would be the Springmaid.  The other two were outdated and the pools were, for lack of a better word, gross.  Since becoming a DoubleTree, the Springmaid has been off of my radar simply because pricing jumped from $99/night to $250+/night.  This year I will be going back to Myrtle Beach and staying at a new-to-me condo in the Sea Watch Resort– report to follow.  Regardless of where you stay in Myrtle Beach, remember one thing: If you like noise and partying head south, if you like peace and solitude with a more family feel head north.

One reason Myrtle Beach has become such a popular destination is because there is a never-ending supply of places to go and things to do other than play on the beach.  Rainy day? No problem, you will find plenty to do indoors.  Myrtle Beach is home to a myriad of Ripley’s attractions, dinner shows, and fun and unique places like Wonder Works.  I have been to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach and honestly I was a little bit underwhelmed, but most  people seem to really love it.  This year we will be making stops at the Skywheel, Wonder Works, and the Pirate’s Voyage Dinner & Show.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina | www.adventuresquared.com

Another fun (and somewhat tacky) thing to do in Myrtle Beach is shopping in the beach stores.  These stores are gold.  You can find clothing, souvenirs, and much more in these places.  Usually we spend a lot of time perusing them because it can be downright fun to try on different hats or read some of the things on the merchandise.  Word of caution: If you have kids that have begun reading and really grasping the world around them, be aware that there are some raunchy things inside most of these beach stores.  Be prepared to have your child ask you “Hey mom, what is this”?

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina | www.adventuresquared.com

After all of the activities, I am sure you will be hungry.  Myrtle Beach has a ton of dining options from seafood buffets to fine dining steakhouses.  There are 2 chain restaurants I visit every time I go; Cheeseburger in Paradise and Dickey’s BBQ.  The kids enjoy Cheeseburger in Paradise for the coloring activities and the ambience and I enjoy Dickey’s because the food is legitimately good and the prices are on point.

We tried out Crabby Mike’s Seafood Buffet last year and while the food was pretty good, the atmosphere left a lot to be desired.  For money saving and to make it easier when the kids are with me, I usually have breakfast and lunch at the hotel.  This past year we utilized the free breakfast at the hotel.  After having fun at the beach we came back to the hotel, made sandwiches with fruit and chips, and then the kids swam for hours.  We always have dinner out because who wants to cook on vacation? Not me.

So, as you can see, Myrtle Beach is ripe with possibilities.  If you guys know of any places I need to see or eat at on my upcoming trip let me know in the comments.  I would love to try some new places.

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