It’s that time of year again when working nurses cash in that hard-earned PTO (paid time off) and begin to think of that perfect vacation spot for the summer. It’s also that time of year when nurse graduates celebrate their recent nursing school graduation (or passing NCLEX) by taking some time to relax on the sandy shores of a serene beach (as they should!).
So in celebration of the official start of summer, we’re going to write a series of posts on vacations for nurses. If you’re considering going to the beach this year, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned.
Here’s a great question: Which beach will you visit this year? Or which sandy shore is worth your hard earned money and dwindling time?
I found myself facing this very question recently. In fact, it had been about 5-6 years since taking an overnight vacation (especially at the beach), and I was dying to take one. My husband and I both worked very hard and we wanted to take a short vacation that had both beautiful scenery and also plenty of fun attractions.
After some research and discussion, it was a no brainer: Myrtle Beach was not only one of the best beaches on the East Coast of the U.S., but it was also the closest, had beautiful scenery, was affordable, and also had plenty of attractions. Bingo!
Myrtle Beach Vacation for Nurses (My Review)
If you go to Google and type in “Best Beaches in the United States,” Myrtle Beach is almost certainly going to show up somewhere, and for good reason! Myrtle Beach is located in South Carolina (SC), and it is one of the most popular beaches on the entire East Coast, and it is packed full of gorgeous sandy beaches, tall hotels, and fun-filled family attractions.
Being located in the central part of the US coast, it makes it a convenient location for countless states (such as North Carolina, Tennessee, Virgina, West Virginia, Georgia, etc). It is a reasonable drive for most of these states, taking only a few hours. In fact, this time yesterday I was standing on the sandy shores of Myrtle Beach (and yes, I already miss it).
Myrtle Beach Pictures: What Does Myrtle Beach Look Like?
Myrtle Beach looks very pretty. It is a beach that you’d expect to see on a post card. The ocean does not have the “very bright blue” color that is very rare on white sand beaches (it has more of a yellow sand), but it does have a very pretty deep-greenish blue color when the sun is directly above shining down. Here is a picture of Myrtle Beach that I took myself just 2 days ago (taken from my hotel on South Ocean Boulevard):
As you can see, the beach is very well kept and very nice. I didn’t see any trash, broken bottles, etc. that would be harmful. The police and lifeguards make sure they keep a close watch on those things. Of course, life guards are still no match for us nurses when it comes to saving people though (just kidding!).
It can get quite a bit busy during the afternoon hours, but there are very few people on the beach before about 9:30 am and after about 7:00 pm, which makes it a great time to stroll along, throw frisbee, fly a kite, or anything else. Also, some people were walking dogs, so it seems that they do allow pets (at least during certain hours). However, always check before if you plan on taking pets to be safe!
The ocean glows a pretty blue-green color when the sun is out. You have the option to rent umbrellas from a lifeguard (and lifeguards are regularly on duty during the day, for added safety). You can also buy (or bring) your own beach chairs and umbrella if you wish, which is what we did since we already had those at home.
There are also gorgeous hotels that line the beach, and many look very nice and well kept. On the other side of the hotels, there are plenty of attractions, stores, and fun that line the entire strip.
Here is a picture of the sand and shore, facing down along South Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach:
Myrtle Beach Amenities
Here are some of the great things that you can appreciate about Myrtle Beach:
- Clean, well-kept beaches
- Life Guards on duty during most daylight hours
- Police often patrol area
- Great waves, although not enough to surf in most cases. However, you can ride them with a boogie board or float for hours of fun (we did).
- A boardwalk that runs along the back of the hotels for about 1 mile.
- A sidewalk on the city side of the hotels, with plenty of crosswalks.
- Relatively safe waters. Although the occasional rip current, shark bike, etc. can happen, Myrtle Beach doesn’t have a high risk of those things often. Also, it’s location keeps it protected from most hurricanes, tsunamis, etc. that could devastate other beaches regularly. We have never experienced a shark bite, jellyfish problems, or any other issues that you may face at other locations.
- No Helmets required on Motorcycles: For example, you usually don’t have to wear a helmet on Myrtle beach when driving a motorcycle. Not that I drive a motorcycle or anything, but still, my state requires a helmet.
- Plenty of Hotels, resorts or condos to choose from. The picture above was taken from the 5th floor of the Sandy Beach Oceanfront resort (the hotel we used).
- Very friendly people: My husband and I kept commenting at how friendly both the tourists and locals were down at Myrtle Beach. Everyone just seemed to be in a great mood at all times. It was truly wonderful.
- Piers located about every mile or two. From our hotel on South Ocean boulevard, it appears that there is a pier about every 1-3 miles along the Myrtle Beach Coast. We went on a pier (cost $1 per person), but it was a great view. Many people fish there (people regularly catch baby sharks, which is kinda creepy, but also normal). Also, there is a telescope you can use to see (costs 25 cents I think). Many also over a restaurant or gift shop at the front of the pier, which is neat. Here is a picture of a pier:
Is there anything to do at Myrtle Beach? Oh yes! We had an absolute blast every single day visiting attractions, and we didn’t even scratch the surface. Here are some of the awesome things you can do:
- Ripley’s attractions: Ripley’s Believe it or not, Ripley’s Aquarium, Ripley’s Haunted House, Ripley’s Mirror Maze, etc. We did the mirror maze, believe it or not, and the aquarium. They were very fun and interesting.
- Ocean Activities: Para-sailing, Jet Ski rides, banana boat rides, and similar attractions are available on the beach. In fact, if you look closely in the first picture on this page, you’ll see a couple of people para-sailing.
- Tons of Restaurants: There are restaurants EVERYWHERE in Myrtle Beach. Seafood, fast food, pizza, Asian foods, etc. You name it, they’ve got it. The best seafood is Original Benjamin’s Calabash, although the price of $29.99 per person (as of 2012) may be cost prohibitive for some people (we decided to skip it this time, and settled for Captain D’s, which was surprisingly delicious for a fast food chain).
- Family Kingdom/Amusement Parks: We went to Family Kingdom and it was a blast. They had many carnival rides, a roller coaster, etc. They no longer have the Pavilion park, however, Family Kingdom is just as good, if not better. They also have a zip-line, go-karts, and more. It was located just feet away from our hotel, which was awesome. The admission is free, but you can either buy tickets individually or get an unlimited wrist band for a price of around $25 (as of 2012). Although the wrist band isn’t good for the go-karts or zip-line, but it is for most other rides.
- Putt-Putt (Minature Golf): Not only are there some nice golf courses there (I don’t golf), but there are also plenty of putt-putt courses that looked like lots of fun.
- Fun Shops and Stores: There are stores all along the Myrtle beach strips. Some of the best stores are Eagles, Wings, and some of the smaller specialty shops. We were actually really surprised to see that most of their prices were very reasonable. We got a cool starfish (hardened) for only $1.99. We also got a Myrtle beach photo album for only $9.99, which was blue and had a very nice decoration of shells on the front. They also have a Walmart and Kmart within a mile or two, which is nice.
- Huge Water Slides: Owned by Family Kingdom, these twisty slides are great fun for kids or adults.
- Fun Rentals: You can rent small scooters, and many people were riding them. I think it only costs $39 for a full day to ride around on those mopeds. Also, you can rent a Segway, bicycle, and other things down there. Not to mention boats, and other similar water crafts.
- Countless other attractions: There are pirate shows (where you watch pirates and eat a meal), tons of novelty restaurants, 3-D movie theaters, and so many things that it is almost impossible to mention them all in one article. But let’s just suffice it to say that there is something for everyone, and plenty for a family or couple to do.
By the way, there are a few places within Myrtle Beach (such as Surf
Myrtle Beach Review: I Love It
I think this was the 5th time I’ve been to Myrtle beach in my entire life, and I keep coming back. Why? Quite simply, it is the overall best beach in my opinion. It has a low cost, it’s one of the closest to my location (6 1/2 hour drive), it has friendly people, lots of fun family-friendly attractions, beautiful scenery, and more. Myrtle Beach loves nurses, and nurses love Myrtle Beach.
If you are a registered nurse, doctor, nurse practitioner, LPN, recent nursing student graduate, or anything in-between–then I’d highly recommend you consider this spot for your summer vacation this year. By the way, you’ll also want to read our handy vacation packing list, as well as our tips on how to save money at Myrtle Beach.
My husband and I had the time of our life. Although it was 5-6 years since our last time visiting this beach, we certainly hope we can visit it again soon. It feels like our home away from home.
In the next couple of articles on this site, I will review our hotel, and also give some great tips on how to make the most of your beach vacation (including a packing list and some tips on driving and saving money).