As one of the fastest-growing family and vacation destinations in the nation, the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina currently attracts an average of 15 million visitors annually, along with thousands of new residents to the destination, each year. Known affectionately as “The Grand Strand,” Myrtle Beach has grown by more than 35 percent over the past decade and continues to evolve and expand, giving way to an entirely “new” Myrtle Beach area of accommodations, attractions and events. Here is a sneak peek at some of the newest developments anticipated in 2012.
*Updates are listed alphabetically
Spirit Airlines Announces Service Between Myrtle Beach and Dallas/Fort Worth
Spirit Airlines will introduce three non-stop flights per week between Myrtle Beach and Dallas/Fort Worth starting May 3, 2012. Dallas/Fort Worth travelers can take advantage of Spirit’s low fares and friendly service by visiting www.spirit.com.
~Attractions and Exhibits~
Coastal Uncorked: Food, Wine & Spirits Festival
The annual Coastal Uncorked festival, in its third year, will take place April 22-29, 2012. All events will be moved to one central location, downtown across from the Boardwalk. The event will include two days of Tasting Tents (April 27-28) with live music and a gourmet village at the site. For more information, call (843) 916-2030 or visit www.coastaluncorked.com.
Grand Park Athletic Complex
The Grand Park Athletic Complex will open in early 2012. Three full-size and two youth-size multipurpose fields as well as a new roller hockey rink will make up the athletic complex. This project is owned by the City of Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach Adrenaline Adventures
Two new zip line adventure courses are planned to open in spring 2012 where the former Pavilion Amusement park stood between 8th and 9th Avenues on Ocean Blvd. and on a few acres on the south end of Myrtle Beach. The former Pavilion site’s theme will be a “Carolina Beach-shabby-shack” theme, while the property on South Ocean Boulevard between Springmaid resort and Damon’s restaurant will have a “Swiss Family Robinson-tiki” theme.
Myrtle Beach Art Museum 15th Anniversary Year Long Celebration
The Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum has launched a new yearlong campaign celebrating its 15th anniversary, called “I Heart Art.” Throughout the year, the museum will host events designed to get the public excited about art, with plans to build an art-themed miniature golf course and hold collector’s events, exhibitions of high school art works and fashion runway competitions. For more details and a full list of events visit http://www.myrtlebeachartmuseum.org/Events/anniversary.cfm.
Pat Boone Family Theater
The Pat Boone Family Theater is slated for opening this winter. Approximately one-half million dollars in renovations will turn the former NASCAR Café restaurant into a 600-seat theater. Pat Boone, who rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s and continues to record, will help book acts and also perform several times a year. A Boone Museum will feature some of his memorabilia. The Pat Boone Family Theater will offer a variety of entertainment, appealing across age groups to tourists as well as residents. The resident performers will include magicians and singers, and the theater will house special events and performers such as comedians, nostalgic pop artists and gospel festivals. For more information, call (843) 213-6880 or visit www.pbftheater.com.
South Carolina Warriors Basketball Team
The South Carolina Warriors is a semi-professional basketball team based in Myrtle Beach as a franchise of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The Warriors will play its 2011-2012 home games in Little River, SC. The season runs through March 2012. For more information visit http://scwarriorsbasketball.com.
~Major Construction Projects~
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
Non-profit organization Plug In Carolina has installed electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the Grand Strand as a part of a larger goal of installing 80 active stations in South Carolina. Each station supports the charging of two vehicles simultaneously. Stations are located at Coastal Carolina University, Ocean Lakes Campground in Surfside, 4th and Laurel Street in Conway, the Horry County Library in Conway, 6th Avenue South in North Myrtle Beach, and the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Grand Strand Campus in Myrtle Beach.
Highway 17 Bypass Interchange Project at the Back Gate
The Highway 17 Interchange will eliminate the traffic signal at the intersection and provide uninterrupted movement on Highway 17. The Interchange will decrease traffic delays and construct a U-turn at the north end of the Interchange under the bridge.
Kings Road Boat Ramp
Two million dollars will be spent to build the Kings Road Boat Ramp, pave the parking lot and build public restrooms. The project is a joint effort of the Horry County Transportation Committee and the Horry County Parks.
International Technology and Aerospace Park (ITAP)
ITAP is a 460-acre class A aviation and technology park owned by Horry County and located on the Myrtle Beach International Airport property. The park has a public entrance in the Market Common district, known for upscale shopping and dining. Phase 1 of the park was completed in November 2011. This included the installation of utilities, access roads, storm drainage and landscaping. For more information visit www.mbitap.com.
Myrtle Beach International Airport Extension
To accommodate growing numbers of visitors arriving by air, Myrtle Beach International Airport has begun an expansion project with the recent addition of a general aviation terminal, which opened in 2010, and the continued construction of a new passenger terminal. The massive projects, which will extend the passenger terminal from seven to 12 gates, are expected to increase the airport’s capacity and efficiency for vacationers, business travelers and locals alike. M.B. Kahn Construction is serving as the program manager for the $130 million passenger terminal expansion which will be completed in early 2013. For more information visit www.flymyrtlebeach.com/expansion.cfm.
Springmaid Pier Improvements
A historic landmark in the heart of Myrtle Beach, Springmaid Beach Pier is undergoing a few changes in 2012. BARnacles, the pier bar and grill, will receive a reinvigoration as Myrtle Beach’s newest waterfront hot spot. There will be outdoor seating and the deck will be revamped with the addition of a full bar drink line up and new menu. There will also be weekly live entertainment and a happy hour on Fridays. A pier hurricane simulator will be added as well as a giant beach chair to be used for photo opportunities. For more information visit http://www.springmaidbeach.com/default.asp?springmaidbeach=30.
A new Target shopping center will be coming to Myrtle Beach. SayeBrook Town Center, a 700-acre development, is planned near the U.S. 17 Bypass and S.C. 544, ranging from commercial to single-family homes. The Target will be about 135,000 square feet and include a produce section. The shopping center will be anchored by Target, but include space for additional stores. For more information, call (843) 294-6197 or visit www.thejacksoncompanies.com.
Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation Undergoes Renovation
Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation, an oceanfront resort in Myrtle Beach, has begun renovations to the lobby, restaurants and common areas of the hotel. The multi-million dollar project, slated for completion in early April, follows recent renovations to the hotel’s 255 guest rooms and the resort’s Sport & Health Club, that were completed last year. The hotel’s food and beverage outlets will also receive renovations to modernize and enhance the facilities, as well as offer breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty of Myrtle Beach. A new, upscale 44-seat oceanfront restaurant is being added and will offer scenic views along the Atlantic Ocean. For more information, visit www.kingstonresorts.com.
Grande Shores Oceanfront Resort
The Grande Shores Oceanfront Resort will receive a renovation and update of hotel rooms and all common areas. Renovations include updated oceanfront pool decks, resurfacing of the Lazy River, a new ceiling for the indoor pool, a new covered walkway at the main entrance, renovated elevator interiors and new furniture in the lobby. Grande Shores hotel rooms are being updated with new closet organizers, paint, new bathroom vanities and lighting. All updates will be completed by February 2012, at a cost of more than $1 million. For more information call (843) 692-4000 or visit www.grandeshores.com.
Springmaid Beach Resort
In October 2011, Springmaid launched its status as Myrtle Beach’s newest dog-friendly resort. The resort now offers an affordable dog-friendly rate and designated dog-friendly specific rooms. Also, a fenced doggie run was created with ample room to play, with benches and waste containers for owners.
Also, for 2012, a product and team investment in wedding business is being developed. The resort has hired a wedding specialist – experienced in wedding product sales, development and management – to provide team training and professional development to group managers specific to the needs of wedding planners, couples and their parties. The property has also created wedding packages around the specific needs and drivers for wedding groups. The website is also undergoing a development to create a weddings section. Visit www.springmaidbeach.com.
Dining in Myrtle Beach International Airport Expansion
The Myrtle Beach International Airport Expansion project will also include some new dining, some of which are inspired by local fare. Two restaurants are Bubba’s Fish Shack and Nacho Hippo, locally run by the Divine Dining Group which will include local barbeque, Carolina Coastal Cuisine and a Latin twist on traditional local dishes. Boardwalk Café will also join the dining scene as a complete restaurant with bar. Also completing the restaurant landscape will be national chains Dunkin’ Donuts and Steak n’ Shake.
The restaurant Nosh opened in fall 2011 and is located in the historic Pawley’s Island Hammock Shop village. Executive Chef Jermaine Taliaferro is a true artisan, masterfully creating unique works of culinary art. Nosh offers handcrafted cuisine featuring the finest of locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Its “tapas-inspired” menu is a fusion of Southern and Italian dishes. For more information, visit www.noshpi.com.
New Mexican Restaurant & Boardwalk Extension
In December 2011, a group of investors presented plans for an oceanfront Mexican restaurant to the City of Myrtle Beach, which would also include building a small city park and extending the boardwalk to the restaurant. This would be built on the lot adjacent to the Yachtsman Resort on 14th Ave. North. The Mexican restaurant will be 4,800 square feet and have a Spanish Colonial look with 90 seats inside and outdoor transitional spaces, stepping down to a courtyard with a fountain and wood patio, perhaps with a fire pit. At the side facing Ocean Boulevard, a water feature is planned with a spill and wishing well where the water will change color when coins are tossed in. The building will have three tiers: 13 feet, 19 feet and 31 feet high. Exterior walls will be off-white and gray-toned terra cotta or metal roofs are planned. Windows will be tinted blue.
Historic Peaches Corner Renovations
The historic Peaches Corner restaurant in downtown Myrtle Beach is celebrating their 75th anniversary with a facelift. Included in the work is a new façade and giant, spinning peach that will sit atop their Ocean Boulevard building. The renovation also included replacing the old counter with one that displays dozens of old photos that show Myrtle Beach as it has been from the 1930s to the present. For more information visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PeachesCorner.
Myrtle Beach Area CVB