Romantic Winter Weekend in Myrtle Beach

Need a quiet escape this winter? Read on for ways to plan a romantic winter weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

After a long year of illness-related stress, my husband and I needed some romantic time away. We decided on a romantic winter weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, also known as “The Grand Strand,” as it is an easy 3.5-hour drive from Charlotte, North Carolina. It was winter, so we didn’t plan on a warm, beach-activity-filled weekend. What we discovered instead surprised us.

As retired empty-nesters, we enjoy traveling together—alone. We had been to Myrtle Beach once before when our niece was looking for an inexpensive vacation spot for their family of six. We decided to meet them and their four girls, ages 5 to 13, for an extended weekend. As you can guess, the trip was kid-activity driven. Don’t get me wrong. We had a great time, but romantic—it was not. It was just the two of us on this trip, and we prioritized romance. Here is what you need to know to create your own romantic winter weekend in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach History in Conway

On the way to Myrtle Beach, we stopped for a couple of hours in the charming town of Conway, the county seat of Horry (pronounced OH-REE) County and part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. We visited the Horry County Museum and L.W. Paul Living History Farm, and since it was chilly outside, we enjoyed visiting the history museum for a couple of hours. We learned of the area’s history and culture—rice fields, farmland, and the timber industry—long before modern-day Myrtle Beach.

Romantic Winter Weekend In Myrtle Beach and the Horry County History Museum display.

A display at the Horry County Museum. Photo By Loretta Berry

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The Living History Farm gave us an insight into early 20th-century farm life in Horry County. The sun shone as we strolled the grounds looking through outbuildings containing a blacksmith shop, farm implements, and a tobacco smokehouse. In the recreated farmhouse, we met Cheryl, dressed in a period costume and mending torn potholders on a vintage sewing machine. We warmed up in the gift shop while browsing vintage toys, yummy canned goods, books about the local area, and more.

Romantic Winter Weekend In Myrtle Beach and the J.W. Paul Living History Farm.

J.W. Paul Living History Farm. Photo By Loretta berry

Dinner and a Show Date Night During a Winter Weekend in Myrtle Beach

It was a short drive from Conway to North Myrtle Beach. After checking into our fabulous ocean-front room at the Island Vista Resort, we freshened up for our long-overdue “date night.” Tearing ourselves away from the view from our private balcony, we headed out for dinner and a show.

Oceanfront Island Vista Resort.

Island Vista Resort. Photo By Loretta Berry

We had heard about Hook & Barrel Restaurant and The Carolina Opry Theater from a friend, so we were excited to get going. Full disclosure, my husband was not as excited about a musical stage show as I was but had agreed to the entire date. Both the dinner and show exceeded our expectations.

Hook & Barrel

At Hook & Barrel, we were greeted with a friendly smile and seated quickly. Walking through the restaurant, my husband noticed an interesting item at a few tables as we passed. Our waitress greeted us and told us about the specials. My husband asked about what he thought looked like hanging bacon. “Oh yes,” exclaimed Rhonda, “that’s our most popular appetizer. It is hanging bacon!” He ordered it. I started with She Crab Soup and a Bloody Mary oyster shooter. I figured if we were going to have a romantic weekend, why not?

The Hook & Barrel Restaurant Hanging Bacon Appetizer.

The Hook & Barrel Restaurant Hanging Bacon appetizer. Photo Courtesy Visit Myrtle Beach

Dinner was mouthwatering. My entree was fresh-caught swordfish with citrus-herb butter, tri-colored cauliflower, and potatoes and cauliflower root puree. My husband thoroughly enjoyed his butterfish with rice and veggies in a miso-soy broth. For dessert, we shared a warm dish of creme brûlée.

The Carolina Opry Theater

After dinner, we drove a short distance to The Carolina Opry Theater. It was dark outside by then, and the theater shone brightly as we drove up. The inside of the theater was opulent. The grand staircase and magnificent chandelier immediately caught my eye. We pursued the gift shop for a few minutes before finding our seats. The aisles were wide and very roomy. Our seats in the front section, and center stage, were perfect.

The Carolina Opry Theater.

The Carolina Opry Theater at night. Photo courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach

The show was like an old-fashioned variety show—lots of singing, dancing, and even a little comedy. We laughed and sang along to some of our favorite oldies. Okay, I sang along, but I did catch my husband tapping his fingers to the beat. There may have even been a little hand-holding going on, as well. It was a very enjoyable and romantic evening. A date that was a bit overdue and very much needed.

Opry Theater stage show.

Carolina Opry Theater stage show. Photo courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach

The Sound of Crashing Waves

The next morning we woke with the sun to the pleasant sound of waves crashing on the shore outside our balcony window. I couldn’t resist a walk on the beach, so with a cup of coffee in hand, we wandered out through the sugar-white sand to the water’s edge. Not only am I an avid seashell hunter from way back, but the grandkids now expect I send them shells every time Grandpa and I take a trip to the beach. It was a quick walk as we had to grab a bite of breakfast and head north to Little River for the surprise my husband had arranged.

Walking the beach while on a romantic winter weekend in Myrtle Beach.

Walking the beach while on a romantic winter weekend in Myrtle Beach. Photo by Loretta Berry

Fishing on the Intracoastal Waterway on Our Winter Weekend in Myrtle Beach

When we arrived at Cricket Cove Marina, I thought we were going on a boat cruise. To my surprise, even better, we were going fishing. I know many people might not think fishing is romantic, but I can think of nothing better.

I must digress here and tell you that my husband and I grew up fishing in California. We met at work but got to know each other on a deep-sea fishing trip organized by our co-workers. He caught the most fish that day, but I caught the biggest, a 21-pound yellowtail tuna. Ever since then, it’s been game on.

We met our fishing guide, Captain Buddy, at Captain Smiley Fishing Charters and hopped aboard the 24-foot Pathfinder—just the two of us. We must have drawn the lucky straw that day as Buddy is a four-time world-record holder who has been fishing the coastal Myrtle Beach waters all his life. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. The sky was blue. The water was clear. Perfect for a romantic winter’s day fishing trip.

Fishing boats in the marina in Myrtle Beach.

Fishing boats in the marina. Photo courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach

Fishing and an Eco-tour

We sailed through gorgeous scenery for miles without fishing and passed through marshlands teeming with wildlife, small quaint fishing villages where folks waved from the shore, down Little River, and up Bonaparte Creek. We crossed into North Carolina at Sunset Beach Bridge and up the Calabash River and stopped all along the way at several of Buddy’s “secret” fishing holes. It was a more-than-perfect romantic day.

A romantic winter weekend In Myrtle Beach while on Captain Smiley's Fishing Charters boat.

A fishing boat on Bonaparte Creek. Photo by Loretta Berry

Fresh Catch for Dinner

In case you’re wondering, together we caught and released nearly 20 fish keeping only two, which, once back at the marina, Buddy cleaned and filleted for us. We then took our fish to Snooky’s On the Water, a restaurant next door, where they graciously grilled our fresh catch and paired them with some southern sides for our dinner.

Our fresh-catch dinner at Snooky's On The Water.

Our fresh-catch dinner at Snooky’s On The Water. Photo by Loretta Berry

Huntington Beach State Park and Atalaya Castle

What could be more romantic than visiting a real castle? On our previous trip, we spent time at Huntington Beach State Park (beach and pier) but did not make it to historic Atalaya Castle. This weekend, it was on my must-see list.

Sunday morning was chilly but sunny, so we set out with light jackets in hand. Atalaya Castle was built in 1931 by Archer Huntington as a winter home for his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, an American artist and sculptor.

The 30-room, Moorish-style castle originally sat on 9,000 coastal acres, most of which were donated to become the state park and the botanical gardens. Atalaya Castle is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Myrtle Beach's Atalaya Castle.

Atalaya Castle. Photo by Loretta Berry

A Visit to Brookgreen Gardens on Our Winter Weekend in Myrtle Beach

Originally part of the Archer’s estate and a place to showcase Anna’s work, Brookgreen Gardens became the first public sculpture garden in South Carolina. It is now home to more than 2000 sculptures created by 430 artists. Even in the winter, it is beautiful and well worth the visit. Along with the many sculptures, it is filled with mighty 250-year-old oak trees draped in Southern moss, small ponds with wooden footbridges, flowing water fountains, and even fragrant winter blooms such as daffodils, camellias, and winter Jasmine.

A fountain sculpture in Brookgreen Gardens.

A fountain sculpture in Brookgreen Gardens. Photo by Loretta Berry

Dinner, Drinks, and an Evening Stroll

After a day of immersing ourselves in culture, we drove to nearby Murrels Inlet MarshWalk for dinner and drinks. With many restaurants to choose from, we decided upon Drunken Jack’s, a South Carolina low-country legend for 40 years.

Drunken Jack's Restaurant in Murrells Inlet.

Drunken Jack’s Restaurant in Murrells Inlet. Photo courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach

We ate a scrumptious seafood dinner and drank signature craft cocktails while overlooking the waterfront. Afterward, with drinks in hand, we took a stroll along the boardwalk and watched the golden sun as it set on our romantic winter weekend in Myrtle Beach.

A sunset over marshes while on a romantic winter weekend In Myrtle Beach.

A sunset over marshes while on a romantic winter weekend In Myrtle Beach. Photo courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach

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Searching for a Winter Getaway

If you are looking for a winter getaway, Myrtle Beach is a magical place with abundant activities. Take the whole family for an unforgettable vacation or escape for a romantic weekend in South Carolina, and experience all the romance that the “Strand” has waiting for just the two of you. Consult Wander With Wonder for your travel inspiration.

Need a quiet escape this winter? Read on for ways to plan a romantic winter weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 


Romantic Winter Weekend in Myrtle Beach

Written by Loretta Berry

Loretta Berry is a freelance travel writer and photographer. She loves discovering new places, learning its history, and experiencing the local food and drink. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States. She loves traveling with her kids and grandkids, sharing with them her passion for fun and adventure. She is a member of North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), and TravMedia.

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