Myrtle Beach has a lot of facets: It's known for its more than 100 golf courses, beautiful beaches, shopping, and family entertainment venues that attract 14 million visitors annually. But Myrtle Beach has got a new kid on the block: the Hark Rock Park (www.HardRockPark.com), the world's first and only rock ‘n’ roll theme park.
In fact, it's the first major theme park to be built in the U.S. in nearly a decade. Opened in June, with more than 50 rides and attractions, it's all rock music, all the time. There's a roller coaster called Led Zeppelin-The Ride, but my favorite was much tamer: Nights in White Satin, The Trip, a gentle, fun way to re-live the psychedelic sixties and seventies.
The Hard Rock is a great complement to the Grand Strand's other themed attractions, including Myrtle Waves Water Park, South Carolina's largest water park, offering 20 acres of themed attractions; and the NASCAR SpeedPark, a 26-acre, race-themed amusement park, (visit NASCARSpeedPark.com).
The hotel scene for meetings has certainly come up a notch, with first-class meeting and guest rooms available at a number of properties. They include the 402-room Sheraton Myrtle Beach, the city-owned hotel adjacent to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, which has 250,000 square feet of flexible and airy meeting space. The 355-room Barefoot Resort features the new Lakeside Conference Center, with 17,000 square feet of meeting space; a spa and health club facility, and a new Event Plaza, with 4,000 square feet of meeting and function space overlooking the Barefoot Resort Marina. There is also access to four championship golf courses.
Kingston Shores is one of the largest meeting offerings in the area. It encompasses the 385-Hilton Myrtle Beach; the Royale Palms, a luxury oceanfront condominium complex; and the new Hilton Conference Center at Kingston Shores, with 14,400 square feet of conference space. The luxurious 230-room Marina Inn at Grande Dunes is incentive-quality and sits on the Intracoastal Waterway with two championship golf courses and privileges at the Grande Dunes Ocean Club. The right-on-the-beach, 407-room Myrtle Beach Marriott at Grande Dunes features lots of meeting space and a spa. The 340-room Island Vista offers a traditionally laid-back Myrtle Beach experience.