Myrtle Beach and Seafood Delight in Sunset Beach, North Carolina

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Crass and tacky. Myrtle Beach has every manufactured chain tourist experience known to Americans along both splits of Highway 17, with little distinctively local. From Medieval Times to Ripley’s they are all there. Unlike a kitschy charm of Wisconsin Dells, these all are transplanted in by large corporations. The beach is standard, I hear the golf is good.

Curiosity about the place and about a Hilton Grand Vacations timeshare offer brought us down from New York for a quick weekend. More on the timeshare in the next post. The only nonstop options to Myrtle Beach (MYR) are a morning flight from Newark on United and seasonal midday Delta flights from LaGuardia, neither convenient for us, so we flew to Wilmington, NC and made the 1.5 hour drive down at midnight on Friday.

We stayed at the tired Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort.

Myrtle Beach is suitable for families nearby looking for a quick outing but I would not recommend for any coming farther.

My wife came to eat and this led us to an area much more interesting to us. A quick survey of the seafood options in Myrtle Beach proper, mainly large-scale copycat buffets, was very disappointing. Bimini’s, a locals hangout, worked for a simple lunch.

Giant Crab Seafood

Gimmicky everything

Many of the classic restaurants in the region are only open for dinner so our chances to dine were limited. We looked at the seafood options in Murrells Inlet to the south and many looked good, though all that stood out were dinner only and too much emphasis on frying everything including the silverware.

We turned our attention north to Calabash, North Carolina, 40 minutes away. Calabash proper has a cluster of tourist gift shops, some seafood restaurants that have part-time buffets along with full menu, and a great ice cream shop, Calabash Creamery. Of the restaurants, we had local recommendations for Beck’s that made for a nice lunch on our Sunday departure, everything fried, but lightly fried.

Beck's Calabash

Lunch at Beck’s

Calabash Creamery 01

Calabash Creamery

Calabash Creamery 02

Darn…only half the flavors

Calabash Creamery 03

Enjoying a scoop in a rocking chair

The highlight was a few more bends of the road in Sunset Beach: Crabby Oddwaters and its steamed seafood pots. We got there are 8, and like our other restaurants the food was slow to come an hour later, and arrived all at once, yet when my wife opened the pot to see 10 crabs, she was in rapture. By closing at 10:00 she had worked through 3 crabs and we had sampled local specialties like she crab soup and corn pudding. I am no hush puppies expert however the complimentary basket was the best I have sampled, each one I snuck with a dollop of honey butter met with a disapproving glare from across the table. When we entered we had showed our Yelp coupon for a free slice of key lime pie. At 10:00 they sent us what my wife dubbed a  ‘get out of here’ pie, a full key lime pie to take home, along with 7 crabs neatly boxed.

3 crabs and 1 pie made it back to NY uneaten.

Crabby Oddwaters 01

Crabby Oddwaters feast

Crabby Oddwaters 02

Pot ‘o Crabs

Crabby Oddwaters 03

Complimentary pie to go

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9 years ago

My extended family likes to go to Myrtle Beach for big family get togethers. It’s kind of a disappointment for those of us who are not into golf. But the main point is that it’s a reasonably centrally located place that’s not too expensive, and has a lot of options for big beach houses that the who giant family can stay at together.
So, I’m glad to have some suggestions from you for how to make the stay a bit more enjoyable for us seafood loving, non-golfers. Thanks!
ps, I’d be very happy with that get out of here pie

9 years ago

Good review. I’m not a huge fan of Myrtle Beach either. Next time you’re looking for summer fun, I’d recommend the Chincoteague/Assateague area. Unspoiled beaches, great seafood, friendly locals, and just enough going on (most of the crowds head to nearby Ocean City, MD instead).