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Take a Walk on the Mild Side in Myrtle Beach

Just because you’re going on vacation in Myrtle Beach for a week or so doesn’t mean you have to take a break from your exercise schedule. In fact, a trip to the Grand Strand may be just the change of pace you need to keep your workout routine fresh, especially if walking is on the agenda. Instead of looking at the same scenery every day, take advantage of the different landscape on the many walking trails the area has to offer.

First and foremost, the best walking trail on the Grand Strand isn’t a trail at all; it’s the beach. While walking on the loose sand is a difficult chore for most, stick to the packed-down sand below the high-tide line and experience a soft surface that’s much better for your feet than concrete, not to mention the beautiful beach scenery and the crashing waves at your feet. But for those who prefer a little more greenery to their scenery, the Grand Strand has a wide range of options for walking, hiking and biking. Here’s a list of five great places to go for a walk in Myrtle Beach:

*Golden Mile: Guests at the Caribbean don’t have to walk very far before reaching one of the most famous stretches of oceanfront on the Grand Strand. Just two blocks north of the Caribbean property rests the renowned “Golden Mile” of Myrtle Beach, which is actually closer to 2 miles. Despite the mathematic misnomer, this sidewalk trail rolls past some of the oldest and most luxurious beach homes in Myrtle Beach. There are no hotels on Ocean Boulevard between 30th and 52nd Avenues North, only residential property and beach accesses with small parks for resting or sightseeing. There are sidewalks on both sides of the street so cross the street for the return trip for a closer view of the other side.

* Ocean Forest Trail: If you’re up for a longer work and a light workout, the Ocean Forest Trail is just north of the Golden Mile and gives Caribbean guests the chance to add a couple of miles to their hike. The half-mile trail stretches along the Ocean Forest section of town between 53rd and 60th Avenues North that includes a walking trail with exercise equipment that allows visitors to mix up their exercise routine. There are 10 different workout stations to go with the beautiful ocean view.

* Perron Trail: Just a mile or two inland from the end of the Ocean Forest Trail runs the Perron Trail, which is Myrtle Beach’s contribution to the work-in-progress East Coast Greenway that stretches from Canada to Key West. The Perron Trail is surrounded by lush landscaping and thick brush that is native to the area. It runs between 48th and 62nd Avenues North, about 1.5 miles, and runs along the edge of the historic Pine Lakes International Golf Club. Walkers will encounter beautiful plants and perhaps even a few native animals, such as deer, rabbits and the unique fox-squirrels. There are benches for taking a break and the canopy provides excellent shade from the sun.

* Huntington Beach State Park: For a relaxing stroll through the South Carolina Lowcountry, this scenic, 26-mile trail spans between Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach and winds through scenic coastal terrain, including beautiful beachfront, maritime forests and swamplands. The nest stop on the trail is at the famed Atalaya Castle, a Spanish-style fortress that offers tours and a shady courtyard for taking a break.

* North Myrtle Beach Sports and Recreation Park: On the North Strand, this new 350-acre park offers all sorts of recreational opportunities, including ball fields and picnic shelters. But for walkers, hikers and bikers, the best features are the three trails that weave through the property, which includes a 25-acre lake, a 10-acre meadow, and scenic Carolina bays that are unique to the area. Depending on your preference and endurance level, walk the Carolina Bay Trail (.6 mi), the Meadow Trail (.56 mi), or the Lake Side Trail (.5 miles).

(posted 9/12/14)
(photo courtesy: MyrtleBeachStatePark.net)