Myrtle Beach is much more than a summer destination. In fact, there are several outdoor events set for winter that is sure to get your heart pumping. Here’s a list of five fun events held on the Grand Strand in the winter time:
Brookgreen Gardens: Somehow the weather seems to be a little bit warmer during the winter months at Brookgreen Gardens, or maybe it's just because you don't mind being outside when you're surrounded by the beauty of this botanical sculpture garden. Located on a former rice plantation in Murrells Inlet, this 900-acre park marks the ideal merger of art and nature. Brookgreen Gardens goes all it in the winter to welcome visitors, especially the annual Night of a Thousand Candles celebration in December, and the Winter Tea Parties held on the weekends throughout the month of February. Bundle up and stroll through the gardens, which are specially decorated for the holidays. Brookgreen Gardens' coffee shops can heat things up with a hot cup of coffee, tea or apple cider.
Christmas Parades: Everybody loves a parade. Why else would folks bundle up and line the streets in the cold just to catch a few floats and marching bands in action? Grand Strand visitors have lots of parades to choose from at the towns surrounding Myrtle Beach, which holds its annual Christmas Parade on Ocean Boulevard in the downtown district. North Myrtle Beach holds its parade down Main Street and is the only nighttime parade on dry land. The Intracoastal Regatta sends a flotilla of boats decorated in colorful lights down the Intracoastal Waterway as bystanders find spots along the river to see the floating show. Although plans and dates are still in the works, rest assured you can always catch a parade around town during the month of December.
Horseback Riding on Beach: The winter months are the only time of year you can go horseback riding on the beach, and lots of folks bring their steeds to the Grand Strand to enjoy this relaxing and romantic hobby. From the third Saturday of November to the end of February, horses are permitted on the beach, and there are several gatherings of equestrian fans during that period. There are also lots of stables where you can board your horse, or rent a horse for a day of riding through the surf. On the North Strand, check out Wampee Stables, and on the South Strand, Inlet Point Plantation Stables, for the ride of a lifetime.
Myrtle Beach Marathon: The winter time is the ideal season for distance running on the Grand Strand. Runners prefer the cold air to the heat of the summer, and the area's marquee running event, the Myrtle Beach Marathon, is held each February. The 26.2-mile course winds throughout the city streets and down Ocean Boulevard, and a half-marathon, 5K and 1-mile Family Fun run are also open for those who prefer shorter distances. The 2015 Myrtle Beach marathon is set for Saturday, Feb. 14, so spending Valentine's Day on the beach is a great place for a run and romance.
Polar Plunge: Take a dip in the chilly Atlantic Ocean for a worthy cause at one of several polar plunges on the Grand Strand during the dead of winter. Billed as “Freezin' For a Reason,” these organized groups receive pledges to hit the waves in the winter to raise money and awareness for fighting cancer and other causes. Participants dress in their summer best and, at the count of three, charge into the surf and splash around before charging even faster back onto dry land. Volunteers are waiting with blankets and cups of coffee and post-plunge parties warm the hearts and bodies of the brave, wet souls. These chilly events are held from New Years Eve through the winter.