Winter in North Jersey can get quite dreary. At some point, most of us are sick of the snow and looking for a place to escape the cold, at least for a few days. Nestled just under a half-hour south of Myrtle Beach lies Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. This town is the perfect coastal getaway for someone who would rather have a calmer vibe with still lots to do. Loaded with delicious Southern eateries, local shops, beaches, nature destinations, and waterfront restaurants with bands and dancing, this destination is a fun, easy-going getaway for any time of the year. Read on to learn more about Murrells Inlet and to plan your weekend there.
About the Town
Murrells Inlet is one of the oldest coastal communities in the state. It’s located on the Southern part of the “Grand Strand,” a 60-mile stretch of the Carolina coast running from Brunswick County to Georgetown County. Murrells Inlet is known as the Seafood Capital of South Carolina, and the seafood-and fishing-centric way of life here dates back to 1731, when it was founded by English colonist John Morrall, who historians believe is the town’s namesake. At the time, this convenient coastal location made it a go-to port for transporting various products to the Northern Colonies and Britain.
The location was also known to be a place for visiting pirates, where Blackbeard, Drunken Jack, and others stopped by from time to time. As the years went on and the land became more developed, this area blossomed from a small village to the fun destination it is today. Aside from being a historic fishing village, Murrells Inlet is known for its ghost stories, delectable hush puppies served with every meal, coastal vibes, abundant golf courses, Carolina Palmetto trees, and friendly neighbors.
There’s always something to do here and the winter months are mild. A visit during the shoulder seasons means guests can enjoy all there is to do without the Southern humidity. Murrells Inlet is about a half-hour’s drive from the Myrtle Beach airport. A direct flight to Myrtle Beach from Newark is about 90 minutes. The drive from North Jersey to Murrells Inlet is about 10 hours.
What to Do
Brookgreen Gardens | 1931 Brookgreen Garden Drive
Brookgreen Gardens has much to offer: botanical gardens, sculptures, a small zoo, and it’s listed as a National Historic Landmark in addition to being on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s known as a cultural center for the community, with new events and exhibits for each season. The vibes are amazing here and the variety of Southern florals is beautiful.
Garden City Pier + Beach | South Waccamaw Drive
Garden City is the closest beach to Murrells Inlet, with five miles of white sandy beaches. The beachfront is lined with colorful, coastal homes and the beaches are full of shells. Animal lovers can bring their dogs for a walk on the beach. Aside from the beach itself, the area surrounding the pier has several local places to grab coffee, boardwalk-style food, souvenirs, and more. Upstairs on the pier, visitors will find a large arcade to get out of the sun for a bit, and there is the option to walk to the end and take in the Atlantic Ocean views outside.
Huntington Beach State Park | 16148 Ocean Highway
Another beach option is Huntington Beach State Park, which is also a campsite and a National Historic Landmark. There are three miles of beach and over 2,500 acres of land to explore at this state park, with tons of wildlife to see. Many species of bird frequent the beach here, along with alligators, turtles, and other species native to the area. The views of South Carolina nature here will not disappoint.
Mini Golf | Various Locations
(Photo credit: @gilligansminigolf)
If there’s one thing Murrells Inlet isn’t short of, it’s golf courses, and that includes mini-golf. At Gilligan’s Island, located at 3215 US-17 Business, golfers can pick from two different 18-hole courses and are surrounded by bright blue water and palm trees. Inlet Adventure, located at 3009 South US-17 Business, is another tropical paradise and has an ice cream shop on-site for the ultimate beachy treat.
Murrells Inlet Marshwalk | 4025 Highway 17 Business
The Marshwalk is the highlight of Murrells Inlet, for good reason. There are nine waterfront dining options to choose from here, all with a view of the marsh that leads into the bay. Fun fact: In the spring and summer, there’s an island right off the marsh that has goats on it, the locals call it “Goat Island.”
There is always something to do here, with a boardwalk to connect it all. During the day, choose from brunch on the water and shopping the local eateries’ branded apparel during the day, At night, visitors can dance to local bands, eat dinner al fresco, and more.
The Marshwalk is also the starting point for several excursions, including a beer boat, jet skis, fishing charters, and more.
What to Eat
Costa Coastal Kitchen + Bar | (Attached to Inlet Sports Lodge) 4606 US-17 Business
(Photo credit: @costamurrells)
Costa is an Italian eatery with a coastal twist (hence the name). The place has a casual vibe that can be romantic as well, making it a good spot for all occasions. The menu consists of coastal Italian fusion, with plates like crab cakes, calamari, and clams for starters. The main courses have options like chicken or veal saltimbocca on the land side, and pan-seared diver scallops on the sea side of the menu.
Dead Dog Saloon | 4079 US-17 Business
(Photo credit: @deaddogsaloon)
Dead Dog is a typical Southern comfort food spot that’s known for its bar and live music. The outdoor patio has great views of the marshwalk, in addition to the plentiful indoor seating. On the menu, patrons will find pub food favorites like mac and cheese bites, wings, and cheesesteak minis along with rotating beers on tap and signature cocktails.
Hot Fish Club | 4911 US-17 Business
Almost all of the bars and restaurants in Murrells Inlet host live music, and Hot Fish Club is no exception. Formerly called the Hot and Hot Fish Club, this restaurant dates back to the 1700s, making it the oldest in the area. The menu here is huge and full of seafood – blue crab dip, lobster pot pie, a hot fish platter, and seafood steampots to name a few.
J. Peters Grill | 4037 US-17 Business
Peters has an all-around good menu. The meal starts off with honey-butter croissants delivered to the table. The salads that come with the entrees are delicious, topped with egg, bacon bits, and more. Consider trying the blackened chicken alfredo with broccoli, tomatoes, and shredded Parmesan cheese for a non-seafood option, or seafood dishes like fried flounder or fresh Atlantic Salmon.
Luna Mexican Bar + Grill | 4450 Highway 17 Bypass North
(Photo credit: @mexdelcorazon)
Luna is a casual eatery that’s off the busier Marshwalk area. The eclectic decor matches the vibe and the menu includes typical Mexican dishes. The chips with various salsas are a good starter, and entrees include fajitas, enchiladas, tacos, carne asada, and more. The guacamole is made table-side, and the bartenders have perfected the margarita, made by hand with fresh-squeezed lime juice.
The Champions Pub at TPC Myrtle Beach | 1199 TPC Boulevard
This casual restaurant is a part of the golf course TPC Myrtle Beach, and it’s a great place for breakfast, lunch, and happy hour. Guests can enjoy Margarita Mondays, Wine Wednesdays, and a sports game on multiple TVs. The pub overlooks the 18th hole of the golf course, making it a pub with a view. The Pub is open to guests, with or without a tee time on the course.
Wahoo’s Fish House | 3993 US-17 Business
(Photo credit: @wahoosmurrellsinlet)
Wahoo’s menu highlights fresh-caught South Carolina seafood, which patrons can enjoy as a sit-down dinner while watching local bands play. In addition to featured fresh catch selections, there’s also fried shrimp, Bourbon BBQ Mahi, shrimp and grits, and more to choose from. The drink menu is endless, from specialty cocktails like Wahoo’s Lemonade and Strawberry Lemon Drop, to make-your-own mules, daiquiris, beer, and wine.
Where to Shop
Inlet Square Mall | 12125 US Highway 17 Bypass South
Inlet Square Mall is comprised of many local shops. It’s good for a shopping day if the weather’s iffy or for if you forgot your bathing suit. Choose from stores like Captain Murrells Antiques and Uniques, Moon Beach Studio, Ally’s Art House, and more.
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Jaws Resortwear | 3055 US-17 Business
(Photo credit: @jawsresortwear)
Jaws’ name doesn’t just come from anywhere. Shoppers can see live baby sharks here while browsing souvenirs, and the selection is endless. Shop for apparel, drinkware, keychains, and literally anything else you can think of here.
Lazy Gator Gifts | 3986 US-17 Business
(Photo credit: @lazygatorgifts)
Lazy Gator is a popular local spot, and it’s the only place that carries exclusively Murrells Inlet-branded merchandise. It has an upscale vibe, with an entire section of coastal decor, gifts, art, and garden accessories. The store carries jewelry, mugs and cups, apparel, Christmas decorations, stickers, shells, fudge, and lots more.
Southern Splendor | 4640 US Highway 17 Bypass South
(Photo credit: @southernsplendor1)
Southern Splendor is a quaint local shop with a coastal ambiance. The store carries charming Southern merchandise, including home decor. Here, shoppers can find gifts branded with various names of South Carolina towns, including Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, along with candles, kitchenware, pillows, and more.
The Bookworm | 10799 SC-707, Unit 17
(Photo credit: @thebookworm.mb)
The Bookworm is a locally-owned used bookstore that is a favorite of the Myrtle Beach area. The books are offered at 50% – 75% off the original cover price. The store carries over 25,0000 books and offers store credit for bringing your used books in. Some of the fun aspects of this spot include a $1 book section, a customer and staff recommendations shelf, a “Blind Date With a Book” section, and book-themed gifts.