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November 22, 2021

Myrtle Beach Amps Up Its Year-Round Appeal, Adds New Winter-Themed Festival

New ‘Winter Wonderland At The Beach’ Festival Adds To Grand Strand's Holiday Events & Attractions

After a highly successful summer and fall tourism season in Myrtle Beach that placed the area among the ranks of Orlando, Las Vegas and New York City in terms of visitor demand – as noted by TripAdvisor, Expedia and others – area businesses are now preparing for a holiday season like no other.

According to officials with Visit Myrtle Beach, families from across the country flocked to our beaches earlier this year and many are continuing to visit through the New Year thanks – in part – to an abundance of holiday events. This includes the brand-new Winter Wonderland at The Beach festival, which kicks off the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Jan. 2, offering 37 days of outdoor ice skating and holiday lights powered by Santee Cooper Green Energy.

“The new festival, Winter Wonderland at The Beach presented by Southwest Airlines, is a magical experience where families can incorporate a new tradition into their holiday gatherings. And it’s just one of many festive activities they can experience along South Carolina’s Grand Strand,” said Visit Myrtle Beach President and CEO Karen Riordan. “Our businesses have barely slowed down since our impressive summer as families are drawn to our highly accessible coastal destination with affordable entertainment options suited for all ages. Now, we’re seeing that trend continue as both U.S. and international travelers are coming in to spend their holidays here.”


Lifelong Myrtle Beach resident Buz Plyler, whose family has owned the iconic Gay Dolphin Gift Cove for 75 years, has witnessed firsthand how Myrtle Beach has become increasingly popular all year long. "Growing up, the season was 100 days and the rest of the year was a period when staying open meant losing money for nine months. I have watched Myrtle Beach grow to a point where the shoulder seasons have become a valuable part of our annual income and the ‘off-season’ is limited to a few weeks in January and February,” Plyler said.

Capitalizing on the appeal of the new festival, the Gay Dolphin is joining neighboring oceanfront merchants like SkyWheel Myrtle Beach and Ripley’s Believe It or Not to provide enhanced options for visitors. “Myrtle Beach is not just a summer vacation spot. It’s the place to go for the holiday season due to all the beauty that’s offered throughout the area all year long. Our businesses are still open for the holiday season, many even with extended hours,” said Rachel Beckerman, marketing and brand manager for SkyWheel Attractions.


To assist locals and visitors with planning their holiday trip to the Myrtle Beach area, Visit Myrtle Beach recently released a free holiday guide that can be found in print at locations throughout the Carolinas or online at VisitMyrtleBeach.com.

Along with Winter Wonderland at The Beach, holiday attractions available in the area include The Great Christmas Light Show, North Myrtle Beach’s drive-through festival with over 2 million lights; Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens with over 2,800 hand-lit candles and even more sparkling lights; Ripley’s Festival of Trees at Ripley’s Aquarium with more than 55 trees decorated for each state and territory in the United States; Carolina Opry’s “The Christmas Show of the South” with music, comedy and dance; Christmas at Pirates Voyage, a dinner and live performance with amazing acrobatics; GTS Theater’s four holiday shows – the Magical Christmas Magic & Comedy Show, the Original Motown Christmas Show, Christmas With Elvis, and Step Into Christmas with Elton John; Hot Jersey Nights, one of the newest Christmas shows in the area featuring holiday classics from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; and The South’s Grandest Christmas Show, which is held at Alabama Theatre and well-known for its exquisite costumes and backdrops.