We stayed in Myrtle Beach in April a couple of years ago and thought a fall visit would be fun on our way south. November is definitely “out of season” for this area. The crowds were almost non-existent. There are many beach side camping resorts in Myrtle Beach, and this time we choose to stay at the Myrtle Beach State Park – what a great choice! As opposed to the commercial RV resorts that seem like parking lots, this is an actual campground! There is plenty of room between sites and lots of trees, a typical camping experience. It is like a nature oasis in a desert of commercial development, in fact, part of the state park is a nature preserve.
Hurricane Matthew had passed through this area a month ago and you could see the results of the storm. The two nature trails were closed due to downed trees, although one of them was reopened while we were there. Two of the parking lots were full of cut up trees that had been blown down by the hurricane.
For the last month and a half we had been doing our exercise walks on the roads in the campground. It was different to walk on the boardwalks and along the beach each morning – a pleasant change of pace. Instead of deer, we saw seagulls.
The Myrtle Beach commercial airport used to be an Air Force base and the former base area has been developed for commercial use. The nearby Commons Market was once part of the base and honors the history of the base with interpretive signs about the base, some of its key leaders, and those responsible for its development. It was an easy bike ride from the park for shopping and a great place to do some Christmas shopping!
You can’t be this close to the water and not go kayaking. We really had no desire to paddle our kayaks (they are built more for rivers, than oceans) in the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently we looked at inland waters and estuaries. Murrells Inlet was a short drive down the coast and offered us some nice kayaking along a protected shore. We were able to kayak to the boundary of Huntington Beach State Park and walk along the shore. On one sandy beach we were able to see a crab running from his hole when we walked up and surprised him. As we paddled along the shore we could see some of the damage left from the storm and the repairs being completed as the sound of power saws echoed across the water.
A couple of days before we left, the park sponsored a presentation on raptors, birds of prey, by the Center of Birds of Prey from Charleston, SC. We were able to see a Barn Owl, Harris Hawk, and a Black Vulture. It was interesting to see the birds flying, on command, from station to station as we heard a description of how they seek and hunt their prey. The birds used in the presentation have been “humanized” and cannot be released back into the wild. The goal of the center is to take injured birds, keep them from being humanized, and after rehabilitation, release them back into the wild.
We weren’t so busy that we didn’t have time to just relax. Over the last few months we have been fortunate to stay in parks that allowed ground fires. There are a lot of parks that don’t allow campfires at all, so this is more of a treat than one would imagine. I love sitting by a campfire, it puts the “out” in the “outdoors.” There is nothing like reading or playing my guitar by the fire to make my day!
On Tuesday, November 22nd, we were on our way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the first city in Georgia – Savannah.