Although all of our vacation was enjoyable, Tuesday was definitely my favorite day. I had read about Brookgreen Gardens before we left, and I was so excited to see it. The gardens did not disappoint. If you’re in the South Carolina area any time, definitely set aside at least half a day to see Brookgreen!
Brookgreen Gardens is 9100 acres of flowers, trees, poetry, sculptures, trails, and even a zoo. We spent several hours there and didn’t even make it to the zoo — it’s that big and engrossing. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a nice photodump of some of my favorite shots (in no particular order) from Brookgreen.
We loved Brookgreen and could have easily spent more time there. The $14 ticket gets you a weeks’ worth of admissions, but we only had Tuesday morning to spend. We didn’t even make it to the zoo, because by the time we ate our late lunch, it was getting quite hot and humid, and we were ready to hit the beach.
We left Brookgreen and drove less than a mile to Huntington Beach State Park, which is also a must-visit! Near the park’s entrance is an information center that has a boardwalk out over the saltwater marsh, from which we saw millions of baby crabs crawling about (no picture of the crabs — we tried and tried and couldn’t get a clear one). The nature center was informative, and the short walk and crab-viewing was pretty cool, too.
From the nature center, we walked a two-mile trail through the woods. It was quite an experience for these Colorado dwellers: walking on both pine needles and beach sand was unique!
It was hot and buggy in there, but we still had a lot of fun exploring. When we finished, though, we were even more ready for the beach. We splashed and played and lounged for a couple of hours, but then thunder started rumbling and ran us off the beach. Boo. At least I got to relax in this little chair for a while.
We planned to go back to Murrells Inlet and give the restaurants there another try, and since the thunder cut short our ocean fun, we had some time to kill before dinner. The storm had passed, so we walked the marshwalk for a minute, then decided to get a drink at Bubba’s Love Shak. Because seriously…its name was Bubba’s Love Shak.
We hung out in the rocking chairs on Bubba’s patio for a while, watching some marsh goats while we sipped our beers.
Once we finished our drinks, we walked over to Wahoo’s Raw Bar and Fish House, where I had what was probably the best sushi I had ever eaten. It was way better than the night before. YUM.
On Wednesday, we had tickets booked to go to Hopsewee Plantation. We got there a little early, so we spent some time wandering the grounds, since they weren’t included on the tour.
Then, the tour of the house started. It was interesting, but honestly, probably not worth the $20/person price tag. I wish we would have toured Magnolia Plantation by Charleston instead, but this was still informative and fun.
After the tour, we went to the plantation’s tea room for lunch. This was the best part of the tour. They have a traditional tea option, but I opted for a salad, and J and I ordered a bottomless pot of tea to share (you could try as many of their teas as you wanted).
After lunch, we drove back up to Myrtle Beach; we’d been here several days and had yet to visit actual Myrtle Beach and its famous boardwalk. We walked the boardwalk for a while, but honestly, we were underwhelmed. It was basically just crowds, a ton of tiki bars and junky tourist shops. Meh. We did ride the famous Skywheel, though, and that was fun.
Thursday was our last full day, so we wanted it to be as vacation-esque as possible. We tried to sleep in (our bodies don’t understand that concept), I ran, we had a leisurely breakfast, and then we headed out for one more beach day. We’d asked a local to recommend a quiet beach, and her recommendation didn’t disappoint.
Unfortunately, when you’re a ginger, you start to sunburn after a few hours, regardless of how diligent you are with the sunscreen and cover-ups, so by mid-afternoon, it was time to say farewell to the ocean. Sigh.
Luckily, La Belle Amie Vineyard was nearby, so we wandered around the beautiful vineyard and cute gift shop, tasted some wine, and then hung out on their porch in more rocking chairs. I think I need to get a porch rocking chair.
Friday was pretty uneventful; we had an evening flight out of Florence and had planned to spend the day exploring that city — after stopping to feed the turtles once more, of course. Turns out, there is nothing to do in Florence, South Carolina. We stopped in the small town of Conway, which had a cute riverwalk and downtown area, then wandered around in Florence for a while before heading to the airport for another late-night flight, which was made even later by a delay in Charlotte.
We made it back home around 2:30 Saturday morning and promptly passed out. That’s way past this grandma’s bedtime. But it was absolutely worth it for the fabulous vacation we’d just had!
What would you most like to do on a South Carolina vacation?
It’s never to early to start thinking about next summer’s vacation. Where should we go?