My family always associates relaxation with the lull of the surf, the smell of the sea, and the feel of sand between our toes. At the Surfside Beach Resort in Surfside, South Carolina, we had “relaxation” right outside our front door. But we also had comfort and convenience inside, with a friendly staff, modern appliances, comfortable living space and a wonderful ocean view from our balcony. What better way to recharge after a season of non-stop activity and busy schedules?
The writer was hosted for all or part of this trip.
Getting Away at Surfside
When we get away, we like to get away. Oh sure, we like to be near the hot spots, the crowd pleasing attractions and the must-try restaurants. But then we like to retreat and relax away from it all. And that’s just the type of experience my family found at the Surfside Beach Resort in Surfside, South Carolina.
The family-friendly beachfront hotel offered a getaway, not only from our own lives, but also from the action-packed tourist area of Myrtle Beach. It was the best of both worlds – close enough to everything, and yet far enough away. And it was right on the beach!
Welcome to Surfside
Prior to our visit, I had never heard of Surfside Beach. Of course, I had heard a lot of wonderful things about Myrtle Beach, and we even have some friends who bought a vacation home there. But I was thrilled to learn there was an alternative to the bustle of the tourist area. Like I said, I like to get away….just not too far.
The vacation destination of Surfside Beach, South Carolina, grew around two miles of beautiful white beachfront.
Believe it or not, it was originally a sweet potato plantation founded in the early 1800s. Although The Ark Plantation stood until the mid-20th century, I couldn’t even picture the area as a plantation today.
Instead, Surfside Beach has grown into a quiet but active community that prides itself on its family friendliness. Activities for all members of the family are within walking distance. Some favorites include mini golf, fishing, live music and comedy shows and, of course, a variety of water sports. And all the tourist attractions at Myrtle Beach are just a short drive away.
When we visited South Carolina from our home in New Jersey, we planned on arriving at the Surfside Beach Resort in the late afternoon, allowing us time to unpack, grab some dinner and enjoy a slower-paced evening before going to Myrtle Beach the next day.
Unfortunately, a traffic jam that seemed to last through the entire state of Virginia forced us to change our plans. We didn’t pull the minivan into the Surfside Beach Resort parking lot until just after midnight. Even at that late hour, the staff was warm and welcoming, helping us with directions, luggage, and even a few late-night dining suggestions.
What Works for Families
• Location – The Surfside Beach Resort is right on a charming stretch of beach and within walking distance (I mean steps!) of the
• The rooms – The resort offers a variety of room sizes and price points, making it affordable for most visitors. Added bonus – most of the rooms offer spectacular ocean views! Also, each room is equipped with a mini fridge and microwave, so making a quick breakfast or snack in the room was no problem.
• The pool – The outdoor pool is a fun alternative to the beach, while the adjacent hot tub was perfect for alleviating stress and easing us into a relaxing vacation.
• The staff – Everyone working at the resort – from the front desk clerk who checked us in, to the housekeepers who kept our room impeccably clean, to the management team – seemed totally vested in our vacation and how to help us have a good time. Southern hospitality at its finest!
• Free parking for the beach!
What Doesn’t Work for Families
• No onsite dining options. There’s a small Starbucks vending area (the first I’ve ever seen) in the lobby, but no onsite restaurant or room service. Fortunately, there are numerous eatery choices just steps away (more on that later!).
• No indoor pools, arcades or similar “kiddie areas.” Although this worked well for our family, those with younger kids may miss these in-house amenities.
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The hotel itself rises eight stories above the Atlantic Ocean and is surrounded by a large self-parking lot. We had a room on the eighth floor, which offered a wonderful view from the balcony. There are no restaurants, but you can hit the vending machines for snacks or even your Starbucks fix.
The resort offers a variety of rooms, from a Double Queen Ocean View to the Surfside One Bedroom King Suite. All the rooms have been recently renovated so all the fixtures and furnishings were new. Our room, a Double Queen Ocean View with a balcony, was spacious, clean and comfortably furnished.
Each room is furnished with a coffee maker, mini fridge and microwave, as well as a 40 inch flat screen TV. Since we were traveling with two girls, 12 and 13, we were thrilled to find the iHome docking station, which allowed us to recharge our various electronic devices.
My personal favorite thing about the room was the balcony, which allowed me to sit outside, read and watch the sunrise over the ocean while the rest of the family slept.
One unusual thing about the room was that the double sink area was outside the traditional bathroom (where the toilet and tub were located). At first this took some getting used to, but it did work to our advantage since we could take turns changing in the bathroom, while the others (and by this, I mean the girls) straightened their hair, changed hairstyles, and generally did those things girls do that usually tie up the bathroom for hours. We didn’t have that problem here!
The big splash is the newly-renovated pool and hot tub area. There is ample seating provided in the pool area, and it was fun to relax in the comfortable lounge areas and grab some sun while the girls swam and took selfies. We forgot beach towels, but no worries. There
were plenty of white hotel towels available by the pool.
The pool itself is kidney-shaped, which is more conducive to lounging than to swimming laps, but none of us were interested in a work-out anyway. This weekend was about relaxing, and the pool area was a great spot to do just that.
Being family friendly these days means being electronics friendly, and the hotel is great on that front. In addition to the iHome, there were plenty of outlets for us to charge our various phones, iPods, and iPads…..with a space remaining for that aforementioned hair straightener! WiFi is free in the hotels and the rooms.
Oh, and an added bonus – each day, every guest receives a free pass for the Surfside Pier. This 830 foot wooden fishing pier is directly adjacent to the hotel. We loved walking out on the pier and taking pictures. There is plenty of seating if you want to take a book, sit back and enjoy the sea air without getting sandy.
Walk through the Pier Outfitters Tackle and Gift Shop to get access to the pier. This quaint shop has all sorts of souvenirs, from T shirts to treasure chests, and is the best place to score fresh bait before you go fishing off the pier.
Unfortunately, there was no dining or room service in the hotel. However, we were very conveniently situated near some great eateries, including Scotty’s Beach Bar right next door. We walked to the River City Café, where we had a great dinner of burgers and fries. My husband can’t stop raving about the peanut butter burger with bacon (yep, you read that right) and they even had awesome veggie burgers for my 12-year-old vegetarian.
Also within walking distance – Bubba’s Fish Shack, if you prefer fried shrimp to cheeseburgers. Both the River City Café and Bubba’s offer a 10% discount when you show them your Surfside Beach Resort room key.
If you want a quick bite or dessert, head back to the Surfside Pier to Seadogs Ice Cream, where you can get a cone or sundae made to order.
Room rates vary based on size and season. As of May 205, weekday rates range from $99 to $105 a night based on the resort web site. On weekends, these rates rise to $169 to $209. Again, these rates are subject to change seasonally. The summer, of course, is most popular – and costly. But don’t forget: that wonderfully relaxing sunrise over the lull of the Atlantic happens every morning, 365 days a year.