A Weekend Family Getaway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
By Nicki Brokaw
Hey there, Williamsburg! My name is Nicki, and I spend my days being a mama to two amazing little people who are ages six and three, balancing the daily life of being a military spouse, and working customer service for the amazing Tripbound team here in town.
Let’s be honest. Like most moms, planning a vacation sounds daunting. Actually, packing and preparing for the vacation sounds even more intimidating. With my husband frequently traveling with the Army, however, and my kids begging to go somewhere, I knew it was time to put my vacation planning skills to the test and take my tribe for their first stay in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
As a Tripbound employee, I have had the privilege of learning about various resorts within driving distance that have so many great things to offer my family for a short weekend getaway. We had a few factors to consider, such as knowing my husband would be able to get leave approved and working around my eldest’s school schedule.
Once I looked at my options within driving distance, I settled on Wyndham Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a Mother’s Day weekend trip. I figured we would be venturing down to the south before it was too hot and crowded.
- Road trip!
I hate to fly. I loathe it, actually. So, I am all about family road trips, but this kills my husband a bit inside because he’s a pilot and hates spending hours in the car. However, he chose to indulge in my great vision for our family road trip to South Carolina as I had informed him that some of my greatest childhood memories involve road trips with my own family.
When I first settled on Wyndham Ocean Boulevard for our stay, the GPS told me it would take just over 5.5 hours to get there from our home in Williamsburg. That didn’t seem too terrible with a three- and six-year-old.
We have traveled by car frequently, so I packed the usual staples that any kids in the 21st century would want—a Kindle, iPad, headphones, all the snacks and drinks, coloring books, stickers; you name it, I most likely had it.
Six hours into the ride, however, and countless “Are we there yet?” questions however, we still had another 1.5 hours to go. Therefore, you could say I was eating my words about how fond of memories we would create on our road trip to Myrtle Beach.
Though, we made the best of the unexpected extra drive time by singing songs, playing I Spy, talking about what was different as we went through each state, and so on. And, we made it all in one piece in just under seven hours. While it may have been a longer ride due to traffic (thanks to construction), I would say that we had some great family bonding time to help pass the extra minutes in the car that I didn’t anticipate.
- The Resort: Wyndham Ocean Boulevard
Once we arrived at the resort, I went to check-in and got our room keys. The check-in process was smooth and very straightforward. And, while Wyndham is a timeshare property, we were only ever asked once to attend a timeshare presentation when I checked in, which I politely declined as we were there to spend time as a family for Mother’s Day weekend.
We were pleasantly surprised to learn we were on the 10th floor and had a direct ocean front view room. We stayed in a two-bedroom deluxe suite, which can sleep up to eight people. The kids had their own room with two full-size beds, and the master bedroom has a king-size bed and private bath.
The kids having their own room gave us an extra area to hang out in the evening and not have to worry about keeping the room totally dark and staying quiet like in a traditional hotel.
Not to mention, the balcony overlooking the ocean was by far the favorite part of the room for all of us. It was perfect with two chairs and a small table to spend the evenings enjoying the sounds of the ocean and the lights of Myrtle Beach in the distance.
The resort itself is rather large, but staying at a larger resort has its perks. There were numerous pools, two lazy rivers, hot tubs, several game rooms (indoor and outdoor), fire pits, and direct access to the beach.
My kids were most impressed by the lazy rivers, and the “hot pool” as my three-year-old called it. Also, my husband and I enjoyed drinks by the pool from the poolside restaurant and bar, and relished in the laid-back family-friendly atmosphere.
Before I had kids, I was the ultimate planner. I used to plan every small detail that I could. However, I took a different approach on this vacation with two little ones who often throw a wrench in my best-laid plans.
I had a general idea of major activities that we wanted to do. But, for the first few days, we literally woke up and decided that day what the plan was. Because of that, it was quite freeing and relaxing. We spent the majority of our time at the resort taking in all the free activities it had to offer.
My kids played at the beach every morning and late afternoon. The beach was clean—not too busy, the water was warm, there were other kids to play with, chairs and umbrellas to rent for $25 per day that you could leave and come back to, and a place to get food and drinks. My kids loved the fact that they could get ice cream and then go back to enjoy it on the beach. When we had enough of the sand, we headed back up to the pool and lazy rivers—both of which were directly next to the Tower 3 where we were staying. Talk about convenient!
When we grew tired of the water, it was easy to walk back to the room and relax. The resort was full of non-water activities as well. We spent several evenings exploring the resort and found a small park area and a large checkers and chess board. We also spent some time by the fire pit and listened to a live band.
After the first few days of staying at the resort, we knew we would want to venture out and explore Myrtle Beach. I had heard from the littles that they would like to try miniature golf. So, what did I do? I quickly found a location close to the resort, and we spent one evening doing just that, which was a big hit among the two kids. With so many miniature golf spots close to the resort, I was pleased it only cost us $30 for the four of us to play!
On the morning before we were due to drive home, we went down to the Skywheel—a large ferris wheel that overlooks the beach. We were pleased to find a pier that we could explore ($1 per person and you could come and go all day) with a great boardwalk that paralleled the beach and then, of course, the Skywheel.
My three-year-old was so excited. She had been talking about it all weekend! It was easily her favorite part of the trip. All in all, it was about $46 for all four of us to ride for about 15 minutes. While it was warm and humid, the gondolas do have A/C, which helped keep us cool while we enjoyed the stunning views.
Now, this is really my favorite part of this trip. With two young kids, I dread going to restaurants. We are often those people who end up leaving in pairs with one taking the loud and crying kids out to the car, while the other stays to pay and finish up enjoying dinner in peace and quiet. Our kids just aren’t much for restaurants at this age.
Knowing this, I took full advantage of my planning side and wrote out a list of meals—breakfast, lunch, and two nights worth of dinner, plus snacks that I wanted to bring. Also, our unit had a full kitchen that we put to good use. And, I spent roughly $200 on food before we left and packed it tightly into a cooler.
I chose to bring our food instead of spending time grocery shopping when we got there. For that reason, we saved ourselves money and so much stress by eating in the unit! My husband even commented on how smart it was to plan easy-to-cook dinners in the room that took the stress out of having to take our tired kids out in the evening! I call that a win!
We also discovered that the resort offered three to four grills on the ground floor of each tower had we chosen to bring food to grill as well. We did eat out one night at a local restaurant that came highly recommended to us—River City Café at Barefoot Landing ($60 plus a tip for our family of four). It was a fun experience and perfect for our kids as it had an outside dining area overlooking a waterway.
- Wrap Up!
I can’t say enough great things about our Mother’s Day weekend getaway down in Myrtle Beach. We all loved our experience at Wyndham Ocean Boulevard, and the opportunity to travel to a drivable destination from Williamsburg and not break the bank.
I would highly recommend cooking in your room to save a large chunk of money from eating out. Another way to save money is taking advantage of what the resort has to offer regarding free activities. We had such a great time just spending time at the resort!
If you are planning to travel to Myrtle Beach, I also suggest going at this time of year as the beaches are still pretty open and the weather is amazing!
We are excited to bring you articles written for us from Frugal Travel Mama at Tripbound, Unfortunately, Tripbound was forced to close its doors as a result of COVID-19’s effects. We hope their legacy will continue through your travel adventures, they wrote many articles for us here at WilliamsburgFamilies.com to help you plan memorable family getaways!