I always feel really crappy when I leave the USA and go back to India. Usually, I’m really depressed from saying goodbye to my family, anxious about the journey back to India, and feeling gross/fat from eating junk for 6 weeks straight. In the US, I get so excited about all the food I miss from home, I eat everything. So, feeling low about yourself, feeling unhealthy, and feeling sad/anxious is not a good combo! I thought doing a wellness retreat at Myrtle Beach and a little detox from fatty food before going back to India was a great idea!
Wellness Retreats at Myrtle Beach
If you’re looking for a wellness retreat, Myrtle Beach has a lot to offer; and they are actually doing really budget-friendly wellness retreats. I came to try out a mix of their activities on offer. At upcoming ones in September and October they’ll have specific retreat options at the hotel I stayed at (Marina Inn at Grand Dunes) as well as the Marriott at Grand Dunes and Kingston Resorts where with the package you save 30% on all the stuff you end up getting than if you bought it separately. They’ll have meditation classes focusing on the five senses at Brookgreen Gardens for smell (loved this), Skywheel for sight, Heidi’s Corner (so delicious) for taste, Myrtle Beach State Park for sound, and Barefoot Landing for touch (you get your massage here!). Plus there will be gifts in the room, bicycle excusions, and yoga on the beach on Saturdays. You can read more about it here.
Here are some more reasons to get your wellness on in Myrtle Beach
Get Some Vitamin Sea (and D!)
There’s nothing wrong with spending your time on vacation by the beach or pool for a few hours every day. The hotel I stayed at, Marina Inn at Grande Dunes, had a shuttle to their private beach with towels, chairs, and umbrellas. I laid out and read the first day. The other two days, I used my free time to lay by the pool and finish up my book. The sun really does make you feel refreshed, and hey – a tan doesn’t hurt.
Spa & Massage Time
For me, it’s not a real vacation unless I get some spa time and hopefully a massage, too. My hotel had a sauna and all that (actually the shower in the room was like a steam room anyway!) but I opted for a massage. They did them in-room. After 60 minutes, I was feeling pretty relaxed. My masseuse actually told me how she lives in Costa Rica and is home for a few months visiting family and how she’s already feeling anxiety about leaving – it always makes you feel a little better to know other people have the same thoughts and feelings.
Eat Healthy Seafood & Fresh Salads
You could come to the beach for fried fish and coconut shrimp, and I sure did get my fill of that in Key West, but this was a focus on wellness for me to try and reset myself before heading back to India. I don’t go healthy often so I wanted to do it right! Nacho Hippo tacos with grilled or blackened fish was a great option near the airport. On route 17, Carolina Roadhouse has huge tasty salads, and Johnny D’s has fruit smoothies at for breakfast (go early, they get PACKED!)
I went up to Little River to try Patio’s Tiki Bar and had a really nice Southwest chicken salad. They also do sushi. If you want something fancy, you can try Chianti South. If you head into Conway, you might like Bonfire on Main Street which is a new place that does BBQ and tacos. I also had some yummy clam chowder at River City Cafe.
On the way back to the airport, I tried Croissants/Heidi’s Corner on King’s Highway which is the second location of the chef Heidi and it’s really famous around here. I got the Acai Berry bowl; I haven’t been able to resist these since Bali!
Relaxing (But Calorie Burning) Kayaking Tour
I took a kayak tour with Black River Outdoors which goes kayaking in Murrells Inlet (meeting place is the Oyster Shell Recycling Landing, just north of Huntington Beach State Park). The marsh you paddle through is beautiful and has this cable grass around that makes it really nice to see birds, oysters, crabs, seat turtles, and even alligators and sharks on the little islands they make.
You could tell our guide wasn’t just doing this for work; he loves his job. He’s into birding and nature and the two-hour tour sped by learning about everything as well as stories of the area, dating back to the 1800’s. There are 630 am, 9 am, and 6 pm tours. I recommend the sunset tour. Part of being on a wellness retreat means getting a lot of sleep!
Try Out Some “Shag Dancing” at Fat Harolds
Fat Harolds is known foritss free “shag dancing” lessons on Tuesdays. It’s a type of dancing done down here to country music. It’s kind of like a line dance but smoother? I was so tired after kayaking and showering that I didn’t get back out to Fat Harolds but I was lucky that I got to experience Shag Dancing anyway when I was at Patio’s Tiki Bar. They had live music there (which was wonderful) and some couples got up to show us how it was done. It was really cute and I know those of you who follow my Instagram stories loved the videos!
Some other entertainment I recommend is The Carolina Opry, Alabama Theatre or Legends in Concert. Live music seems to just make me feel better! You can also check out Myrtle Beach Comedy Club at Broadway at the Beach because laughing heals everything!
Walk It Off At Vereen Memorial Historical Gardens
Just get there before 5 pm. Every local around Little River told me that Vereen Memorial Historical Gardens were fantastic but I planned to go after dinner at Patio’s Tiki Bar and when I arrived it said it closed at 5 pm. So, just keep that in mind. There were picnic tables and people hanging out with their dogs, but through the park apparently, there are walkways out to the backwaters.
Spend Hours in Nature At Brookgreen Gardens
The huge gardens at Brookgreen Gardens have the most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the USA and also have walking trails, restaurants and a little zoo inside (with only animals from this area which they are doing many conservation efforts for).
If you want to do the kayaking, these are near each other so you could do both in a day. I think 2 hours at the gardens is sufficient. You can also eat around here. I went to River City Cafe before my kayaking. Wicked Tuna, near here, is also supposed to be good but I didn’t try it.
You have GOT to try out wake boarding at Shark Wake Park and play around the Aqua Park next to it (that has all these floating obstacle courses). The wake boarding here is cable wakeboarding which I hadn’t even heard of. I’ve only gone behind a boat. It’s VERY different but cool because if you were good at it (I was not) you could keep going forever and ever. There were jumps set up. I saw a lot of guys coming in to the park with their own boards who were there to practice tricks on the jumps. It’s cool to watch. I went three times before giving up (my arms were also sore from kayaking) and it was a blast. I’d definitely do this again.
Where To Stay: Marina Inn at Grande Dunes
I stayed at Marina Inn at Grande Dunes. It was a really nice hotel with a huge spacious room. It isn’t a resort but it has that feel because they have towels out by the pool and give you a shuttle to the beach as well as towels and lifeguards there, all included.
Their restaurant, Waterscapes, has fresh seafood options and is absolutely delicious! Also, if you forego housekeeping, you get a $5 coupon each day. I used mine for my daily fruit smoothie!
Getting There & Away
The airport was about 20 minutes from my hotel. I booked a rental car with Enterprise which would have been $103 for the 4 days but I have no insurance so it ended up being close to $300 for my car – I’m sure you would be able to go without all their add-ons!
The car rental places are all together just outside the airport from baggage claim, so no need to take a shuttle. It’s pretty easy breezy. Everything I listed here shows up okay on Google Maps.
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