When you think of a day trip, typically it’s an hour or so drive to get away for the day. This past weekend, I took a day trip 12 hours south to Myrtle Beach.
Zoe was home for winter break and was scheduled to head back on Saturday. Since it’s no fun to drive that whole way alone — and one-way tickets from Atlantic City to Myrtle Beach cost $30 — I decided to come down, spend some time playing tourist and fly back all in the same day.
We started at 5:30 a.m. In all honesty, I don’t really remember the first few hours. Zoe and I were in a zombie-like, half-asleep trance the whole time (probably not the safest thing) before we stopped for some coffee and a bacon, egg and cheese bagel in D.C.
After that, we made it a few more hours through Virginia before stopping at the sweetest little travel stop, Sadlers, for a much-needed bathroom break and some candy to help offset the boredom ahead of driving I-95 for 5+ hours.
About 7 hours into the trip, I had had enough. I’d seen about 200 billboard signs for this place called “South of the Border” that featured a character named Pedro. My parents and Zoe had stopped when they first visited the school and talked all about it. I wanted to see what this magical place was all about.
It’s weird. That’s what it’s all about.
South of the Border is an old-fashioned, mishmash tourist site that features literally everything you could possibly want in a roadside attraction. Zoe and I hung out around the store, took some photos with the animal statues and wondered around asking over and over again “What IS this place???” I found out later that the spot boasts several restaurants, a racetrack, several stores, a golf course, a reptile exhibit and more.
Another hour drive or so later, we were finally in Myrtle Beach. It was raining, which severely limited the activities available to us. So, Zoe took me over to Broadway at the Beach, a boardwalk-type attraction that features games, shops and restaurants.
We started checking out the shops before getting caught in the rain and instead decided to stop for a bite to eat. And that’s when I met the love of my life: Joe’s Crab Shack.
Yes, it’s a chain restaurant. Typically I’m all about the small restaurant finds that are off the grid. But, this place was so, so good (that, or we were so, so hungry).
We started off with an order of crab nachos, a tower of chips covered with delicious lump crabmeat, roasted corn, black beans, cheese and guac.
I settled on a trio shrimp platter that had spicy stuffed shrimp, coconut shrimp and butterfly fried shrimp. I felt like Bubba from Forrest Gump (but it was the best feeling in the world). Zoe got a skewered stuffed shrimp on top of crab rice.
The food was insanely good, and while a little pricey, I felt like it was a good overall value considering the portions. I’m already planning my next trip down, and in the meantime want to hit up the one in King of Prussia when the craving strikes.
We walked dinner off and shopped a bit before heading downtown. Recognzing that we were both scared of heights, but didn’t have much else to do, we did the only logical thing: went for a Ferris wheel ride.
The SkyWheel is just off the boardwalk in Myrtle Beach gives you a great view of downtown. You ride around in completely enclosed vessels, which is great in the colder weather since they’re heated. It was $14 a ticket, but one insider gave us the scoop: If you tell them you’re a local, you get a reduced price.
We left and started winding our way back to the airport, stopping at the local mall to kill some time. My flight was scheduled for 9:30 p.m., but with Zoe completely exhausted and me wanting to just sit and chill for an hour or so before taking off, we said our goodbyes and she dropped me off.
After a quick dash through security (I was the only one) and a few hours of zoning out and watching the NFL on TV, I boarded my plane. With 2 empty seats next to me, I waited anxiously as the people piled on… but then the doors shut. I realized I was the ONLY ONE ON THE PLANE THAT HAD NOT JUST 1 EMPTY SEAT NEXT TO ME, BUT 2! This was one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to me, especially since I know it will never, ever, ever, ever happen again.
I have a better shot at winning the Powerball.
It was a fitting end to a great trip.