Myrtle Beach in the Offseason | A Stay at Sandpebble Beach Club, Surfside Beach, South Carolina

In 2016, I was assigned to photograph the recently renovated Sandpebble Beach Club in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. Ever since I visited the place on that October morning, I knew I wanted to stay there.

Sometimes, simpler is better, and Sandpebble is simple. It’s only three stories tall, with no pool and one elevator. The star of the show is the ocean: every room is facing right into the beach, with a nice balcony to soak in the breezes. The structure is located right in a residential neighborhood, full of beach houses with beach names and golf carts whizzing around on the streets.

Surfside Beach (32)

Part of the fun of going on vacation is staying in a different environment, and the environment in Surfside Beach has an intangible quality to it- it’s sleepy, yet lively. You know you’re there to relax. Last week, I was finally able to stay at Sandpebble with my family, and I wanted to share the experience in case you’re interested in visiting.

Since you can stretch your RTX membership further by staying in the offseason, let’s dive into the experience of staying at Sandpebble in late October.

The weather

The weather didn’t throw any curve balls, except for a cold front with north winds that lasted about a day. Morning sunrises ranged from chilly to almost warm enough to swim, and the afternoons went from high 50s to low 80s, with lots of sunshine. It was nice not battling the heat when going out and about, perfect weather for shopping and dining.

Sandpebble

Sandpebble (35)

We had five in our party, and the two bedroom room proved to be more than adequate. It was clean and comfortable, with modern TVs, Wi-Fi, an updated kitchen, and room to spread out. Like I said, the main star of the show here is the ocean, and you’ll get soothing surf noises all night if you leave the window open in the master bedroom. This sort of stuff is worth its weight in gold, and is more relaxing to me than any spa day. Take the elevator down, and you’re at the beach in probably 90 seconds. It’s that close.

Surfside Beach is known as the Family Beach, and I’d agree- it’s cleaned daily, quiet, and with gentle surf. In 2016, the town council signed a proclamation to make Surfside Beach the first-autism friendly travel destination. The sand is soft and is filled with shells down at the high tide mark, perfect for beachcombing.

Surfside Beach (33)

Location

I really liked the quiet neighborhood feel. There’s not much traffic on the sandy Ocean Boulevard, especially in October. To the north, the Surfside Beach Pier is only .9 miles away, with the Surf Café a great open air option on the pier for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Head south and you’ve got another outdoor restaurant offering, the Conch Café, a scant .8 mile walk according to Google. Walk beach or street side.

Keep heading south a little ways further and reach (very small) downtown Garden City Beach. The pier here is a little bigger, with a bar, lots of fishing, and a little arcade and snack bar for the kids. There are also a few gift shops, a go kart track, and a hot dog stand offering breakfast as well. The whole area has a throwback feel. We also enjoyed the Gulfstream Café, a little ways south in Garden City Beach. This upscale place had a fantastic sunset view of the marsh and harbor, and a hidden gem feel. It’s a favorite of travelers, and you need to check it out the next time you’re in the area.

The sunset viewed from Gulfstream Café.

If you hop on Business 17, the rest of Myrtle Beach is within easy access, including the Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet, and the Myrtle Beach strip about 9 miles north.

Overall impressions

Many times when I travel, I stay in larger resorts. The amenities are great, but at Sandpebble, I was looking for what it was like to stay at a simple place where the location really was the best part about it. I definitely found it. The many towns of the Grand Strand do blend together if you’re simply driving through, but stay in a small one like Surfside Beach, and you can see the nuances. It doesn’t have the older fishing/lowcountry/marsh vibe of Murrells Inlet, but it also doesn’t have the in your face/action/crowds of neighboring, and much larger, Myrtle Beach. It was a good compromise and I absolutely would recommend it for a simple, stress free vacation.

 

 

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. His favorite RTX destinations are on the beach: Orange Beach, Alabama, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. .

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