Saying Farewell to Summer at Sea Mystique in Garden City, South Carolina

Good morning, travelers. Today I’d like to talk about one of Festiva’s smaller properties that you may not have stayed at. It’s Sea Mystique, located on the Grand Strand in Garden City, South Carolina. I stayed there last week, one of the last prime weeks of the summer, and I want to share with you what makes Sea Mystique and Garden City a hidden gem.

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First of all, we were on the first floor. Still being in peak season, I was happy just to get a room at this small resort, but I figured the first floor was one of the less desirable rooms. Ok, whatever, like I said, I was happy just to be there. But then I realized it was a blessing in disguise. Not only was the view still good (the resort is on stilts, so we were really on the second floor, giving a good view of the beach,) but I felt more connected – the sound of the waves was stronger, the beach was closer, I could easily see the pool. And the convenience of walking down one open air flight of stairs to the pool and beach was excellent, and something you don’t get at a huge resort. To hit the pool or beach, you didn’t even need sandals, just walk down and go.

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Having a young daughter, spontaneity is lacking in my life, or at least reduced from what it used to be. Things need to be planned out- outfits, snacks, strollers, shoes, etc. etc. But being this close to the beach meant spontaneity was back on the table – going to the beach meant just putting on a swimsuit and some sunscreen and going. Want to go back up to the room? It’s a 30 second walk up.

Inside, all rooms face the ocean, the star of the show. A nice patio lets you enjoy the breeze, and recently renovated units were pleasant and spacious enough, with modern electronics and full kitchens. A great home base for our sandy adventures.

The neighborhood is sleepy, with lots of beach rental homes, palm trees, golf carts and bikes zipping by. It’s a great, walkable community that looks like it hasn’t changed much over the years. (That’s a good thing.)

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Now me, I’m a walker. I’m not trying to preach here – if you like or need to drive, that’s perfectly fine. I just feel like you get a much broader experience being able to walk to places rather than driving. The sights, the smells, the texture of the sand on the sidewalk, and saying hi to other people walking. Not to mention the reduced carbon footprint, the time savings of not having to look for parking, and the exercise. Walking, especially while on vacation, appeals greatly to me, and Sea Mystique is great for this.

Walk a quarter mile south to find Garden City’s downtown strip on Atlantic Avenue and the famous Garden City Pier. The pier is a hub of activity, with ice cream, an arcade, a cafe, two bars, live music and karaoke, and tons of fishing. There are also great views from the end, looking down the beach.

Atlantic Avenue contains the very small downtown of Garden City, which is a time capsule. I’m not much for nostalgia, but in the age of virtual reality, 24/7 cell phone usage, and gadgets like flyboards, sometimes it’s good to slow it down a little. Sam’s Corner has been there since the 70s, and hasn’t changed a bit. I walked into the diner to order breakfast to go, my sandy feet the only thing hitting their floor, and they didn’t bat an eye. There’s also an excellent old school arcade at the Pavilion, great burgers at Gigi’s Grill, more ice cream, beach gift shops, and go karts at the Slick Track Family Amusement Park. (They also have a slingshot and other adrenaline-spiking carnival rides.)

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Being peak season, there were a lot of people out and about – it was small but lively, a perfect snapshot of summer at the beach. Keep walking west down Atlantic and there’s a causeway with a wooden walking bridge, looking out over the estuary, the tide ebbing and flowing, reminding you of this dynamic landscape. The lowcountry provides a great habitat for the birds, alligators, fish, and turtles that call this place their home. It’s a very cool and unique spot literally blocks away from the ocean.

And that about wraps it up for Sea Mystique. For a similar experience, head just a little ways north for Sandpebble Beach Club, another quaint resort offered to RTX members that I also really like. Want more excitement? We also offer accommodations in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and the sleepy Murrells Inlet, just south of Garden City. See below for more photos of Garden City. Until next time, safe travels.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as Creative Resources Manager for RTX, based in Asheville, NC. You can find him hiking the mountains of Asheville, gardening, traveling, and hanging with his growing family. His favorite RTX exchange destinations are Rangeley, Maine, Lake Tahoe, Banff, Canada, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Cape Cod, and Orange Beach, Alabama. .

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