MYRTLE BEACH, S.C., Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina continues to rank as one of the fastest-growing family and vacation destinations in the nation attracting annually more than 17 million visitors. Myrtle Beach also continues to prove that it's worthy of the moniker "The Grand Strand," receiving several recent accolades including being named one of the Best East Coast Beaches by TravelChannel.com, a Top 10 East Coast Beach Making a Splash by Tripadvisor and one of the Top 10 Beach Destinations in the U.S. for Honeymooners by Tripping.com. This year visitors to the Myrtle Beach area will see additional events, new restaurants along with the opening of a new culinary institute that is leading a revitalization of the area's food scene, as well as new hotel developments. The following is the latest information on new tourism developments in the region.
*Updates are listed alphabetically by category
Myrtle Beach International Airport Improvements
After an expansion completed in 2013, the Myrtle Beach International Airport completed at the end of 2015 an interior renovation of the original terminal. The renovation has been complete with amenities, circulation space and improving the restroom and concession areas. The renovation was triggered by the growth in passenger traffic over fiscal year 2014. It has divided Concourse B into three zones allowing for a more flexible and cost efficient operation to compliment the seasonal passenger demand at the airport. The interior renovation improvements are valued at more than $5 million dollars and provide access to an additional five gates. In addition, the airport recently completed a parking lot expansion adding 90 new parking spaces. The parking lot utilizes energy efficient lighting and introduced bike racks. For more information, visit www.flymyrtlebeach.com.
Porter and WestJet Resume Seasonal Air Service
Canada-based carriers Porter Airlines and WestJet Airlines are resuming seasonal non-stop air service to Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) in 2016. Porter will begin service from Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) to MYR on Feb. 11 to May 23 up to five times weekly. Daily flights will be available during March break. WestJet's first flights will begin on March 3 twice weekly on Thursday and Sunday. Starting June 16, they will operate three times a week on Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday through the end of October. For more information, visit www.flyporter.com and www.westjet.com.
Brookgreen Gardens Gets New LEGOS ® Bricks Sculpture Exhibit
Brookgreen Gardens will host 12 larger-than-life LEGO® brick sculpture installations in its Native Wildlife Zoo from April 8 – September 5, 2016. Created by Sean Kenney, renowned artist and children's author, "Nature Connects" is an award-winning exhibit currently touring the country. Made from almost 400,000 LEGO® bricks, the sculptures bring nature to life with a 6-foot tall hummingbird hovering over a trumpet flower, a deer family made from 48,000 bricks, a giant tortoise, a 7-foot long giant dragonfly, and more. The exhibit will be open daily and is included in garden admission. For more information, visit www.Brookgreen.org.
Extreme Trampoline Sports Center
The Myrtle Beach area's first indoor trampoline park is planned to open in February 2016. It will feature 20,000 square-feet of bouncy canvas designed to host numerous sports and fitness activities. It will include a traditional open trampoline field, a trampoline dodge ball stadium, slack lines, basketball hoops, flying trapeze, a ninja warrior aerial obstacle course and Olympic size foam pits with 50,000 cubes of foam. It will join the XGym facility at the sports mall on George Bishop Parkway in Myrtle Beach. For more information, visit www.circustrix.com.
Bluefin New Oceanfront Restaurant
Plans are in the works for construction of Bluefin, a new oceanfront restaurant along the Myrtle Beach boardwalk. It will fill two oceanfront plots of former motels transforming into a nearly 17,000-square-foot elevated restaurant about a block and a half north of the iconic Skywheel. There will be indoor and deck seating, plus a rooftop deck. Out front of the building will be sand volleyball courts. For more information, visit http://jhubbardarch.com/portfolio/restaurant-concept-2.
The Brass Tap
A new craft beer bar and restaurant opened at the popular Market Common district in Myrtle Beach in January 2016. The Brass Tap offers 70 different craft beers on tap, a full food menu including Sweet Chili Shrimp, Jalapeno Corn Fritters, signature flat breads and Angus burgers. The will also be offering live entertainment. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BrassTapMyrtleBeach.
The Claw House in Murrells Inlet
Construction started in September 2015 on a new restaurant along the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk built to look like an old-fashioned New England-style lobster house. The Claw House is being constructed on a parking lot south of Dead Dog Saloon and will feature North Atlantic lobster trucked in fresh from Bedford, Mass. In addition to live lobsters, the trucks will pick up other fresh seafood along the East Coast like scallops, clams and Chesapeake Bay oysters. It will seat about 265 people and is expected to open by February 2016. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/theclawhouse.
Gordo's Tacos and Tequilas
The independent owner of two new and popular restaurants in downtown Myrtle Beach (Art Burger Sushi and The Chemist) is planning to turn an old McDonalds building on Withers Drive and 9th Avenue North into Gordo's Tacos and Tequilas, which will serve 50 different tacos that are organic as well as hormone and antibiotic free. This would also include outdoor seating close to the Myrtle Beach boardwalk and beach area. Gordo's will open between summer and fall of 2016.
International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach Expansion, New Restaurant & Cooking Classes
As part of Horry Georgetown Technical College, The International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach is planning a major expansion of its program. A brand new 30,000-square-foot state-of-the art education center is planned within the Market Common district of Myrtle Beach on the corner of Pampas Drive and Crabtree Lane. This will grow the school's culinary program from 180 to 500 students. This $15 million center will include a 100-seat restaurant with a local focus, bringing in seasonal products from local farms and fisherman, also adding an international flair. It will also provide bakery/patisserie laboratories, a nutrition lab, production and training kitchens, an outdoor barbeque kitchen, greenhouse, wine cellar, chef's table and an amphitheater. The amphitheater will provide a staging area for guest chefs to teach and offer cooking classes to the general public. Construction began in March 2015 to be completed by August 2016. For more information, visit www.hgtc.edu/academics/academic_departments/culinary_institute/building.html.
Wicked Tuna Second Location By Boardwalk
The owners of Wicked Tuna, a highly popular local seafood restaurant along the Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet, have decided to open up a second location by the boardwalk in downtown Myrtle Beach. It will be a three-story, nearly 15,000 square foot restaurant with a view: right on the 1900 block of North Ocean Boulevard across the street from the beach. Construction and opening of the new building is expected in 2016. For more information, visit http://thewickedtuna.com.
Calvin Gilmore Theatre Debuts Time Warp and Continues Performing Arts Series
In addition to four other live shows, the 2016 season of The Calvin Gilmore Theater brings a new production called Time Warp. Time Warp features only the most iconic music and pop culture memories of the 60s, 70s and 80s. This fast-paced, high-energy show, accompanied by rich multimedia screens, special effects and elaborate costuming, blends music, comedy and dance from America's most iconic decades. Time Warp takes you on a virtual tour back to the decades that brought us the best in American popular music. From 70s hair rock, to 80s dance numbers to fun disco classics and all the way back to the "Mashed Potato" – every single song in this show evokes distinct memories of some of our most memorable moments. The show stars All That!, famed cloggers of America's Got Talent and new talents Bibis Ellison and Colton Cason, along with 35 of the country's most talented vocalists, musicians and dancers.
In addition, the Calvin Gilmore Theater expects to welcome a number of well-known artists of various genres throughout 2016 as part of Gilmore's new Performing Arts Series. The inaugural 2015 season welcomed famed storyteller, Garrison Keillor, Jungle Jack Hanna, Ricky Skaggs, Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis and Gloria Gaynor. The 2016 artists will encompass a number of genres, including music, comedy, politics and authors. Artists will be announced in early 2016. For more information, visit www.TheCalvinGilmoreTheater.com.
GTS Theatre: Three News Shows in 2016
GTS Theatre, the Myrtle Beach area's newest live theatre that opened in November 2015, is planning three new shows that will open in the spring of 2016. Take a walk down memory lane with "The Music of Motown" which follows one man's dream that turned into everyone's music. Berry Gordy launched careers of the Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and many more musical titans. Also, get ready for a dazzling style of fresh, fun, live entertainment that hasn't been seen or heard in decades with "Vaudeville the Show." The show will feature a jam packed musical extravaganza that includes timeless tunes, spirited dance numbers celebrating the music and traditions of yesteryear along with classic comedy routines and the GTS Burlesque Dance Troupe. Lastly, "I Wanna Rock" follows a young girls journey of becoming a rock star and defying her father's idea of what girls should become. She has no interest in becoming an unhappy housewife. She wants to ROCK and won't let anything stand in her way. Follow her on her journey of the history of Rock Music. Featuring Rock Music from the 50's to Today. For more information, visit www.gtstheatre.com.
Carolina Country Music Festival
The Carolina Country Music Festival is returning for a second year to Myrtle Beach with new acts June 10-12, 2016. Artists that have so far been announced are Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Florida Georgia Line, Jake Owen, Cole Swindell, Katie Ballerini and many others. This three-day festival typically features over 30 of the industry's biggest stars, including national recording artists. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.carolinacountrymusicfest.com.
First Scottish Highland Games Comes to Myrtle Beach
The inaugural Myrtle Beach Highland Games & Heritage Festival will take place March 18-19, 2016 at the Grand Park inside the Market Common District in Myrtle Beach. The games will feature displays of strength through a caber throw, hammer throw, weight throw and more. It will also feature Irish, Scottish and American whiskey tasting, ales, authentic food, a Celtic Marketplace, Clan Village, live Scottish entertainment and Southeast champion bagpipe and drum bands. One element that will set these games apart from others is they will allow patrons to play eight different events, only at a lower weight level. For more information, visit www.myrtlebeachhighlandgames.com.
Surfside Beach First Official Autism Friendly Destination
Located just south of Myrtle Beach, the town of Surfside Beach signed a proclamation in January making them the first autism-friendly travel destination with support of the Champion Autism Network. The town is working to raise awareness with restaurants and other hospitality businesses to be understanding and accepting of families with autistic children. Also, other weekend events are being planned throughout the year like barbecues, play dates, fishing from the pier and movie nights for those with autism. For more information, visit http://championautismnetwork.com/autism-friendly-travel.
Virginia based Buchanan Motels is planning a new hotel in central Myrtle Beach. The hotel, located on 17th Avenue in Myrtle Beach, is planned to be 23 floors and include 530 units. The hotel will sit across the street from an indoor water park and parking garage. The construction is expected to be complete by 2017.
Homewood Suites Oceanfront Resort & Conference Center
A new Homewood Suites Oceanfront Resort & Conference Center is planned at 1805 S. Ocean Blvd., the first and only Homewood Suites in the 399 chain that is an oceanfront property. The $25 million Homewood hotel will share pools and other amenities with the Hampton Inn Oceanfront next door and will be the one and only, dually branded oceanfront resort hotel for the Hilton in the world. The property will have 100 suites including a mix of two bedroom, one bedroom and studios all with kitchens and private balconies. Homewood is also building a 300-seat conference center, three pools, a fire pit, fitness center, a Pilates-aerobics room for women only, an on-site chapel, and a bistro serving sandwiches and snacks. Construction of this new property is planned to start sometime in 2016. For more information, visit http://homewoodsuites3.hilton.com.
Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts Updates to Multiple Properties
Myrtle Beach Seaside Resorts, which manages multiple hotel properties in the Myrtle Beach area is making some changes in 2016. Avista Resort, located in North Myrtle Beach, will be getting new beddings inside all units and new door locks and the hallways will be given fresh coats of paint in vibrant and welcoming colors. In addition, a new pool deck is being constructed with plans to be completed by the spring 2016. At Grande Shores Ocean Resort at 77th Avenue in Myrtle Beach, mosaic backslashes have been added to the efficiency hotel rooms. Lastly, new beddings at Seaside Resort in North Myrtle Beach have given the rooms a more fresh and modern look. For more information, visit www.myrtlebeachseasideresorts.com.
Springmaid Beach Resort to Become DoubleTree Resort by Hilton
The 30-acre oceanfront Springmaid Beach Resort located on the south end of Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach began a property-wide renovation project in September 2015. The transformation began with the demolition of the 1950s-era Marlin's cafeteria and the Cypress guestroom building. In their places, the resort will construct a new waterfront focal point for the resort, including a registration and lobby area, ocean view restaurant with outdoor seating, lobby bar, "grab & go" snack area and outdoor entertainment courtyard. In addition, the renovation will include a complete makeover of all 452 remaining guest rooms, which are located in the Live Oak and Palmetto towers. All guest rooms will feature an ocean view, private balcony, 40" HD TVs, and a resort-themed design palette. The property will be rebranded as a DoubleTree by Hilton upon completion of the renovation planned for early 2017. The resort underwent a $9 million renovation in 2012 and a $19 million overhaul from 2000 to 2002. The property includes a 500-room hotel, conference center that will also undergo changes, a camping facility and pier. For more information, visit www.springmaidbeach.com/rebranding.
The Myrtle Beach area, popularly known as the Grand Strand, stretches from Little River to Pawleys Island, comprising 12 distinct cities along the South Carolina coast. Home to 60 miles of sandy beaches, an assortment of entertainment and family attractions, Southern hospitality and world-class golf, the Myrtle Beach area presents the quintessential vacation experience.
For additional information on the Myrtle Beach area, visit www.visitmyrtlebeach.com or call (888) Myrtle-1.
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SOURCE Visit Myrtle Beach