Just off the main strip of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina there is plenty of authentic Lowcounty culture to be discovered. We stayed south of the main strip at Myrtle Beach State Park just after the South Carolina coast had received 20+ inches of rain in two days.
In addition to many campsites being drenched in water, the campsite was swamped with Bikers! Unbeknownst to us it was Bike Week at Myrtle Beach, so for the two nights we camped there we fell asleep to the thundering roar of Harley Davisson’s tearing down the freeway and woke up to the motorcycle’s stuttering chugs as they crept through the winding campsite roads.
During the day the bikers flocked to the bars of the nearby town Murrells Inlet, leaving the park beach nearly deserted. We took advantage of both the empty beach at the park and the lively bar scene at Murrells Inlet and saw some exotic wildlife and ate some delicious food along the way.
During our check-in to the campground we learned that a family at one campsite would be serving free pancake breakfasts all week long. Knowing a good deal when we hear it, we took advantage of this opportunity and stopped by early the next morning to see what the catch was.
To our delight, there was no catch, only fluffy pancakes with orange juice, coffee, and multiple types of grits! The sausage grits were our favorite—rich, sticky, and packed with porky, spicy flavor. The family who was serving the breakfast belonged to the Christian Motorcycle Association and were very friendly and hospitable and not the least bit preachy! It was great to enjoy a hearty (and free) breakfast over which to talk with other friendly campers from all the country.
After breakfast it was off to the beach! The beach of Myrtle Beach State Park began where the unsightly resort development of commercial Myrtle Beach ended. Miles of beach rose into bluffs of tall, low bushes, and wind-blown trees. Amanda and I spent a lazy morning swimming in the waves, laying on the sand, and enjoying the warmth from the morning sun.
After we were all “beached out” Amanda and I decided to join the hordes of bikers at the small seaside town of Murrells Inlet. Lining the rumbling road into Murrells Inlet was a strip of rugged bars with their parking lots neatly packed with the entire spectrum of motorcycles of different color, sound, and proportion.
Amanda and I found a nice bar called The Dead Dog where we could sit on a patio swing, sip on a beer, listen to the house rock band, and look out into the picturesque salt marshes of the South Carolina coast.
After this relaxing pit-stop we headed south of Murrells Inlet to Huntington Beach State Park with the prospects of seeing some local wildlife (on the South Carolina coast, this means Gators!)
As we walked along a road that cut through the marsh we saw plenty of great egret birds wading and nesting in the trees. We also noticed the great head of an American Alligator emerge from the brush. We watched the alligator lumber with a bow-legged gait across the street, slip into the water and stealthily swim away. In case your wondering about the safety of this incident, the gator didn’t bother to look both ways but at least he used the crosswalk!
For supper we went to favorite a local joint, Prosser’s Bar-B-Que. Here they serve a South Carolina a style all-you-can-eat buffet of BBQ pork, fried seafood and chicken, chicken and dumplings, and all the fixins’. Prosser’s is highly regarded by the locals around Myrtle Beach for serving great food at an affordable price which is a combination that anyone (especially hungry travelers like ourselves) can appreciate.
The pulled pork was delicious and served with one of two unique Lowcountry BBQ sauces— a mustard vinegar sauce, or a tomato based mustard sauce–both of which were tangy, spicy, and fantastic. Fried seafood included oysters, baby shrimp, hushpuppies (not quite seafood but a must-have with fried seafood), and the local favorite—fried flounder.
Sides at the buffet included, but were by no means limited to, the standard mashed potatoes, beans, mac and cheese, and collars as well as many Lowcountry rice dishes such as dirty rice and red rice served with various gravies such as barbeque gravy or chicken gravy.
We had a great time at Myrtle Beach without ever stepping foot into the main tourist area. We found it a pleasant surprise to be here during Bike Week and with the helpful advice of the friendly locals and generous fellow campers we were able to experience some wonderful nature and enjoy some authentic places off the main strip and into the beautiful and unique Lowcountry of South Carolina.