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South Carolina's Grand Strand comes alive with Myrtle Beach May Fest

Brandon TuckerBy Brandon Tucker,
Managing Editor
Myrtle Beach
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May Fest kicks off Myrtle Beach's summertime fun. (Courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach)

Sen. John McCain, food expert Paula Deen and "American Idol" runner-up David Archuleta headline Myrtle Beach May Fest this summer.

Summertime may not officially kick off on the Grand Strand until the schools are out, but Myrtle Beach is kicking things off a month early. The Myrtle Beach May Fest series brings in a wide variety of events from live music to food festivals.

Featured MayFest events include: Beach Music Festival, Military Concert Series, Beach Blast! Christian Music Festival and Memorial Day Weekend Parade and Festivities.

"We're providing an exciting lineup of May events that emphasize the value and affordability of the destination and give visitors yet another reason to choose Myrtle Beach for a spring getaway," said Brad Dean, MBACC president and CEO. "We look forward to creating a fun, family-friendly environment with free activities beginning April 30 and lasting through Memorial Day weekend."

The fest kicks off April 30 with the Beach Music Festival, where attendees can soak in tunes from Chubby Checker, The Spinners, The Catalines and Atlantic Grove among others. This is where you can get an introduction to the shag dance if you've never tried it.

If you miss the opening ceremonies, every Friday evening in May there will be free Military concerts downtown between 8th & 9th streets.

Food buffs will also want to hang around the Grand Strand in May. Between May 8-15, Paula Deen will host Coastal Uncorked, a series of wine and food events. One of the events is a golf scramble on the Myrtle Beach National SouthCreek and West courses. During the round, contestants will enjoy tastings and demonstrations, including a Kettle One Bloody Mary Bar. To enter, it's $400 per team or $150 for an individual.

If you'd rather keep your food and golf separate, jump aboard the Tasting Trolley May 13-14 ($75 a ticket). It will make 10 food and drink stops throughout Myrtle Beach and offer a wide variety of tastes, from Caribbean to Europe and traditional Southern fare.

The finale of May Fest is Memorial Day weekend. On the morning of Saturday, May 28, head down to Ocean Avenue for a weekend parade with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) scheduled to appear as the grand marshall. Following the parade, the Sun Fun Festival kick-off will feature performances from David Archuleta, runner-up on "American Idol," plus various Disney and Nickelodeon celebrities.

For event details, visit MyrtleBeachMayFest.com.

May golf in Myrtle Beach

In May, Myrtle Beach is warm enough to hit the beach but not yet as crowded as when the schools are out come June. The weather is also more comfortable for golf, and the courses are still in tip-top shape coming out of their spring peak season, but they generally cost a little less than back in April.

Plenty of options for golf abound in the city of Myrtle Beach if you don't want to stray too far from the May Fest action. That includes some of the area's earliest golf designs.

Right in the heart of Myrtle Beach is Pine Lakes Country Club, which opened in 1927 and was the first golf course to come to the area. Since, it's undergone a major renovation and redesign and is back among the forefront in Grand Strand golf.

Just across the Highway 501 bridge on the other side of the Intracoastal Waterway are a slew of the city's best courses. Myrtle Beach National features three courses at its facility, including bargain courses SouthCreek and the West Course. Arnold Palmer-designed King's North headlines the trio and is one of the Grand Strand's most imaginative golf course designs. It's extensively beautified, and there is no residential component to the course.

Legends Golf Resort is another three-course facility with three very different courses. Tom Doak's Heathland is one of the area's best "links-inspired" plays, while the Moorland is a stadium course-style design from P.B. Dye.

For some affordable golf courses in Myrtle Beach, try the River Oaks Planation, which recently changed ownership and renovated the 27-hole course. Burning Ridge Golf Course and Wild Wing Plantation are also a couple favorite courses for repeat golfers to the Strand.

If you want to play the longest course in Myrtle Beach, head to the Grande Dunes Resort Course, featuring up to 7,500 yards on a dramatic piece of property set above the Intracoastal Waterway.

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Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Channel Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker.

 
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