The explosion of retail shopping centers in Myrtle Beach has created a new phenomenon among offseason visitors: the Grand Strand “shop-cation.”
Part vacation and part shopping trip, savvy spenders have discovered the tempting combination of enjoying the mild fall weather while also shopping for bargains for the upcoming holidays. The idea is to save money by hitting all the retail stores on the Grand Strand and relaxing the rest of the time by hitting the beach in the offseason.
The decreased crowds and lower hotel rates combined with the increase in shopping malls, outlet shops and shopping districts equals a great opportunity to sneak in a mini-vacation and knock out all that holiday shopping that causes so much stress later in the year. Pack light so you can go home with a full load and an empty shopping list.
Why fight the crowds in your hometown on Black Friday, fighting over the same limited selection when you can turn the experience into a fun and affordable one. Here's a list of five great places to find big bargains on a wide range of items for everyone on your list:
* Coastal North Town Center in North Myrtle Beach opened for business this fall and many of the new retailers are offering low introductory discounts and sales to attract new customers and establish a loyal customer base. Featuring 368,000 square feet of retail space, this new center includes national retailers such such as Dick's Sporting Goods, Hobby Lobby, PetSmart, Rack Room Shoes, Ross Dress For Less and TJ Maxx. Located in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach, the area is surrounded by other big box stores and mom-and-pop shops where you can find that unique gift for loved ones.
* Hudson's Flea Market: For shopping on the cheap, check out this huge market with more than 400 vendor spaces displaying their wares. Bargain-shoppers can find great deals on one of a kind and hard to find items such as antique tables, rare china, computer desks, DVDs and everything from A to Z. The market operates seven days a week, but beat the rush and shop in a carefree environment on Sunday mornings, when the crowds are light and the deals are plentiful.
* Tanger Outlet Stores: The Grand Strand is so nice that Tanger built it twice. Offering two separate Tanger Outlet Stores, one on Highway 17 between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach and another on Highway 501 between Myrtle Beach and Conway, these mega-plexes feature dozens of name-brand, national outlets that offer a significant savings for those picky people on your list that demand brand loyalty. Stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, J Crew, Old Navy, The Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and many, many more, you can find the perfect gift for all your loved ones in one place.
* Myrtle Beach Mall: With upscale shopping options like Coastal Grand Mall and Market Common attracting lots of shoppers, the Myrtle Beach Mall in Briarcliff Acres is almost lost from many shoppers' radar screens. recently remodeled and expanded, Myrtle Beach Mall is home to the only Bass Pro Shops outlet on the Grand Strand, as well some lesser known local and regional stores with items you won't find at home. Major chains like Aeropostale, Books a Million and Pacific Sunwear give shoppers lots of options and bargains under one roof.
* Pawleys Island Hammock Shops: Although a bit off the beaten path in the tiny town of Pawleys Island, this charming shopping center offers a casual shopping experience in a laid-back community. Stores specializing in everything from candles and children's clothing to Christmas decorations and jewelry surround the scenic courtyard, where the husband and kids can kill some time while mom shops. Of course, the hammock shops are the highlight of the experience as hand-woven varieties are made on-site.
(Photo Courtesy: travelhunch.com)