I have a public service announcement for people who are considering, or may consider at some point in the future, travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: do not travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

I can hardly decide what to do with my free time: Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, Ripley's Believe it or Not Aquarium, Medieval Times, Magiquest (which looks like it might be responsible for a lot of parental suicides), a NASCAR theme park, the Carolina Opry, one of two enormous factory outlet malls, or sitting in my hotel room silently weeping, cutting myself, and contemplating gorging myself to death on a $9.99 all-you-can-eat fried batter buffet.

It's a tough call. I dread having children solely out of fear that I would have to take them someplace like this, up to and including Disneyworld if Myrtle Beach turned out to be insufficiently plastic for his or her tastes.

35 thoughts on “NPF: G&T PSA”

  • That was the first mistake you made, staying at (or near) Myrtle Beach. Go to one of the smaller Carolina beaches and you'll find what you're looking for.

  • MagiQuest looks absolutely terrifying. If any of my future children ask to go there, I'll abandon them on the highway.

  • Crazy for Urban Planning says:

    I say it everyday: America is a cartoon land with no real coherence. These places should all be wiped off the face of the earth, along with Las Vegas and Orlando.

  • Isle of Palms is my pick, (Folly is good too.) you get the beach during the day and then what Charleston has to offer at night (or if it's raining.) A really old city with tons of history, founded in1680. Inexpensive rentals and hardly any tourists on the island, especially off-season.

    OK, now I sound like a brochure. Seriously, though, it's the only vacation spot I've done more than three times and enjoyed every visit. And seafood is ubiquitous and cheap if you like that sort of thing.

  • You're perfectly right to dread having kids, but that's the only reason? Haha! I laugh at your silly rationale! Still, my view remains that you should have kids as soon as possible – there's never a better time, after all, and at least when you're younger you can handle the sleep-deprivation, stress positions and waterboarding (aka Bath time!) better.

  • Aww, you'll have fun, Ed! Patti and I have gotten two free trips there in the last few years, once when my parents rented a condo, once when her parents rented a condo. There is also a vibrant mini golf scene. But expect to spend more than $9.99 at the seafood buffets, they're ridiculously expensive.

  • Screw South Carolina! Wait until summer and then come up to northern Michigan. Beautiful beaches, less expensive, nearby wineries, fresh lake water instead of ocean salt water, and most of it is still less developed and less plastic than Myrtle Beach.

  • oh man, i went there with a girlfriend a couple years back and hoooooboy was it garbacheese. nothing but souvenier shops and mini golf course.

    however! there are two place you should stop:
    1) this amazing shitty souvenier shop call THE GAY DOLPHIN.
    2) there is a pretty bitchin' waterpark over the the ripley's. unofortch, it's february.

  • Let me issue an accompanying PSA:

    Perhaps even more important than avoiding Myrtle Beach, do not go to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, TN.

  • Al: My wife, who's from TN, suggests revising you PSA: Do not go to Tennessee.

    Right before they flatten Vegas, we should let everybody who loves it take a free trip there. If we don't, they'll rebuild it elsewhere.

  • Nah, Ed, don't sweat the kids thing. The secret is to let your kids interpret your surroundings, rather than relying on your own senses. In this way, an aging, mouldy tower of paper-mache actually *becomes* a 20-foot avatar of Paul Bunyan! Cheap plastic trinkets become mystifying magical talismans, and so on.

    Unfortunately, this vicarious perception can be addictive. My kids are long past the cartoon stage, and…well…I've been known to sneak in the odd episode of Dora the Explorer. Go figure.

  • Oh man, I was all over the Gay Dolphin. What the fuck.

    This place reminds me exactly of Gatlinburg. Also Wisconsin Dells. Also hell.

  • Cheer up, Ed. You're only a short 2 hour drive from Pedro's South of the Border! EVERYBODY'S A WEINER AT PEDRO'S!! YOU NEVER SAUSAGE A PLACE!!!!!

  • I'm with misterben on the Michigan thing, but I have to warn you to go in the second half of August, and hope for the best. Summer in Northern Michigan could be confused with November in Tennessee. Lake Superior thaws, but never warms. But that's the U.P. You probably won't go there

    But we do have cool lighthouses, sleeping bear dunes and wineries. Some of them have darned fine restaurants. Stay away from St. Ignace, though. It's a shit hole.


  • And Magiquest might be the most gangster business venture in history. I mean, essentially they came up with a way to make money from LARP, the most widely mocked hobby in the history of history. FUCKING LARP. It looks like Darkon had a baby with Maple Story and raised it on Harry Potter fanfic. And they even sell you crap to use in the game, like a "free to play" Korean MMO…so full of win.


  • Oh man the Gay Dolphin. All the jokes I made about that place. I still enjoy spending A day in Myrtle, only to gawk at rednecks…

  • I have a friend who regularly rusticates on the barrier islands near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Carolinas have wonderful wild beaches, and towns with some old southern charm (Charleston), but yeah the ticky tacky can be especially heavy in that part of the world. Just say no.

  • I would honestly rather stay in my hometown for the rest of my life than travel to any of the places mentioned here.

  • Be sure to check out Tar Babies Restaurant. Yes, it really exists, or at least it did in the 90s. I had to take a picture because none of my friends up here in New England would have believed it! And don't forget to stock up on cigarettes and fireworks!

  • Sadly I've been to most of the terrible places mentioned.

    My recommendations: Lake Ontario or anywhere thereabouts during the summer. Drive around Upstate New York eating ice cream and catch some of the local history, motor-sports, and fantastic rustic scenery.

    If you want some ocean, head West, and look for giant abalone shells as the Pacific hammers itself at you. Great White Sharks also are present. And the sun rises and sets over the waves in the proper manner.

  • My wife took me to Gatlinburg early in our relationship. Told her it looked like the Dells with bigger hills. Looks just like niagra falls too, minus the falls, of course. aint been to Branson, but am guessing the the cheese is cut from the same wheel. what's the term, generica?

  • Try Chattanooga. There are lots of very touristy places nearby, but the city itself is pretty nice. The Smoky Mountains are nice too – just avoid the visitor center.

  • OK, I confess, I had kids. But from toddlerhood on, we righteously mocked all Disneyfied crap (Disneyland/Disneyworld/Disneycosmos), and made it crystal clear that "our family doesn't go to theme parks. Or church. Ever." End of discussion. On the other hand, if a kid's bestest friend ever offered a trip to said hellholes with HER family, we had no objections (we're intransigent, not insane). No sense in making it into forbidden fruit.
    Aforementioned kids are now 30, 24, and 19, and all three have independently, albeit somewhat sheepishly, admitted that we had a point. That's one of the only genuine parenting gold medals, by the way, an unprovoked, "You know, you were right."

  • If you think those places are bad, you should check out South of the Border. Not only does it score very high on the gaudiness and gaucheness scales, but it is also a prime example of Southern racial stereotyping. The awesomeness here has been set on 11.

  • sleezy bone says:

    "Children under 3 are free only if they sit in a parent's lap and eat from their plate. If you wish for your child to receive a seat or a meal, a regular children's admission will apply." This was probably my favorite passage from the Dolly Parton Funstravagnza Fuckshit AdventureLand website.

  • Jazzbumpa –
    I hope never to have either of my sons show me that picture and ask me, "Pop, why hasn't this place been firebombed yet?"

    This did remind me, Ed – several years ago, I had to go to a training conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia (the unfashionable side of the island). I still get queasy when I remember that trip. Cheesy grits, sweet tea and jet lag do not a happy combination make.

  • Woo Hoo! Brandon should have mentioned that these were 2 free trips in the past three years. The key: never leave the beach. Have a kitchen in the condo so you only are moderately gouged on food, then never leave the beach. It's like Niagara Falls – you have a lovely piece of natural scenery, so focus on that and let Ripley fend for himself.

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