Spirited Ways to Celebrate the Holidays in Myrtle Beach

Floating parades, candlelit gardens highlight 2015 events

By Terry Massey,

Some folks don't think of the beach at Christmastime, but the Grand Strand, the 60-mile stretch of Carolina coast that surrounds Myrtle Beach, knows how to celebrate the holidays. Here are five events you don't want to miss.

Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals

Nov. 12-14

The Myrtle Beach Convention Center goes way back in time to recreate a 19th century English village straight out of the pages of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Story. Shop at an old-time market with antique and handmade gifts, decorations and apparel, and check out exhibits of Christmas pasts.

Held November 12-14, the three-day event actually lasts the entire holiday season with off-site events at local theaters, restaurants and attractions.

Santa on Board — Photo courtesy of North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce

Intracoastal Christmas Regatta

Nov. 28

You've seen plenty of Christmas parades, but how about one on the water? Celebrate the season in true Grand Strand style by watching this Christmas flotilla roll down the Intracoastal Waterway in North Myrtle Beach.

Held Saturday, November 28, this annual tradition features boats in full holiday decor spreading Christmas cheer to the folks who line the banks to see this unique parade. The procession begins at 5 pm in Little River Inlet and finishes at Dock Holidays at approximately 7 pm.

Christmas Shows

Through Nov. and Dec.

Local theaters put on their highlight performances of the year with several holiday-themed productions throughout November and December, including the Alabama Theatre's "The South's Grandest Christmas Show," The Carolina Opry's "Christmas Show of the South," and the Palace Theatre's "Christmas Wonderland."

Legends In Concert hosts tribute artists with ties to the holidays, such as Nat King Cole, and dinner theaters Pirates Voyage and Medieval Times put a Christmas spin on their regular shows.

Candlelit Christmas — Photo courtesy of Brookgreen Gardens

Nights of a Thousand Candles

Dec. 3-5, 10-12, 17-29

For nine nights only, Brookgreen Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland and open after dark for a spectacular holiday display. This 9,000-acre botanical sculpture garden was once a thriving rice plantation but now features beautiful plant life alongside works of art.

Add in more than 5,000 Christmas lights, holiday decorations, caroling and other performances and you have a lovely way to get into the spirit of the season. The event is held December 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19 with the park open from 3 to 10 pm.

Beach Ball Classic

Dec. 26-31

The day after Christmas signals the start of one of the biggest high school basketball tournaments in the nation. Held December 26-31, the 35th Annual Beach Ball Classic tips off at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center with a field that features the future stars of college basketball and the NBA. Some of the top teams and talent from all over the nation come to Myrtle Beach for the holidays to put on a hoops show.