Myrtle Beach has been famous for dancing since kids from the Southeast used to road trip to the Grand Strand in the 1950s and '60s to shag the night away on the beach at the old Pavilion and clubs of North Myrtle Beach. The live music of big bands and the juke boxes of beach music played on many moonlit nights amid the sounds of crashing waves and whispered sweet nothings while couples dipped and twirled on the sawdust-strewn dance floors. Decades later, visitors still flock to the Carolina coast to shake what their mommas gave them. The music may have changed over the years and the dancing is definitely different, but there's something about the swaying waves and sweet music that make people want to dance in Myrtle Beach. There's something for all ages and tempos on the Grand Strand. The older crowd still migrates to the Ocean Drive shag dives like Fat Harold's to keep the official state dance of South Carolina alive and to take a musical stroll down memory lane, while the younger set trend to the hipper hot spots like Club Boca. For those who prefer a country beat, be sure to check out The Bowery, where country super-group Alabama got its start as the house band back in the 1970s and '80s and live music still plays six nights a week while crowds boot-scoot across the dance floor. However you get your groove on, Myrtle Beach has you covered.
10 Harold's on the Ocean
Not to be mistaken for the more famous Fat Harold's Beach Club just down Ocean Drive in North Myrtle Beach, this outpost in the Cherry Grove section of town offers a change of pace but still a great chance to dance. This outdoor, lower-key version of the original often breaks out in to dance on the patio deck to the smooth sounds beach music and rhythm and blues. Visitors stroll between the beach and the dance floor, often taking a dip in the ocean to cool off before coming back for more. The dancing picks up the pace at night time. (843-249-5601)
9 The Bowery
Don't miss the chance to see where country music super group Alabama got its start back in the 1970s, and little has changed at this hole-in-the-wall honky-tonk since those days. The house band kicks out live music six days a week and visiting bands and musicians get together to jam on its night off. Patrons off all walks of life share the common bond of live music. Not the fanciest place in town but a must-see for those looking for a true taste of the Myrtle Beach nightlife. Stumble out the door to more live music at the Plyler Park stage. (843-626-3445)
8 Rodeo Bar & Grill
Slip on your cowboy boots and get ready to two-step across the dance floor at Rodeo Bar & Grill, the only country-western bar at Broadway at the Beach. This large club takes country to the next level, with a mechanical bull set up for guests to try their luck and a huge dance floor fit for line dancing. Free country dance lessons are provided on a regular basis and the club attracts a nice mix of cowboys, cowgirls and those who just want to be country for one night. The house band kicks up a nice beat all night long. (843-315-0120)
The top dance hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s and today get feet moving at this crowded club, located at Celebrity Circle. Spacious and always crowded, Revolutions attracts a diverse range of clientele, all of them out to have a great time, showcase their sharpest threads, and shake their moneymakers long into the night. Further testament to the space's fun-loving attitude: Revolutions plays host to countless bachelor and bachelorette parties each year. The retro-disco vibe attracts a wide range of patrons, from the older crowd who are reliving their disco days to the younger set who are into the retro scene. (843-444-8032)
6 Froggy Bottomz Live
The house band at Froggy Bottomz, Illuzion, is sure to bring down the house with an awesome repertoire of pop music covers. From your favorite classic rock tunes to current hip-hop chart toppers, Illuzion puts on a dynamic show that never fails to get the standing room-only crowds moving. Full bar service is available, and there's even a VIP room with reserved tables if you want to roll like a rock star. Froggy Bottomz also plays host to touring acts from time to time, and the dance floor is always kicking with folks who can't stand still to the beat. (843-444-3500)
5 House of Blues
This international theme restaurant and music hall offers Cajun fare, South comfort fid and great live music performed by nationally and internationally known rock, folk, blues, jazz and blues bands. Besides offering interesting night life entertainment, they also serve up a wonderful Sunday Gospel Brunch. Phenomenal gospel music is performed live during the entire brunch. Call ahead for a schedule of upcoming events. Ticket prices and showtimes vary - most are about $20 and start around 8pm. The outdoor/indoor Gator Bar also features live music and dancing on the patio deck, and be sure to hit the souvenir shop and take home a piece of the blues. (843-272-3000)
4 2001 Nightclub
2001 is billed as three clubs in one, and indeed it is. Razzie's Beach Club is the most time-tested of the three, a live music space that's been open since Reagan was in office and welcomes to its stage classic beach bands like The Fantastic Shakers and The Catalinas. Funky Town, meanwhile, goes the disco route with its pop tunes, LED lighting system and groovy decor. Last but not least is Club Touch, a big-city style space that features outstanding club music, huge bar areas and great-looking clientele. 2001 host occasional live music, featuring rock, country and beach musical genres. (843-449-9434)
3 Club Boca
Billed as the Strand's one and only "big city-style" dance club, Club Boca is one place that certainly warrants your hippest threads and coolest footwork. State-of-the-art light and sound shows create quite the late-night spectacle, and the young and sexy crowd isn't shy about letting world-class DJs work them into a beat-driven frenzy. If the action inside gets too intense, you don't have to leave - just grab a seat and catch your breath at Mango's lounge inside. Be sure to check the calendar for bikini contests, hard-body competitions, dance-offs and other special events scheduled throughout the summer months and weekends year-round. (843-444-3500)
2 Fat Harold's Beach Club
South Carolina's state dance is alive and kicking at Fat Harold's, a legendary beach club that claims to be "Home of The Shag." Located on North Myrtle's famed Ocean Drive, the club looks like a big shack from the outside, but don't let appearances fool you. Inside, you'll find everybody from teens to Baby Boomers strutting their stuff on the hardwood dance floor sprinkled with saw dust and spilt beer. Crowds of all ages pack this place to celebrate the lifestyles of beach music and shag dancing, which dates back to the 1950s and '60s along this stretch of the Grand Strand. (843-249-5779)
1 Malibu's Surf Bar
One of the top places on the Strand to let your hair down and strut your stuff, Malibu's is a beach-themed dance club that features two top-notch DJs playing today's hottest music as well as some classic oldies that are sure to make you get out on the dance floor and shake what your momma gave you. The crowd of mostly 20-somethings is a well-attired bunch that parties late into the night. Keep your eyes peeled for weekly drink and admission specials, which include Thursday and Saturday Ladies' Nights and "Beat the Clock" Fridays. Make this club the last stop on your Broadway pub crawl. (843-444-3500)
About Terry Massey
It's no surprise that journalist Terry Massey is credited with creating the word 'stay-cation.' He considers the past 18 years in Myrtle Beach a vacation.
He and his wife Stephanie were honeymooning in Myrtle Beach, when Terry was offered a job at the local newspaper. Without hesitation, they packed a U-Haul with their belongings - including unopened wedding gifts - and moved to the beach. They now have a daughter, Riley, a golden retriever, Duff, and their roots are deeply grounded in the sand.
After 13 years at the newspaper, Terry became a freelance writer to cover all the things that brought him to the beach.
Read more about Terry Massey here.
Connect with Terry via: Blog | Google+