Democratic Presidential Debate Keeps Myrtle Beach, S.C. In The National Spotlight

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Beach and golf vacation destination offers something for everyone.

Democratic presidential candidates are heading to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for another debate and casting an international spotlight on a beach and golf resort town that has been delivering fun for more than six decades.

Myrtle Beach has 60 miles of pristine beach along the Atlantic Ocean and more than 100 golf courses, making it an ideal playground for both children and adults. There's an abundance of nightlife, shopping and dining options that stretch from fast and delicious to sophisticated and gourmet. In fact, there's so much to do that the area has been dubbed "The Grand Strand."

So, while the presidential candidates debate inside the Palace Theatre on a chilly January evening, why not let your mind drift to your next vacation in Myrtle Beach. Here's a look at some of the best places to stay and play:

During the summer, the area's family fun headquarters is Sands Resorts, a collection of six fun-filled oceanfront locations that deliver an incredible number of on-site activities. There are restaurants of all types, indoor and outdoor pools, an on-site water park, a kid's club and a concierge service that will arrange for tickets to local shows or tee times at local golf courses. Best of all, a vacation at Sands won't break the bank. At the peak of the summer season, a family can actually get an oceanview suite that sleeps two adults and two children for six nights for under $1000. Or go for the gusto and luxuriate in an oceanfront suite and still spend less than $1700. To learn more about Sands Resorts, go online at or call (800) 260-8676.

No summer trip to the beach is complete without a trip to the amusement park. And there's no better spot in Myrtle Beach than Family Kingdom. This enchanting seaside amusement park even includes a water park perched just feet from the ocean. The views from the top of its Ferris Wheel -- which is the biggest in South Carolina -- are spectacular, particularly at sunset. Families can get a great deal by staying on The Family Value Package at the Sea Mist Hotel in Myrtle Beach. For around $400 in mid-summer, a family of four can get two nights of accommodations, a free 5 x 7 family photo, unlimited putt-putt golf, and passes to the park for each night of their stay. The Sea Mist even includes daily passes to Family Kingdom's Oceanfront Water Park. Find more information at or

Golf is a yearlong pastime along the Grand Strand and the epicenter of golf in this town that modestly calls itself the "World Capital of Golf" is Martin's PGA TOUR Superstore. Their two locations each have a learning center with huge indoor practice areas that include putting greens, real sand bunkers and chipping greens. Hitting bays are set up with launch monitors and swing analyzers.

These stores are also bursting at the seams with the latest in equipment at amazing prices. Superstore claims to provide the recreational golfer with the same level of service that the TOUR pros receive from those famous pampering "Tour Vans" that follow pros from tournament to tournament. One thing's for sure -- Martin's is a great place to tune up your game or stock up on equipment.

Golf packages are a Myrtle beach specialty and three of the best stay and play experiences are offered by the top resort groups in town: Pawleys Plantation, Sea Trail Golf Resort and The Glens Golf Group. Each provides a distinctively different atmosphere and golf experience.

Sea Trail is in Sunset Beach, N.C., on the northern end of the Strand. It is an expansive, 2000-acre resort that has three championship courses. Known for its easygoing southern style, as well as great golf, Sea Trail's impressive golf amenities include practice greens, a lighted driving range, a Custom Clubs Store and a PGA-sanctioned Golf Learning Center. The resort's Village Activity Center offers indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, and a licensed massage therapist.

Accommodations are in beautiful, Carolina-style villas that feature panoramic views of the golf courses and lakes. Visitors can choose from a cozy one-bedroom or move all the way up to a spacious four-bedroom villa. To learn more about Sea Trail, go online to or call 888-675-9237.

A few miles south, there's Heather Glen, the flagship course and accommodations headquarters for the Grand Strand's premier collection of golf courses, The Glens Group. It's no exaggeration to say that the Glens Golf Group is a name that is synonymous with great golf. The Glens Group offers four award-winning championship golf courses, luxurious golf villa accommodations, and a golf academy headed by one of America's top-ranked PGA instructors.

Accommodations are in villas and townhomes in a Scottish-themed setting called the Village at the Glens and they overlook the spectacular Heather Glen Golf Links. Stay-and-play packages give discounts on play at all Glens courses, free range balls, complimentary breakfast and discounted replays at great links like Heather Glen, Glen Dornoch, Possum Trot and Shaftesbury Glen. More information is available at or tour the courses and the Glens Golf Academy at

On the southern tip of the Grand Strand, there's Pawleys Plantation in the historic resort town of Pawleys Island, S.C. It has a charming landscape of 200-year-old, moss-draped live oaks, egret and heron rookeries, and a stately antebellum-style clubhouse. At just 582 acres, Pawleys Plantation is surrounded by spectacular natural wetlands, salt marshes and a 600-acre nature preserve. The centerpiece of the resort is a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course that features several holes that stretch out into the marsh and back. Other golf amenities include practice greens, a driving range, and a full-service pro shop. The Phil Ritson-Mel Sole golf School (one of the Top 25 in the U.S.) is headquartered there, making the resort the perfect spot for both learning and relaxation.

Accommodations are provided in casually elegant villas built in the Lowcountry style. Spacious and beautifully appointed, the villas line the park-like setting of the Nicklaus golf course, providing beautiful views of the course, lakes and the salt marsh. On-site amenities include golf, tennis, swimming, and a fitness room, and the resort is perfect for strolling hand-in-hand or riding a bicycle built for two.

Go online to to learn more about Pawleys Plantation or call 800-367-9959.


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Jamie Wilburn

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