Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nearby Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle, South Carolina.

On one of our little outings while staying at the condo in Sunset Beach, we decided to do a short drive over the state border and visit some attractions in North Myrtle Beach. One of our intended destinations was Barefoot Landing, which I found out later is the only shopping/dining attraction located on the Intracoastal Waterway on the Grand Strand. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill shopping strip. No wonder I liked it!

Now, I should tell you I am not a big fan of large shopping centers and malls. I'd rather stay away from the crowds, the big echoing atriums, and the parking lots - particularly when I am on vacation in order to relax. But Barefoot Landing was a breath of fresh air. I'm not sure how, but they have managed to make a collection of more than 100 specialty and retail shops, over a dozen different restaurants, and several entertainment and large musical venues, seem quaint and village-like. Perhaps it's the pretty red-roofed cottage-like buildings, and the way they are arranged along-side the water (making for a wide selection of water-front dining in one place), which made it so appealing a place to be?

Floating boardwalks span the Waterway that splits the shopping center in two, and we enjoyed the cool breezes blowing off the water while lingering to feed the absolutely huge fish that crowded up along its sides. We watched a Cormorant as it repeatedly dove under water, hunting for fish; and made a game of re-spotting it each time it popped up again, always a surprisingly long distance from where it last ducked under.

Of course, no trip to the beach is complete without a visit to your local Christmas shop for a tree ornament to commemorate your vacation; and Barefoot Landing obliges with a very nice Christmas Mouse shop. My daughter was also extremely pleased to discover a generous number of toy stores (which, for a five-year-old in the company of grandparents, is total bliss). One useful tip: Before you go, remember to look through one of the local free coupon books for a Barefoot Landing discount card, as they are accepted in many of the shops located there.

Also, whenever any of us started to feel a little fatigued from the shopping, there was always a quiet little area in which to sit and relax awhile. My favorite was a little rock garden featuring water cascading down its center, surrounded by wooden benches. Definitely a nice place at which to while away a lazy afternoon. We will definitely make a point of returning during our next vacation in Sunset Beach, so we can take in a show, ride the carousel or maybe visit the tigers.

Barefoot Landing: