Most visitors come to Myrtle Beach for some fun in the sun and relaxation in the ocean breeze. But for those who require a little retail therapy on their Grand Strand vacation, the area's rich and diverse shopping environment is equally inviting. Featuring everything from locally owned mom-and-pop shops to big-name retail outlets, Myrtle Beach is the ultimate landing spot for those who like to shop till they drop. Here's a look at the wide variety of retail opportunities that await you:
* Complexes/Districts: The abundance of multipurpose entertainment complexes and districts are perfect for families or groups divided over the question of shopping. Let your anti-shopping friends and family members go to the movies, ride the rides or play mini-golf at Broadway at the Beach or Barefoot Landing while you hit the stores, or let your kids and spouse play at the beach or in the park while you walk the rows of shops along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk or Market Common. Barefoot Landing (Mondays), Broadway at the Beach (Tuesdays and Fridays) and the Boardwalk (Wednesdays) provide free fireworks for the perfect ending to an evening shopping spree.
* Flea Markets: Bargain-hunting is like a sport for savvy shoppers, and flea markets are the perfect place to play. The Myrtle Beach Flea Market is located near Market Common on Kings Highway and offers a wide selection of goods and vendors in an air-conditioned environment. Hudson's Surfside Flea Market in Surfside Beach has been in business for more than 40 years and has grown into a must-see for avid bargain shoppers. Open Tuesday through Sunday during the summer, Hudson's is located next to Wild Water & Wheels, so you can drop the kids off for some fun while you browse the open-air antique market.
* Gift Shops/Beachwear Stores: No matter where you are in Myrtle Beach, you don't have to walk very far to find one of these outlets. Specializing in souvenirs, summer wear, beach towels and beach toys, gift shops and beachwear stores are filled with rows of interesting items for the beach and for friends and family members back home. If you plan to visit only one during your stay, make it the historic Gay Dolphin Gift Cove in downtown Myrtle Beach, which has been selling everything from seashells to T-shirts on the oceanfront for more than 75 years.
* Malls: If spending an unbearably hot or rainy day shopping in an indoor, air-conditioned atmosphere is your idea of fun, the Grand Strand has you covered — literally. Coastal Grand Mall in Myrtle Beach is the Strand's newest mall and features a range of major national chains and regional anchor stores. The recently renovated Myrtle Beach Mall is located in Briarcliffe Acres and features the only Bass Pro Shops store on the Strand, and Inlet Square Mall in Murrells Inlet is the only mall on the South Strand.
* Outlets: The Strand shopping scene is so big that it takes two Tanger Outlets to keep shoppers satisfied. One is located on Highway 501 in Carolina Forest, while the other is on the corner of Kings Road and Kings Highway, but both offer the same big-name national chains that you can't find elsewhere in the area. For a more laid-back shopping experience, check out the Hammock Shops Village in Pawleys Island, or head north to the new North Town Coastal Center in North Myrtle Beach.
After a long day of Myrtle Beach shopping, head back to the Breakers Resort for a dip in the pool, a glide down the lazy river or a soak in the hot tub. Relax with a frozen drink on the oceanfront deck or enjoy the sea breeze on your private balcony. For those who love to shop till they drop, the Breakers is the ideal place to land.