Whether your winter escape to Myrtle Beach involves taking a break from the ice and snow back home, knocking out your holiday shopping list or just enjoying the Carolina coast free of the heavy crowds that summer brings (or, even better, you’re visiting to accomplish all of the above), a winter vacation on the Grand Strand offers numerous ways to give your holiday spirit a boost. Annual festivals, holiday events and family-friendly Christmas shows are plentiful in the area this time of year, and Dayton House Resort can provide you with convenient and comfortable oceanfront lodging and accommodations for catching all of them. During your next off-season getaway, make plans to catch one (or even a few) of these fun Grand Strand festivals or events — they’re sure to add some extra cheer to your winter vacation!
The 5 Best Christmas Shows In Myrtle Beach
As the Grand Strand begins to dress for the holidays, you can feel Christmas in the air. Dayton House Resort is putting up its tree, lights and holiday trimmings, and the stages and sets of the local theater scene are changing to lights, trees, and candy canes. Now is the perfect time to start planning which top-rated holiday shows you will be attending while on vacation. Most of the shows begin debuting the first week of November, and the last curtain call is around the New Year. Pursue our list of hit holiday showcases and secure your family’s tickets today!
1| The South’s Grandest Christmas Show
Located at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, only about 15 minutes north of Dayton House Resort, the Alabama Theatre lives up to its billing with a spectacular portrayal of an old-fashioned holiday celebration in the south with country music and Christmas classics combined with dancing, ice skating, comedy and more.
The charming Alabama Theatre is decorated to the nines and offers a great place for families to snap some holiday photos. The small, intimate venue features excellent lighting, sound and special effects. There really isn’t a bad seat in the house. (Check out their interactive seating chart and see exactly what your view of the stage will be from your chosen seat.) The talented cast and crew return year after year to take part in the popular show, which is regularly updated but always delivers the Christmas classics. The biggest celebrity steals the show with a surprising entrance in the final scene. (Hint: The unnamed show-stopper is dressed in red and white from head to toe and pilots a reindeer-powered sleigh onto the stage.)
Dates: Now – January 1st
Price: $44.96-$62.95 for adults, $19.95 for kids
2| The Christmas Show of the South
Former Grand Ole Opry star Calvin Gilmore presents The Carolina Opry Christmas Special, a high-energy holiday showcase that is making its 36th annual appearance. Featuring a star-studded cast of more than 35 singers, dancers, actors and comedians, this traditional performance includes the melodious sounds of gospel, country and holiday classics.
The venue is almost as spectacular as the show, with thousands of twinkling lights adorning more than 35 Christmas trees on display. The towering 30-foot tree in the lobby is perfect for taking holiday photos with the family and cast members after the show. The family-friendly performance is sure to light a little Christmas spirit in everyone.
Dates: Now – January 2nd
Price:$42.95-$69.85 for adults, $27.95-$48.00 for kids and students
3| The Original Motown Christmas Tribute
Who says you can’t get a little funky for the holidays? The GTS Theatre is a small but spirited theater that takes its most popular show, the Original Motown Tribute Show, and gives it a holiday twist with sing-alongs and dancing in the aisles. Fans rave over the tribute show for its use of soul, rhythm and blues to tell the story of Motown while also spreading Christmas cheer.
But that’s not all! The GTS Theatre is presenting three additional holiday shows for the season. Revel in the sounds of rock and roll’s king at the Christmas with Elvis Tribute Show starring Alex Mitchell. You’ll enjoy holiday-themed laughs at A Magical Christmas and Comedy Show starring award-winning magician Michael Bairefoot. Dance and groove to chart-topping tunes at the Step into Christmas with Elton John Tribute Show.
Dates: Varies by Performance (Calendar of Performances)
Price: $25.96-$46.95 for adults, $10.95 for kids
4| Christmas at Pirates Voyage
The real-life pirates who once patrolled the waters just off our coast probably never had a Christmas like the one portrayed on the watery stage at the Pirates Voyage theater in Myrtle Beach. This Dolly Parton production puts a Christmas spin on its usual pirate-themed showcase with a classic holiday story on the high seas. An adapted version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol showcases Captain Scrooge and his crew as they discover the magic of the season aboard a life-size pirate ship and celebrate through song, dance and high-flying acrobatics.
Pirates Voyage also features a nativity scene with live animals and a special performance that portrays Christmas toys coming to life and performing high-flying acrobatics and stunts. This dinner show includes a four-course holiday feast. The Pirates Voyage theater is only 10 minutes from Dayton House Resort.
Dates: Now – January 1st
Price: $59.99 for adults, $29.99 for kids
5| Legends in Concert Christmas Show
The Legends in Concert Theater at Broadway at the Beach features some of the most iconic Christmas performers of all time in the form of amazing tribute artists who have dedicated their careers to mastering the looks and sounds of stars, past and present. The tributes will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time to see the real thing, and their performances will surely bring back some fond Christmas memories from the past.
This year’s Christmas Show lineup includes Aretha Franklin (performed by Denita Ashberry), Elvis Presley (performed by Pat Dunn), Reba McEntire (performed by Corrie Sachs) and The Blues Brothers (performed by Dan Meisner and Kenney Barrett). Guests will also enjoy some classic big band numbers from the house orchestra and a closing number that will surely put you in the holiday spirit.
Dates: Now – January 1st
Price: $45.95-$56.70 per person
Breakfast (& Activities) With Santa At The Beach
Dayton House Resort offers a complimentary deluxe hot breakfast each day of your stay, but if you are traveling with kids this holiday season, we have a few fun and festive breakfast alternatives with the head elf himself. We have done the legwork for you and gathered a list of the best places to do just that! There’s even a few venues that are offering fun activities as well.
1| Hard Rock Cafe
Located at Broadway at the Beach, just two miles from the Dayton House Resort, the Hard Rock Cafe is offering four chances for you and your little ones to partake in a meal with the master toymaker or the grumpy ol’ Grinch. The restaurant will feature Christmas music, holiday activities and photos with Santa. Plus, the child with the cutest holiday outfit will win a prize!
The brunch buffet includes scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, home fries, fresh fruit, an assortment of pastries and your choice of juice, milk or coffee. Reservations are required.
Dates: December 11th & 18th (Breakfast with The Grinch) or 12th & 19th (Breakfast with Santa)
Price: $17.95 for adults, $11.95 for kids
2| Tupelo Honey
Bring your cameras to capture special moments with your children and the big man in the red suit! The meal includes a breakfast plate of 2 scrambled eggs, 2 pancakes and bacon, plus coffee, a soft drink or orange juice. Additional menu items may be purchased. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Date: December 11th
Price: $10 per person (3 and under are free)
3| Gulfstream Cafe
Enjoy Brunch with Mrs. Claus and beautiful waterfront scenes at Gulfstream Cafe in Garden City. A brunch buffet will be available with table visits from Mrs. Clause. Kids will also have the chance to decorate their own Christmas cookies and create a custom drink at the hot chocolate bar. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Dates: December 12th and 19th
Price: $14.95 for adults, $6.95 for kids
4| Ripley’s Aquarium
Take the celebration below sea level and enjoy Breakfast with A Mermaid & Santa at Ripley’s Aquarium. The event includes storytime and photos with Santa, holiday crafts with a mermaid, a breakfast buffet and full access to the Festival of Trees. Your ticket to this special meal also gives you and your kids a full day of fun exploring the aquarium. Reservations are required.
Date: December 4th
Price: $49.99 for adults, $12.99-$39.99 for kids
5| Nacho Hippo
If you’d rather sleep in a little while on vacation, why not swap your breakfast special for a lunch fiesta? Nacho Hippo will celebrate a “Feliz Navidad” while serving Tacos with Santa. Snap a few photos with Kris Kringle and nosh on tasty tacos. This event is taking place at the Market Common location and is first-come, first-served.
Date: December 12th
Price: FREE (just pay the price of your meal)
After your tummies are filled and the kids have their heads filled with sugar plums, head back to Dayton House Resort for some fun relaxing in the indoor pool and lazy river or take a walk along the white sandy beach.
Christmas Parades & Other Holiday Events Along The Grand Strand
What a wonderful time of the year! Spreading laughter and cheer with your family and friends is what it’s all about, and these local gatherings are doing just that. From one end of the Grand Strand to the other, Christmas parades and holiday events are filling the streets and creating jovial hearts. You may not have time to attend them all, but you must pick at least one to enjoy!
1| Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals
This annual holiday tradition has won national awards and returns to the beach for its 40th occurrence in 2021. The Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals takes place each year at the massive Myrtle Beach Convention Center with plenty of entertainment, including a Victorian Shopping Village with more than 300 period-clad vendors and several Christmas exhibits showcasing uniquely-designed trees, gorgeous centerpieces and fabulous stockings. Kids will love a visit to Santa’s Castle or one of the Punch and Judy shows with Victorian-era puppeteering.
Dates: November 11th – 14th
Price: $12-$15 for adults, $5-$6.50 for kids
2| Intracoastal Christmas Regatta
This floating Christmas parade puts a nautical twist on the ordinary on-land event. A Grand Strand holiday favorite, the 37th Annual Intracoastal Christmas Regatta in North Myrtle Beach features a fleet of festive boats decked out in lights and brimming with holiday cheer. Spectators line the Intracoastal Waterway to soak in the views and cheer as this boat parade makes its way from Patio’s Tiki Bar & Grill in Little River Inlet to Local on the Water (formerly the Dock Holiday Marina). The excitement starts at 5:00 p.m. Find official viewing locations online.
Date: November 27th
3| Calabash Christmas Tree Lighting & Parade
Just over the North Carolina line, the Town of Calabash will host the 26th Annual Calabash Christmas Tree Lighting & Parade. Festivities begin at 6:00 p.m. at Callahan’s of Calabash, about 30 minutes north of Dayton House Resort. During the event, kids can snag a package of reindeer food or write a letter to Santa that can be easily mailed to the North Pole post office from Callahan’s. Be sure to keep your eyes open for a glimpse of the jolly ol’ St. Nick. The parade will run down Beach Drive to River Road.
Date: December 3rd
4| A Very Broadway Parade
Local shops, businesses and restaurants will participate in this year’s A Very Broadway Parade. The parade starts at 11:00 a.m. and will trail around the main complex along paved paths. Swing by The Holiday House (next to Margaritaville) after the parade and snap a few photos with Santa Claus to round out the holiday cheer. You may purchase photos packages or take your own photos for free with your camera or phone.
Date: December 4th
5| Community Christmas Parades
Here are a few more community Christmas parades that are scheduled to take place this December. They are all free to attend!
- Murrells Inlet Christmas Parade on December 5th at 3:00 p.m.
- Conway Christmas Parade on December 11th at 10:00 a.m.
- Surfside Beach Christmas Parade on December 11th at 2:00 p.m.
- Barefoot Landing Holiday Golf Car Parade on December 12th at 3:00 p.m.
6| MarshWalk Santa Crawl
Head south to the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk for an adult-only, holiday-themed costume contest. Stroll up and down the MarshWalk enjoying drink specials, holiday feasts and loads of laughs at the 7th annual Santa Crawl. Prizes include restaurant gift cards and fishing charters and will be awarded in several costume categories: Best Santa, Most Festive Group, Most Festive Christmas Character and Most Creative Christmas Pajamas. The party starts at 5:00 p.m. and judging will take place at 9:30 p.m. in front of the Inlet Beer Garden at The Claw House.
Date: December 11th
7| Ripley’s Festival of Trees
In addition to the usual lineup of wet and wild attractions found at the aquarium, the 2021-edition of Ripley’s Festival of Trees will include 55 immaculately decorated Christmas trees each representing a different US state or territory. The South Carolina tree is the tallest, standing more than 18 feet and featuring Gamecock, Coastal and Clemson ornaments, magnolia blooms, seashells, golf balls and more Carolina classics. There’s even a customized scavenger hunt that will test your knowledge of US facts and history.
Dates: Now – January 2nd
Price: Included with each general admission ticket, $36.99 for adults, $12.99-$24.99 for kids
8| The Polar Bus Express
If your kids love the motion picture Polar Express, they’ll go wild over the Polar Bus Express experience. Dress in your favorite holiday outfit or pajamas and take a ride to the North Pole of the Market Common on a double-decker bus. Delight in music from the movie, snack on chocolate chip cookies and hot cocoa and receive your very own souvenir golden ticket and BELIEVE sleigh bell. Two rides will run each day the event is offered, except on the 17th. Reservations are required.
Dates: December 3rd, 4th, 11th, 17th, 18th and 22nd
Price: $34.95 per person
Festive Christmas Lights In Myrtle Beach
With your holiday vacation quickly approaching, it is time to plan which light shows you and your family will attend. The Myrtle Beach area makes the season bright with festive lights, larger-than-life displays and community tree lights. Here is a list of the sparkling light shows on the Grand Strand that you will definitely want to add to your holiday vacation itinerary.
1| Nights of a Thousand Candles
Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet shines even brighter during the holidays at the annual Nights of a Thousand Candles. More than 2,800 hand-lit candles and thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the grounds of the sculpture gardens during the event. Boosting the attraction’s holiday cheer even more, carolers, handbell choirs and other musicians perform Christmas music, and visitors can grab some hot cider to warm them up as they enjoy the spectacle. There will also be local food vendors on-site and restaurants at the gardens will be open for an evening meal.
Dates: Now – January 2nd
Price: $30 for adults, $15 for kids
2| The Great Christmas Light Show
The North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex presents The Great Christmas Light Show. This two-mile, drive-through light show boasts more than two million lights and more than 500 displays. After driving through the displays, park the car and head over to Santa’s Village for hot chocolate, a FREE petting zoo, a toy shop and a visit with Santa. The attraction will be closed on Thanksgiving day and Christmas day.
Dates: Now – December 30th
Santa’s Village: open on weekends through Dec. 12th, then nightly until Dec. 30th
Price: $15 when Santa’s Village is closed (1-15 passengers), $20 when Santa’s Village is open (1-15 passengers)
3| Community Tree Lightings and Light Shows
Several small communities and shopping complexes along the coast and inland are hosting their own tree lightings this December.
- Lighting of the Landing on November 20th at 6:00 p.m.
- Annual Tree Lighting at the Market Common on November 20th at 6:00 p.m.
- North Myrtle Beach Christmas Tree Lighting on November 30th at 6:00 p.m
- City of Conway Tree Lighting on December 2nd at 6:00 p.m.
- Surfside Beach Christmas Tree Lighting Festival on December 4th at 4:00 p.m.
- Murrells Inlet Christmas Tree Lighting on December 4th at 4:00 p.m.