Celebrate a Patriotic Memorial Day Weekend in Myrtle Beach

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Unofficially, Memorial Day weekend serves as the kickoff to the summer season in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Officially, it's a holiday designed to honor our American servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Fortunately for visitors to the Grand Strand, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate both the official and unofficial versions of the special date.

In addition to serving as the opening week for seasonal attractions like water parks, summer festivals and other fun-filled events, Memorial Day weekend also offers some somber moments when visitors can partake in patriotic tributes. Myrtle Beach goes all out to pay homage to our troops throughout the month of May with the Military Appreciation Days festivities.

Enjoy a parade, picnic and other patriotic events while taking advantage of all the summer activities the Grand Strand has to offer on Memorial Day weekend. Guests at Bay View on the Boardwalk are right in the middle of all the action for summertime vacationers. Here's a list of highlights for planning a perfect Memorial Day weekend getaway to Myrtle Beach:

* Military Officers Association of America Golf Tournament: Hit the links for this golf tournament hosted by the Grand Strand Chapter of the MOAA at the Heritage Club in nearby Pawleys Island. Following registration and lunch at noon on Thursday, May 25, a 2 p.m. shotgun start gets things rolling, and an awards ceremony and social gathering wraps things up after the scores are in. The reservation deadline is May 11, and the cost is $80 per person or $300 per foursome, with a $5 discount for veterans.

* Military Appreciation Dinner & Dance: Make your reservations now for this May 25 special occasion at the Myrtle Beach Sheraton. Featuring live music and dancing, as well as an excellent dinner, this gala gives active-duty military members, veterans and civilians a chance to mix and mingle in style. The event is sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of America but is open to all branches and all eras of service. Tickets are $30, and social hour begins at 6 p.m.

* Military Appreciation Days Parade & Family Picnic: This year's parade route returns to its roots at The Market Common, the site of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 27, the parade travels down Farrow Parkway as crowds line the sidewalks waving flags. This year's grand marshal is Army National Guard Specialist Alek Skarlatos, whose heroic actions to take down a gunman on a train bound for Paris in 2015 earned him the U.S. Army Soldier's Medal and the French Legion of Honour. The procession ends at Valor Memorial Garden for the Family Picnic from noon to 2 p.m., during which attendees can enjoy burgers, hot dogs, drinks, live music and military exhibits.

* Veterans March and Remembrance Ceremony: Celebrate Memorial Day on May 29 with a pair of patriotic events that are sure to send a chill down your spine and remind you about the reason for the season. The Veterans March down Ocean Boulevard begins at 9 a.m. and sees vets of all branches walk through the streets to the old Pavilion site for a brief service. At 11 a.m., the Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony takes place at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, featuring speakers and an honor guard salute.

In addition to all the star-spangled events, Myrtle Beach also comes alive with other summer activities on Memorial Day weekend. Bay View on the Boardwalk resort guests can stroll down the beach, the boulevard or the boardwalk to all the downtown attractions and kick off the season in true Myrtle Beach style.