One of the highlights of the holiday season for both children and adults is visiting Santa Claus. Something about seeing the jolly ol' elf in person triggers a happy place in your childhood memories, an experience that is only heightened by watching children hop up on his lap. If you are looking for an up-close Santa encounter, you came to the right place.
Few people know that Myrtle Beach is Santa's favorite vacation spot, a peaceful retreat for him to rest up before and after his goodwill tour around the world. He's even been known to land the sleigh on the roof at Compass Cove and let the reindeer feed on sea oats. But if he doesn't make it to the resort this time, there are plenty of places around town where you can spot Santa taking photos and orders for Christmas. Here are a few places he is scheduled to appear:
Breakfast: The most important meal of the day is especially critical to Santa, who has to fuel up before traveling around the world with only cookies and milk to snack on. That's why Santa is carbo-loading in Myrtle Beach before he flies the friendly skies, and you can join him at any of these “Breakfast With Santa” events: Hard Rock Cafe in Myrtle Beach, the North Myrtle Beach Community Center on Dec. 12 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Market Common on Dec. 5, 12 and 19 (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.), Surfside Beach at the Golden Egg on Dec. 19 (9 to 10:30 a.m.), and the Childrens Museum of South Carolina on Dec. 23.
Parades: Visitors can see Santa in the parade route on the Grand Strand with annual street parades taking place in Conway (Dec. 12, 10 a.m.) and Surfside Beach (Dec. 12, 2 p.m.).
Shopping: Virtually all the major shopping centers, malls and big-box chains have their own “Santa's helpers” to pose for photos and take present requests during regular business hours, including Broadway at the Beach, Coastal Grand Mall, Inlet Square Mall and Bass Pro Shop's “Santa's Wonderland” display. But the real Santa makes a few appearances around the Strand, like at the Holidays on the Boardwalk festival (Nov. 28-Jan. 2) in downtown Myrtle Beach and the Christmas Wonderland at the North Myrtle Beach Sports and Rec Complex (Nov. 26-Dec. 31).
Tree lightings: The highlight of the Christmas tree lightings is Dec. 12 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and its annual Christmas Towne celebration. After an indoor festival featuring arts and crafts and children's activities, the excitement spills outside to the plaza where Santa will flip the switch on the city's official tree.
After a day of chasing Santa around town, come back to your room at Compass Cove Resort and enjoy some rest and relaxation. After all, Santa isn’t the only one in need of a break this holiday season.