As the summer temperatures rise on the Grand Strand, so does the demand for cool entertainment options. Locals and visitors alike seek relief under the shade of a sprawling live oak tree or in the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and guests at Litchfield Beach & Golf Club can hit the indoor and outdoor pools on our oceanfront deck to take a quick dip. But there are lots of other alternatives that aren't quite so obvious. Here's a look at five of our favorite hot spots for staying cool:
* Brookgreen Gardens: This nearby botanical sculpture garden has plenty of shady spots where you can take a break from the summer heat, but the highlight of the season is Brookgreen Gardens' “Cool Summer Evenings” program. Held every Wednesday and Friday night from June 8 to August 5, Cool Summer Evenings see the gardens' gate stay open two hours late until 9 p.m. Live music is played on the main stage under the stars, refreshments and dinner are offered at the Pavilion Restaurant, and boat rides tour the surrounding inlets through the old rice fields of this former working plantation.
* Frank's Theatre & Bowling: This Inlet Square Mall complex has something for the whole family, and we're not just talking about the air conditioning. Part movie theater, part restaurant, part bowling alley and part arcade, Frank's gives visitors lots of entertainment options under one roof. Catch a movie while enjoying a surf-and-turf feast and a cold beer; rent some shoes and knock down some pins at the modern bowling alley; or enjoy some friendly competition on the billiards tables or the latest high-tech video games. Win or lose, at least you will stay cool.
* Murrells Inlet Marshwalk: The weather is always a little bit cooler right along the coast, and this waterfront walkway leads to some of the coolest places on the South Strand. With more than a dozen seafood shacks and watering holes easily accessible from the wooden boardwalk, visitors can dine inside or find a shady spot in the sea breeze outdoors to enjoy a cold drink, listen to live music, and simply kick back in a lounge chair or hammock and watch the fishing boats return from a day at sea while the sun sets to the west.
* Parasailing: Looking for a little adventure during your vacation? A parasailing voyage not only provides some exciting thrills, but also some satisfying chills to lower your body temperature on a hot summer day. Sailing out of the nearby Crazy Sisters Marina, several outfitters offer parasailing trips that lift you high in the sky to soar like a seagull high above the ocean waves. Your driver can even drop you down for a dip in the cool water or launch you higher into the sky. Other watersports offered by local outfitters include Banana Boat rides, jet-ski rentals, kayak and paddleboarding tours and more.
* Wild Water & Wheels: This Garden City Beach waterpark offers lots of thrills and chills for folks looking to beat the heat and boredom. Featuring more than a dozen water slides, speed chutes and flumes that range from easy to off the chain, Wild Water & Wheels is a great place for families with diverse tastes. Let the youngsters experience the thrills of tackling some of the more challenging slides and rides while the little ones splash and play on the aquatic playgrounds. Meanwhile, adults can relax in the wave pool, lazy river or hot tubs and watch the kids have a blast. Go-kart racing, putt-putt golf, bumper boats and an arcade are also on the property, and the “Live After Five” Friday afternoon parties are legendary, with half-priced admission after 5 p.m. and live music playing poolside.
Litchfield Beach guests have lot of options for beating the heat this summer. Whether it’s the thrills and chills of watersports or a waterpark or a relaxing rest in the sea breeze on the waterfront, you’re sure to have a cool summer vacation at Litchfield Beach.