Pursue Happiness in Myrtle Beach this Memorial Day Weekend

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Memorial Day pays tribute to America's military members who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our inalienable rights – life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And there's no better time and place to honor these fallen soldiers and pursue happiness than Memorial Day weekend in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – the Sun Fun Capital and one of the most patriotic seaside resorts on the planet.

Celebrating the start of the summer season and commemorating the true purpose of the holiday, Myrtle Beach goes the extra mile to honor our fallen heroes and provide quality family-friendly vacation entertainment. Spend time splashing in the ocean waves and in the swimming pools at The Caribbean Resort & Villas, and take time out of your fun-filled schedule to wave the American flag for the ultimate Memorial Day weekend getaway. Here are a few events to add to your Memorial Day vacation itinerary:

* Festivals: Two of the Grand Strand's longest-running festivals of the summer season are held the week before and after Memorial Day weekend – the 36th Annual World Famous Blue Crab Festival in Little River on May 20-21, and Myrtle Beach's 62nd Annual Sun Fun Festival on June 2-3. In the fortnight in between, the social calendar revolves around the monthlong Military Appreciation Days Festival, highlighted by several patriotic events on Memorial Day weekend. Attend the May 27 Military Appreciation Days Parade & Picnic at The Market Common's Valor Memorial Park, home of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. The parade passes cheering bystanders along Farrow Parkway beginning at 10:30 a.m. and is led by grand marshal Alek Skarlatos, the Army National Guard Specialist who helped thwart a gunman on a train bound for Paris in 2015 and was awarded the U.S. Army Soldier's Medal and the French Legion of Honour. The Family Picnic follows from noon to 2 p.m., with live music, military exhibits, and food and drink vendors taking part in the festivities.

* Grand Openings: The Grand Strand's seasonal attractions come to life on the traditional kickoff of summer, with Family Kingdom Amusement Park shifting into high gear with a full schedule and several water parks welcoming splash-aholics for the first time of the season. Myrtle Waves is open for business all week for Memorial Day weekend; Wild Water & Wheels opens May 24; and Splashes on the downtown oceanfront cranks it up for summer on May 27. Other attractions change from a part-time to full-time schedule leading up to Memorial Day, so you and your crew can enjoy everything Myrtle Beach has to offer.

* Golf: The May 25 Military Appreciation Days Golf Tournament will be held at The Heritage Club in Pawleys Island with a 2 p.m. shotgun start. Hosted by the Military Officers Association of America, this scramble provides a fun forum for participants to bond over a game of golf. The entry fee is $80 per player or $300 per foursome, with a $5 discount for veterans. Of course, if you prefer to play a few solo rounds, the Grand Strand boasts more than 80 championship courses where you can hit the links. The Caribbean offers discounted accommodations and greens fees as part of our golf packages.

* Road Races: Hit the ground running at one of the many road (and off-road) races held Memorial Day weekend. It all starts May 27 with the Seventh Annual Dirty Myrtle Mud Run as participants get down and dirty for this race. Test your skills in sloppy conditions by running through the mud and trying to overcome sticky situations on the obstacle course. Runners clean up their acts the next day, May 28, at the Brookgreen Gardens Run, which sees folks sprinting through 5K and 1-mile courses in the scenic botanical gardens.

* Veterans March and Remembrance Ceremony: A day of tribute begins with the Memorial Day Veterans March on May 29 at 9 a.m., with hundreds of vets marching down Ocean Boulevard from 16th Avenue North to 9th Avenue North. A subsequent Remembrance Ceremony features speakers and an honor guard at 11 a.m. at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. These are two opportunities for some somber reflection on this sacred holiday.