How would you spend $75 in Myrtle Beach?

mprabhu@thesunnews.comJuly 7, 2013 

  • Then and now: 1938 to 2013

    Item 1938 2013
    Minimum wage25 cents/hour$7.25/hour
    First class postage stamp3 cents46 cents
    Gas10 cents/gallon$3.78/gallon
    Eggs23 cents/dozen$1.87/dozen
    Milk50 cents/gallon$3.44/gallon
    Bottle of soda5 cents$1.60
    Hot dog25 cents/lb$2/lb
    Loaf of bread9 cents$2.20
    Ground beef13 cents/lb$3.31/lb
    Country club membership$7.50/year$8,000/year plus $17,000 initiation fee
    Car insurance$38/year$1,370/year

  • MBACC President and CEO Brad Dean’s recommendations for spending $75 on the Grand Strand

    “Begin the day with a sunrise stroll, enjoying the best and most affordable amenity of all: our beaches,” Dean said. “Be sure to grab a few sea shells (those are free too).”

    • Breakfast at a local bakery, chat with locals about the news of the day ($7)

    • Visit a unique-to-the-area outdoor attraction, such as Myrtle Beach State Park ($5) or Brookgreen Gardens ($14)

    • Visit T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station, Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum or S.C. Hall of Fame (all free)

    • Grab lunch to go at a locally owned café ($10) and people watch on the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk (free) or a local pier ($1)

    • Get sunscreen ($2) and hit the nearest beach for a couple of hours of sun and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean

    • Visit La Belle Amie Vineyard in Little River to sample wine ($5)

    • Have a seafood dinner at a local restaurant ($25)

    • Grab some ice cream or cotton candy along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade ($2)

    • Play skee-ball at Fun Plaza ($1)

    • Get a Myrtle Beach T-shirt ($3)

    • Purchase postcards with the remaining money ($5 to $15)

    “And, of course, take one last look at the moonlight glistening over the ocean, while vowing to come back again next year,” Dean said.

— The summer season is in full swing and tourists can be seen all over town.

As Myrtle Beach continues to celebrate its 75th birthday year, some folks in town recently shared what they would do if their hotel already was paid for and they had $75 to spend for the day – a dollar for every year the city’s been a city.

The top activity on most people’s hypothetical list was spending some time on the sand.

“Well, we’d probably spend more time on the beach, because that’s free,” said Patrick Poell of Millersville, Md.

Poell’s daughter was taking a paddle boarding lesson from Ocean Watersports June 27 that cost about $30 as he and his wife, Ann, watched from dry land.

“If we wanted to get off the beach I guess we’d go to Broadway at the Beach or Barefoot Landing to walk around and shop,” he said, before realizing he would only have $45 left to spend for the day. “Well, then I guess we could go to one of those beach stores and get some cheap T-shirts for $10.”

For food, the family already had gotten pizza for $10 for the previous few nights, so Ann Poell said she knew they could get by.

“And I’m not sure I’d want to do it, but our daughter would probably want to take one of those helicopter rides for $20,” Ann Poell said, referring to the intro flight offered by Huffman Helicopters Inc.

The last $5?

“That would go toward tips,” Patrick Poell said.

Philadelphia native Lisa Morris said she’s visited the Grand Strand annually for the past eight years to stay in her timeshare in Murrells Inlet. What would she do with $75?

“I’d go to a Pelicans game,” she said. “Then I’d probably go shopping at Broadway and spend maybe $30 on something special I couldn’t get at home.”

For food, Morris said she’d have to go to Crabby Mike’s Seafood in Surfside Beach, which she said runs about $30. What would she do with her last few dollars?

“That would probably have to go to parking,” she said, as she sat in Plyler Park in downtown Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago.

Others found it to be harder than they thought it would be.

“I’m not sure what we could do for $75,” said David Jernigan of Spartanburg.

He and his wife, Sylvia, sat people watching at Broadway at the Beach on a recent sunny day.

“We just spent $70 on food and drinks at Liberty [Steakhouse & Brewery],” Sylvia Jernigan said. “I guess we’d just come out to Broadway and watch everyone else, because I’d rather spend the money on food and drinks.”

What can $75 get you during a trip to Myrtle Beach?

With $75, an adult could ride the SkyWheel five times. For $75, those seeking a thrill could be shot into the air in the Sling Shot on Ocean Boulevard three times.

Three people could ride the zipline at Broadway at the Beach, or two people could ride the zipline and experience a free fall at Myrtle Beach Zipline Adventures downtown, according to those companies’ websites.

Hungry? Stop in the historic Peaches Corner for 18 classic foot-long hot dogs. Want a beer? Stop by the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game on a Thursday and get 75 beers, though it probably isn’t advised.

Want to go parasailing? That experience can be had one time for a solo flyer with an average price along the beach of about $60. Half an hour on a jet ski averages about $70.

Want to take the children on rides at Family Kingdom? With $75, two kids can get all-day wrist bands for $27 each plus tax. Or a family could buy 65 individual tickets at $1.15 for rides that cost two to five tickets per ride, according to the Family Kingdom website.

Looking for entertainment? For $75, two adults could go see a show at the Carolina Opry – or one adult and two children. An adult and two children could see Legends in Concert.

Two adults and four children could see the magic show at Carolina Comedy Club or five adults could see the comedy show with $75. Three people over age 12 can stroll through the exhibits at WonderWorks.

Three people age 12 or older could visit Ripley’s Aquarium, the most expensive of the Ripley’s attractions.

Click here to get more information on the attractions listed above:

What won’t $75 get you?

But there are experiences that couldn’t be had on a $75 budget.

New to the beach this season is Myrtle Beach Jetpack Adventures. In May, the company was offering 30 minutes where a rider was propelled out of the water with the force of two powerful water streams over the ocean $99.

That price has increased since then, going up to $199 for 30 minutes, according to their website.

See a video of a jetpack demonstration here:

The regular price to ride along for a NASCAR racing experience at Myrtle Beach Speedway is $129.99, but according to their website the experience was on sale for $69.99 as of Wednesday, which would be within budget.

Valyn Phan, 5, said she’d use her $75 to go on the safari at the T.I.G.E.R.S. Preserve, but unfortunately even if she and her parents, Dave and Khanh, each had $75 to spend for the day, they’d be $14 short of the $239 admission fee for one person.

There is an option to go to Barefoot Landing for a free viewing of the animals at their “preservation station,” so she could see the animals that way.

Affordable family destination

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Brad Dean touts Myrtle Beach as an affordable family destination.

“One of the great appeals of the Myrtle Beach area is its affordability, so this is one of the few destinations where you could spend $75 and still do a lot,” he said.

He pointed to a number of free activities other than spending time taking in the sun and sand at the beach.

For example, Dean suggested visiting Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum or the S.C. Hall of Fame, or strolling along the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk or Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade.

Depending on the number of people in a family and what they wanted to do, most tourists who spoke with The Sun News said they thought it was possible to spend a day in Myrtle Beach without spending more than $75.

“There’s a lot of free [things to do],” Patrick Poell said. “The beach itself and the pool at the hotel. You can spend most of your time doing that. You don’t have to go inside for shows and things.”

After some thought, Ann Poell agreed.

“It’s reasonable to expect to spend $75.”

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her on Twitter @TSN_MPrabhu.

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