Myrtle Beach

Fall is something of a weather slide on the Grand Strand: October starts with highs in the upper 70s – and by mid-December, they’re usually in the upper 50s.

Which is actually great for tourists: Getting rooms is easier and cheaper and there are no summer-style lines at most attractions (be sure to stop at a Myrtle Beach visitor center on U.S. 501 to check for seasonal discounts and coupons).

You can still find warm water to relax in – just stay at a place with a pool and/or “lazy river” – but the appeal shifts to holiday shows and shopping.

In November and December, the Carolina Opry ( fields its “Christmas Special” with the cast doing a variety of holiday tunes, choreographed holiday production numbers. The large venue is on the north side of Myrtle Beach, on U.S. 17 near U.S. 17 Business.

Alabama Theatre ( – in that area, at Barefoot Landing – has its own song/dance extravaganza, “The South’s Grandest Christmas Show.”

The Palace Theatre, at Broadway at the Beach (, continues its long run of “Hot Jersey Nights,” but the tribute to Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons will be mixed with holiday tunes after Halloween.

The productions are for all-age audiences; tickets for most shows start around $40 and reservations are suggested.

Also at Broadway at the Beach, Legends in Concert ( fine tunes its tribute-artist shows starting Nov. 3 with “Christmas With the Rat Pack,” with a Marilyn Monroe also on the bill. Tickets start around $46.

You can blend shopping and entertainment at the Dickens Christmas Show & Festivals ( Nov. 13-16 at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, downtown on North Oak Street. The centerpiece is the Victorian Holiday Marketplace, which requires all 350 or so vendors to dress in 19th-century garb, from men in top hats and frock coats to women in hoop-skirt finery or dressed as parlor maids. If you’ve ever seen a film or TV adaptation of “A Christmas Carol,” you get the picture.

You’ll get an approximation of Dickensian London. The marketplace is dressed as well, its walls decorated with 3-D row houses, churches and shops; the back wall is covered with a 210-foot panorama emulating a snow-covered, circa-1880 London street scene. Vendor aisles are done as “streets” decked with Victorian-style benches and lamp posts.

Area information:

John Bordsen