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Local living like a tourist - Shopping on the Grand Strand

While I am out and about in the community and meeting tourists, I often ask what brought them down to the Grand Strand.  Of course, depending on the season, I receive various answers.  In the summer, it is usually families here to enjoy the beach and the attractions.  In the fall and spring, it is often golf and the shows.  But the one answer that I am often surprised to hear is shopping.

Now we do have some nice places to shop, but I would not consider the Grand Strand a shopping Mecca basically because we do not have many department stores. Some of my favorite specialty shops have left (Ann Taylor and Banana Republic formerly of Market Common).  Another factor I cannot get used to is that there is tax on clothing (in Pennsylvania, where I’m from, there is none).

So what does attract the shoppers?  They are on vacation and have fewer constraints on their time?  They like the touristy beach shops? Well, I’m not sure, but for those interested in shopping like a tourist I will break down what we have in Horry County.

In North Myrtle Beach, the Myrtle Beach Mall is somewhat barren but does have Belk and Bass Pro Shops, which are popular down here.  Barefoot Landing has some nice specialty shops but, like the mall, there is room for more. Further down the road on route 17 is the Tanger Outlet (and another on route 501) where you can find some good deals. My favorites are White House Black Market, Balance (for sneakers) and Coach (who cares if it’s last year’s style?).

Keep going on the 17 bypass and you will come to Broadway at the Beach.  Again, there are many specialty shops but no top-name stores.  A little past Broadway is Coastal Grand Mall with many of the stores that the tourists will find at home.  My favorite store is Dilliard’s, which reminds me of Macy’s.

The newest place to shop is Market Common.  As I mentioned above, my favorite stores have left but it is still a nice place to shop.  Two reasons to shop there are Charming Charlies, which has accessories that are color coded throughout the store, and CityMac – for the Apple lovers.  I like the little town feel of Market Common, as it is reminiscent of a town square.

Rounding out the major shopping areas are Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, which you can basically find in almost any city but there is always something new. And we can’t forget the beach souvenir stores that have big signs outside boasting nothing over $5.99.

I still miss the stores and the shopping that I had when I lived up north such as Macy’s, Ann Taylor and Nordstrom’s. That is why whenever I go back to visit family and friends, I always make a stop at the King of Prussia Mall in Pennsylvania where I can find those stores and about 100 more.  Why do I shop when I go back?  Because I am on vacation and have time and there is no sales tax on clothing in PA!

Happy shopping!

Until next week…enjoy all the Grand Strand has to offer.  For more stories about the Grand Strand, head over to

Since July 2011, Sherrie has been living in North Myrtle Beach and sharing the best that the Grand Strand has to offer. From people to events, Grand Strand Happening is your source for everything fun from Little River to Murrells Inlet.