Ocean Enclave by Hilton Grand Vacations
Ocean Enclave by Hilton Grand Vacations is in Myrtle Beach, SC. Myrtle Beach is one of my favorite spots on the planet. I used to come to the area when I was young with my grandparents and my sister. I even one day hope to retire or semi-retire on the beach there. So, I am ready to hit the road and stay for a long weekend.
Video by Leo Bookman
Day One Travel & Arrival at Ocean Enclave by Hilton Grand Vacations
The drive for me to Myrtle Beach is not bad at all. Door to door, it is about 5.5 hours, which is not a bad drive without traffic. Since it is so close I did not leave until almost 11AM, so I would get there just a little after the start of the check in time.
For my drive, almost 90% of it was on route 17. You can go several ways and U.S.17 is typically the fastest. You just have to use cruise control or be very attentive to your speed. Some towns in North Carolina depend on the speeding ticket income for lots of different things. Say what you want to about road safety. For some communities, it is real income.
I am a boringly safe driver. Most of the time I still drive like a driver ed instructor is in the car with me at all times. This likely is because of 10 years I spent in the insurance industry and all the tickets and driving records I saw during those years. Especially my first few years as an agent selling auto insurance over the phone.
Once I arrived at the resort, I was very happy to see its location. It is just 2 blocks from the boardwalk area and 4 blocks from the Skywheel. I will definitely be going on the Skywheel a few times because earlier in the year I purchased a seasons pass.
Once checked in, I was delighted to find my room was direct oceanfront with a nice balcony viewing over the sand into the ocean. My 1 bedroom oceanfront king was 877 sq ft and that felt very large for a one bedroom with direct ocean views. Like all Hilton properties, I was impressed with the cleanliness of the room and all the amenities.
The resort also offers 2 or 3 bedroom suites that go up in size to over 2,200 sq ft which is huge for any suite but for oceanfront on the beach that is amazing.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- Ice Maker
- In-Room Safe
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- Free WiFi
- Outdoor Pools
- Business Center
- On Site Restaurants
- Fitness Center
- Concierge Services
Self-parking and valet prices here are almost identical, so save the hassle and use the valet when you arrive. $20 a day is very reasonable and I believe the lowest I have paid in 2 years or more for valet anywhere.
After I got settled, I wanted to grab something to eat nearby. A few blocks away is a local favorite called Big Mike’s Soul Food. I walked over to stretch my legs and just brought a ton of items back to the room with me. I figured if I could not eat them now, I would have snacks for later. Everything on the menu is great and very flavorful. I have grabbed food here on several occasions. This time I chose the unique collard green dip as the appetizer, then chicken gumbo, and a shrimp boil.
I likely had that seafood smell all in the lobby on the way back to my room. It felt like I was smuggling back spoils of war. But the food was amazing, and these days after a drive I just want to relax and possibly nap. With good food on top of that, and about an 8 block walk round trip, I was done for the day.
Day Two waking with the sun
I had fallen asleep the moment I hit the bed. This meant I failed to pull the blackout curtains closed. So, while I did not see the sunrise, I was up shortly afterwards.
First thing, I headed to the beach. I was not hungry yet, and I wanted to put my feet in the sand. It had been a few weeks since I was at the beach. I also still feel like I am making up for my months on lockdown during COVID. I feel like a person making up for lost sleep, except I am making up with lost human contact, and that lack of travel.
After a few minutes with toes in the sand and the cool breeze off of the water, I decided to grab my annual pass and head to the Skywheel. Why not take advantage of my past and go do a ride this morning? They open at about 11AM this time of year so I showered and changed with the intention of getting breakfast before I went on the ride somewhere near the boardwalk on the way to the Skywheel.
The Skywheel is a great short little experience. It takes about 20 minutes to load, ride, and unload again. With a mix of that time, loading and unloading. But the views are great and the gondolas these days have HVAC, so they are comfortable too.
For breakfast I stopped at the Olympic Flame Pancake House the reviews of this place were great and the menu looked good. They offer pancakes, waffles, French toast, and most of the breakfast favorites we all love. I had pancakes figuring when in Rome. They were very fluffy but not light. They had a substantial taste to them. I had banana pancakes and asked for a side of blueberries to add on top. That was a killer combo for sure.
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
After my meal, I walked on to the Skywheel and enjoyed not 1 but 2 rides. It was slow so I just rode again. If it had been busy, I would have gotten off and let someone else go for a ride for sure. If it is slow, I do not know how long they would let you ride, but maybe one day I will try to find out. Not to make a pest of myself, but just to see how a few more trips around would be.
The Skywheel is 187 feet tall or about 20 stories tall. So when you are at the top, you have a nice view of the beach and area.
After my rides and large breakfast, it was time to walk back to the resort, take care of some business for a few minutes, then get back on the beach and maybe into the ocean some.
The ocean was calm today, and it is many days during the season in the area. Sometimes with stormy weather, the winds hit right and the waves will get taller and stronger. The main issue for concern at Myrtle Beach is undertow and you need to be aware of how to deal with it. Never try to swim against undertow. You want to swim across to the sides, not directly against the undertow current. If you go against the power of the ocean itself, you will fail. Let it take you out but swim to the sides to get out of the current, and keep your head above water.
Many years ago, as a young man, I saved a cousin from drowning in undertow on nearby Atlantic Beach, NC. On another occasion, I grabbed my father when he had an issue in the ocean there as well. I was never a swimmer with great form, but I have always been a strong swimmer.
My full day playing in the water and out was coming to an end. Once back in the room, I realized that I did not have a washer and dryer in the room itself. So, I did the next best thing and washed my trunks out in the tub to get any salt water off and out, then hung them to dry in the bathroom. If I head back to the ocean tomorrow, I can always iron them to warm them up and deal with any leftover moister. I hate that cold feeling of a wet bathing suit the next day.
Day Three Enjoying Myrtle Beach
Myrtle has so much to offer in the way of fun and entertainment. You can enjoy many things at the boardwalk area just 2 blocks from the resort.
After eating some breakfast at the resort restaurant, I headed towards the boardwalk area. First, I went to the family fun plaza or center. This place is old school beach cool. Meaning skeet ball, video games, basketball, baseball machines and more. I grew up on this stuff, so I am happy to see that this place keeps these old style games alive and working. Playing the old style games transports me back in time. In my brain for a moment it is the 1970s again and I am 7-8 years old. It may not keep my attention as long these days, but it is always such a nice trip down memory lane.
There are also several Ripley’s buildings here. The museum format and then many newer offerings to included a haunted house type of experience, but with that Ripley’s believe it or not twist. All great fun. I went into the main building just to see some of the old exhibits and a few of the new ones. I think every young boy is genetically predisposed to love these places. The Odditorium is what they call the traditional Ripley’s experience you might be familiar with from your childhood. On top of that, they have added an aquarium, fun house games, haunted attraction with actors, and special events like breakfasts with mermaids, or pirates.
After a few hours of fun in the sun and out in the various buildings, I headed for a shop for some beach gifts to take back home to the family. I typically take back something for nieces or nephews if I have driven to somewhere on vacation. Just a cool shirt, hat, or something small, but fun. For Myrtle Beach, the largest store is the Gay Dolphin which has been here so long that Gay just meant fun when it was founded. You can see some of their items in a limited online version of the store here. This location has been sharing their items with the public here for over 75 years.
It was time for some dinner, and I had skipped lunch, so I was hungry. So I headed for Magnolia’s on 26th for their dinner buffet. It is right across the street from another Hilton resort so it is easy to find, but a bit far for a walk, so grab your car for this one.
Do you want to travel and stay in this great beach town for yourself?
If so, make sure to consider this resort and booking with TZort.