We're going to let you in on a little secret: Santa Claus loves to visit Myrtle Beach. In fact, Ol’ Saint Nick can be spotted all over the Grand Strand in the weeks leading up to Christmas as he rests up for his big night in the sky.
Occasionally, he even spends some time here with us at Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort. You might see him hanging 10 on his sleigh-colored surfboard, carbo-loading at the Compass Rose or Crow's Nest, or soaking in the indoor hot tub, pools and waterslides. Try to play it cool and refrain from disturbing him while he's relaxing, unless you want a lump of coal in your stocking this year. After all, you can give him your wish list or pose for a selfie with the jolly ol' elf himself at various venues on the Strand. Here's a list of photo ops and places to see Santa Claus during your trip to Myrtle Beach for the holidays:
* Christmas Towne: This annual event allows visitors to join in the holiday fun for free with a wealth of festivities at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. The City of Myrtle Beach's tree lighting highlights an event featuring reindeer games for the kids, free hot chocolate and treats, live entertainment, and free photos with Santa. The December 10 event gets underway at 3 p.m. and concludes with the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.
* Dickens Christmas Show & Festival: This 36th annual event at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center is the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit early. Set for November 9-12 this year, the Dickens Christmas Show & Festival features a period Marketplace for unique holiday shopping, exhibits that share the historical aspects of Christmas, and tours and teas that are both tasty and entertaining. But the highlights are the appearances by Santa Claus and the chance to get a pic and share your holiday list with him. For more information, visit www.dickenschristmasshow.com.
* Lighting of the Landing: Santa makes one of his biggest appearances at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach for the annual Lighting of the Landing ceremony on Saturday, November 18. Check out the decorations and the fun festivities before the flipping of the switch on Barefoot Landing's 22-foot Christmas tree. Santa does the honors and mingles with the crowds, so have your camera ready to get a close-up. Santa returns to the Landing throughout the holiday season for some more personal lap time.
* The Market Common: Located about 2 miles from Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort, this modern shopping center offers several chances to snap a pic with Saint Nick, including several Breakfast with Santa sessions and the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday, November 18. Santa will also make some cameo appearances at the weekly Holiday Bazaars on Saturdays (November 4 through December 16), and he will pose for photos with children and pets on a date to be announced at the new Santa's Workshop on Deville Street. For more information, visit www.marketcommonmb.com.
* Santa's Wonderland: The Bass Pro Shops outlet at Myrtle Beach Mall offers a unique experience for children to get ready for the season. Drop the little ones off at Santa's Wonderland while you shop, and let them take part in several holiday-themed activities and arts and crafts sessions alongside Santa's elves. Kids can also get their pictures taken with Santa during select hours leading up to Christmas.
Keep your eyes peeled for Santa Claus at other spots around town while he gears up for his big night. Even Santa knows that Myrtle Beach is the best place to celebrate the holiday season.