Experience the Grand Strand’s Great Outdoors at Myrtle Beach State Park

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With so many fun-filled amenities and activities available at Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort, guests don't have to look very far to find a good time. But for visitors who want to experience the natural beauty the Grand Strand has to offer, Myrtle Beach State Park is only 1 mile from the resort but seems like a world away from civilization.

Located on Kings Highway near The Market Common, Myrtle Beach State Park features 350 acres of pristine Carolina coastline and offers a wide variety of outdoor activities. Whether you are into hiking, fishing, horseback riding or just about any other “ing” pastime, there's no better place to spend a day in the great outdoors in Myrtle Beach.

After you've swam in our indoor and outdoor pools, slid down the water slides and enjoyed all the fun amenities at Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort, turn off the cell phones and take the whole family on a nature getaway to South Carolina's oldest state park. Here are a few of the fun ways to spend a vacation day at Myrtle Beach State Park:

* Fishing: The Grand Strand is lined with lots of piers where anglers can wet a line over the Atlantic Ocean, but none offer the educational experience of Myrtle Beach State Park Fishing Pier. Featuring a tackle shop with all the licenses, bait and gear you need to land a big one, the on-duty park rangers provide good intel about what fish are running. They also offer tips and tidbits about the native species of fish, as well as educational programs that teach all ages how to fish, crab and use a cast net. Youngsters too young to fish can also get in the action by going crabbing, and the tackle shop also has bait and baskets for catching the claw-wielding crustaceans.

* Hiking: Myrtle Beach State Park is one of the few places on the Grand Strand where you can see old-growth maritime forests just as Mother Nature designed them. Although natural beauty can be found throughout the park, nowhere will you find a more scenic stretch of wooded path than the Sculpted Oaks Hiking Trail, which leads from the Nature Center parking lot all the way to the sea. Hike pasted l more lush landscape of wetlands and woodlands. The final leg crosses the parking lot and sand dunes to the southernmost and most secluded stretch of beach in the park. There are also bike paths for cycling.

* Horseback Riding: Galloping down the beach on the back of a beautiful steed is a bucket-list moment for many individuals, and Myrtle Beach State Park is one of the few places on the Grand Strand where you can cross that one off your list. Winter visitors are in luck, as horseback riding on the beach is restricted from March through November. For those who don't have their own horse, Horseback Riding of Myrtle Beach offers tours and provides everything you need to ride, even if you are a first-timer. For more information, visit www.myrtlebeachhorserides.com.

* Nature Education Center: Guests at Myrtle Beach State Park can explore nature even when it’s cold or rainy outside at the on-site Nature Education Center. Park rangers hold daily activities that highlight the flora and fauna of the Carolina coast, including hands-on exhibits and up-close encounters with native animal and plant life. Learn how sea turtles bury their eggs on the beach, how dolphins work together to catch their food, and go on a nature scavenger hunt. Most activities are free with paid admission ($5 for adults, $3.25 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6-15, free for ages 5 and under), although a small fee may be required for materials For a schedule of events, visit www.myrtlebeachstatepark.net.

There are lots of other ways to enjoy a day at Myrtle Beach State Park – bird-watching, picnicking, playgrounds and even camping. But after spending a day getting back to nature, head back to Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort and hit the sack early. You’ve got plenty of more fun awaiting you during your Myrtle Beach vacation.