Grand Strand Art Trail Leads to Beauty in All Directions

The sand, surf and sunshine aren’t the only things of beauty located along the 60-mile stretch of coast surrounding Myrtle Beach. The Grand Strand is also a hot spot for the arts.

Spanning from the Carolina border and the scenic seaside village of Calabash, N.C., to the South Carolina Lowcountry and the historic port city of Georgetown, the Grand Strand Art Trail highlights all the spots along the way that feature and promote the local arts scene. The trail includes more than 20 stops at galleries, studios and arts-friendly restaurants.

Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort is situated right in the middle of the 60-mile art trail, making it easy and convenient for our guests to take in some local culture during their stay. We’ve broken down the map by region so you can take in all the sites in the same vicinity. Make a day of it or pick out a couple of favorites to visit on the Grand Strand Art Trail:

Myrtle Beach Art Museum

Central Strand/Myrtle Beach

Perhaps the highlight of the 60-mile art trail is located less than one mile from Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort – the Franklin G. Burroughs & Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum. Based in one of the oldest historic beach homes in Myrtle Beach, this museum features more than 3,600 square feet of space dedicated to the arts and the preservation of local culture. Ten galleries host rotating art exhibits and the classrooms provide places for instruction in a wide range of artistic endeavors, from painting studios to family workshops. A reception and tea room are also available, and the museum hosts a wide range of running programs. Best of all, admission is free but donations are appreciated.

Other Myrtle Beach stops on the Grand Strand Art Trail include the William H. Miller Studio & Fine Arts, Element Studio, and a pair of nearby venues at The Market Common – Studio B Gallery and the Seacoast Artist Guild Gallery, which serves as an outlet for local artists to showcase their works. This is a great place to pick out an original work that reflects the natural beauty of your vacation home away from home.

South Strand/Lowcountry

Brookgreen Gardens is the centerpiece stop for lovers of art and nature, featuring more than 9,000 acres of Lowcountry beauty and countless sculptures to discover. But those making the trip to Brookgreen also can hit a few highlights on the Grand Strand Art Trail along the way, including the Swamp Fox Gallery in Murrells Inlet and Art Works in Litchfield Beach.

Head farther south into the historic districts of Georgetown and Pawleys Island to find a variety of galleries and museums. Check out the Rice Museum and Prevost Gallery, Georgetown Arts Gallery and the Georgetown Council Gallery – all located on Front Street near the Harborwalk. In Pawleys Island, the Cheryl Newby Gallery, Gray Man Gallery and Island Art Gallery offer art that captures the spirit of the Lowcountry and the “arrogantly shabby” lifestyle of the island.

Sunset River Marketplace

North Strand/Calabash

Located just over the Carolina state line, Calabash, N.C. holds the distinction of the “Seafood Capital of the World.” But since the Sunset River Marketplace opened in 2002, this tiny fishing village has another claim to fame – the arts. The over 10,000-square-foot studio is dedicated to promoting the works of artists hailing from both sides of the border.

Featuring a wide variety of artistic styles, including oil paintings, watercolors, clay, pastels and acrylics, as well as works in metal, wood, hand-blown glass, fiber, and other materials, Sunset River Marketplace also serves aspiring artists and novices with their regular Paint & Party series. Workshops, classes and other instruction are available for those looking to improve their skills.

Bryan Art Gallery

Coastal Carolina University/Conway

Located just 15 miles inland from Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort, the Coastal Carolina University campus contains a visual arts laboratory and gallery that is second to none in the Conway area. The Rebecca Randall Bryan Art Gallery is located inside the Edwards Humanities & Fine Arts building and features a wide variety of works by touring artists and talented students.

Just across the Waccamaw River in downtown Conway, the historic waterfront district and Riverwalk are lined with arts and crafts galleries and boutiques. Conway Glass offers glass-blowing works and demonstrations. Just across the Intracoastal Waterway, the Myrtle Beach Art and Frame Gallery features a wide variety of paintings and frames for finding the perfect wall-hanger.

Collectors Cafe

* Restaurants/Cafes: The culinary arts are well represented on the Grand Strand, and several local eateries are also supportive of more traditional art forms. Foremost is Collectors Cafe & Gallery in the Northwoods neighborhood of Myrtle Beach. In addition to serving creative dishes, drinks and coffees, Collectors Cafe also serves as an art gallery for local artists to display their works. Art-loving diners often leave with more than a doggie bag to take home. www.collectorscafeandgallery

Other restaurants on the Grand Strand Art Trail are Art Burger Sushi Bar in downtown Myrtle Beach, just over 1 mile south of Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort. True to it’s name, burgers, sushi and drinks are the house specialties, but the walls are filled with works by local artists that patrons can pick up as a gift or souvenir. On the South Strand, Perrone’s Restaurant & Bar serves an eclectic, Mediterranean-themed menu in an artsy atmosphere.

Now that you have seen all the Grand Strand Art Trail has to offer, the only thing left to do is to pick a section and explore it. There’s no wrong answer because there are great works of art in every direction. So book your next visit to Myrtle Beach at Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort and get ready to get artsy at the beach on the Grand Strand Art Trail.