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DETAILS: Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

GETTING THERE: Myrtle Beach is about 450 miles from Washington, a trip that requires about 7 1/2 hours of driving. (Check AAA's Fuel Cost Calculator at http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com for an estimate of how expensive the trip will be for your vehicle.) Myrtle Beach is served by many air carriers as well, and nonstop flights from Washington in July start at about $320 round trip, including taxes.

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WHERE TO STAY: Every kind of accommodation can be found along the Grand Strand, including family-owned motels and condos on or across the street from the beach. The scene on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach proper can be rowdy, and accommodations are hit-or-miss. I stayed a few blocks from the beach, at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel (2101 N. Oak St., 866-716-8127, http://www.sheraton.com/myrtlebeach), for $70 a night, thanks to Priceline. One family-oriented resort to consider is

the Breakers (two locations: North Ocean Boulevard at 21st and 27th avenues, 800-952-4507, http://www.breakers.com), where rooms start at about $164 a night, with packages available. An upscale beachfront option is the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes (8400 Costa Verde Dr., 888-236-2427, http://www.marriott.com), where rooms start at about $290 a night.

WHAT TO DO:

Hard Rock Park (211 George Bishop Pkwy., 843-236-7625, http://www.hardrockpark.com) is Myrtle Beach's newest thing, a 55-acre theme park dedicated to all things rock. Through August, the park is open every day from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., and tickets are a steep $50 a person (free for children 3 and younger, with discounts for military). Parking is $10. Special events this summer include performances by Sister Hazel (July 4), Push Play (July 23-27) and KC and the Sunshine Band (Aug. 30); concerts are free for park visitors.

WHERE TO EAT: Among Hard Rock's many culinary offerings is the Carnaby Street Cafe, a British-themed eatery with a quite good prime rib sandwich ($9.99) as well as passable facsimiles of such fare as fish and chips ($8.99). Outside the park, the thematic approach continues at such popular places as the NASCAR Sports Grille (1808 21st Ave. N., 843-946-7223, http://www.nascarsportsgrille.com), where the Brick Yard Bacon Onion Cheddar Burger ($10.99) is one crowd favorite.

INFORMATION: Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-356-3016, http://www.myrtlebeachinfo.com.

-- S.V.


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