One of my favorite day trips to recommend to Myrtle Beach area visitors is a drive in to Conway, South Carolina. Conway is a historic river town located just about 15 miles inland from downtown Myrtle Beach. Conway is the county seat for Horry County (the county that encompasses the majority of the Grand Strand) and is ripe with history and culture.
Founded in 1732, many of the homes in downtown Conway are well over 100 years old. In addition to the architecture, the town’s other oldest residents are its beautiful live oak trees which decorate the downtown landscape and are protected by a unique tree ordinance.
While you may need a car to get to Conway, once you’re there it’s best to park it (parking is free!) and explore on foot. Most of the area’s attractions are within walking distance of downtown. The area has a number of striking photo ops, from the live oak trees and homes to the Conway Riverwalk and a new mural and park located along Main Street. But a good first stop is the Conway Visitors Center at 428 Main Street. They can provide you with everything you need for a self-guided history, tree or Riverwalk tour.
If you’re headed to Conway, South Carolina, here are a few things you won’t want to miss:
- Walking Tour of Downtown Area. Getting out on foot is the best way to explore beautiful downtown Conway. Enjoy a self-guided history, tree or Riverwalk tour (provided at the Conway Visitors Center) or simply strike out on your own. There are plenty of small shops to check out, and lots of fantastic lunch spots. Some of our favorites for midday meals include Shine Cafe, Bonfire - A Smokin’ Taqueria, Crooked Oak Tavern and The Trestle. And if fresh seafood is what you’re looking for, a visit to the Ocean Fish Market is always rewarding.
- Dinner and a Show at Theatre of the Republic. Perhaps the largest single attraction in downtown Conway, the Theatre of the Republic is a historic live performance venue where guests can see both musicals and plays year-round. Well known productions like Mamma Mia!, Footloose, Rent, Evita and others are presented with outstanding community performers, and both the exterior and interior of the theatre provide an added layer of charm. We suggest catching a bite to eat and perhaps coffee at either Rivertown Bistro (an award-winning spot with a creative menu) or Rivertown Roasters before the show.
- Time on the Waccamaw. As Conway was built strategically because of the Waccamaw River, it’s worth getting to know the beautiful black water channel. Just strolling the scenic Conway Riverwalk provides plenty of stunning vistas, but getting out on the river can be fun, too. Inquire ahead of time about kayak tours or paddleboard rentals if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, or take a river cruise aboard River Memories LLC with Captain Jim. The tours are affordable, generally depart a few times a day and provide an awesome background of local history and lore.
- Rivertown Christmas Celebration. If you find yourself in the Myrtle Beach area nearing the holiday season, you’ll definitely want to include Conway on your trip. The town is so well-known for its Christmas celebrations, there is even a movie called Christmas in Conway. A month of lights, live window displays in downtown boutiques, tree lightings, live music, a ‘Snowball Drop’ and huge Christmas parade never, ever disappoint.
In addition to a number of great shopping, dining and historical spots, Conway is also home to a number of popular events throughout the year. Time your visit with Riverfest, Rivertown Music and Craft Beer Festival, or one of many other annual events and you’ll ensure there is plenty to do. For more information on Conway, South Carolina, and other Grand Strand communities to explore, visit our neighborhoods page here.