Shop Till You Drop at Myrtle Beach Gift Shops

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You don't have to look very far to find a beachwear store or souvenir gift shop in Myrtle Beach. There's literally one on just about every block, and in some cases, two or three.

With so many shopping options to choose from, it helps to take a sneak peek at the major chains and mom-and-pop shops to get an idea of what's inside. From cheap, plastic beach toys for the kids to expensive gifts for loved ones here with you and those back home, Myrtle Beach has it all. Here's a quick overview to help you narrow your search and get back to your vacation:

* Beachwear stores: You've seen the neon-lit signs and airplane banners advertising five T-shirts for $10 and boogie boards for $4.99. These are the loud and proud beachwear chains, such as Eagles and Wings, which offer a wide variety of beach needs and souvenirs. T-shirts, sand shovels, bathing suits, beach towels, flip-flops and more – most of them with the words “Myrtle Beach” printed prominently on the product – are available at discount prices. Take home sharks-tooth necklaces or hermit crabs to the folks back home without having to spend much money.

* Gift shops: For visitors looking for a slightly more expensive place to pick up presents for friends and family, you may have to look a little harder but the options are still aplenty. Major shopping centers like Broadway at the Beach feature a wide range of gift stores, including Tiki Jim's and Paradise of Myrtle Beach, and many of the restaurants and attractions, such as Margaritaville Cafe and WonderWorks, have their own gift shops. The same is true at Barefoot Landing, Coastal Grand Mall, Market Common, Myrtle Beach Mall and the Tanger Outlets. There are also local boutiques like the Wacky Rabbit where you can go a bit more upscale.

* One-stop shop: Although the Gay Dolphin is technically a gift and beachwear store, it also doubles as a bit of a museum of Myrtle Beach. Located downtown on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, this three-story store was the first of its kind on the Grand Strand and still going strong. Opened in 1946, the Gay Dolphin has just about anything you could want under one roof, including a crow’s nest where patrons can look out over the Atlantic Ocean and downtown district. The Gay Dolphin claims to have more than 70,000 different items for sale and it's hard to dispute the number. It's a great place to take a break from the beach and the Boardwalk to cool off and shop in the air-conditioned hot spot.

(posted 3/20/14)