I just got back from a nice little vacation in Myrtle Beach with my wife and three yeard old son.  On the advice of my boss (oddly enough) we decided to stay at a hotel/condo on the beach.  For $150 a night (through hotels.com) we got a bedroom, a full kitchen, balcony and a living room on the 22nd floor of the Ocean Forest Plaza Resort.  The resort sits directly across the street from a great little uncrowded beach.  We drove from New York (it’s a 12 hour drive, but we laid over in Richmond Virginia going and coming home because you have to stop a lot with a toddler), and the rental got us to many nearby attractions in minutes.  “Broadway at the Beach” is a huge outdoor entertainment and shopping complex and was about 7 minutes away from our hotel. 

The reason this trip worked so well was that during the day we hung out as a family visiting museums, fun houses, amusement parks, miniature golf courses and, of course, the beach.   Then when the sun went down my wife and I would sit on the balcony watching the Atlantic Ocean break against the beach, drinking cocktails and reconnecting, all while the kid was sound asleep in the bedroom.   The weather was perfect, for July, and our toddler was on his somewhat best behavior.  Devin was put on time out a few times and he got grumpy as hell when he was tired from all of the activities, but overall not too bad. 

As far as family vactions go, we could not have had a better experience.  There were plenty of other families around looking stressed out, but having fun, and the people are very friendly.  We even plunked down the debit card for an additional night because we did not want to go home.  For a good family value, convenience, and fun, check out the Sands Resorts (parent company of Ocean Forest Plaza) in Myrtle Beach.

Oh yeah, almost forgot:  We purchased a portable DVD player with a 7″ screen for the long journey and a car mounting case/kit.  Smartest thing we ever did to prepare for a trip.