Solo Trip over Christmas

While escaping my home base for the month of December I decided to turn the month into a search for solo friendly activities during a major holiday.

My goal was to find 5 solo friendly events while staying near a beach resort that attracts ‘snow birds’ from as far as Canada.

1.  Go to an outdoor market

Many towns have holiday markets, craft shows, handicraft sales that are featured before the holidays.     My timing did not match the schedule but I was able to attend a great river side market in North Carolina, only 45 min from where I am staying.

Outdoor Market in Southport, NC

 About an hour north of my location, Southport is located on the shore with a stunning water view from the entire town.   I met four interesting strangers (vendors) during my visit.  We speak to strangers every day but often we do not ask questions or listen to what they say.

Gullah Baskets:  
there is a long history behind the hand woven baskets of South Carolina.  (see Wikipedia)

I learned a fascinating fact/idea from Victoria at this booth.    She told me that people are attracted to the items in her booth that are the SAME color as what they are wearing….  To prove this I watched for the next 3 customers to browse and we had these result:

She found an orange and tan bag

The green in this bag matched perfectly

Ultimate Gullah
Conway, SC   www.   
The store web page has a great history you may be interested in reading:


2.Brookgreen Gardens:  Nights of a Thousand Candles 

South of the ‘downtown’ area of Myrtle beach, SC  the entrance to Brookgreen Gardens is easy to miss if you are not paying attention while driving south on busy rt 17.  

“Named one of the top 10 public gardens in the country by TripAdvisor”  I had visited the gardens during the spring when the endless variety of plants and flowers are blooming and the wonderful butterfly exhibit is open but  this was my first visit during the Christmas season.

The gardens are open year round.   During the holiday season the garden is turned into a wonderland with thousand of lights in the trees, along the paths, over the water ponds and pools.   

For two weeks before Christmas the gardens are open during the evenings. 

                                                Even a traditional tree is striking when covered with white lights.

Earlier in the evenings the entire
staff and army of volunteers will light the candles throughout the gardens.

For 9 nights during December the gardens will be open until 9pm with entertainment, a food tent and the opportunity to discover a new venue around each turn on the paths.    
“During the 9 day event 54,000 votives, 1,500 pillars and 4,500 tea candles will be used”.  The number of mini lights 500,000 and 350,000 LED lights 

Above information from and the Brookgreen Gardens brochure

3. Walk on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

The boardwalk is free and the site of year round events.   When I visited during the week the crowd was small but there were restaurants and entertainment centers open.   And beach walking searching for the perfect shell is always free.  

If you are familiar with an American boardwalk that you will remember the arcades with a variety of games and mechanical challenges that you obtain reward tickets from if you do well.
The reward tickets can be redeemed for such treasures as plastic diamond rings, small toys and stuffed animal

I love boardwalks and this arcade had several machines from the early 50’s.   I posted more of the photos at the end of this post, just because I liked them.

Holidays on the Boardwalk events ran from Novemer 29 until December 27th.  The Santa and Polar Express Train rides were scheduled for the Saturday before Christmas.   I elected not to attend on a day that would be packed with families and sadly it rained on htis 

All the above activities are solo friendly even if you have never traveled solo before.    And no one asked ‘why are you here on Christmas?’

Of course there is endless shopping, golf, seafood restaurants and beach walks along the 50+- stretch of Myrtle Beach.  

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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