Feature

Getting the flavor of … Mini-golfing in Myrtle Beach, and more

North Myrtle Beach, S.C., is the mini-golf capital of the world, with 50 mini-golf courses running along a 60-mile strip known as the Grand Strand.

Mini-golfing in Myrtle BeachJust as I’m about to putt the 12th hole, said Scott Vogel in The Washington Post, a “mighty mountain erupts.” Fortunately, I hold on to my putter, and “survival is mine.” North Myrtle Beach, S.C., is the undisputed mini-golf capital of the world, and I was playing at the Hawaiian Rumble, which features a propane-fueled mini-volcano that erupts every 20 minutes. More than 50 mini-golf courses lure addicts along a 60-mile strip known as the Grand Strand, stretching from Little River in the north to Georgetown in the south. Themes run the gamut from dinosaurs, safaris, pirates, and dragons to “lost worlds and faux idol worship,” and countless fountains spray more “Ty-D-Bol blue water than can possibly be healthy.” Non-golfers can enjoy themselves at Hard Rock Park near Myrtle Beach—a “55-acre homage to rock ’n’ roll” that often hosts live performances. But give me the temperamental volcano at Hawaiian Rumble and its lakes, “dyed an impossible blue.”Contact: Myrtlebeachinfo.com

A remnant of Old FloridaIf you’re looking to buy shark’s teeth, the inner ear bone of a whale, or the bill of a sawfish, said Thomas Swick in the Chicago Tribune, head down to Venice, Fla. A “beach town in a state rotten with beach towns,” Venice is neither historic nor sophisticated. But it has a main drag like no other. Once the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, this colorful town on the Gulf Coast gives wanderers a taste of Old Florida. Trapeze students come here to take lessons from former circus star Tito Gaona, and the Venice Archives displays a leaflet for Clown College, which boasts “the World’s Funniest Final Exam.” At Nifty Nic Nacs, you can buy a pair of Freudian Slippers. Snook Haven, “one of the three most scenic” restaurants in Florida, overlooks the placid Myakka River. A “No Feeding Gators” sign seems unnecessary—the grouper sandwich on ciabatta bread is too good to share even with your spouse.Contact: Venicechamber.com

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