As America's favorite family beach vacation destination, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina offers a long list of spectacular tours of the coast – both at sea and on dry land. But once the month of October arrives, the Grand Strand area loves to show off its spooky side. In fact, the nights leading up to Halloween have several ghost tours and haunted houses where visitors can get into the spirit of the season. Guests at The Strand Resort can get a sample of Myrtle Beach's make-believe monsters and folk-lore legends at these local haunts, arranged from kid-friendly to very scary:
* Conway Ghost Walk: Step back in time and take a scenic but spooky stroll through the streets of Conway, which is located about 15 miles inland from Myrtle Beach. The historic city goes all out to retell the haunted legends of the small Southern town, as tour guides and actors clad in period costumes share the secrets of some of Conway's most notorious residents. The tour covers about a mile throughout the downtown district, and the fear factor ranges from spooky to sometimes humorous, but definitely an entertaining night out for the whole family. This year's tours take place Oct. 19-21 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., with groups departing every 15 minutes. Advanced tickets can be purchased by visiting www.conwayalive.com.
* Fun Fall Corn Maze: Here’s a great way for all ages to celebrate the holiday without the fear factor. Thompson Farm in the nearby community of Bucksville holds a fall festival that includes a 6-acre corn maze. This year’s maze is themed after “The Wizard of Oz” and tours will be held every weekend in October. Flashlight Fridays run from dusk to until 11 p.m., with daytime tours available Saturdays and Sundays.
* Ghosts & Legends Tour: This Barefoot Landing attraction takes guests on a tour of the surrounding boardwalk for a ghost hunt and a show at the live-action theater for a scary but entertaining night out. The Grand Strand's scariest stories come to life at night so guests can get to know the ghosts and legends that once lived here. Patrons can take the ghost walk or the psychic tour, and special shows like Blackbeard's Seance provide a spine-tingling experience for the brave souls who take the tour.
* Nightmare Haunted House: This Ripley's production is a fixture on the Myrtle Beach Strip, but the latest transformation puts a new twist on the term “brain food.” Located only blocks from Bay View on the Boardwalk in the downtown district, Nightmare Haunted House's “Zombie Zone: Undead Adventure” features a 4,000-foot facility filled with mutants and monsters in search of fresh brains. The adjoining Haunted Laser Strike allows patrons to zap zombies to avoid losing their noodle.
* Terror Under the Bridge: This haunted house is no longer located under the Highway 501 bridge, but there is still plenty of terror at the new location just a few blocks away at the X Gym Sports Mall. Part of the warehouse is transformed into a frightening foray into a world of monsters, zombies and ghouls. Limited to ages 10 and up, this one is off spooky charts for the faint of heart regardless of age. Visit on Oct. 28 for a special celebration called the Grand Strand Halloween Festival, featuring fun, games and a stage show that is perfect for the youngsters.
After a spooky night at all the ghost tours and haunted houses, head back for a relaxing evening on the oceanfront at The Strand Resort, your home away from home for a happy Halloween getaway.