by Caroline Costello
Few Myrtle Beach hotels are more family friendly than the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes. Complimentary DVD libraries, rooms with kitchens and multiple bedrooms, a private beach, helpful staff, top-notch kids’ programs and fantastic amenities make Marina Inn at Grand Dunes an excellent choice for families staying in the Myrtle Beach area. Make no mistake: Marina Inn is not an oceanfront property like many other area hotels. But it does offer free air-conditioned shuttle access to a nearby private beach (about a five-minute ride) that is clean, beautiful and uncrowded.
There’s no shortage of personal attention at the Marina Inn. For those who might find Myrtle Beach and its bevy of high-rise hotels a bit too commercialized, Marina Inn is a welcome respite — despite its size. In the lobby of this 200-room hotel, guests will find friendly concierges who wait behind large wooden desks ready to recommend restaurants and activities, and answer questions.
Although this upscale property is not a budget hotel, it offers copious free activities like free bikes, free beach access, free movies and free kids’ programs. It’s a good idea to consider the costs of these perks when comparing hotel rates.
Our Editor Loves
- Private beach for guests
- Multi-room suites with kitchens
- Array of free kids' activities
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
All rooms at the Marina Inn at Grand Dunes feature lovely views of the Intracoastal Waterway from balconies. There are numerous kinds of rooms at this hotel, many of which can generously accommodate large families. Rooms range from 450-square-foot "grande" guestrooms with king or two queen beds to 3,300-square-foot four-bedroom suites (with four full bathrooms!). All rooms also come with free Wi-Fi, DVD and CD players, and king or queen beds.
These oversized rooms have views of the marina or golf course and is perfect for a family of three or four.
These mini suites offer a mini-fridge and microwave, and some feature a fireplace.
Most suites include a fireplace and sofa bed, and the two-bedroom and larger suites also provide full kitchens and washer and dryers.
We have been to the Marina Inn several times over the past 8 years. This is a convenient location for restaurants, shows, and shopping, yet it is in a very quiet location.
The rooms are very comfortable and the staff always is friendly and professional. Also, we see a lot of the same people working there year after year. This says a lot about the hotel. From the valet crew, to the check in people, to the dining spots, all familiar faces.
We always enjoy seeing Jane in the Reflections Lounge. She always treats us nicely. On our last night, instead of going out as we planned, we were so comfortable at the bar, we ordered burgers and drinks and then called it a night. Thanks, Jane!!! See you on our next visit.
Amazing place! Paradise in the middle of the beach. Breakfast omelet cooked to perfection! Bonus is Ruth Chris is on the grounds and outlets are just a few miles away. Wished we could have stayed longer. Cant wait to go back!!!
The Beach Club
Families seeking a beach vacation should consider Marina Inn at Grande Dunes regardless of the hotel's location (it's situated on lush grounds by the Intracoastal Waterway). The Beach Club at the Marina Inn features a private beach area available to Marina Inn guests only -- and it is almost never crowded. Beachgoers can use beach chairs, hammocks, towels and umbrellas for free. Sandwiches, salads and other munchies are for sale at the Cabana near the beach, which is open daily from June through September. The Beach Club, about a five-minute drive from Marina Inn, is reached by complimentary air-conditioned shuttle that runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The beach also has ample free parking for families who prefer to drive.
Each summer, Marina Inn at Grande Dunes offers a children's activity schedule literally brimming with daily fun organized events for youngsters ages 5 and older. Examples include family trivia, bocce ball, Frisbee golf at the beach, Ping-Pong tournaments, sand-dollar painting and poolside bingo. (Activities vary throughout the season). Most activities are free, but some of them that involve crafts have a small fee. On weekends, families can take part in free Saturday Movie Night from 8 to 10 p.m.
Marina Inn's outdoor pool, the Grande Poolscape, is a spacious infinity pool decorated with tropical plants. The pool has two hot tubs and is open 24 hours a day. Families lounging by the pool can get snacks and drinks at the Pool Bar & Grill, where kids eat free.
Two indoor swim-in-place pools are available in the hotel's fitness center. These pools are not suitable for kids, but they're fantastic for parents looking to burn off some calories by swimming laps.
Snag a map from one of the Marina Inn concierges and head off on a family bicycle adventure. Complimentary bicycles for kids and adults are available at the hotel. There are numerous biking trails near the hotel that offer great scenery, including a trail that takes riders through unspoiled coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.
Marina Inn's award-winning tennis club, Tennis Club at Grande Dunes, offers superb tennis facilities for players of all ages and levels of skill. The concierge will help arrange tennis lessons or reserve a court for families interested in practicing the sport on vacation.
A Myrtle Beach vacation isn't a Myrtle Beach vacation without a little golf -- whether it's a trip to a colorful mini-golf course or a day on a world-class green. Marina Inn guests have access to a variety of championship courses; contact your concierge to arrange tee times.
Marina Inn's main onsite restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menu items focus on farm-to-table freshness and include omelets, pancakes, fish tacos, hamburgers, crispy oysters, shrimp and grits, and steak. There's also a kids' menu that has the usual suspects: hot dogs, buttered noodles, pizza, chicken fingers, mac and cheese.
Save this cocktails spot for date night while the kids are with a sitter or kids' program. Just off the lobby, the cocktail bar serves up tapas and drinks overlooking the resort's 130-slip marina.
Affording pretty views of the Intracoastal Waterway, especially at sunset, this casual bistro-style restaurant serves sandwiches and salads and makes a great family meal destination.
Beach Cabana Snack Bar
Lunches of sandwiches, salads and deli items are available at the covered Cabana so you won't have to take the 5-minute shuttle back to the resort for lunch or snacks. Drinks are also available.
Why bother to leave the pool when you can play in the water all day and still get a sampling of snacks and lunch items, include kid-size smoothies.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Families who have reserved suites with kitchens can stock up on provisions at Lowes Foods, which offers grocery delivery services for hotel guests. After all, who wants to go grocery shopping on vacation? You can order your food online and either pay for delivery, or pay a less expensive flat service fee and pick up your order at the store, which is across the street from the hotel.
Marina Inn at Grande Dunes regularly offers family packages that include accommodations with attraction tickets or meals for one flat price.
The Art of Smart Timing
The summer months are always a good time to visit Myrtle Beach but expect crowds when school is out of session. September and October there are less crowds and it's still beach weather. Spring is also a great time to visit, especially if golf is on your agenda.
The Myrtle Beach Airport is served by several airlines and is a short drive from the center of town.
It's wise to obtain a rental car in Myrtle Beach (or drive your own), as alternative transportation options are limited. The Marina Inn at Grande Dunes offers both valet and non-valet parking at the hotel. A complimentary air-conditioned shuttle runs daily from the resort to the private beach, golf and tennis courts
For Mom and Dad
The resort's onsite, full-service spa offers an array of treatments, including massages, body scrubs, facials and couples services.