Team: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Affiliate: Chicago Cubs (Class A Advanced)
Ballpark Basics: Don’t judge a ballpark by its corporate sponsored name.
Parking: Plenty onsite and free
Seats in the shade: Home side gets shade first, and there is cover halfway up the grandstand.
On our first visit to Pelicans Ballpark back in 2012 we were bracing for the worst when we pulled into the parking lot of TicketReturn.com Field. First of all, the name: It had to be one of the worst for a ballpark in all of MiLB. Any time you have .com in the name of your ballpark it just reeks of corporate commercialism. Next the ballpark is located off the local bypass road across the street (highway) from Broadway at the Beach (the tourist trap of all tourist traps!). When we saw parking attendants waving us forward we started to reach for our wallet for the obligatory parking fee. However, the numerous parking attendants were just there to keep the flow of incoming traffic going. No charge for the vast amounts of parking! This was just the first of many pleasant surprises on our visit to TicketReturn.com Field. For a ballpark with A level ball, this is one of the nicest ones that we have been to.
We entered in the right field corner next to the box office. As you enter you see the Pepsi Grille with your typical ballpark fare. Italian lights stream across the top of this area and add a nice touch once the sun goes down. To the right is a picnic area at field level with the only thing separating you from the field is some netting. It gives you an interesting view of the field that you don’t find in most parks.
From here you can either walk the lower concourse that sits beneath the grandstand. It is nice and wide with multiple options for food as well as the team store. While you can’t watch the action live as you walk this part of the ballpark there are numerous TV’s with the game on so you won’t miss a thing. From here you can climb the stairs up to the seating area. Divided into two sections by a wide walkway there is a lower level of seats that wraps from first base to third. The upper level is a little smaller with some cover on the base sides. Each seat has a seatback and cup holder, once again a feature that you don’t typically see at a ballpark of this level (Ballpark nerd fact: The seats that you find at Pelicans Ballpark have quite a history. They were originally from Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta. The Pelicans used to be a Braves affiliate). Above the seating area is the press box and the luxury suites. In the left field corner is another interesting aspect of this place. There is a small beach area that can be rented out with its own private bar. Just above the beach are is the Budweiser Thirst Inning Deck with some additional seating that looks over left field.
For being a beach town you would guess that the majority of the crowd would be tourists looking to do something other than the beach. However on top of the families with sunburned faces you will also find a dedicated fan base with many of the people in the stands wearing Pelicans gear and actively rooting for the home team. The team store is one of the best we have been to with extensive apparel and hat options as well as a tons of options for women and kids (not every woman wants their baseball shirt to be bedazzled!).
Best Spot for Beer: We were disappointed on our first visit in 2012 by the utter lack of craft beer at the ballpark. However, on our latest visit it was great to see the team has updated this and now multiple options for local breweries are available including Grand Strand Brewing Co. The team brings the Cubs affiliation into the ballpark with the Clark & Addison Grille and Picnic Area in the right field corner with multiple craft options on tap as well as in cans.
There are a ton of activities for the kids (that aren’t interested in watching the game). Down the left field line on the concourse is the main kids’ area with inflatable games. However, hidden in the right field corner is another large playground that is covered by netting to protect the kids playing from any stray foul balls. Depending upon where you come in from this playground is almost hidden by large palm trees and the protective netting.
There are many parts of this park that make it unique for this level. The beach area. The TV’s in the concourse. The multiple play areas. The large team store. Pelicans Ballpark proves that sometimes you can’t judge a ballpark by its name, its location, or the level of play.
Grand Strand Brewing
Rating: Home Run
Beer Basic: A brewery worth taking a break from the beach for.
Dog Friendly: Large outside courtyard
Good for Groups: Yes
Food Available: Yes – shareables and sandwiches, and beer cheese fries ftw.
Grand Strand Brewing isn’t misrepresenting with a location right in the heart of Myrtle Beach, housed in a large rectangular brick building set just a bit back off the street. With a long bar, one row of four tops, and multiple rows of picnic tables that seat an average of 6, Grand Strand is ready for larger groups. If you left your shoes on the beach, there are tables with red umbrellas in a fountain square park out front.
The wood plank wall behind the bar holds chalkboard tiles with the available beers. To the left you’ll find similar chalkboards with the house rules (“no sweet tea”) and events for the week, merch area and coolers with to-go beers. They’ve got pre packed 6 and 4 packs, you can mix and match your own, and even take home some tap room exclusives. We liked everything we had in house, so we took some home with us as well:
Wingtip Pilsner (4.5% ABV) – Like most vacationers, we were joined by family on this visit, one of whom prefers Lite as their beer of choice and another who is newer to beer in general. The Wingtip Pilsner was perfect for both. As one put it “I feel like I’m hanging with you cause it has a little more somethin’ but it’s still light”. Translation? Light, pale and accessible. This beer packs a stronger lager flavor while still staying true to traditional style making it a good option for basic (in a good way) beer fans.
Airbrush IPA (6.5% ABV) We “have” to try so many different beers, that it’s rare we buy a whole six pack of the same thing. Found in several of the restaurants around Myrtle, we had Airbrush on tap and grabbed more to bring back home. Bright and tropical without being heavy, chewy or overly hopped. A perfect beach beer as long as you watch that ABV.
Salty Cheeks (6.9% ABV) – Smells hoppy but lightly so. A fairly standard IPA that’s dry, hoppy, and bright yellow, with a color similar to the Pils. The hops stay consistent and pronounced, but this west coast IPA ends strong but isn’t a palate killer.
Rainy Day Blues (6.0 ABV) – Grand Strand was out of the sour I was eyeing, and I was concerned this hefeweizen with blueberries would be a poor substitute, but it was quite good. The color is a thick orangey-purple and the smell is mostly wheat. The blueberries make it sweet without being overly so, and while it wasn’t the sour I had my heart set on, it was a light, bright, fruity break on a hot summer day.
Flip Flop Hop #1 (5.7 ABV) – A pale ale brewed with experimental hop HBC 586, and also one of the aforementioned taproom exclusives. Pours deep gold with no lacing and a floral, hoppy aroma. Smooth and crisp to start with notes of orchard apple, then a hop finish that’s a touch dry and slightly sharp.
819 N. Kings Highway, Unit 101
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577