The smells. The sights. The flavors. The freshness. The voices. Together, these qualities define the bakery experience. If it’s a good one, your visual, olfactory, gustatory and auditory senses will spring to life the second you walk through the door. Intoxicating aromas should be in full bloom. A well-stocked bakery case should visually delight the eyes. Your taste buds should stand at attention as you consider your options. And your ears should fill with the sounds of a warm welcome. If you stopped by such a bakery for a donut or muffin, rest assured you’ll be walking out with at least five or six more goodies. Your lack of resistance is a sign that good bakery protocols have been put in place.
When visiting the Grand Strand, you will find a rich array of full-service bakeries brimming with house-made breads, cakes, pies, cookies, pastries and more. Nothing works up an appetite like a day on the beach. And nothing satisfies that kind of craven hunger like a generous slice of cake, a few chewy cookies or a giant spiced muffin. If you’re dieting, no worries. A little indulgence isn’t anything a nice walk on the shore can’t fix. In any case, you’re probably on vacation, so a trip to the bakery is allowed. Now that the hurdles are out of the way, consider this sampling of some of the best Grand Strand bakeries. (Note: Call for availability of featured items.)
Benjamin’s Bakery and Cafe, Surfside Beach
What began as a booming bagel business more than 25 years ago has broadened into a full-blown bakery and coffee house. Benjamin’s stocks an impressive case of freshly baked breads, pastries and bagels, complemented by their in-house roasted coffee.
Treats to try: Apple fritters, orange cranberry muffins, bear claws, jalapeño bagels
Coccadotts, Myrtle Beach
Family owned and operated, this bakery got its start in Albany before opening a store in Myrtle Beach. Beachcombers with a sweet tooth are glad to have it here. Specializing in delicious cakes and cupcakes, including gluten-free and vegan options, the bakers at Coccadotts take a lot of pride in their artistic designs.
Treats to try: Beach-themed cakes and cupcakes, s’mores donuts, white chocolate cheesecake
Croissants Bistro and Bakery, Myrtle Beach, two locations
Local restaurateur and 2018 SC Chef Ambassador Heidi Vukov is known across the Grand Strand for having a remarkable flair for pastries and cakes. She has a way with breads, muffins and cookies, too.
Treats to try: French macarons, eclairs, specialty cakes, chocolate croissants
Indigo Bakery, Georgetown
From-scratch, small-batch—these are code words for great baking. Specializing in cakes, cheesecakes and cookies, Indigo Bakery is a lovely little operation with lots of lovely and delicious baked things to eat.
Treats to try: Banana cake with cream cheese icing, cinnamon buns, croissants, pretty cupcakes and cookies
Jessyca Bakery, Myrtle Beach
This bakery/market specializes in a wide array of “pan dulce”—festive Mexican sweetbreads that come in a variety of shapes, designs and colors. They have custom cakes and cookies, too. If you’re not familiar with these traditional baked goods, stop in and mix and match a bag for a culinary and cultural adventure.
Treats to try: Churros, conchas, oreja, pan de muerto and cuernos
Kudzu Bakery, Litchfield Beach
Just like the trailing vine, this bakery’s output seems never-ending. Cakes in every flavor and theme, pies that run the gamut from pecan to strawberry rhubarb, cookies for every sweet tooth and a line of fresh-from-the-oven breads make Kudzu a hub of baked goods commerce.
Treats to try: Chocolate pound cake, brownie cheesecake, peach pie, sweet potato cookies, buttermilk white bread
Life is Sweet Bakery, Little River
This bakery’s name reflects the proprietor’s philosophy and knack for making some of the most decadent desserts around. Cakes, pies, pastries and more are made in-house daily using fresh ingredients. Gluten-free options are available. Treats to try: Cinnamon rolls glazed in your choice of warm sauces, blueberry cheesecake, pumpkin caramel muffins
Pawleys Island Bakery, Pawleys Island
This bakery is a favorite of Hammock Coast locals and visitors. It might be part cafe, but everything is driven by the bakery operation. Mosey on in for a delicious assortment of breakfast pastries, cupcakes, breads, cakes, cookies, scones and a lot more.
Treats to try: Almond croissant, breakfast crumb cake, apple caramel pound cake
Pink Pineapple, Myrtle Beach
Beautiful cakes made with love—that’s the point of the Pink Pineapple. While their custom cakes are impressive, you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy some cake. Pay them a visit and peruse the case. Or indulge in some coconut macarons or snickerdoodles to satisfy your craving. Either way, it’s all good.
Treats to try: Strawberry cookies, caramel drip cake, orange creamsicle cake
Sweet Poison Bakery, Myrtle Beach
Don’t worry. The only thing toxic about this bakery is the addictive nature of their incredible wares. Cake pops and cookies are favorites, but the stars of this bakery show are the cakes. There’s some serious design wizardry going on here. Want a cake that looks like a sports car? A scene from a kids' movie? A superhero? Your favorite beer? Sweet Poison is poised to blow you away with their masterful creations.
Treats to try: Cake, cake, cake
Toffino’s Italian Bakery, Myrtle Beach
Just like the best Italian dishes, many of the pastries at Toffino’s are made using recipes handed down through the generations. This award-winning bakery is brimming with hand-crafted cakes, breads and cookies. There’s a cafe inside, too, but one look at the bakery case and you’ll want to have your dessert first.
Treats to try: Cannoli, biscotti, amaretto sponge cake, tiramisu and their signature pastry, the lobster tail
You Eat, I Bake, Myrtle Beach
You hungry? Stop here. This small-batch bakery with the quirky name is a one-of-a-kind operation in the area. Got an allergy? Sensitive to gluten? Avoiding dairy? This is your place. The owners understand that dietary restrictions don’t disable a sweet tooth, so they cater—literally—to just about everyone who has a food issue. You can even order a vegan wedding cake. Every baked good is made specifically without the most common food allergens. Come in and forget your limitations.
Treats to try: Fudge paleo brownies, donuts with chocolate ganache, oatmeal/caramel cookies, lemon lavender cake