Best Things To Do in Myrtle Beach
One of the reasons families love Myrtle Beach is because of the range of activities by the shore. Its nutmeg-colored sand is compact enough to bike on, but the waters are also pleasant (and clear enough) for a little snorkeling or scuba diving at certain points. Other popular activities include more than 80 golf courses, as well as putt-putt courses for the smallest golf pros; amusement parks, such as the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, located just a short drive from the beach; and live evening entertainment like traveler favorites Alabama Theatre and the Carolina Opry.
Updated February 5, 2020
- #1View all PhotosfreeMyrtle Beach#1 in Myrtle BeachBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
The main reason families flock to Myrtle Beach is to swim in the mild waves and play along the light brown sand. Some spots along the Carolina shore offer opportunities for water sports like Jet Skiing or deep-sea fishing, while other areas are better for relaxing or playing with your children. You'll also find a few spots perfect for casting a line for a fresh catch.
Most who visit the shore of Myrtle Beach do so directly in front of the hotel or rental property where they're staying. So keep in mind that if you're not a beachfront lodger, you might have more trouble finding a public bathroom, but ample metered street parking is available. Some parking lots are also available, most of which are also free and are an easy walk over the dunes at beach access points. Some sandy areas along Ocean Boulevard do have shops and restaurants. During the summer months, lifeguards are on duty along many of the Grand Strand beaches. Access to the beach is free 24/7, though swimming after sunset is not recommended.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Myrtle BeachAmusement Parks, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDAmusement Parks, Entertainment and Nightlife, Shopping, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
This outdoor food, shopping and entertainment complex is a big hit with visitors, who enjoy all of the options on hand, from riding on a Ferris wheel to dining on the water to shopping. The complex is set along the 23-acre Lake Broadway, with big crowd-pleasers like the Hard Rock Cafe, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and Ripley's Aquarium located here. There's a movie theater, more than two dozen food outlets, three hotels and all sorts of entertainment, including a piano bar, dance and comedy clubs. In the summer, there are firework displays every Tuesday and select Friday nights, as well as other family-friendly festivals.
There is no charge to visit Broadway at the Beach, but certain attractions charge fees. Hours vary depending on the venue. Check the website for details.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Myrtle BeachAmusement ParksTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDAmusement ParksTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Although Myrtle Beach is littered with plenty of miniature golf courses, travelers say the most popular is the Mt. Atlanticus Miniature Golf course. Like a real mountain, you'll find yourself physically ascending as you putt through the holes, which range in difficulty. The entire course features interesting obstacles of various creatures and architectural challenges. The complex offers a total of 36 holes of mini-golf set in two courses, the Conch and the Minotaur. Plus, if you try for a hole-in-one at the last hole, you could win free games for life.
Recent visitors said it provides affordable fun for the whole family after a long day on the beach and even offers lovely views. They also applaud the friendly staff and the cleanliness of the facility.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Myrtle BeachParks and Gardens, RecreationTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDParks and Gardens, RecreationTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
South of the busy Myrtle Beach sands you can explore the maritime forest and rent a campsite for the night at Myrtle Beach State Park. Activities include nature trails, surf fishing and equestrian facilities, as well as access to a clean beach that's usually less crowded than the city's main shoreline.
The park covers 312 acres of land by the southern end of the city and offers fishing piers, picnic tables and plenty of campgrounds with RV compatibilities. A nature center is on hand if you want to learn about the turtles, birds and other South Carolina wildlife that call the park home. Recent visitors said the pier is a prime spot for peaceful sea fishing. They also said the beach is clean and the trails are great to explore.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Myrtle BeachZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Located in the Broadway at the Beach complex, Ripley's Aquarium is a popular stop for families who need a break from the beach. The most noteworthy exhibit here is Dangerous Reef, a huge 340-foot underwater tunnel where you can walk surrounded by sharks, tarpons and green moray eels. Finish your tour of the aquarium in the interactive Discovery Center exhibit, where touch pools house creatures like puffer fish and horseshoe crabs.
The aquarium also offers unique experiences like behind-the-scenes tours, sleepover parties and a swim with stingrays experience (for an additional fee). Recent visitors to the aquarium said it's an ideal place to spend the day when weather conditions make going to the beach difficult. But travelers do warn that you'll face more crowds on rainy days.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Myrtle BeachGolfTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDGolfTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Myrtle Beach is often touted as the golf capital of the world – with good cause. For a relatively small area, it boasts a large number of golf courses – more than 80, in fact. What's more, courses designed by the big names in the industry, such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Robert Trent Jones and Greg Norman, can all be found here.
At the Barefoot Resort & Golf property, four courses await visitors, including the Pete Dye course, where golfers can tackle one of the most challenging courses in Myrtle Beach. Recent players reported that it is definitely difficult, but worth the demanding play required. Meanwhile, the property's Greg Norman course features seven holes along the Intracoastal Waterway.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Myrtle BeachHiking, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
A peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the hectic main beaches, Huntington Beach State Park features a private 3-mile beach, hiking and bike trails, picnic areas, a nature center, and campgrounds. In addition, the Moorish-style Atalaya Castle is located here and offers a fascinating look into the lives of Archer Milton Huntington, a railroad tycoon, and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, during the mid-20th century. The Huntington family also founded nearby Brookgreen Gardens.
Fishing off the jetty and off the beach is another popular activity, as is bird-watching – a particular highlight for past visitors. Others also recommend visiting the castle for its history. The park also offers various nature programs that focus on the area's loggerhead turtles and other endangered plant and animal species.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Myrtle BeachHistoric Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDHistoric Homes/Mansions, Parks and Gardens, Zoos and AquariumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Originally purchased in 1929 by industrialist Archer Milton Huntington and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, to be used as a retreat for Anna to recover from tuberculosis, the couple instead decided to open a public sculpture garden and wildlife sanctuary. Today, it is the oldest and largest sculpture garden in the United States. The 9,100-acre property is also home to the Lowcountry Zoo, an aviary, a cypress swamp, nature trails, an education center and a butterfly house, offering plenty of things to see and do for the whole family. What's more, the sculpture garden boasts more than 550 works of figurative American sculptures by famous artists, such as Daniel Chester French, artfully placed in and around gardens. Plus, a variety of events, from concerts to guided tours, are offered regularly.
Recent travelers said it's a must-visit sight and praise its peaceful setting, beautiful grounds and variety of things to do.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Myrtle BeachEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Before hitting it big, the country music band Alabama performed one of its most famous early shows at a venue in Myrtle Beach. In 1993, the band returned to the city where it got its start and opened the 2,000-seat Alabama Theatre in the Barefoot Landing shopping complex. The theater attracts well-known artists, including Three Dog Night and the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
On nights when there is not a special guest performer, the theater offers performances of "ONE: The Show," a variety show that includes comedy, country, gospel and rock music, among other genres. The Alabama Theatre's Christmas show is the most popular event: It runs from early November to late December. With the exception of the Christmas show, the theater tends to cater to older travelers, according to reviewers. Ticket costs depend on the show, but recent visitors said the shows are worth every penny. Check the theater's specials and discounts section on its website before you go.
- #10View all Photos#10 in Myrtle BeachEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Since the Carolina Opry opened in 1986, it has remained one of the main facilities in Myrtle Beach for live music, with shows ranging from country to show tunes to gospel. If you know you're going to be around during the Christmas season, try to score tickets to the venue's Christmas special. It's one of the Opry's most popular programs and it's been known to sell out by the summer. Recent visitors said they were not disappointed by the performances and many said they were Broadway-quality at a fraction of the cost.
Located just north of all the action on the Myrtle Beach strip, you'll find the Carolina Opry on North Kings Highway next to Dolly Parton's Pirates Voyage. Tickets prices vary, depending on the show. Kids ages 16 and younger and students can take advantage of discounts. Check its website for upcoming shows and ticket prices.
- #11View all Photos#11 in Myrtle BeachAmusement ParksTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDAmusement ParksTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Formerly known as the NASCAR Speedpark, the Broadway Grand Prix offers seven different go-kart tracks for families looking for a little speed and competition. Tracks range from the Grand Prix Pro Track, where karts go up to 20 mph, to a track specially designed for kids.
The park also features two race car-themed mini-golf courses, an arcade, a rock climbing wall and a sky coaster as well as a kids zone with seven rides for the littlest family members. After working up an appetite, families can grab food from the snack bar. Recent visitors said the park is fun for the whole family and a great activity on non-beach days .
- #12View all Photos#12 in Myrtle BeachAmusement ParksTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDAmusement ParksTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
A must for families who make the yearly visit to Myrtle Beach, the Family Kingdom Amusement Park sits beachside, offering panoramic views of the ocean and the Grand Strand from its Ferris wheel. Spanning 13 acres, the park boasts more than 38 rides, including a roller coaster, go-karts, a carousel and rides specifically designed for small children. Among the park's star attractions are its Ferris wheel, which was the highest in the state until 2011, and its water park, which includes water slides and a lazy river. Parents say it's suitable for family members of all ages, plus the park is relatively budget-friendly.
Entrance to the park is free, but if you want to take a spin on any of its rides, you'll have to buy tickets for each ride or purchase a wristband. Individual ride tickets cost $1.15 (plus tax); all-day unlimited ride wristbands cost $28.95 for adults and children. For $10 more, you can also add on all-day access to the water park. The park also offers day passes to its water park, which cost $19.95 for adults and kids. On-site parking is available for $7 per vehicle. Generally, the park is open from late March to early October. Hours vary, so check the park's website or call ahead before visiting.
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