If you’re looking for a vacation with no shortage of activities to keep the whole family busy that also won’t break the bank, consider Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. From miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches to entertaining shows and attractions, the Grand Strand is affordable and tons of fun. Here are 33 of our picks for the top things to do in Myrtle Beach.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach offers visitors 8,500 aquatic animals representing more than 75 different species. Be sure to check out the new, state of the art, Pearl Harbor history and marine life exhibit. Both educational and entertaining marine science exhibits for the whole family. It’s a fantastic day for hot, cold or rainy days. Myrtle Beach is more than just sand and sun!
Wow your friends and family with a spin on SkyWheel Myrtle Beach. This luxury experience is located on the Boardwalk in the heart of Myrtle Beach. Hang out in a private gondola ride that soars 187 feet up in the air. You won’t forget this experience!
You don’t have to leave Myrtle Beach to experience the glamour of Hollywood. The Hollywood Wax Museum Myrtle Beach gives visitors some of the best opportunities they may ever have to take photos with their favorite stars. Go ahead and walk the red carpet, sing along with some rock stars, and even put on a wedding dress to “marry” a star!
The Sea Thunder Dolphin Cruise will take you and your family along the scenic Atlantic coastline for a 90 minute ride! Hop on board and have an incredible experience out on the water. You will learn about the Intracoastal Waterway as well as local marine wildlife. Take an afternoon cruising the along the beautiful jetties and beaches of Myrtle Beach!
Myrtle Beach SkyWheel
Located in the heart of the boardwalk, the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel gives you a bird’s eye view of the Grand Strand from enclosed gondolas. It is the highest observation point of the Atlantic Ocean in North America and the East Coast’s only 200-foot ferris wheel. Even if you don’t ride, you can still enjoy the impressive nightly LED light show on the wheel. DISCOUNT TICKETS!!
Our family loved the Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. Visitor can walk through a tunnel as fish, sharks, turtles and more swim above, get hands on with stingrays (who knew you could touch stingrays without being stung?!) and even ride a glass bottom boat in the shark tank. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
Cool Off at a Water Park
Myrtle Beach has the perfect temperature each summer to cool off in a water park: hot! Choose from many options, including Splashes Oceanfront Water Park, the only oceanfront water park in the area, and Myrtle Waves Water Park, the largest in South Carolina, to get your fill of slides, lazy rivers and kiddie pools. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
Pavillion Park Rides
Pavilion Park on Broadway at the Beach, one of the top amusement parks in South Carolina. Parking is free, and you can spend all day here with a wristband. Ride the coaster, the Ferris wheel, and all the rides! DISCOUNT TICKETS!
Broadway Grand Prix
Hang at Your Hotel
Many Myrtle Beach hotels are amusements in themselves with many offering on-site water parks, pools and lazy rivers. At the Crown Reef Beach Resort & Waterpark, you’ll find three water slides, including the world’s first hotel “explosion” slide, the longest oceanfront lazy river in Myrtle Beach and 11 indoor and outdoor jacuzzis. Other properties like Captain’s Quarters Resort come with their very own 20-lane bowling alley plus a full water park.
Meet Celebrities in Wax
See what it’s like to stand next to some of your favorite movie stars, athletes and singers at the Hollywood Wax Museum at Broadway at the Beach, a large Myrtle Beach entertainment complex. You’ll get a real sense of their size and what they look like in 3-D by strolling past their wax renderings. DISCOUNT TICKETS!!
Race and Splash
Wild Water & Wheels Adventure Park is a 16-acre waterpark with slides, rides, putt-putt golf, and go-kart racing! If you upgrade your wristband, you can tack on go-kart tracks, bumper boats, and putt-putt golf! Get your discount ticket here and avoid the long lines, too. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
See Your Reflection
Get Up Close With Alligators
When in South Carolina, you must learn about alligators, as these ancient creatures are attracted to the area and are frequently seen lounging on golf courses. At Alligator Adventure, which is right next to Barefoot Landing, you can see hundreds of these reptiles safely up close, as well as many other species of reptiles and even a bird exhibit. Watch them feed, a show in and of itself, and learn all about these interesting creatures.
Family Kingdom Amusement Park
Myrtle Beach’s very own beachfront Family Kingdom Amusement Park offers daylong fun with roller coasters, bumper cars, tons of arcade games, thrill rides like the Sling Shot free fall and classic like the Scrambler ride -- all with an ocean view.
Play Lots of Mini-Golf
Myrtle Beach is known as the “Mini-Golf Capital of the World” thanks to 50 area miniature golf courses. Just think, you could play a different course almost every week for a year! And, of course, the best part of miniature golf is always the theme. Choose from dragons, safaris, Hawaii, dinosaurs, jungles, and, of course, pirates to try hitting a hole in one.
Take a Wildlife Safari
A safari in Myrtle Beach, you say? Indeed! Head to T.I.G.E.R.S. Myrtle Beach Safari at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, which is a 50-acre wildlife preserve home to more than 130 endangered animals from big cats to elephants to a “liger” (the world’s biggest cat), where you can interact with these amazing animals.
Walk the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade
A classic Myrtle Beach experience, walking the just over a mile-long boardwalk is a great activity for families and one of the area’s top attractions. Beach activities from sunning and swimming to volleyball and surfing run alongside, as well as a variety of restaurants, arcades and stores, giving you the true flavor of the Grand Strand. Not only can you burn a few calories, but the people-watching is excellent. The boardwalk runs from 14th Avenue Pier to the 2nd Avenue Pier.
Take a Dolphin Cruise
Dolphins love to frolic off the the coast of the Carolinas, and Myrtle Beach offers several area dolphin tours to get even closer to these mammals. You can hop on a jet ski, kayak or take a boat tour in search of these curious animals.
- Sea Thunder is one of the more popular family dolphin cruises, at just under 2 hours. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
- The Hurricane II is a larger boat for your dolphin cruise, and likes to linger near the shrimp boats to attract the dolphins. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
- Sea Screamer is the way to see dolphin if you're looking for speedy boat rides! Guaranteed dolphin sightings. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
- Myrtle Beach Watersports will take you out on a jet ski to see the dolphins. You can fit up to 3 people on a jet ski, and your ride includes a stop at a private island. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
Reel in a Big One
Whether you enjoy in-shore fishing or want to head out into the deep to fish for shark, tuna or sailfish, Myrtle Beach is rich in sea life. Fish right off ocean piers or in tidal creeks or take a fishing charter where experts will lead you to the best areas for the biggest haul.
Little River Fleet will take you out for a half day on their 90 ft fishing boat. Catch black sea bass, blues, flounder, sharks, ladyfish and more. And no worries - bait, gear and your license are included. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
If you've got a handle on things, and know where the fish are...or you just want to go looking for them, take a skiff out from Crazy Sister Marina. It's hold up to 6 people, and it's the perfect way to explore Murrells Inlet. Full and half-day rentals available. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
Fly High While Parasailing
300 feet above the water is the perfect way to see the beaches and maybe spot some marine life in the water! Myrtle Beach Parasailing Adventure lets you up with up to three people at a time. Don't be scared! It's so peaceful and calm, you won't want to come down. DISCOUNT TICKETS!
Lounge the Day Away on a Pontoon Boat
Pontoon boats are so much fun, great for all ages, and a wonderful way to explore from the water. Myrtle Beach Watersports offers great boats for up to 12 people with Bluetooth stereo. Half or full day options. DISCOUNTS AVAILABLE!
Just south of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet is Brookgreen Gardens, a 9000-acre garden and National Historic Landmark. Stroll through seemingly endless live oak trees with hanging moss, a sculpture garden with more than 2000 art works and a native wildlife zoo of animals, including those that once lived on 18th- and 19th-century area plantations.
Visit a State Park
There are two beautiful state parks in the Myrtle Beach area, including Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park. Each beach park offers peaceful, natural coastline with surf fishing, nature trails and campgrounds and plenty of space where you can walk the beach. Myrtle Beach State Park is home to Myrtle Beach Pier, as well as cabins built in the 1930s that you can rent.
At Huntington Beach State Park, don’t miss Atalaya Castle, the former home of the philanthropist who preserved the park and nearby Brookgreen Gardens, which turns into a Halloween attraction every fall. Admission to the home is an additional $2 per person for ages 6 and older.
Kayaking is a great way to explore the many waterways around the Grand Strand. Kayaks not only let you burn calories -- and build arm muscles -- but give you an intimate look at your surroundings. Many Myrtle Beach watersports companies like Island Adventure Watersports rent kayaks by the hour or day, which you can take out on the ocean or the Intracoastal waterways with its marsh grass and abundant wildlife.
Le Grande Cirque
Catch Dolly's Pirate Show
The latest from Dolly Parton, who has created top shows like Dixie Stampede, is Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show. The show follows Blackbeard, a pirate who once sailed the seas off South Carolina, with many special effects, full-sized pirate ships, a 15-foot deep pool and actors performing acrobatics all while you eat a four-course meal.
Enjoy a MoTown Tribute Extravaganza
The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross...they made music great! Head to a super MoTown Tribute Show at the GTS Theatre! These impersonators will make you swear you've gone back in time, listening to MoTown's best. Plan well, this sells out fast. DISCOUNT TICKETS!!
Do the Shag
Did you know that the state dance of South Carolina is the shag and that the 1989 movie “Shag” took place in Myrtle Beach? Get a lesson in the Carolina shag at Fat Harold’s Beach Club, which is also one of the hosts of the National Shag Dance Competition, every Monday night.
Wonders! A Magical Experience
Franklin G. Burroughs - Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum
The only art museum in Myrtle Beach, the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum features works in a variety of media, including sculpture, ceramics, video, paintings, photography and more. Free to visit, the museum has 11 galleries whose displays rotate throughout the year.
Wheels of Yesteryear Museum
Love classic cars? You’ll be in hog heaven at the Wheels of Yesteryear Museum, which showcases one couple’s collection of more than 100 cars, as well as the car from the movie, “Joe Dirt,” which is currently on loan. On display are 50 vintage muscle cars, including a Corvette Stingray, Mercury Cyclone and Buick Wildcat convertible.
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After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.