Sometimes, it takes more than sun, sea, and sand for a beach destination to make it to the top of your bucket list. That’s where Myrtle Beach comes in. Beyond its iconic 60-mile-long stretch of golden beaches, Myrtle Beach is packed with an array of activities that are as diverse as your interests, and that suit every member of your group. Here’s how to enjoy it.
Nostalgic types in search of old-school beach experiences like arcade games, a Ferris wheel, and the boardwalk will find them all in Myrtle Beach. Even better, they’re all updated versions of old favorites. The Sky Wheel that dominates the boardwalk is one of America’s tallest at 187 feet, and has climate-controlled cabins. Fun Plaza rings and dings with pinball machines, Pac-Man, Skee-Ball, and other arcade games.
Great for: the actually young and the young at heart
Want to shop without a time limit? Take your crew to Broadway at the Beach, where non-shoppers can play miniature golf, snap selfies with celebrities at the Hollywood Wax Museum, and visit a water park, leaving the shopper more than enough time to visit the center’s nearly 70 retailers. Or head south to the Hammock Shops Village in Pawleys Island, where kids can bounce on a traditional “joggling board” and eat ice cream under shady live oak trees while you stroll from boutique to boutique.
Great for: friend groups of all ages
For Theater Buffs
It would take more than a month to see all the live performances on stage in Myrtle Beach; most are family friendly, all are wildly entertaining. Pirates Voyage takes “dinner theater” to new heights with daring acrobatics as swashbucklers search the world (and fight off enemies) for lost treasure. Carolina Opry is Myrtle Beach’s original live performance venue; high-energy, well-written variety shows feature top vocalists, dancers, and electronic effects. At Hypno Jimbo, Master Hypnotist Jim Fox proves that hypnosis can, be really, really funny.
Great for: couples, families with older kids and tweens
For Sporty Types
Can’t sit still? Myrtle Beach has you covered. Catch a bit of seaside zen (and hopefully spot a dolphin or two) aboard a paddleboard or kayak. If that feels too laidback, you can learn to ride the waves at one of the surf schools that line the beach. Rather stay on dry land? Choose from cycling on the beach, getting in touch with your inner Tiger Woods at one of Myrtle Beach’s 100 golf courses, or even a round of mini-golf.
Great for: tweens and teens, young couples, anyone active and ready to move
Fly, zoom, slide, and scream your way to adrenaline-fueled bliss aboard Banana Boat rides that careen through the waves at 35 miles per hour. You can also speed around on a Jet Ski, go parasailing, and even don a “jetpack” that lets you hover, dive, and walk over the ocean while being supported by jets of water. Beyond beloved thrills like the Swamp Fox Roller Coaster and log flume, the oceanfront Family Kingdom amusement park is home to the Slingshot, which includes a 100-foot free fall. There’s plenty for thrill-seeking kids, too, including the Tilt-A-Whirl, Scrambler, and Go Kart rides.
Great for: teenagers, young couples and friend groups
For History Buffs
Brookgreen Gardens is more than one of the most significant outdoor sculpture gardens in the country. It’s an art gallery, outdoor history museum, and wildlife preserve, too. Guided tours can lead you through archeological sites and former rice fields, or you can explore on your own via miles of walking trails. Constructed in 1739, the nearby Hopsewee Plantation is surrounded by centuries-old moss-draped oaks, has been completely refurbished, and is open for tours. The former plantation offers classes on making traditional Gullah sweetgrass baskets with an 8th-generation weaver.
Great for: couples and friend groups, families with school-age kids
For Relaxation Divas
Located in Grande Dunes’ Myrtle Beach Marriott, Hibiscus Spa indulges with a full-range of massages and facials as well as specialty treatments like therapeutic Reiki massage and ice cream mani/pedis for kids. Brightening botanicals, purifying extracts, and exotic oils are part of the arsenal at Cinzia Spa at North Beach Plantation; paired with rituals from Fiji, India and other cultures, they’ll leave you feeling renewed and rejuvenated. Beyond top-notch massages and facials, it’s all about the mineral baths at Awakening Spa at Anderson Ocean Club, which give you a head start on relaxation while soothing sore muscles.
Great for: couples, friend groups, teenagers
Sea Captain’s House serves all your favorite low-country specialties — shrimp and grits, crab cakes, she-crab soup — in a clapboard oceanside cottage that dates back to the 1930s. Waiting in line is part of the experience, and worth every minute. Planning one big steak dinner during your vacation? Reserve a table at Thoroughbreds, where the martinis are big and cold, ribeyes and New York strips are grilled to perfection, and you’ll be glad you saved room for the Grand Marnier crème brulee. In addition to their flaky namesake pastries, Croissants Bistro & Bakery serves local favorites like bananas foster French toast, fish tacos, and sandwiches overflowing with pimiento cheese, and fried green tomatoes.
Great for: almost anyone – including the pickiest eaters in your party
For Stylish Sippers
Shot glasses and highballs stand in for test tubes at the Chemist Bar, where molecular gastronomy and local spirits meet modern cocktails. Armed with liquid nitrogen, the bartenders at ART Burger Sushi Bar can transform any drink into a frozen delight. Discover the holy grail of fresh seafood and happy hours at Wicked Tuna in Murrells Inlet: craft beer, creative cocktails, and interesting wines all come with water views and, on most nights, live music.
Great for: grownups in search of a fun night out
There’s plenty to do all across the Myrtle Beach area, also known as The Grand Strand, which encompasses many additional cities, villages, and towns. Established in 1732, the town of Conway is home to the free Horry County Museum. Kids love the giant aquarium (it was featured on Animal Planet’s “Tanked”); you can also check out creepy medical instruments from the turn of the century and dioramas of South Carolina wildlife. Afterwards, grab lunch at Rivertown Bistro and, for dessert, a homemade éclair or cupcake from the Trestle Bakery. Relax and unwind at the area’s oceanfront state parks – Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park. Explore nature trails, go camping, bird watch, or participate in educational and engaging programs offered at each park.
Great for: families, active older travelers who are ready to explore