Bustling, energetic, and fronted by a golden beach that stretches for 60 miles, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina has it all: fun activities both on and off the beach, a long season that runs from March through October, and easy access from all over the US. Here’s how to enjoy it.
Hit the Boardwalk
How do you make a perfect beach even better? Add a boardwalk — but not just any boardwalk. Less than ten years old, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade brings together so many things we love: ice cream parlors, old-school arcades, casual indoor/outdoor cafes, and free summer concerts. For a bird’s-eye view, take a spin on the SkyWheel, which soars 200 feet above the scene. Just behind the boardwalk, thrill seekers will find happiness flying over the strip, screaming at the spooky residents of a haunted house, or plunging toward the earth from a human slingshot.
Explore the Natural World
Just three miles from downtown Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach State Park is a world away. Here, nature trails meander through a shady maritime forest, wood ducks bob in the calm water of the park’s pond, and the tallest things near the beach are the decades-old magnolia, pine, and live oak trees in the nearby woods. You can visit for the day — the beach is blissfully quiet during the week — or stay overnight in a cabin near the beach or at one of the RV or tent campsites in the park. Either way, there’s plenty to do, like fishing off the pier for flounder and feisty king mackerel, going on a scavenger hunt, or participating in a ranger-led beach walk in search of nesting sea turtles.
Zoom Over the Water — Without Ever Leaving the Beach
At Myrtle Beach, renting a Jet Ski, plowing through the waves on a Banana Boat ride, parasailing through the sky, or getting your toes on the nose of a surfboard couldn’t be easier: just stroll over to one of the many beachfront rental stands and you’ll be good to go. You can also rent sailboats, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and boogie boards — all directly from the beach. And if you’d rather leave the driving — or the guiding — to professionals who know where to go to spot dolphins, sea turtles, and jellies, you can also book a guided excursion aboard a boat or Jet-Ski.
Scream Your Heart Out
No beach vacation is complete without a trip to the amusement park; at Family Kingdom in Myrtle Beach, you can ride rides all day long without ever leaving the beach. Traditionalists will adore the old-school log flume, a circa 1963 roller coaster, and the cotton-candy pink Tilt-A-Whirl. Adrenaline junkies will get their fix aboard the Sling Shot, which drops 100 feet in seconds, and the Yo-Yo, which will spin them to happiness. There are also bumper boats, go-karts, a carousel, and other kiddie rides. Or, head to Splashes, a beachfront water park filled with speed slides, water flumes and, of course, a lazy river.
Shop, Eat and Play
Ready to put your shoes back on? Less than two miles from the shoreline, Broadway at the Beach is a massive outdoor entertainment complex where you can take in live shows — from comedians to dueling pianos, outdoor concerts and full-on stage productions — catch a movie, grab a meal at one of more than three dozen eateries, take a speedboat ride or ride the zipline across the mile-long lake, browse at 150 shops and kiosks, visit an aquarium, get lost in a mirror maze, work your way out of an escape room, or play a round of mini-golf. But don’t leave early: most nights end with a dazzling fireworks display.