Most folks know that Myrtle Beach is a great place to practice your golf swing on one of the destination's premier golf courses, but you might be surprised to find out that this Southern coastal city in South Carolina has plenty of healthy activities to offer — for a better value than you’d find at other beach destinations.
Whether you prefer walking through gardens, one-on-one surfing lessons, or treating yourself to a massage that won’t break the bank, there’s something for every type of wellness enthusiast in Myrtle Beach.
Sea Adventure Activities
Paddle through Pawley’s Island while learning about local wildlife with eco-kayak tour operator Black River Outdoors. The company offers a two-hour fitness and culture Salt Marsh Tour, a Cypress Swamp Tour, and an evening Georgetown Harbor Tour for $40 per person, where you’ll learn about this historic town from Native American occupation through the Civil War and today. Compare that to pricing of a three-hour salt marsh tour in Savannah, Georgia, which can cost an upwards of $180 for two people. You can also take surfing lessons at Kokopelli Surf Camp, which start at $45 for a one-and-a-hour private lesson — a great deal compared to a San Diego private lesson for $90 per person for the same amount of time. Work upper body and core muscles when you go out for a stand-up paddle boarding tour with Myrtle Beach Paddle Board and Kayak Adventures (starting at $45 for four hours), compared to a two-hour rental in nearby Charleston, starting at $35.
Swing through the trees at the Go Ape Adventure in North Myrtle Beach (approximately $59 per person for a two- to three-hour adventure). Here, you’ll work on balance, agility, flexibility, and upper body strength while exploring the trees through dangling obstacles and swinging down multiple zip-lines in the forest canopy. Going down just one zip-line at Camelback Mountain in Pennsylvania will cost $15 per person.
Rent road bikes and cruisers to coast along the beach at Myrtle Beach Bicycle Rentals-n-Tours for an affordable $25 per day or $50 to $65 for one week. The staff will deliver the bikes to wherever you’re staying and pick them up when you’re done. Compare that to Long Beach, California, where bike rentals cost, at minimum, $12 per hour (or $25 for a half-day). Build up lower body strength and endurance and mountain bike — or hike — the seven miles of challenging paths at Horry County Bike & Run Park (free).
Scenic Walking and Hiking
There are plenty of places to explore in Myrtle Beach to aim for that 10,000 daily steps goal, but Brookgreen Gardens is a must-visit. And, for $18 per adult, you'll receive a seven-day pass to the 9,100-acre property, which features scenic walking paths, a zoo, beautiful sculptures, a labyrinth, and seasonal activities. Across the street from Brookgreen Gardens is Huntington Beach ($8 per adult); the park spans about three miles of greenery and has two hiking trails: Sandpiper Pond Trail (two miles) or Kerrigan Trail (.25 miles). Be on the lookout for wildlife throughout the paths and around the lagoon. Bonus: Consider visiting the historic, on-site Atalaya house.
There’s no excuse to lose your flexibility while on vacation. Take a drop-in class at Om Yoga Myrtle Beach for $15 (or $20 at Shanti Yoga), which is a better deal than drop-in classes at many Miami yoga studios that average around $30 or higher.
Check out Myrtle Beach spas for indoor or outdoor services. Treat your feet and opt for a pedicure (from $40) at The Cinzia Spa at North Beach, which has a beautiful outdoor sanctuary and a Turkish hammam (a steamy room that’s great for circulation and muscle relaxation) that you can relax in for hours. Another option is the Hibiscus Spa at the Marriott Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, which is open to the public and offers a full spa menu of services. A 50-minute couples' massage costs $250, while the same service at a high-end hotel and spa in Miami (like the Eden Roc Miami Beach, for example) could cost over $350. If you’re staying in the Pawley’s Island area, consider Spa Sera for relaxing — and affordable — treatments (60-minute massages from $90).
Sip Local Wines
The La Belle Amie vineyard in Little River is a great value for oenophiles. The winery offers tastings year-round for as $7 per person for six wines of your choice. Meanwhile, at Robert Mondavi in Napa Valley, California, tastings can cost up to $50, depending on the wines you select.
Where to Eat
Sure, there are plenty of fried fish, hush puppies, and indulgent Southern delicacies on menus in the Myrtle Beach area, but restaurants are wising up to offering healthier menu items as well. The Murrells Inlet Marshwalk is a waterfront-dining boardwalk that has a ton of restaurants featuring fresh seafood and live music nearly every night. We recommend heading to the Dead Dog Saloon for seafood dishes like seared blue crab nachos, grilled salmon salad, shrimp and grits, or tuna ceviche tacos (around $15 per entrée). Come happy hour, visit The Wicked Tuna for discounted sushi (from $4 per roll), drinks (wine, liquor, and beer), and appetizers (think sliders, mozzarella sticks, and edamame). If you're looking for something a bit more formal, consider reserving a table at Parson’s Table, which is housed in a former church. This Little River specializes in crafting delicious dishes from local ingredients; menu staples included fried green tomatoes and a broiled seafood platter.