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Gone are the days of crazy Spring Breaks in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand. These days, you’ll find much more catered to family and multi-generational travelers. And contrary to popular belief, there is plenty to do year-round, not just in the spring and summer. Shoulder and low season are when you’ll find the best deals on places to stay and fewer crowds at restaurants and attractions. I recommend taking advantage of the Vacation Myrtle Beach discount card, which rewards those that stay with their properties with discounts at restaurants, shops, and attractions. You’ll also find coupon books at all the visitor’s centers with their own deals.
When it comes to staying with your family, you can take advantage of the hotels with suites for maximum space. Hampton Inn & Suites Myrtle Beach/Oceanfront is one of the only waterfront properties belonging to the chain. Condos are another option for full kitchens and plenty of space, which you can find on FlipKey. Camping is another option at local campgrounds and state parks, which also have cabins.
Museums and Attractions
There is no shortage of attractions to keep your family of all ages entertained. During the summer months, you’ll find plenty of water-based activities, like days at the beach or visits to the many water parks. But for the rest of the year, here are just a few of the attractions you’ll want to check out.
- Alligator Adventure– Just as it sounds, this Barefoot Landing attraction has exhibits on both alligators, their relatives like crocodiles and caimans, and additional displays on birds and other creatures.
- SkyWheel– You’ll find the best views around on this massive waterfront Ferris wheel with air-conditioned pods. The ride includes multiple rotations, so the kids can take turns sitting in the front or back. Get discounted tickets here.
- Ripley’s Aquarium Myrtle Beach– Just one of the many Ripley’s attractions in town, including the Mirror Maze, Moving Theater, and Odditorium, this is perhaps the most popular. While smaller than other regional aquariums, it’s a nice indoor activity for those rare rainy days. Get your tickets here.
- WonderWorks Myrtle Beach– Located next door at Broadway at the Beach, WonderWorks is another inside attraction that features rides and interactive exhibits for kids. Get your discounted tickets here.
- Horry County Museum– Well worth the drive out to Conway, this regional museum talks about what life was like in the area before European settlement and what has changed over the years.
- Hollywood Wax Museum– Get up close with your favorite stars! This wax museum features celebrity likenesses for you to pose for photos with. Get your Hollywood Wax Museum Admission – Myrtle Beach before you go.
Parks and Gardens
You won’t find as many city parks and walking paths because of the beach location, but there are some places for your and your kids to get into the great outdoors.
- Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade– Take the family for a long walk on the boardwalk, which covers much of the long stretch of beach.
- Huntington Beach State Park– One of the area’s best beaches is within this state park, which also has camping. There’s WiFi throughout, as well as trails to the Atalaya ruins.
- Myrtle Beach State Park– The second of two of the area’s state parks, many of the same amenities are also offered here. Also, enjoy bike trails and a fishing pier.
- Brookgreen Gardens– It’s easy to spend the entire day here, wandering the sculpture gardens and their onsite zoo.
Almost all restaurants in Myrtle Beach cater to families in one way or another, but here are a few that provide good value and options for picky eaters.
- River City Cafe– With locations all over town, the kids will enjoy bites like popcorn shrimp and burgers and you don’t have to worry about them scribbling on the wall.
- Sticky Fingers– This local chain offers tasty barbecue with a variety of sauces. Ribs are a favorite choice, but you can also get burgers and sandwiches.
- Sam’s Corner II– Who doesn’t love hot dogs? Sam’s Corner used to have multiple locations, but this strip mall establishment is only one of two that’s left. It’s open 24 hours, perfect for a late night arrival.
- Nacho Hippo– Funky tacos, quesadillas, and nachos are the specialties at this Mexican eatery. Toppings include items like pulled pork, fried shrimp and vegetables.
- Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery– You’ll find plenty of breakfast and pancake restaurants in town, but Johnny D’s is well located near the Boardwalk. A hearty breakfast will start your day off right.
- Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant– The little ones may not need a full seafood buffet so there’s the a la carte menu and children’s menu. Steak is also offered if you don’t want seafood.
- Ultimate California Pizza– Sometimes all you want is a slice and Ultimate offers just that. They have six locations around town for dine in, pick up, or delivery.
Not everything is a standard attraction, but instead offers different activities for every interest. There are many more than what’s listed, including fireworks and rides at Broadway at the Beach, but here’s a start.
- Fun Plaza– Bring as many quarters as you can find for this old-school arcade. Enjoy Skee ball and other games as well as video games.
- Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Myrtle Beach– Dress up in costumes for a nightly feast and jousting at Medieval Times.
- Myrtle Beach Pelicans– Catch a minor league baseball game with Myrtle Beach’s Chicago Cubs affiliate team.
- Dolphin Cruise– A number of companies operate sightseeing boat trips from various marinas around town, but many leave from Murrells Inlet. Shop around for prices before you go.
- Mini golf– Every corner has its own mini golf course, each with a different theme, but my favorite is Mt. Atlanticus Miniature Golf.
- Myrtle Beach Zipline Adventures– Located right next to the boardwalk, you can zip from tower to tower with views of the beach. There are also other zip line companies, but most are either inside (like the one at WonderWorks) or outside of town (closer to the North Carolina border). Ropes courses are another option.
- Guided Myrtle Beach Kayak Tour– Book a kayaking tour of the Waccamaw or Black rivers, both of which operate.
- Pirates Voyage– Older kids will enjoy this thrilling performance and dinner experience.
- Theme parks– Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Splashes and Myrtle Waves Water Park operate seasonally, featuring rides and water attractions.
- Escape games– The newest trend has reached Myrtle Beach with two experiences: Break Out Myrtle Beach and America’s Escape Game.
There’s never a shortage of events going on in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand, no matter what time of year you visit!
- Nights of a Thousand Candles– A favorite holiday tradition sees Brookgreen Gardens covered in light strands and hand-lit candles. There’s also a Christmas tree lighting, performances, and food.
- Carolina Country Music Fest– This summer music festival brings in top-name country music acts but has activities for all ages.
- Fourth of July– The fireworks displays are enough of a reason to brave the crowds on Independence Day.
Visit Myrtle Beach hosted my most recent stay, which helped me gather information for this guide.