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Just about the only thing needed to enjoy a family vacation at Myrtle Beach is a swimsuit and a bottle of sunscreen. Why? Because Myrtle Beach is a coastal vacation that caters to any and every kind of longing under the sun.
Want to hit up an amusement park on the beach? Cool! Myrtle Beach has multiple. Want to spend the day shopping at unique boutiques? Awesome! Myrtle Beach has more than could possibly be shopped in one vacation. Tired of the bustle and longing for some time in nature? They’ve got it. Myrtle Beach answers with 60 miles of beaches, multiple gardens, and two state parks.
There is something for kids of all ages. The whole family is guaranteed a great time!
And Myrtle Beach is so low-key you can do any of the above in a swimsuit. Well, most of the above. Maybe bring shorts, just in case.
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Myrtle Beach in South Carolina is within driving distance of historical Lowcountry destinations like Charleston and Georgetown and is chock-full of family entertainment options. It also happens to be a great place to hit the links as it is known as the Golf Capital of the World.
Whether you are fixin’ for challenging golf courses, drivable access to notable historic sites, or plenty of family-friendly entertainment options, there is no better spot to stay or to find a helluva good shindig than Myrtle Beach.
Here is the ultimate family guide to the very best places for the entire family in and around Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
Located in the heart of Myrtle Beach, this is the place where it all began. Although it didn’t officially open as a boardwalk until 2010, this 1.2-mile oceanfront stretch of land that runs from 2nd Avenue North to 14th Avenue North has been used in a similar way since the early 20th century. The boardwalk has become an iconic landmark hosting a variety of events.
Just like London, Myrtle Beach has its own skywheel with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. Skywheel Myrtle Beach is an enjoyable way to see everything that makes the Myrtle Beach area special from a unique point of view.
The Gay Dolphin Cove, one of the nation’s largest and oldest beach gift shops, is a joy to explore. Any kind of trinket you might expect to find at a beach gift shop and more makes this quirky place its home.
Pier 14 is a historic pier and a famous seafood restaurant that is always hopping. After dinner, the adults love to take a glass of wine to the end of the pier and watch the fishermen.
Only a ten-minute walk from the boardwalk is Myrtle Waves Water Park. Largely regarded as one of the top waterparks in the nation, it has it all tube slides, water slides, a wave pool, and splash pads. To drive off, hop on over to Family Kingdom Amusement Park.
Where to Stay Near The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
An affordable, family-friendly place to stay is the Holiday Inn at The Pavilion. Every room has an ocean view. The kids will love the pool and outdoor lazy river. The best part about this hotel? It is right in the middle of all the action. Just steps away from excellent entertainment and restaurants.
There is always something happening at Barefoot Landing, whether it’s a holiday, art fair, or an outdoor concert, so it is a safe bet to make it the hub for family fun. A popular shopping, dining, and entertainment complex in North Myrtle Beach, Barefoot Landing is the perfect place to spend a day.
One of the very best things about Barefoot Landing is the variety of entertainment options. The Alabama Theatre and The House of Blues are two major venues that deserve all the attention they get. Both of these locations guarantee a whole lotta southern-style food and good ol’ fashioned entertainment. Make sure to wear loose britches.
Older kids will love LuLu’s, a beach arcade with a fun assortment of arcade games to keep them entertained for hours. There is even a ropes course. Dad and Mom can grab a beer at the bar next door, find a comfy seat, and watch the boats come and go knowing the kids are next door having the time of their lives.
Another must-visit is the Crooked Hammock Brewery, where parents can savor craft beer (try the Myrtle Peach!) while the kids revel in the fun things to do in the backyard-style fun area, complete with hammocks and games. The bar is a whimsical place where adults can sit on a swing instead of a bar stool and enjoy live music.
Where to Stay Near Barefoot Landing
North Beach Resort & Villas is known for its oceanfront location and water amenities like pools, lazy rivers, and a kids’ waterplay area. It’s a great option for families looking for a beachfront experience while still being close to great shopping and dining options.
Embassy Suites by Hilton towers over any other choice. Every suite features two rooms with a pull-out sofa and a kitchenette.
The best part? Exclusive access to Currents Seaside Entertainment.
At Currents, a cabana rental is a must. Each cabana comes with an overflowing fruit basket, cold waters, and a friendly attendant. It is the perfect central location from which to view the twisting water slides and massive waterpark built with little ones in mind.
Broadway at the Beach
Broadway at the Beach is an enormous entertainment complex that offers weekly fireworks shows and plenty of unique entertainment options and restaurants to satisfy every kind of kid.
Broadway 360 Wheel
There are over twenty amusement rides in three different parks here, but the giant Ferris wheel known as the Broadway 360 Wheel takes center stage.
The Broadway 360 Wheel is located within Pavillion Park – a sweet boardwalk-style theme park offering nostalgia rides such as a merry-go-round, kiddie train, and tea-cups.
Myrtle Beach has a little something for everyone. Check out our favorite spots on the Grandstand.
Love a good scare? There is an Action Park within Pavillion Park that thrills with rollercoasters aptly named The Beast and Cliffhanger. In this case, the names suit the rides perfectly and will satiate the full spectrum of a thrill seeker’s palate.
Broadway Grand Prix
The Broadway Grand Prix is another great spot for adrenaline junkies. With seven go-kart tracks, two mini-golf courses, and an indoor arcade, a thrilling adventure is guaranteed.
WonderWorks, also known as an “amusement park for the mind,” has over 100 interactive exhibits filling 41,000 square feet.
The family will do a double-take when pulling up because the building is standing on its head! Literally. This is a little peek into the kind of magic offered inside. It is also the perfect way to spend rainy days.
Ripley’s Aquarium is probably the most entertaining aquarium on the planet. You can ride in a glass-bottom boat and have 1-1 encounters with penguins, sloth, and stingrays. After spending the day in the Atlantic Ocean dodging jellyfish, a must-see is Planet Jelly. Thousands of jellies call this place home, and they are quite beautiful when they are tucked safely in a glass tank. Had Dory ended up here, she might never have wanted to leave.
Inside, visitors can defy gravity in the Inversion Tunnel, navigate the indoor ropes challenge course, or lay down on a bed of 3,500 nails in one of the many “edutainment” exhibits.
Myrtle Beach State Park
When, and if, the family begins to yearn for a more natural setting, Myrtle Beach State Park is only a short 15-minute drive away. The fishing pier is a good place to spend the afternoon. The Pier Store rents fishing equipment and it is open from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Where to Stay Near Broadway At The Beach
Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort is near Broadway at the Beach. Some of the best amenities are the seven water features, including indoor and outdoor pools, a splash pad, and two lazy rivers. Plus, every single room has an ocean view.
The Breakers Resort is another great and affordable choice for families. Oceanfront with an indoor waterpark that includes a lazy river. There is also a Starbucks and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop within the resort.
Like a scene out of The Notebook, Murrell’s Inlet welcomes visitors with romantic Spanish moss dangling from live oaks that cradle this special place which is a nice respite from all of the go-go-go of Central Myrtle Beach.
Known as the Seafood Capital of South Carolina, one can find a meal so good it’ll make ya want to slap yo’ mama. There are seven famous seafood restaurants along the Marsh Walk, a destination in its own right. The walk spans the saltwater marsh and provides visitors with daily entertainment.
The Gullah culture upholds the African traditions of the enslaved people who once lived in the region; it is honored here. Brookgreen Gardens has created an audio tour that is unmatched and an absolute must to understand the tapestry that makes up this Lowcountry site.
Where to Stay Near Murrells Inlet
The Inlet Sports Lodge is a highfalutin, luxury family resort located in the heart of Murrells Inlet. Within walking distance to restaurants and attractions, this cozy resort on a lush golf course opens doors to the kind of rest and relaxation that can only be found in the Lowcountry. Everything moves slowly here, and that is the beauty of it.
Where to Eat in Myrtle Beach
All of this activity can work up an appetite.
For southern-style cooking, mosey on over to Paul Dean’s Kitchen. It’s family style because that’s how they do it in the south, with bottomless dishes of the best fried chicken and buttery biscuits this side of the Smokies.
Craving good ol’ fashioned barbecue? Check out Sweet Carolinas. They are known for their mouth-watering Baby Back Ribs and tasty fried green tomatoes. It doesn’t get much more Southern than that, y’all!
At Pirate’s Voyage, dining meets spectacle. Developed by the Dolly Parton Company, this dinner show promises the only kind of entertainment that could possibly take your attention away from the mouthwatering fare. The interior of the restaurant/theater looks and feels like a pirate ship; the amazing staff treats kids as if they really are part of the pirate crew. Upon arrival, each family is assigned a role to play – Crimson or Sapphire Pirate. During the show, the Crimson battles the Sapphire for lost treasure.
With daring acrobatics, adorably entertaining live animals, and a four-course feast, it’s a swashbuckling experience that will create lifelong memories.
Want the same kind of dining experience, except with horses? Check out Medieval Times.
Finally, for what is largely considered the best seafood restaurant in South Carolina, check out Lee’s Inlet Kitchen. Since 1948 the Lee family has been perfecting the menu and atmosphere. The quiet, simple ambiance is the perfect backdrop for the magnificent platters of fresh seafood.
When You Go
It’s a straight shoot all the way across the USA. There are two options – a 37-hour drive (not recommended for parents with small children) or a 5-hour flight. There is one airport in Myrtle Beach, which is centrally located, and only a short drive, under 30 minutes, to any of the locations mentioned in this guide.
An excellent discount site for flights (and cars, hotels) is Expedia! This is where we start our research for the best deals!
If you’d like to be in the know for exclusive discounts to fly anywhere in the world, check out Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights). Their website shows current deals, and they send emails when they find crazy cheap discounts. Some can even be booked with points.
I recommend renting a car, especially if you plan on visiting nearby historical destinations. Our favorite kind of car to rent in Myrtle Beach is a convertible. The streets are bustling in the evenings along the Grand Strand. In a convertible, it feels like you are a part of it all. There are also so many Uber and Lyft drivers. In the past, we have just used Uber to get around Myrtle Beach, and we never had a wait time of more than 5 minutes.
Myrtle Beach’s unique combination of stunning beaches, family-friendly activities, and cultural and historical opportunities makes for a lifetime of memories. That slow southern drawl mirrors the southern way of living, and that equals a relaxing way to vacation.
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