Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Attractions
Have a blast at Boardwalk at the Beach

Typically very hot in the summer (average high temperatures in the upper 80’s F) and more temperate during the rest of the year, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a four-season destination. The extended area is popularly known as the Grand Strand and stretches from Little River to Pawleys Island, comprising 12 distinct cities, several golf courses, and 60 miles of sandy beaches.  Plenty of kid-friendly attractions have sprung up to amuse beach-goers during their time off the sand. For something more relaxing, check out Marsh Walk, a mile-long wooden boardwalk with beautiful views, plenty of shops, and restaurants with some of the finest Lowcountry cuisine.

Visitors can order a free Myrtle Beach vacation guide by contacting the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (800/356-3016), who provided the photos in this story, or by going online to www.visitmybeach.com. Meanwhile, read on for our favorite attractions.

Great Fun For The Kids

(Toddler to Age 8)

The Children’s Museum of South Carolina
2501 North King’s Highway
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
843/946-9469
This interactive museum features many activities including a children’s ER, play ATM, children’s dental office, the Magic School Bus and bubble mania. “Discover South Carolina” lets kids learn about the states’ natural habitats, animals and plants.  The “Put it into Words” exhibit is a fun way to learn about reading and writing with Alphabet Soup and other creative activities. 

Dixie Stampede
8901-B Highway 17 Business
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
800/433-4401
Enjoy great southern food while witnessing pirates search for treasure along the South Carolina coast.  The new show is called “Pirates Voyage” and it’s a dinner-theater attraction.  This fun, interactive feast features a 5-course dinner, acrobatics, stunts, special effects and musical productions. 

MagiQuest
1185 Celebrity Circle
Broadway At The Beach (see below)
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
843/916-1800
MagiQuest takes participants on a fantastic journey, where they can gain powers, reveal secrets and maybe even gather “Ancient Wisdom.” A perk of this attraction is that each partaker receives their very own magic wand that they can then take to other MagiQuest locations to continue their magical development. This is an adventure the whole family might enjoy. Parents can even challenge their children to a duel!

Family Kingdom Amusement Park
300 South Ocean Boulevard
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
843/626-3447
Family Kingdom is an old-fashioned amusement park with 30 rides, including a wooden roller coaster, plenty of kiddie rides, and the largest Ferris Wheel in South Carolina. It also features Myrtle Beach’s only oceanfront water park (843/916-0400), with big slides and splash pools for kids. Those who remember the beloved Myrtle Beach Pavilion will be sad to learn that it closed in 2007, after 58 years in business, it is however, making a comeback with the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Nostalgia Park at Broadway at the Beach (843/913-9400). Here visitors can ride the classic theme park rides from the original park.

Fun For Older Children

(Up to Age 18)

Broadway at the Beach Mall
1325 Celebrity Circle
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
800/FUN-INMB
Broadway at the Beach is another theme mall with accompanying attractions. Restaurants include the Hard Rock Cafe, Joes Crab Shack, and Cold Stone Creamery. Other attractions include Ripley’s Aquarium and a Build-A-Bear Workshop (877/789-BEAR).  Along with some opening some new stores is the upcoming premiere of  WonderWorks. This upside-down structure features 10-stories of mind-stimulating, interactive attractions and is set to open April 2011.  In 2010, WonderWorks management opened the Soar & Explore, which features two outdoor adventures — a Zipline and a Ropes Challenge Course.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans
1251 21st Avenue N
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
877/918-TIXX
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, minor league baseball team of the Texas Rangers, play right across the street from the Broadway at the Beach complex. Reasonably priced tickets are available throughout baseball season.

Great American Riverboat Company Cruise
8500 Enterprise Road
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
800/685-6601
Enjoy some of the area’s best scenery and wildlife during a sightseeing cruise on a grand riverboat. Dinner cruises with children’s prices are also available. All cruises carry musical entertainment onboard the boats. They have three cruise boats, the Jungle Princess is their 150 passenger boat, which travels down the Maccamaw River, featuring restrooms and a snackbar for passengers to enjoy. Then there is the Jungle Baby, an intimate pleasure trip for small groups of six, providing a slower, relaxing ride. One of their newest attractions comes all the way from New Zealand. The Barracuda Jet Boat, a twelve-passenger boat that promises to take adventurers through twists, turns, spins, and slides for a ride they won’t forget. Open year-round.

Barefoot Landing Mall
4898 Highway 17 S
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
843/272-8349, 800/272-2320 ext.108
This lakeside shopping, dining and entertainment complex earns its place as one of the grand “theme malls” of the area. The shopping area contains over 100 specialty and retail shops, plus several outlets and restaurants. The carousel, Alligator Adventure (home to Albino American Alligators, as well as hundreds of other alligators) and the 2000-square foot Mirror Maze may be especially enticing entertainment options for kids. Nighttime entertainment includes music at the House of Blues and shows at the Alabama Theatre (800/342-2262), founded by the country music group with the same name.

T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Stations
4898 South Highway 17
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
843/361-4552
Is there an animal lover in the family? Then they will love The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S.), a free-living tiger exhibit, which features many different species of the large cat. Not only will animal enthusiasts get to hold their choice of baby tigers or apes, but this is one of the only places in the world where they will be able to see a Liger. Other attractions include flying trained falcons, and watching tiger feedings. Also available are Wild Encounter Tours, which are approximately three fun-filled hours of wolves, leopards, chimpanzees, and many other rare animals. While you explore the preserve professional photographers shoot high quality photographs and video. Open from early March to early October, all proceeds from photos and the Tigers Den Gift Shop go to the maintenance of the animals and their endangered counterparts.

Fun For The Whole Family

Myrtle Beach State Park
4401 South Kings Hwy.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29575
843/238-5325
This is one of the area’s most popular beaches and also South Carolina’s first state park, established by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1930. For families spending the night in an RV or tent, there are campsites with electricity, water, and hot showers and restrooms nearby.

Huntington Beach State Park
16148 Ocean Hwy
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
843/237-4440
A little more off the beaten path, nearby Huntington Beach remains the best-preserved beach on the Grand Strand. The surf at the beach is not too rough and it’s a good place to collect seashells — making it a fun beach for tiny travelers. The park also features its Coastal Exploration program, where from March to November, “field trips” allow visitors to join staff educators for alligator viewing, marsh and nature trail exploration and more. Another highlight of the park is the Atalaya Castle, a National Historic Landmark and former winter home of American sculptress Anna Hyatt Huntington (open to the public, tours available Tuesday and Thursday afternoons).

Medieval Times
2904 Fantasy Way
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579
866/543-9637
Medieval Times presents a two-hour live tournament with pageantry, adventure, chivalry and a four-course dinner. One thousand guests fit inside the stadium-style arena, which is divided into sections, each with its own knight and horse to cheer for.

Brookgreen Gardens
1931 Brookgreen Drive
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
800/849-1931
Located 20 minutes south of Myrtle Beach on Pawley’s Island, Brookgreen Gardens showcases beautiful plant life and sculptures year-round. The Sculpture Garden is the largest outdoor display of American figurative sculpture in the world and features the work of over 250 artists. In the Garden Room for Children, kids play freely amongst childhood-related sculpture. Grandparents especially will appreciate that Brookgreen Gardens also operates an in-park free shuttle and a wildlife trail past the homes of alligators, birds, foxes and otters. The Lowcountry Zoo has recently added a “River Basin Retreat” to incorporate an 8,000-gallon aboveground tank so that visitors may view and photograph river otters as they play in their new 1,200 square foot habitat.

Carolina Opry
8901-A Business 17 N 
Myrtle Beach, SC 29572
843/913-4000, 800/843-6779
Another one of Myrtle Beach’s big budget performance productions, the Carolina Opry offers nightly shows and even a Christmas Special beginning in November in its 2,200-seat theater. The celebration of live music and comedy covers the genres of rock, Broadway, gospel and country, and most recently the music of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The Opry’s newest show, “Good Vibrations,” offers a spectacular blend of color, comedy, music and entertainment for the entire family to enjoy.

NASCAR SpeedPark
1820 21st Avenue, North Extension
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
843/918-8725
Featuring excitement galore and fun for all ages with seven tracks, this SpeedPark is great fun for the entire fast-paced, thrill-seeking family. There are even two NASCAR-themed mini-golf courses, an arcade and a speed bumper boats.

Annual Sun Fun Festival
From late May to early June, the Sun Fun Festival (celebrating its 60th year in 2011) boasts a plenty of attractions, food and entertainment for the whole family.  A free concert begins the fun; past performers include Third Eye Blind, American Idol contestant Ace Young, and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard. For the more physically fit, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Annual Sun Fun Beach Run, which includes a 5k run/walk or a 1-mile beach run. The American Powerboat Association usually makes an appearance, and other exciting events to consider are the Miss Sun Fun and Miss Sun Fun Teen Pageant and the Fireworks Extravaganza.

Need a Babysitter? It’s tough to find one, but The Ocean Creek Resort (877/844-3800) and the The Sea Watch Resort (888/534-9095) have assured us that they can connect you with an experienced sitter.

 

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This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.