Best Things to Do in Myrtle Beach

All the best attractions Myrtle Beach has to offer

There's a lot more to Myrtle Beach than golf and the ocean. Entertainment options are aplenty for visitors of all tastes. Whether you want to be in the middle of the action at the new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade or seek the seclusion and scenic beauty of the Carolina coastline. The downtown Myrtle Beach area has become a new center of activity on the Grand Strand, with free concerts and fireworks displays held throughout the summer months. The 1.2-mile stretch of wooden walkway offers scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and open-air shops, cafes, and bars. The Boardwalk allows visitors to stroll to the new 190-foot SkyWheel, which gives breathtaking views of the city and coast. Two local piers connect to the path and allow visitors to venture farther out into the ocean without getting wet, although both feature restaurants and bars where you can wet your whistle. Nearby Broadway at the Beach continues to be one of the biggest draws, featuring such attractions Ripley's Aquarium. For those looking for aquatic fun, Myrtle Waves Water Park and Wild Water and Wheels are great hot spots to keep cool, and Family Kingdom is the area's only oceanfront theme park. There are more than 100 golf courses within a 45-minute drive of Myrtle Beach, giving visitors the chance to enjoy the great outdoors, and Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach on the South Strand are wonders of the South Carolina Lowcountry.


Get your own fresh catch of the day by visiting the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier, where several state and world records have been set for fish caught on rod and reel. In fact, the world's largest tiger shark, measuring nearly 20 feet and tipping the scales at almost a ton, was caught from this pier back in the 1960s. A bait-and-tackle shop has all the gear you'll need for a day of fishing, including the proper licenses and permits. There's also a seafood restaurant and bar for those whose favorite sport is to watch others go fishing. There's a small fee for those just wanting to talk a walkout over the Atlantic Ocean, but it's worth the pocket change to people-watch and fish-watch, and to cool off with a stiff ocean breeze on a hot, sunny day.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Cherry Grove Fishing Pier is home to several record catches, including a 1,780-pound tiger shark.

Terry's expert tip: Check the tide charts and ask the bait shop attendant what fish have been running so you can strike at the right time and with the right bait.

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Myrtle Waves Water Park

Cool off from the summer heat at South Carolina's largest water park, featuring more than 30 rides and water slides for the whole family. This 20-acre park features towering, twisting water slides, a massive wave pool and a children's aquatic playground that are sure to bring smiles to faces looking for some fun in the sun. Kids can spend the day riding the thrilling water slides while the older set can relax in the lazy river or ride a float in the wave pool. Families going for the whole day can rent a private cabana for picnic lunches and a place to chill out.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: There are many waterparks in the Myrtle Beach area, but Myrtle Waves is the biggest and best.

Terry's expert tip: Myrtle Waves offers a significant discount for those arriving after 3 p.m.

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Brookgreen Gardens
Photo courtesy of

The beauty of the South Carolina Lowcountry is in full bloom at Brookgreen Gardens, a 9,100-acre property located about 15 miles south of Myrtle Beach. Visitors can stroll through the many sculptures, fountains and flowers and take a break in the shade of giant live oak trees that pre-date the U.S. Constitution. This former rice plantation also features boat rides through the marshes and a zoo featuring alligators, birds and other creatures native to South Carolina. A new butterfly pavilion exhibit allows visitors to get up close and personal with various species of butterflies. This is Lowcountry nature at its best.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Brookgreen Gardens is the oldest and largest sculpture garden on the East Coast.

Terry's expert tip: Check out Huntington Beach State Park just across the street for a true taste of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

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Barefoot Landing

This multi-purpose complex offers the best in entertainment, dining and shopping in one scenic location on the Intracoastal Waterway in North Myrtle Beach. The House of Blues, Alabama Theater and Alligator Adventure are among the fun stops along the way through the maze of unique restaurants and shops. Located across the Waterway from Barefoot Resort, Barefoot Landing is a great place to unwind after a day on the links. Visitors also can take a relaxing cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway aboard the Barefoot Princess, or take one of the haunted walking tours that introduce guests to some of the Grand Strand's scariest ghost legends.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Between the House of Blues, Alabama Theatre and other concert venues, Barefoot Landing is the best place for live music on the Grand Strand.

Terry's expert tip: Barefoot Landing holds fireworks displays and other special events throughout the summer months.

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Myrtle Beach State Park
Photo courtesy of Terry Massey

Experience a day of wonder in Myrtle Beach State Park, an oasis of nature amid a sea of human development. Located on the south end of Myrtle Beach, the state park is a stark contrast to the high-rise hotels that are just a short walk away. Featuring old-growth maritime forests with hiking trails that lead to the high sand dunes of the beach, this 312-acre oceanfront park was developed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930s. In addition to about a mile of beach, the park encompasses a fishing pier, a nature center, a campground and cabins and plenty of oceanfront picnic shelters.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: For all the bells and whistles Myrtle Beach has to offer, the natural beauty of the state park is a welcome break.

Terry's expert tip: Check the schedule of events at the front gate for some free and informative family fun.

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Located within Broadway at the Beach, this aquarium houses thousands of unusual and colorful marine animals. The highlight of a visit here will be a ride on the moving sidewalk, which travels through a glass-enclosed tunnel inside the massive 750,000-gallon shark tank. Other fun exhibits include Rainbow Rock, which is home to thousands of beautiful fish from the Pacific, and the interactive Sea-For-Yourself Discovery Center. If you plan on visiting any of Ripley's other nearby attractions, purchase a combo ticket and save 10-15 percent. Be sure to check out the snack bar and souvenir shop before you call it a day.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Ripley's Aquarium has been named Myrtle Beach's No. 1 indoor attraction by various tourism groups.

Terry's expert tip: Visitors get a little extra bang for their buck on the weekends when mermaid shows are held at no extra charge.

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Family Kingdom

After the old Pavilion closed, Family Kingdom was left as Myrtle Beach's only oceanfront amusement park. Rather than rest on its monopoly, Family Kingdom expanded into two attractions in one. The amusement park has a new roller coaster to go with the famous Swamp Fox, plus about 30 other fun rides with a mix of fun and fear that appeals to the whole family. The water park is right on the beach and features several flumes, slides and wave pools. The amusement park is open March-September, but daily hours vary so call ahead. The water park is open from Memorial Day-Labor Day daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Admission is free for those too young or old for the rides and waterslides, so it's a great place for families to visit together.

Terry's expert tip: Guests can get a nice discount by purchasing passes to both parks.

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The Market Common, Myrtle Beach

This new multi-purpose complex brings the feel of an upscale, urban shopping district to the Grand Strand. Featuring dozens of entertainment, dining and shopping opportunities, Market Common offers national outlets that can't be found anywhere else in South Carolina. Dine at P.F. Chang's or Tommy Bahama's, shop at Orvis or Coldwater Creek, catch a movie or some fireworks, all in one truly unique location. Market Common is a great place to stroll and window shop or catch a movie or an outdoor concert. The district is surrounded by parks and hiking trails, making it a great place to spend an entire day.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Located on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, the Market Common area is among the fastest-growing on the Grand Strand.

Terry's expert tip: Valor Park is just across the street and features playgrounds and picnic tables, the perfect place to let the kids fuel up and burn off some energy.

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Broadway at the Beach

This multi-purpose complex is home to some of the best entertainment, dining and shopping on the Grand Strand. Featuring top attractions, such as WonderWorks and Ripley's Aquarium, Broadway features hundreds of businesses surrounding a large lake. Check out the nightlife at a dozen clubs in Celebrity Square, dine at some of the best restaurants in town and shop at major national outlets and locally owned stores. Broadway at the Beach also hosts special events that attract millions to this popular venue annually. The surrounding area also is surrounded by other theaters and entertainment venues that allow you to park once and play all day.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Visit some of the top attractions, restaurants and shops all in one location at Broadway at the Beach.

Terry's expert tip: In the summer months, Broadway puts on awesome fireworks shows on Tuesdays and Fridays.

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The downtown district has been revitalized by this new attraction, highlighted by the 190-foot SkyWheel that lights up the Myrtle Beach skyline. The largest ferris wheel on the East Coast offers scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the entire Grand Strand, but it's the area right around the SkyWheel that shines the most. A 1.2-mile wooden walkway spans the beachfront on one side and open-air cafes and shops on the other. Left abandoned when the Pavilion closed in 2006, the downtown area is back and better than ever thanks to the new Boardwalk. It's a great place to stroll or to rock 'n' roll.

Recommended for Best Attractions & Activities because: Downtown is once again the place to be in Myrtle Beach thanks to the addition of the oceanfront walkway.

Terry's expert tip: The Promenade, the centerpiece of the Boardwalk, is host to free concerts and fireworks all summer.

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Meet Terry Massey

It's no surprise that journalist Terry Massey is credited with creating the word 'stay-cation.'  He considers the past 18 years in Myrtle Beach a vacation.

He and his wife Stephanie were...  More About Terry