Best Things to Do with Kids in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach Offers Affordable Fun for Kids of All Ages

Everyone can be a kid again in Myrtle Beach, where there are dozens of attractions geared toward the entire family. Best of all, local attractions know to compete with the free admission of the Atlantic Ocean, the price must be right for families on a budget. To get the maximum bang (or splash) for your buck, shop around for the best deals to the places that will interest everyone in your party. For instance, for those looking for aquatic fun, Myrtle Waves is wonderful water park for both the kids looking to ride some thrilling slides and rides and adults wanting to take a ride in the slow lane of the lazy river and wave pool. 

Make a day of it and rent a cabana where the family can take a break and gather for a picnic lunch. For families who prefer to take a break from the heat in an air-conditioned setting, Ripley's Aquarium is Myrtle Beach's most popular attraction, and for good reason. Visitors can tour the 85,000 square-foot facility for an up-close experience with various species of sharks, turtles, crabs, stingrays and all sorts of sea life. Located in the Broadway at the Beach complex, it's a great place for families to take a timeout from shopping and dining to get a good look at the mysteries that lie under the ocean. Regardless of what your family is looking for, you're sure to find it in Myrtle Beach.


Even the best vacations come with some rainy days, and this indoor trampoline park has everything you need to let the kids burn off some energy in a clean, climate-controlled environment. Featuring padded and protected attractions to prevent injuries and impacts, Rockin' Jump offers a variety of fun activities for the little ones. Attractions include the Open Jump Arena, Jousting Pit, 360 Slam Dunk Arena, Vertical Ops rock-climbing wall, and the American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. Rockin' Jump also has a full-service cafe where parents can sit and keep an eye on the kids via closed-circuit TV. Rockin' Jump hosts birthday parties and other events that are a hit with birthday boys and girls.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: There are lots of inflatable bounce houses set up in strip malls and parks, but this national chain has taken trampoline parks to the next level.

Terry's expert tip: The climate-controlled Rockin' Jump is the perfect place to take the tots on rainy days and during the hotter hours of summer.

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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. 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 Things to Do with Kids because: The world's largest rod-and-reel catch of a tiger shark was landed from this pier back in the 1960s.

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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Cancun Lagoon Miniature Golf
Photo courtesy of Mutiny Bay Golf

Break par and beat the heat at the same time at Cancun Lagoon Miniature Golf, the only indoor/outdoor putt-putt course on the Grand Strand. Featuring a Mayan ruin structure that visitors enter through a cave entrance on the backside of the building, Cancun Lagoon offers two 18-hole courses that carry guests on a path through the jungle terrain, weaving indoors and outdoors for a welcome air-conditioned break from the summer heat. A large river and waterfall run through the courses and the scorecard features clues to the quest for hidden gold. A gift shop and snack bar are also located indoors.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: There are lots of miniature golf courses in Myrtle Beach, but Cancun Lagoon is the only one with air conditioning.

Terry's expert tip: Guests can play all day for a small additional charge, a more tempting offer due to the air conditioning.

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Alligator Adventure
Photo courtesy of Alligator Adventure

Get ready to see one of the largest exhibits of gators and crocs in the world at Alligator Adventure, but this 15-acre park in North Myrtle Beach has much more. Serving as one of the biggest reptile parks in operation, Alligator Adventure also features a wide selection of snakes, turtle, lizards and other creatures that slither. In fact, this modern zoological facility, which is conveniently located next to Barefoot Landing entertainment, shopping and dining complex, also houses tigers, wolves and exotic birds, making it more like a complete zoo experience. Be sure to see Uton, a massive 20-foot croc that comes up on dry land for his daily chicken dinner.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Alligator Adventure provides great family entertainment and an up-close look at nature.

Terry's expert tip: Take your time; admission to Alligator Adventure is good for two days.

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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 Things to Do with Kids because: Take the kids away from the neon lights and water slides to explore life on the natural side at Myrtle Beach State Park.

Terry's expert tip: Check the daily schedule of events at the front gate for some free and informative family fun about everything from sharks to sea turtles.

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Pavilion Nostalgia Park
Photo courtesy of Pavalion Nostalgia Park

History never looked so fun as a trip to the Pavilion Nostalgia Park, a smaller but memory-provoking version of the old Pavilion that served as the centerpiece of downtown Myrtle Beach for decades. Located at the popular Broadway at the Beach complex, this miniature theme park features rides that generations of visitors used to ride at the Pavilion, such as the century-old Herschell Spillman carousel that stands as a testament to another era. Other rides include the Pirate Ship, the Wave Swinger and the Caterpillar. There are also plenty of rides for younger children, like the Tea Cups and Kiddie Boat Ride.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Pavilion Nostalgia Park also features an arcade, carnival-style food and drinks and a miniature golf course.

Terry's expert tip: Ride tickets are $2 from noon to 2 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, and ticket bundles can be purchased online at a discounted rate.

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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. Guests also can get up close and personal with aquatic animals by petting the stingrays and horseshoe crabs. If you plan on visiting any of Ripley's other nearby attractions, purchase a combo ticket and save 10 to 15 percent.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The most popular attraction at Broadway at the Beach, Ripley's Aquarium appeals to all ages.

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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Myrtle Waves Water Park

Cool off from the summer heat at South Carolina's largest water park and have a splashing good time for the whole family. Featuring more than 30 rides and water slides, 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. For life in the slower lane, the lazy river gives the older set an opportunity to relax, or kick back in one of the private cabanas and watch the kids play from the comfort of a covered lounge chair.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Myrtle Waves is the best place to cool off in town during the dog days of summer.

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

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Family Kingdom

Give your little ones double the fun with two attractions in one. The Family Kingdom amusement park features roller coasters, including the historic wooden classic The Swamp Fox, plus more than 30 other fun rides that cater to different age groups. Just across Ocean Boulevard, Splashes Water Park is the only one located directly on the beach. Featuring several flumes, slides and other aquatic attractions, the water park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends. The amusement park is open from March to September, but hours vary so check ahead for daily times.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: Family Kingdom is also family affordable in that there is no admission charge, only a fee for riding the attractions, so parents can tag along.

Terry's expert tip: Guests willing to make a full day of it can save money by purchasing a combo pass to both attractions.

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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. Check for special events held here throughout the year.

Recommended for Things to Do with Kids because: The Promenade is the centerpiece of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and the heart of all the action in the downtown district.

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