25 Fun Things To Do in Myrtle Beach, SC with Kids
There is so much for families to love about Myrtle Beach, a vacation resort on South Carolina's Atlantic coast. Nicknamed the Grand Strand because of its 60-mile stretch of gorgeous beaches, this area is known as a sunny surf-side retreat and a golfer's paradise
But while the natural beauty of the coastline and the premier golf courses don't disappoint, there's also a ton of fun to be had off the sand (and the green). Myrtle Beach has lots of interactive museums, animal adventures, shopping destinations, and activities for thrill seekers big and small. Add to that some great restaurants (particularly if you love seafood) and you've got yourself an awesome family vacation.
Here are 25 things to do in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with kids, including delicious restaurants and family-friendly Myrtle Beach resorts and hotels. For more great family vacation ideas, visit our Family Travel Guide.
Outdoor Things to Do in Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach boasts 60 miles of gorgeous coastline.
1. The Beach
The beaches of the Grand Strand are beautiful and clean. Visitors can easily access the water, either through the area's oceanfront hotels or at public beaches. Our family really enjoyed Huntington Beach State Park, which boasts picnic tables, restrooms, and a playground along with stunning sand dunes and wildlife. This park also hosts plenty of fun events, as our family learned when we (accidentally!) attended a lively Kite Festival on the beach. Locals rave about Myrtle Beach State Park, which gets a lot of love for its hands-on nature center and walking trails. A two-mile stretch of beach known as the Golden Mile, located between 34th and 52nd Avenues North, is also popular—its privately owned beachfront mansions are as easy on the eyes as the ocean is.
A family could spend an entire day at this shopping and entertainment complex and still not take in everything there is to do. There are kid-friendly stores (including Build A-Bear and Toy Island), museums, a playground for toddlers, and places to feed the fish. There's also an amusement park, called Pavilion Park, with rides that are sure to delight the tall and the small. We loved the view from the Broadway 360 Observation Wheel. We got dizzy on the Speedway, a race car ride that looked innocent, but packed a punch with its whip action on the track. And my daughters and husband braved the Beast, the largest pendulum ride in the United States.
Get your thrills at the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.
Running just over a mile along the oceanfront at Pier 14 is the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade, which has its own offerings of thrill rides and fun experiences. Best known of these is the SkyWheel, which soars over 200 feet into the air above the Atlantic. Big kids and teens will love the zip line and slingshot rides, and all ages can play at the Boardwalk's two arcades. Ripley's has a large presence here too, with its popular Believe It or Not museum, as well as a haunted house, a 5D theater, and a mirror maze.
This seaside amusement park is open daily from mid-April through mid-September and then on weekends through mid October. Visitors rave about its 38 thrilling rides, including the Yo-yo, a high-speed swing high into the sky. Country music fans may recognize the Hurricane from a Kenny Chesney music video. It takes riders speeding in circles on a hilly track while music blasts in the background. And the Swamp Fox is a wooden roller coaster that has been a Myrtle Beach landmark since 1966.
Open mid-May through early fall, Myrtle Waves is South Carolina's largest water park, with 22 slides and attractions. Big kids and teens flock to the Rockin' Ray, where double-tube riders plunge down a half-pipe slide into a large pool. For those feeling brave, there's also the Night Flight, an enclosed single-tube slide that twists and turns through complete darkness. For the littles there is Saturation Station, an interactive playground with three small slides and a volcano waterfall bucket. Guests of all ages love the wave pool and lazy river.
Brookgreen Gardens Is an enchanting place to explore with kids.
Brookgreen Gardens is a 9,100-acre property that features a gorgeous botanical and sculpture garden, a small zoo with animals like otters and alligators, and a sweet area for families that includes a reading nook with books to borrow. But the real highlight for kids is the Children's Storybook Forest and Sensory Trail. With tons of interactive elements and playhouses based on fairytale characters, it will be hard to tear your little ones away from this enchanting area. Did I also mention the on-site restaurant, Austin's Harvest, is terrific? Families who can't see it all in one day will be happy to know that admission provides access to the gardens for seven consecutive days.
7. Take a Helicopter Tour
View Myrtle Beach from the sky via helicopter! Helicopter Adventures is known for its popular $20 introductory ride which travels two miles over some of the city's landmarks. Oceanfront Helicopters offers its own $20 helicopter ride that travels two miles over the beach. Both companies also offer longer tours, some with a focus on local marine life and others that fly over Myrtle Beach's most beautiful homes. There is no minimum age to fly. Helicopters can fit three passengers, plus the pilot. Kids under two ride free on a parent's lap.
Ahoy, mateys! You can set sail on a pirate ship. Photo courtesy of Blackbeard's Pirate Cruise
8. Cruise with Pirates
Shiver me timbers! Kids who love pirates will have a blast sailing on a pirate ship in Myrtle Beach. Blackbeard's Pirate Cruise offers families a one-hour adventure where kids get to transform into mini pirates (complete with tattoos and a mustache) to help solve a mystery surrounding Bad Billy Bones and the missing treasure. Meanwhile, Pirate Adventures has families boarding the Sea Gypsy for a 90-minute cruise where little pirates (again with tattoos and mustaches, if they wish) go into battle against Pirate Pete to find their own hidden loot.
9. Go Racing
Got a kid with a need for speed? Broadway Grand Prix has seven go-kart tracks. That includes a speed-racer track for those over five feet tall, a family track were children can ride with their parents in a two-seater car, and a kids' course where little ones get to race each other. The Track is known for its elevated go-kart race course, which has drivers racing up and down three-and-a-half stories, with a surprise drop at the end. Not into racing? Both amusement centers also feature arcades, mini golf, and classic rides like flying planes and carousels.
Take your pick of mini golf courses.
10. Play Mini Golf
Perhaps because of its reputation as a premier golf hub, Myrtle Beach has dozens of mini golf courses up and down the coast, each with its own fun and family-friendly theme. My girls (both big animal lovers) were drawn to Jungle Safari Mini Golf, where we putt-putted our way through 18 holes surrounded by a wildlife motif. At Cancun Lagoon Adventure Golf, visitors can play 27 holes of mini golf both indoors and out, including through a giant Mayan pyramid. And Black Pearl Mini Golf is an 18-hole pirate-themed course that features a big pirate ship. Be sure to hit up the on-site ice cream shop, Mermaid's Dream, for a post-game treat.
Indoor Things to Do in Myrtle Beach
Half science museum, half indoor playground, WonderWorks features more than 100 hands-on exhibits. Highlights include the Light & Sound Zone, where families can have a dance party in front of a screen that multiplies their bodies into different patterns. Hold on tight inside the Hurricane Shack; winds here reach 155 miles per hour. My daughters had to be pulled away from the Physical Challenge Zone where we tried laying down on a bed of nails, then went crazy creating giant bubbles in the Bubble Lab. A 6D motion theater combines 3D film with special effects like moving theater seats. Outside the museum is the Soar & Explore area where visitors can climb a three-story ropes course or a take a 50-foot-high zip line over water (both experiences cost extra).
Ripley's is one of the best aquariums the author's family has visited.
I've been to a lot of aquariums in my time, and Ripley's Aquarium is definitely one of the best. Highlights include Stingray Bay, a giant touch tank where families can get friendly with these gentle sea creatures. Beautiful tropical fish are on display inside the Rainbow Rock exhibit, and jellyfish get the star treatment at Planet Jellies. The aquarium recently opened its Penguin Playhouse, which features more than 20 adorable penguins. But our family's favorite experience was walking through the Dangerous Reef, a giant transparent tunnel where we literally got face-to-face with sharks, sawfish, and green sea turtles.
EdVenture Myrtle Beach is a smaller version of the massive Columbia, South Carolina kids' museum.This location is a 3,000-square-foot space that's sure to delight young ones, particularly the preschool and toddler crowd. Little ones can burn some energy ascending the museum's spaceship climbing structure, explore a child-sized house with a 60s-style interior (while the moon landing plays on an old TV), inspect an airplane engine, and dive into books inside the museum's library. Bonus: EdVenture is located at the Market Common, an upscale outdoor shopping center with lots of restaurant options for families.
You never know what you'll find at the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum.
The only art museum in Myrtle Beach, this bright and airy gallery is a great place to see inspiring works of art, with a focus on Southern artists. Exhibitions are rotating and may feature paintings, sculptures, photos, textiles, and ceramics. After touring the gallery, the Carolyn Burroughs Tea Porch is a sweet place to relax while looking out at the Atlantic Ocean. And the museum shop has something for art lovers of all ages (we picked up new colored pencils and a Pete the Cat art book). Plus, admission is free, though donations are highly encouraged.
15. Go Bouncing
Sometimes children just have to get their wiggles out, and trampoline parks are the perfect place to do it. Rockin' Jump has an 80-foot-long ninja challenge course, as well as a dodgeball arena and a place where kids can hop off giant inflatable balls into a foam pit. At Big Air, visitors can ride a mechanical shark, climb a rock wall, or try to make it across a rolling log without falling into foam blocks. Don't be surprised if bedtime comes a little early after all this activity!
Those seeking to learn some local history should check out this free museum. Highlights include a giant freshwater-fish tank, a display on Native Americans, and a collection of old-timey beach photos and swimsuits. Not far from the museum is the LW Paul Living History Farm, where guests can experience everyday life on a real working farm (think demonstrations on blacksmithing and canning vegetables). Be sure to check the museum calendar before visiting to see what fun events are happening.
Enjoy a swashbuckling dinner show.
My kids were on the edge of their seats watching this swashbuckling performance that featured tons of stunts and impressive acrobatics. Mermaids, sword fights, animals that do tricks—this show's got it all. Plus, the four-course dinner that accompanied the entertainment was delicious. Our menu had crowd-pleasers like corn on the cob, biscuits, and roasted chicken. Tickets aren't cheap; it cost our family of four over $200 to attend the show. But seeing my daughters so entranced by the performance was absolutely worth it.
Talk about photo ops! Visitors to the Hollywood Wax Museum can rub elbows (or at least take selfies) with celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, and Justin Bieber. Other activities include a mirror maze and an exhibit dedicated to zombies. If you're visiting Myrtle Beach over a holiday, the Hollywood Wax Museum is one of the few local attractions open 365 days a year.
Myrtle Beach Restaurants Kids Will Love
18. Casual (But Yummy) Brunch and Lunch Spots
Looking for great brunch? Croissants Bistro & Bakery has amazing baked goods and southern staples like shrimp and grits and chicken and waffles, as well as delicious sandwiches and salads. My family really enjoyed the no-frills Mexican food at Chile Frito. And Mr. Fish serves up fresh local seafood and sushi. Bonus: Mr. Fish has an adjacent seafood market if you want to pick up supplies and do your own cooking while on vacay.
Get your fill of delicious seafood.
19. Speaking of Seafood...
It's no surprise that a city with 'beach' in its name has awesome seafood. My favorite dinner of the year so far came courtesy of Hook & Barrel. This cute, nautical-themed restaurant has great fresh fish and is very family-friendly. Our girls loved the kids' meals served in durable wooden trays. If buffets are your thing, there are several all-you-can-eat seafood options in Myrtle Beach. Visitors rave about the Pirate's Table Calabash Seafood Buffet and Crabby George's Calabash Seafood Buffet.
You won't have a hard time finding ice cream shops in Myrtle Beach.
20. And for Dessert...
What better way to cool down after a day at the beach than with some ice cream? There are dozens—and I mean dozens—of places to get ice cream in Myrtle Beach. We enjoyed the Blue Bell ice cream and 1950s memorabilia at the Ole Fashion Ice Cream Parlor. Kids love the 40 different flavors at the family-owned Kirk's Ice Cream Parlor. And visitors to the Boardwalk have been getting their ice cream fix at Mad Myrtle's since 2000.
Family-Friendly Myrtle Beach Hotels and Resorts
The good news is that there are so many choices for families looking for Myrtle Beach hotels. The bad news is that it can be hard deciding where to stay! Here are five great Myrtle Beach resorts and hotels for families.
If your goal is to be close to oceanfront entertainment, the Hilton-owned South Bay Inn & Suites has a very convenient location on the beach (it's a 10-minute walk from the Skywheel). There are also a few pools on site and an indoor water park complete with big slides, a lazy river, and a splash pad.
Who needs to leave the hotel when it has its very own Treehouse?
This is where my family and I stayed and so I can personally attest to how awesome it is. The hotel's activity center offers daily games and crafts like sand art, tie dye, and even painting wine glasses (some activities cost a little extra). There are several on-site pools and a splash pad, along with beach access. But the real highlight for my kids was the Treehouse. I could not tear them away from this multi-level, treehouse-themed playground!
An enormous property with more than 500 one-, two-, or three-bedroom condos, Compass Cove Resort is a notable option for large families. The hotel offers lots of deals on its website, including specials on local attractions. There are six indoor and outdoor pools, with three lazy rivers and seven hot tubs. Small touches like outdoor grills and laundry facilities make your vacation that much easier.
Captain's Quarters Resort has a pirate-themed water park. Photo courtesy of the resort
When it comes to affordability, Captain's Quarters is great for families looking to save money on their stay. This oceanfront resort has 15 water features, including Shipwreck Lagoon, a pirate-themed water park that features a big ship and water cannons. Captain's Quarters also houses a 20-lane bowling alley and an arcade, and offers seasonal, poolside entertainment like magic shows and luau parties.
25. Landmark Resort
In summer 2022, Landmark Resort debuts its new on-site water park, and there is a lot to get excited about. H2Oasis features three 40-foot slides and a jungle-themed splash pad for little ones. That's in addition to its current indoor water features like a lazy river and five whirlpools. The resort has a poolside snack bar with kid favorites like pizza and nachos, so don't be surprised if your children don't want to leave!
All photos were taken by the author unless otherwise indicated.