Myrtle Beach, South Carolina consistently ends up on top family vacation hot spot lists every year and for good reason. The hotels and attractions are reasonably priced and there seems to be limitless activities that children of all ages can appreciate. The one downside to a visit to Myrtle Beach is that although everything seemed reasonably priced for the most part, you will pay for everything. Besides a visit to the beach, we didn’t find too many other free activities. Our ticket admissions and meals added up very quickly.
I have to admit that this trip was not my finest travel moment. I think that is why I haven’t been able to bring myself to post about any of the fun we had and we did have fun. This trip was a week-long road trip that I took with my children by myself. This was the first time I had traveled this long by myself with the kids when we had no extra help in the form of grandparents, my husband, or friends. We went from Pensacola, Florida to Cashiers, North Carolina to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and then back to Pensacola, totaling about 1400 miles. I would consider the whole trip a success but by the time we made it to Myrtle Beach we just wanted to hang out in our beautiful condo unit or by the pool at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations South Beach Resort. We did finally pull ourselves out of our beach chairs to do a little bit of exploring. This was our three day itinerary.
Day One – A Round of Mini Golf and Lounging by the Beach and Pool
We arrived at the Holiday Inn Club Vacation South Beach Resort, got checked in, explored the property and spent the rest of the day at the pool and the beach. There are many different types of properties to choose from in Myrtle Beach. I highly recommend the South Beach Resort because you get both condo and hotel amenities in your room. The only downside is that it is not directly on the beach but that wasn’t an issue since the South Beach Resort offers a shuttle service.
After living on the Gulf Coast for the past fifteen years, we are spoiled when it comes to beaches. As my kids ran out on the sand excitedly, they were shocked at the dirty, rocky sand! I have to admit we weren’t fans so we only played at the beach for about thirty minutes before returning to the pool. That being said, if you are visiting from a landlocked area you might want to spend more of your vacation sitting on the beach.
Myrtle Beach has more miniature golf places than I have ever seen in one place. Well, it sure seems like it! We spent the late afternoon playing a round of miniature golf at Jurassic Golf, where we were surrounded by water, fog, and dinosaurs!
Day Two – Alligators, Fish and Shopping
We devoted day two to exploring some of the more touristy areas of Myrtle Beach. Spend the morning wandering around Barefoot Landing where you will find a number of shops, attractions, and restaurants. The kids love walking across the boardwalks and spying turtles and fish. Alligator Adventure, one of the world’s largest reptile zoos, is located at Barefoot Landing. Although adult tickets are $17.99 (children’s tickets are $11.99), the second day within seven days of your first visit is free. If you love alligators, bats, komodo dragons, and more, it is probably worth a visit.
After Barefoot Landing, we headed to Broadway at the Beach to spend the rest of the day. We started our visit at Ripley’s Aquarium. We love aquariums and if there is one available we make sure to visit. I have to admit that I was disappointed in the size of the aquarium (especially for the cost of the tickets). The exhibits are wonderful and there are several hands-on interactive areas but the aquarium is very small. We received tickets courtesy of our property stay but if we had paid for the visit ourselves, it would have cost me more than I would have been willing to spend. It is only $3.99 for children ages 2-5 so if your children are young that could help offset the cost but adult tickets are $21.99 and children ages 5 and up are $10.99. A pricey attraction considering we were only there for about an hour.
We spent much of our Broadway at the Beach time in Pavillion Nostalgia Park, an area made up of different rides perfect for kids! There is also a Wonderworks, a NASCAR Speedway, a water park, a theater and so much more. Check the schedule before you go because there are often different events like fireworks and festivals. Though my kids loved the rides in Pavillion Nostalgia Park, they especially loved walking the boardwalks and feeding the fish (albeit scary looking ones that attacked each other for the fish food…this is probably why they loved it so much!).
Day Three – State Parks and Beautiful Gardens
On day three, we checked out a garden and two state parks. You would think that my kids would have enjoyed the rides, fancy candy shops and aquarium the most, but this was their favorite day of the trip. We spent the morning wandering up and down the beach at Myrtle Beach State Park. We also walked down the pier to see if we could spy anything in the water (we didn’t). When the kids were ready for a break, we had a picnic lunch in the car as we drove down the road to Huntington Beach State Park.
We explored, Atalaya, the home of noted sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. It cost us a dollar per person to see the home. We only spent about fifteen minutes exploring the home which is just a shadow of what it used to be because the kids were ready to head to the beach for lunch and some play time. After lunch we drove just a few minutes to Brookgreen Gardens.
When we checked into our hotel, the concierge recommended Brookgreen Gardens if we wanted to get off of the tourist path. If you ask my kids what their favorite part of the trip to Myrtle Beach was, they would say Brookgreen Gardens. The gardens are absolutely beautiful, full of blooming flowers and sculptures. There is also a zoo located at the gardens where visitors can learn more about animals that are native to the Carolina area. Begin your visit at the Visitor’s Center to pick up Activity Booklets for the children. The booklets are full of questions that the kids can answer as you all wander the gardens. Once the booklets are finished, take them back to the Visitor’s Center for a small prize.
Overall, our visit to Myrtle Beach was a good one. A pricey one, but a good one. Over the next month or so, I will post more in depth write-ups about each of the places we visited.