Approaching 20 million annual visitors, Myrtle Beach hosts multigenerational families, reunions, sports, golfers and groups of all sizes
1. Ocean, Beach & Boardwalk
It’s no mystery that 60 miles of sandy beaches, a pleasant year-round climate and the perfect spot for social distancing draws visitors to Myrtle Beach. There’s nothing like the rhythmic sound of the waves and sand between your toes. Fly a kite on the beach or try your hand at surf fishing. There is pier and charter fishing, too. Enjoy a meal on The Big M casino ship as you cruise to international waters while enjoying your favorite slots and table games.
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade runs alongside the ocean, extending 1.2 miles between the 14th Avenue and 2nd Avenue piers. At the boardwalk’s center is oceanfront Plyler Park, home to Skywheel Myrtle Beach. Guests are treated to a marvelous view from their private gondola, which is heated and cooled depending on the season. There are fun games and amusements and great spots to satisfy your sweet tooth along with fabulous food options.
2. Beyond the Beach
There’s so much to see and do away from the beach, you’ll have no issue filling your itinerary. See more than 10,000 sea creatures at Ripley’s Aquarium Broadway at the Beach. There are hands-on exhibits and shows and a great group program for adult and student/youth groups. Ripley’s Believe it or Not has been entertaining visitors in the heart of Myrtle Beach for decades with oddities and exotic artifacts. Back at Broadway at the Beach, WonderWorks entertainment center is an upside-down-building with four distinct zones to discover. Give the zipline across Lake Broadway a try for some added fun.
On 21st Avenue at Broadway at the Beach is TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark, home to Chicago Cubs minor league affiliate the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Can’t you just taste the hot dogs and peanuts? Just a little further up 21st Ave. you’ll find the Hollywood Wax Museum. You cannot miss the building. It’s the one with the giant gorilla climbing the tower. At the corner of 29th Ave. and Oak Street, you’ll find Topgolf with 70 climate controlled private driving range bays, restaurants and bars welcoming groups for some fun entertainment.
At Barefoot Landing, you can make a stop at Alligator Adventure and come face-to-face with some of the world’s most beautiful and most fierce reptiles. Next door is Duplin Winery which offers tours and tastings of popular sweet wines. Relax on the patio with a glass of your favorite. Just across the waterway at the marina is the Barefoot Queen offering scenic cruises on its 70-foot authentic wooden three-deck riverboat.
Still looking for more to fill that itinerary? How does a golf tournament on one of the area’s elaborate mini-golf courses sound? From pirates to dinosaurs there are dozens of choices. Maybe a History, Movies and Music Trolley tour is more to your liking. It’s a great way to discover some little-known facts about the Myrtle Beach area.
3. Groups Always Need to Shop
Recognized as the Seaside Golf Capital of the World, surely sometime soon Myrtle Beach will be considered the Seaside Shopping Destination of the World. If one Tanger Outlet Center is good, then two must be great. With about 100 stores in each open-air environment, you can enjoy social distancing and great bargains. The outlet centers are located on Highway 501 between Conway and Myrtle Beach and on Highway 17 between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. Let them know you’re coming so your Little Red Book of Big Savings will be ready. Coastal Grand Mall along with Myrtle Beach Mall, the latter with Bass Pro Shops, each have a great anchor store and shops.
We’ve talked about Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing attractions. They’re also wonderful shopping destinations for those special gifts to take home. The Market Common, located on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, features big-city shopping and small-town charm. More than 20 stores line the beautifully landscaped walkways.
On Ocean Boulevard, the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove might just be the largest gift shop in the nation. Who can argue with three levels and more than 70,000 articles? Did I hear scavenger hunt? You may have heard there’s a beachwear store on every corner in Myrtle Beach. That’s simply not true, but if you’re in need of some last-minute items that say “beach” there’s one close by.
4. What’s New?
A new, exciting tour option is the Black History Tour. Prior to the Civil War, 25 percent of the world’s rice was grown and harvested just south of Myrtle Beach. A labor-dependent crop, slaves were brought to the area for their knowledge and to provide labor.
You can also visit the Georgetown Rice Museum and Hobcaw Plantation and see its original slave quarters. The grounds of Hopsewee Plantation have stories to tell. Brookgreen Gardens, listed on the National Historic Places list, was built on two former plantations. Along the way, you’ll meet historians with heritage in the area and stories to share about the places you’ve visited.
5. Outdoor Adventures
There are still more outdoor adventures waiting for you and not surprisingly, they are tied to the ocean. Myrtle Beach State Park encompasses more than 300 acres of an oceanfront maritime forest. Opened in 1936, it was the first of 16 state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. There are picnic shelters for group gatherings and reunions, a fishing pier and regularly scheduled programs.
Just a bit further south is the 2,500-acre Huntington Beach State Park. A National Historic Landmark, Atalaya was the winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington and what remains of the structure is in the park. The Atalaya Arts Festival, held on the grounds, has been popular for 40 years. There are picnic shelters for groups, great surf fishing and more than 300 species of birds.
Maybe the best way to find your outdoor space is to experience Myrtle Beach from a helicopter. You can also find your relaxing place on a fairway at one of Myrtle Beach’s 80-plus golf courses.
6. You’ll Never Go Hungry
The one staple on everyone’s itinerary when visiting Myrtle Beach is their next meal. Myrtle Beach doesn’t disappoint with more than 650 CVB member restaurants. The city has everything from fast food and casual dining to seafood and country cooking buffets to formal white tablecloth dining. You’ll find all the southern favorites, international flavors and creative chefs with their own inspired entrees. Throughout the Myrtle Beach area, restaurants are following South Carolina and local protocols for safe indoor and outdoor dining.
Many area restaurants welcome groups with something a little special. Wicked Tuna in Murrells Inlet provides an awesome view along with a menu that’s inspired by what comes back from their fishing boats. The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood Buffet features a 170-plus item buffet and much more. You are also invited to tour Benjamin’s Dry Sea Aquarium, one-of-a-kind hand-built model ships and pay a visit to the workshop of the master model ship builder.
Heidi’s Corner features two restaurants sharing one kitchen. Croissants Bistro & Bakery has a well-deserved reputation for its bakery. The dinner menu at Hook & Barrel can be served in Croissants, while the breakfast and lunch menus at Croissants can be served in the Hook & Barrel dining room.
A cooking class at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach should not be missed. Affiliated with Horry-Georgetown Tech College, the institute is providing hospitality training for domestic and international students.
7. Night Time is the Right Time in Myrtle Beach
The Myrtle Beach area has a long history with music and entertainment. The state dance of South Carolina is the Shag. Originating in African-American communities in the 1930s, it became popular in the Cherry Gove section of North Myrtle Beach with its beach music vibe. Today, it’s every bit as popular in the area clubs. The super group Alabama was the house band at The Bowery, a restaurant and bar located just off the Boardwalk. For the past three decades, the area has added live theater music and comedy to its repertoire. All the theaters in Myrtle Beach are following social distance seating and enhanced safety protocols.
More than 30 years ago, Calvin Gilmore brought the first live performance show to the Myrtle Beach area. Today, The Carolina Opry is an award-winning, nationally recognized two hours of music, dance and comedy with magical special effects and state-of-the-art sound. More than 35 talented performers perform a wide genre of favorites from today to past decades. The Calvin Gilmore orchestra, led by Kevin Hughes and the Margaret Rice dancers, accompanies performers.
Presented by the same talented cast as The Carolina Opry, Time Warp features the best music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. This high-energy show takes you back in time complete with elaborate costumes, multi-media screens and sound. With each season guests can expect new songs, costumes and hilarious comedy.
Beginning in 2021, the theater is presenting the Myrtle Beach Performing Art Series on select Sunday evenings. These special events welcome Ronnie Milsap and a host of tribute bands performing the music of the Eagles, Journey, Michael Jackson, Queen and others.
For a week in late October, the theater shuts down and prepares for the opening of The Carolina Opry Christmas Special. The Christmas décor alone is worth the visit thanks to 35 Christmas trees, 75 wreaths and more than five miles of lights. The show opened its 35th season in 2020 and like every year, there are stunning changes along with time-honored traditions.
Alabama Theatre at Barefoot Landing celebrated its 27th season in 2020. A favorite of visitors and locals, the signature performance ONE The Show combines extraordinary talent and memorable production numbers with fabulous costuming and visual elements that will amaze. Gaylord Entertainment, the producer of ONE The Show, uses music, dance and comedy to take guests on a magical journey that includes Country, Broadway, Gospel, Pop and Rock.
Also home to the Alabama Theatre is the Guest Artist Concerts. Some of the biggest stars of our time grace the theater’s stage. Country, Soul and Rock legends like the Little River Band, Josh Turner, the Righteous Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys make regular appearances, while talented tribute bands pay their respect to some of the leading groups.
The South’s Grandest Christmas Show brings extraordinary performers and musicians, scenery changes and special effects for a spectacular holiday musical experience. Christmas classics and contemporary holiday favorites along with new comedic juggler Slim Chance will fill your evening with song, dance and laughter.
Located at Broadway at the Beach, Legends In Concert brings an international award-winning cast of accomplished tribute artists to the beach. Talented look alike, sound alike artists bring the stars of yesterday and today to a memorable performance. Talented back-up singers, dancers and a rockin’ band complete the musical experience. A variety of Classic Legends, Country Legends, Stars in the Making and Living Legends bring their talents to the stage.
Hidden in an indoor lagoon next to The Carolina Opry, legendary pirate Blackbeard and quarter master Calico Jack lead the Crimson and Sapphire crews in a monumental pirate battle on land, on the deck of a full-sized pirate ship in the water and high above at Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show. It’s Fun, Feast & Adventure for all ages. From the Buccaneer Biscuit to the Walk the Plank Peach Turnover and a slew of great entrees and sides, you’re in for a hearty feast.
Celebrate the Christmas spirit with a Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol with a Swashbuckling Spin. Guests take an epic yuletide journey with Captain Scrooge, a grumpy fellow and his loyal first mate Bob Cratchit. This holiday tradition brings guests to Christmas past, present and future. Searching for the true meaning of Christmas along the way, there will be amazing gymnastics and high diving, live animals and hilarious comedy. All this with a four course Holiday Feast included.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament joined the Myrtle Beach family of attractions in 1995. Inside stonewalls of the 11th century-style castle, Medieval Spain comes to life. Brawn and metal unite as the knights display their extensive training with swords, lance, armor and mace. Fierce battles take place in front of guests and the Queen, while enjoying a four-course feast of epic proportions with libations and spirits available.
At the risk of overloading your senses, we’ve only begun to share all there is to see and do in the Myrtle Beach area. A visit to Myrtle Beach will be more fun than you can imagine.