With 60-plus miles of beautiful Atlantic Ocean coastline and a long list of family-friendly activities on tap, the Grand Strand offers a wide range of fun options for visitors both young and old — and with all kinds of interests — to enjoy.
If you’re planning a family vacation this spring but not yet sure just where to go, consider these 10 family-friendly reasons to set your sights on our beautiful stretch of the Carolina coast:
Bountiful (and beautiful) beaches
As mentioned above, the Grand Strand offers over 60 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, all lined with white-sand beaches and featuring stunning ocean views. So whether your family prefers an in-town beach where you can people-watch and grab food/drinks within an easy walk through the sands, or a more remote stretch of oceanfront where you can soak in some nature and solitude, the Grand Strand has you covered. Further, the backyard beach here offers easy access to an impressive range of water features and on-site food/drink options.
A treetop trek
Families looking for an elevated adventure can definitely find one at North Myrtle Beach’s Go Ape! high-ropes course and zipline attraction. Here, thrill-seekers young and old can ascend into the treetops for some lofty fun. For the grown-ups who dare, the activities on tap here include high-speed ziplines, wire-connected walking bridges, suspended obstacles and more. And the younger set can join in the fun, too, with the Go Ape! Treetop Junior Adventure, which features elevated obstacles, tree-to-tree crossings and 20-foot-high ziplines.
A picturesque park
Located right on the shoreline, Myrtle Beach State Park encompasses 316 coastal acres (most of which is maritime forest) and boasts a mile of undeveloped beaches. This local gem puts a long list of outdoor activities — including hiking, swimming, fishing, horseback riding, picnicking or simply relaxing under a beach umbrella — within easy reach of Grand Strand vacationers.
A swashbuckling show
You don’t often find a live show featuring high-diving pirates waging an epic battle on land, on deck, in a lagoon and high above a pair of full-sized pirate ships — much less with mermaids, acrobats, live animals, cannons, singing and dancing thrown in, too — but Myrtle Beach can deliver, even on a tall request like this one. All of the above can be found at the Dolly Parton-produced Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show on North Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, and guests can enjoy the spectacle of it all while savoring a delicious four-course meal.
A fantastic fest
Returning to Myrtle Beach for its sixth straight year in 2020, the Carolina Country Music Fest is the East Coast’s largest three-day outdoor country music festival — and as a bonus, it’s held right on the beach! This year’s lineup boasts more than 30 of the nation’s hottest country music acts, including megastar headliners Eric Church, Jake Owen, Luke Combs and South Carolina’s own Darius Rucker. Further, additional on-site attractions include a zip line, an array of vendor booths and concession stands, VIP areas, and more.
A beachfront boardwalk
Running parallel with the coastline and offering cool ocean breezes to complement its views of the Atlantic Ocean and Downtown Myrtle Beach, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is a picturesque, 1.2-mile wooden walkway that stretches from 14th Avenue North all the way south to 1st Avenue North. Of course, picture-perfect views of the Atlantic Ocean and an array of fun of local attractions abound along the way, and a pair of signature piers mark the walkway’s endpoints.
A wondrous wheel
One of the above-mentioned Boardwalk’s most recognizable sights, the 187-foot-tall Myrtle Beach SkyWheel is a Ferris wheel that dominates the downtown Myrtle Beach skyline. Take your crew for a ride on one of its 42 glass-enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas to get a bird’s-eye view of the Boardwalk, the coastline, the ocean and downtown Myrtle Beach all at once — and be sure to capture some photos while you’re up there.
Located about 20 miles south of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, popular attraction Brookgreen Gardens is a 9,100-acre sculpture garden and wildlife preserve that keeps the crowds coming back to see its lush and expansive botanical gardens, each with its own distinct theme. The grounds, which feature 2,000-plus artworks by more than 400 artists, are home to the nation’s most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture. Other on-site attractions include nature trails, a butterfly garden, historic rice plantations and the Lowcountry Zoo.
One cool complex
Myrtle Beach shopping/dining/entertainment hot spot Broadway at the Beach features a lineup of over 20 restaurants and 100-plus specialty retail shops — plus other entertainment-oriented attractions — all set around the 23-acre Lake Broadway. Among the top family draws here are Broadway Grand Prix, Hollywood Wax Museum, Ripley’s Aquarium and WonderWorks, and the complex’s fireworks shows are regular crowd-pleasers.
A north-end novelty
At the Barefoot Landing shopping/dining/entertainment complex — found right on the Intracoastal Waterway in North Myrtle Beach — fun-seeking vacationers can find a little bit of everything. With its expansive facilities all built around a 27-acre lake, the unique hot spot is home to more than 40 retail shops, 25-plus restaurants, bars and snack shops, and a range of entertainment venues including Alabama Theatre, Alligator Adventure and House of Blues.