There are quite a few reasons why Myrtle Beach made U.S. News and World Report's "Best Places to Live" list for 2018. It has a thriving job market, mild climate, and a lower than the national average cost of living.
It is also a very family-oriented city, with plenty of natural and man-made attractions that kids and adults alike will enjoy. Whether you're thinking of relocating to Myrtle Beach or planning on visiting for a vacation, here are the ten best family activities to try.
1. Family Kingdom Amusement Park
Just steps away from the boardwalk area is one of Myrtle Beach's best-known family attractions, Family Kingdom Amusement Park. There are over 35 rides, ranging from gentle kiddie ones to heart-pumping thrill rides and something for everyone in between.
The park has been in business for over 45 years and is one of the few seaside amusement parks in the country. While you're there, go for a ride on the Swamp Fox, one of the few remaining wooden roller coasters still operating in the U.S.
One of the best things about the park is the free admission; you pay only for rides you want to go on. When you're tired of the thrills, games, and concession stands, visit Splashes, the water park section. Attractions here include speed slides, water flumes, lazy river, and a children's splash area.
2. Alligator Adventure
Alligator Adventure bills itself as the "reptile capital of the world," and it's easy to see why, given that it's home to nearly 1,000 alligators plus snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, and tortoises. The 15-acre park gives visitors a chance to see the animals enjoying a natural habitat environment and learn more about the fierce creatures through live feedings and handling shows.
If you dare, say hello to Utan, affectionately known as "The King of the Crocs." He is believed to be the world's largest crocodile in captivity, weighing in at a whopping 2,000 pounds and measuring 18 feet in length. Live daily feedings with the monster croc from mid-April through mid-October never fail to astound park visitors.
Over 200 species of animals call Alligator Adventure home, so in addition to reptiles, you and your kids can see monkeys, flamingos, owls, lemurs, and hyenas. You'll also have the chance to get up-close and personal (as in holding) snakes and baby alligators and learn more about these creatures.
A bonus of visiting the gator park is that it's located next door to Barefoot Landing, Myrtle Beach's shopping and dining complex. This is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat after a day of reptile watching.
WonderWorks Myrtle Beach is one of six locations across the country where kids and adults alike can nurture their inner Einstein. Part museum and part amusement park, the facility has over 100 interactive exhibits that will get visitors thinking, engaging, and learning.
In addition to exhibits that teach about space exploration, light, sound, and natural disasters, guests can test their physical skills in the indoor ropes challenge or experience the thrill of motion simulation in the 6D extreme motion theater. The small theater stimulates the exciting feeling of moving fast even though you're sitting still in your seat!
The staff here is extremely friendly and patient and passionate about seeing kids explore new concepts. Virtually all of the exhibits are hands-on and encourage touching, which is a bonus if you're visiting with very young children.
The unique upside-down building exhibit will have adults and kids alike talking about it for weeks afterward. You can also try your luck at laser tag. An outdoor zip line ride will have your adrenaline racing before or after you visit the museum building.
There's so much to see and experience at WonderWorks that it takes at least three hours to truly experience it all. When the kids are tuckered out, take them to Broadway on the Beach for a respite and a bite to eat.
4. Ripley Aquarium
Part of the Ripley's Believe It Or Not franchise, Ripley's Aquarium of Myrtle Beach does not fail to delight with its array of sea creatures, ranging from jellyfish to several species of sharks. You can see poisonous frogs and ferocious piranhas in the Rio Amazon exhibit and greet green moray eels, sea turtles, and sharks in the Dangerous Reef section.
The aquarium strives to be interactive and offers several experiences that allow visitors to get a little closer to the animals. These include a glass bottom boat trip, a chance to swim with stingrays, and (for certified divers) a dive with sharks. Ripley's Aquarium also holds birthday parties, sleepovers, and other special events.
Take in a live show where you can watch aquarium employees feed sharks, jellyfish, octopi, stingrays, sea dragons, and more. Your pass is good for the day here and allows for reentry on the same day. The aquarium is also very stroller-friendly.
If you visit during the holiday season, don't miss the spectacular annual Festival of Trees event that takes place at the aquarium. It features dozens of twinkling Christmas trees decorated in every theme imaginable, making it a must-see holiday event in Myrtle Beach.
5. Paradise Adventure Mini Golf
There are three mini golf facilities in Myrtle Beach managed by Paradise Adventure Mini Golf where you can test your putting skills. Cancun Lagoon is one of the most popular, perhaps because of the 50-foot Mayan temple that towers over players as they try to navigate the outdoor course. On sweltering days, cool off inside with an indoor course.
There are two other impressive mini golf locations. One is Molten Mountain in North Myrtle Beach, which actually features an "active" volcano. The other is Mutiny Bay, a 36-hole Caribbean-themed outdoor course situated next to a giant pirate's ship.
Can't get enough mini golf? Grab a three-day pass that provides unlimited play at all three locations.
6. Hollywood Wax Museum
So maybe you and the kids will never make it to Hollywood or encounter one of your favorite celebrities for a selfie. Fear not, for you can live your fantasy at Hollywood Wax Museum.
The museum features over one hundred amazingly lifelike wax sculptures of your favorite celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson, Clint Eastwood, George Clooney, Bradley Cooper, Marilyn Monroe, and more. Sculptures span notable celebs from the worlds of movies, television, music, and NASCAR.
After saying hello to the stars, you and your kids can set off to save Princess Hannah in the interactive exhibit Hannah's Maze of Mirrors. She is trapped in a mirror maze, and it's up to you to find and rescue her as you navigate your way along hundreds of mirrored walls.
Older kids may also enjoy trying to save the world from zombies in the creepy Outbreak exhibit. This realistic exhibit features live actors as well as animatronics to produce some real chills.
The museum is open 365 days a year, making it an ideal Myrtle Beach activity for winter. It's easy to spot from Broadway at the Beach; look for King Kong climbing the outside of the building.
7. Brookgreen Gardens
Spanning over 9,000 acres, Myrtle Beach's natural wonder called Brookgreen Gardens offers a lot for families to see and do while soaking up the surrounding natural beauty. For starters, it's home to four historic plantations, a zoo, sculpture garden, and wildlife preserve. You can also hop in a jeep or take a boat ride to learn more about the area's animals and ecosystem.
The zoo itself houses native animals who were injured or bred in captivity and cannot survive without human assistance. Children age 12 and up can sign up for the Zookeeper for a Day program, where they'll gain hands-on experience from a zoo employee about the care and feeding of the animals.
Several excursions allow you to delve deeper into Myrtle Beach's history. One of these, the Creek Excursion, takes you into low country creeks on a 48-foot long pontoon boat. You'll learn about the rice plantations and how they were harvested by slaves in the 18th century.
When you're done with your excursion, check out the sculpture garden. It's the largest of its kind in the U.S., containing over 2,000 works by hundreds of artists. There's also plenty of blooms and butterflies to be spotted in Brookgreen Gardens.
8. Broadway Grand Prix Family Race Park
Feeling the need for speed? Broadway Grand Prix Family Race Park will have you feeling like a NASCAR champion in no time. Seven go-kart tracks offer thrills for all skill levels starting with a kids track all the way up to the Grand Prix Pro Track. The vehicles are easy to operate and children must meet a height requirement of 40" to drive them.
A family track features two seated go karts so mom or dad can ride alongside their junior race car driver. There's also a sky coaster that allows you and other family members to safely soar like an eagle above the park. A rock climbing wall challenges climbers of all abilities, and there's even a retro style arcade featuring old-school favorites, such as skeeball.
The park also features bumper cars and an 18-hole mini golf course. Access to all attractions is included with the cost of the all-you-can-ride armband. A season pass is also available for those who plan on returning for the fun throughout the operating months.
9. Broadway at the Beach
Broadway at the Beach is the place to go before or after one of your family adventures for some great food, shopping, and downtime. Although, there's so much to see and do here at Myrtle Beach's most popular tourist stops that it's downright easy to make a day of it here.
When you're not grabbing a bite to eat at one of the dozens of restaurants serving American fare, pizza, seafood, and more, you'll be picking up mementos to bring home from any number of specialty shops and boutiques. Grab some candy or enjoy an ice cream cone in between visiting stores.
Take a ride on the 118-foot-tall Ferris wheel that offers panoramic views of the 350-acre shopping complex and surrounding areas. A dinosaur exhibit lets kids of all ages dig for dinosaur bones or sit on life-sized replicas of the ancient reptiles.
10. Myrtle Beach State Park
Sometimes, the best family experiences happen away from the lines and artificial simulations. Visit Myrtle Beach State Park. It was the city's first park, opening in 1936.
The crown jewel of the state park is Grand Strand, a 60-mile stretch of beach that is perfect for some sun and relaxation. Take the kids for a walk along its glittering white sands to hunt for seashells and sharks' teeth. You may just spot bald eagles and turtles in several areas of the park.
You'll find plenty of beachgoers tanning, swimming, surfing, and building sand castles. There are also hundreds of campsites available in the park, and over a hundred include hookups for electricity, water, and sewage.
The sculptured oak nature trail will take you nearly three-quarters of a mile through a maritime forest that features wetlands and magnolia trees. A scenic overlook at a pond awaits you at the end of the trail, or you can make a turn toward the beach.
Whatever you decide to do at the state park's beaches, spending time at the ocean is sure to offer amazing health benefits.
11. Myrtle Beach Pinball Museum
Myrtle Beach Pinball Museum is located at 607 N 27th Ave Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Which Myrtle Beach Family Activities Will You Try?
As you can see, there's no shortage of family activities in Myrtle Beach for families of all sizes and children of all ages. There's so many that it's literally impossible to try them all in just one visit to Myrtle Beach.
In which case, perhaps you are thinking about relocating to the Myrtle Beach area. We can help you find the perfect Myrtle Beach home to rent or buy. Start by conducting a real estate search on our site, or contact us at 843-839-9870.