Tips to Help You Plan Your Myrtle Beach Vacation

Beach at Sea Watch Myrtle Beach Resort
Photo: Beach at Sea Watch Resort

You could walk on the beach for over 30 miles straight without ever having to wander off the sand. That’s Myrtle Beach in a nutshell, a seemingly endless stretch of unbroken beach lined with dunes, family resorts, and a marble-blue sky. It’s part of a larger region known as the Grand Strand, which includes the calmer North Myrtle Beach, and a number of smaller beach towns to the south.

Myrtle Beach Golf Vacation: True Blue Golf Plantation
Photo: True Blue Golf Plantation

But the area is also known as the Golf Capital of America, with over a hundred courses across all price points and skillsets. And then there’s the amusement parks and carnival attractions, entertainment complexes, sculpture gardens, live music, festivals, the iconic SkyWheel, fishing on the pier, fried seafood, gorgeous state parks, and a number of quaint historic towns all with their own unique character.

As you start planning your family’s vacation to the Grand Strand, this Myrtle Beach vacation guide is here to help you find where to stay and all the best things to do.

Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach

Do you want to be in the heart of the action, or away from the crowds? That’s the most important question you need to ask when thinking about where to stay in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach – It’s closer to all the action. You have the Boardwalk, which stretches along a mile of beach, Broadway at the Beach with tons of dining, shopping, and nightlife, and Myrtle Beach State Park, a beautiful marine forest that leads out to the ocean.

Caribbean Resort and Villas Myrtle Beach
Photo: Caribbean Resort and Villas

Top Myrtle Beach Resorts:

North Myrtle Beach – Slightly quieter than the downtown Myrtle Beach area, there are less high rises, and hence less people on the beach. That said there’s still plenty to do. You can shop at Barefoot Landing, catch a show at House of Blues, or head out to a legendary fishing spot on the pier.

Peppertree by the Sea: Myrtle Beach Resort
Photo: Peppertree By the Sea

Top North Myrtle Beach Resorts:

The Southern Strand – South of Myrtle Beach, the high rises start to fade and you get into the small beach towns of Surfside Beach, Garden City Beach, Murrells Inlet, and Pawley’s Island. The vibe is much more quiet and laidback. This Grand Strand area is home to a stunning sculpture garden, the Marshwalk with fresh seafood and live music, and uncrowded beaches with room to spread out and relax.

Ellington at Wachesaw Resort in Myrtle Beach
Photo: Ellington at Wachesaw

Top South Strand Resorts:

What to Do in Myrtle Beach

1. Stroll along the Boardwalk – The brand new Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is crowned by the SkyWheel, an epic Ferris wheel that gives you a view of everything. Restaurants, attractions, and old-school souvenir stores line the main drag of this mile-long stretch. You can also catch festivals and concerts like Hot Summer Nights at the pavilion across from the SkyWheel. Be sure to explore this entire Myrtle Beach vacation guide to see all the activities on the Boardwalk as there are quite a few to choose from!

Photo: Carl Dunn via Flickr

2. Jet Ski, Kayak, and Parasail – Between the ocean, waterways, and inlet islands, there are so many fun watersports in Myrtle Beach. You can ride with the dolphins on a jet ski, fly above the beach in a parasail, or kayak on the river among sweeping oaks, draped in Spanish moss.

Parasailing in Myrtle Beach
Photo: Ocean Watersports

3. Golf at a New Course Everyday – You could play on a new course every day for almost half a year. There are literally over 120 courses within a 50-mile stretch, more than other place on Earth. But, don’t get overwhelmed, check out the inside scoop on the best courses across price points to get you started.

Marina Inn at Grande Dunes
Photo: Marina Inn at Grande Dunes

4. Shopping at Broadway at the Beach – A mini city unto itself, Broadway at the Beach is filled with shopping, dining, rides, and an exciting nightlife. It’s all built around a lake with unique sections, each with its own atmosphere.

Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach Attraction
Photo: Amanda Gironza via Flickr

5. Visit a Stunning Sculpture Garden – Believe it or not, Brookgreen Gardens is the largest sculpture garden in the world. It’s a gorgeous blend of exotic plants, reflecting pools, and hundreds of sculptures. There’s also the Low Country Zoo, a pontoon boat ride, and a storybook forest play area for young kids.

Brookgreen Gardens: Sculpture Garden in Myrtle Beach
Photo: Flickr

6. Thrill Rides and Carnival Attractions – See what Myrtle Beach used to be like at the retro carnival attractions at OD Pavilion. Or make a day of the more modern, Family Kingdom Amusement Park, as well as waterparks, ziplines, go karts, stock car racing, wacky mirror mazes, and the hair-raising Myrtle Beach Slingshot.

Broadway Grand Prix: Myrtle Beach Go Karts
Photo: Broadway Grand Prix

7. See Shows and Live Music – Myrtle Beach is the birthplace of Shag, the signature dance of South Carolina. There are lots of music venues, some of them over the water, showcasing local talent and national stars. Or, see a variety show at The Alabama Theatre and Carolina Opry with song, dance, and entertaining acts.

The Alabama Theater: Myrtle Beach Shows
Photo: The Alabama Theater

8. Taste the Local Wine – You might not think of Myrtle as wine country, but there are a few local wineries in the area that use the signature Muscadine grape to make a sweet dessert wine. To try a glass, head to La Belle Amie vineyards for a tasting in their beautiful gardens.

Photo: La Belle Amie Vineyard

9. Take a Day Trip to a Small Town – The Riverwalk in nearby Conway is like something out of a movie. Walk along a boardwalk path, among majestic oaks, doubled in the glass-like reflection on the water. This is just one of many small historic towns in the Grand Strand, each with their own charm. They make for a relaxing day of eating, exploring, and antiquing.

Riverwalk in Conway, SC
Photo: Conway Riverwalk | Charles Slate via Flickr

10. Explore the State Parks – Two State Parks, Huntington Beach State Park and Myrtle Beach State Park are a great way to get a sense for the nature of the area that you might miss if you spent your whole day at the beach. Explore an enchanting castle, among the swamp forests of Huntington Beach State Park.

Huntington Beach State Park Sunrise
Photo: Sunrise at Huntington Beach State Park | Flickr

Photo: Long Bay Resort

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About Trevor Cohen

Trevor Cohen is Vacatia's blog editor and an avid traveler. He's an aficionado of secluded beaches and local food, but at the end of the day he loves coming back to a nice cushy resort.