Go Beyond the Beach for Free Fun in South Carolina
When visiting Myrtle Beach, SC, spending time on the city’s 60 miles of beautiful sand beaches is a given. And with several public access points, visitors don’t have to stay at a beachfront property to make it onto the beach. But Myrtle Beach offers so much more than fun in the sun and surf. Check out these family-friendly activities that take it easy on the vacation budget.
Take a Walk Along the Boardwalk
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk (1st Ave. N. to 16th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach, SC) is a 1.2-mile promenade along the beach that also takes visitors by some of the area’s most iconic attractions, such as the SkyWheel, Fun Plaza Arcade and Peaches Corner, the area’s oldest restaurant. Most of the year, live music and performers can be found along the boardwalk; during summer, guests can attend “Hot Summer Nights,” which includes free events six nights per week. Events include Kids Carnival Nights every Monday, live music Tuesday through Saturday, and fireworks every Wednesday.
Appear on Broadway
A popular shopping, dining and entertainment destination, Broadway at the Beach (1325 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach SC) welcomes families to come and play. Take a walk along Lake Broadway, or stop at Play Park, where the kids can run and explore three different play areas geared to preschool and school-age children. There’s even a picnic area where the family can enjoy a meal while watching the ducks play on the lake. All summer long, Broadway at the Beach will host “Summer Nights,” a free entertainment series held every night that features live musical performances, street performers, character appearances and fireworks.
Step Back in Time
Take the kids to L.W. Paul Living History Farm (2279 Harris Short Cut Rd Conway, SC), where they can experience life on a one-horse family farm from 1900 to 1955. Live demonstrations at the farm showcase a variety of farm tasks, such as plowing with mules, milking cows, blacksmithing, making lye soap, grinding grits, curing meat, preserving vegetables and harvesting crops. It’s a great way to educate kids of all ages on how a family took care of themselves long before grocery stores and online shopping existed. Admission is always free.
The Art of Entertainment
It’s never too early to introduce kids to art, and the Myrtle Beach Art Museum (3100 S. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC) contains 11 galleries and revolving exhibits that do just that for free. Get kids involved by asking them questions about what they see, play “I Spy” to see what unique items they will find, and have them try their hand at drawing their own art (ask the front desk staff for sketching materials). After the visit, keep the conversation going by asking the kids what their favorite artwork was and why; it’s always interesting to hear their responses.
Enjoy the Pier
Just 8 miles south of Myrtle Beach, the Pier at Garden City (110 S. Waccamaw Drive, Garden City Beach, SC) welcomes families to come and spend time along the 668-foot-long pier that stretches into the Atlantic Ocean. There is no fee for spectators to walk the pier, so families can enjoy a stroll, take in the view, and watch the fishers to see who reels in the biggest catch. Of course, for an additional cost, an arcade and dining also are available at the pier.
When to Go
Myrtle Beach is a year-round destination that obviously draws the largest crowds from spring break through Labor Day. Fall is also a great time to visit, but it can get chilly during the winter. Even so, offseason months still offer much entertainment, although the schedules may be more limited. For any planned activities, be sure to check the attraction’s website to confirm operating hours during your visit.
Karon Warren has covered travel for nearly 20 years with numerous print and online publications. Her byline has appeared in USA Today, USA Today’s 10 Best, WorkingMother.com, FamilyVacationCritic.com. and many others. She is a member of both the Society of American Travel Writers and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. In addition to her freelance work for other clients, she also writes for her own travel site, ThisGirlTravels.com