Family Vacations to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach Sunset, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach Sunset (courtesy, South Carolina Tourism)

Myrtle Beach Highlights

  • Swing through more than 115 area golf courses.
  • Splash along miles of coastline.
  • Stroll one of the South's most beautiful gardens.
  • Get twirled, tossed, swirled, and dunked at area amusement and water parks.

Myrtle Beach is the self-proclaimed "seaside golf capital of the world," with acres of green fairways adding color to the low-country landscape of white sands and oceanfront. This family-friendly city offers a super-sized beach vacation—one that adds golf, mini-golf, amusement park thrill rides, concerts, and baseball to the traditional draws of sand and surf.

Sixty miles of shoreline make Myrtle Beach special. Teens tend to congregate along Ocean Boulevard near Myrtle Beach Pavilion, an amusement and arcade hot spot closing in the end of 2006. Families with young children will find quieter shores at Surfside Beach, Litchfield Beach, Cherry Grove, and parts of Garden City Beach. Lifeguards patrol during the summer months along the Grand Strand, including Ocean Boulevard, but not at the more out-of-the-way beaches.

Kids and parents get twirled, tossed, swirled, and dunked at the area's theme and water parks. The Family Kingdom Water Park features speed slides, a Lazy River, and three flumes—one with a 185-foot drop. Family's sister amusement park rattles riders on the all-wooden Swamp Fox Roller Coaster. At the Myrtle Beach Grand Prix, adults get to burn rubber in Formula One-style cars, while at NASCAR SpeedPark teens and adults take the turns in stockcars. Both facilities offer kiddie-friendly cars and tracks for youngsters.

Old-fashioned baseball comes into play at Myrtle Beach. When the Pelicans, the Minor League affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, take the field, the stadium's small enough to make you feel close to the action. Cheer on youth teams at The Ripken Experience. Each June 72 teams will compete in tournaments in three age brackets at this baseball and training complex.

Then trade your bat for a wand at MagiQuest, where wannabe wizards brandish their trust rods to open treasure boxes, rescue princesses, slay dragons, and unleash lightning bolts. Clubs come into play at the scores of mini-golf courses as well as the more than 100 area golf courses. With Whispering Pines' Hook-A-Kid On Golf program, budding duffers age seven and older learn the basics during sessions that include lunch and refreshments.

The landscape is different at Brookgreen Gardens, one of the most beautiful gardens in the South, especially in spring when its 300 acres bloom with dogwoods and azaleas. Thursdays during the summer, storytelling and other kids' activities take place in the Garden Room. For another relaxing outing, cruise the Intracoastal Waterway with the Great American Riverboat Company. The 1.5-hour voyages showcase low-country scenery and local lore.

Take toddlers and gradeschoolers to the Children's Museum of South Carolina, where they can stand inside a bubble in Bubble Mania, discover the science behind golf in Fairway Physics, and learn about boating safety aboard the USS Kids Afloat. Older kids and teens might like the concerts at Carolina Opry, one of several venues that have turned Myrtle Beach into a country-music mecca. The two-hour show features singers, dancers, and comedians. "Good Vibrations!" pays homage to the sounds of the '60s, '70s, and '80s.

Tip: Huntington Beach State Park, along with three miles of sands, is a good spot for jetty fishing.

Recommended Side Trips: Hilton Head, Charleston's resident family expert Candyce Stapen has written the book on family travel, having authored some 1,400 travel articles and 27 books, 26 of them on family travel. She is the winner of the 2004 "Caribbean Travel Writer of the Year for North America" award and a three-time winner of the Society of American Travel Writers' Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award. Her articles have appeared in publications including Nick Jr , FamilyFun , Parents , Better Homes & Gardens , Conde Nast Traveler , National Geographic Traveler , and the Family Travel Network , among others. Her book, the National Geographic Guide to Caribbean Family Vacations is available from

Published: 3 Oct 2007 | Last Updated: 17 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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