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The Grand Strand: The Best Things To Do in Myrtle Beach

From the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk to golden beaches and beyond, we’ve curated a must-visit list for your next South Carolina getaway. | By Paul Oswell | May 12, 2022 (Updated March 10, 2023)

Myrtle Beach has evolved from a modest South Carolina seaside town into a dynamic coastal city. It’s a classic American beach destination that your family will love, with an exciting array of entertainment options. A day’s fun can entail beach time, walking the famous promenade, playing golf and taking in a show at one of the local theaters.

Bask in these ideas for making Myrtle Beach memories:

  • Show me the sunny : Families will love the beaches, for sunbathing, swimming and more

  • One for the stages : World-class music, comedy and theatrical shows line up for your entertainment pleasure

  • See food and eat it : Fresh fish and shellfish are the highlights of the local dining scene

Myrtle Beach at dusk
Take a ride on the world-famous SkyWheel.

The Grand Strand and Boardwalk

The Grand Strand is the name for the various beaches that make up the some 60 miles of South Carolina's coastline. Myrtle Beach itself is the most popular spot, and in the summer, you can join the crowds that flock to the sands for sunbathing, dolphin spotting and water sports. The promenade and boardwalk means that you can enjoy handy amenities, restaurants and souvenir shops. You can alternate beach time with trying any of the traditional fairground rides, playing rounds of mini golf or strolling along the oceanfront eating saltwater taffy. Taking a ride on the huge SkyWheel observation wheel is an exhilarating way to get the best ocean views, or wait until the sun goes down for a spectacular, 200-foot-high (60 meters) light show. Venture farther north or south and you’ll find quieter, secluded stretches such as Myrtle Beach State Park or the quaint, historical beach homes of Pawleys Island.

Group of friends sitting and holding each others enjoy watching fireworks display on the beach.
Get the gang together for an amazing firework show on the beach.

Live entertainment and festivals

If you visit during the high season (June through August), then your stay will coincide with a lively schedule of free concerts and firework shows, many of which take place right on the seafront. Live music coming through town includes everything from smaller soul bands to country music stars and fun tribute acts. You can also buy tickets to family-friendly variety shows, nationally famous comedians and touring Broadway shows — check out the listings at venues such as the Alabama Theatre or The Carolina Opry Theater.

If you come during the winter months, you’ll love the Dickens Christmas Show and Winter Wonderland At The Beach festivals, which light up the oceanfront with festive cheer.

Delicious Crab Cakes and Salmon Cakes
Whether you prefer Maryland or Charleston, one thing is for sure — crab cakes will delight.

Where to eat in Myrtle Beach

You’ll find a couple of factors at play that make Myrtle Beach an alluring destination for foodies, including a culinary scene that transcends the traditional seaside snacks, as tasty as those can be. The town’s regional low country heritage means that a mix of international influences have blended to create a distinctive cooking style. French, Creole and Caribbean flavors abound and locally sourced seasonal vegetables, seafood and fruit grace many menus.

You’ll be hard pressed to find better crab cakes or jambalaya than at the Sea Captain’s House, located in an evocative 1930s beach cottage. Angelo’s Steak and Pasta has been an institution here for four decades, and complements its beloved menu with tableside magic shows. Sample low country fare at The Cypress Room, or try the affordable, casual Americana of Dagwood’s Deli, famed for their incredible sandwiches.

Man and woman on golf cart looking at scorecard
Your tee time awaits in Myrtle Beach.

Beyond the beaches

If you’re looking for attractions and amusement parks beyond the Grand Strand, you and your family won’t be disappointed. FlowRider boogie boarding, wave pools and waterslides are all part of the aquatic fun at Myrtle Waves Water Park (which opens for the summer season at the end of May), the largest of its kind in South Carolina. You can step back in time and ride classic carnival rides at Pavilion Park. If you prefer more cutting-edge thrills, head to WonderWorks for hands-on science exhibits or psych yourself up to take on The Swamp Fox, a wooden roller coaster at local amusement park Family Kingdom.

If you’re a golfer or love fishing, you’re well catered to in Myrtle Beach. With more than 100 golf courses in the region, you’ll find a favorite fairway, and there are eight piers to unpack your fishing gear and cast off from.

Happy African-American women reading message on smartphone while shopping.
Shop until you drop in Myrtle Beach.

Where to shop in Myrtle Beach

If you need a quick retail fix on your South Carolina holiday, don’t worry, Myrtle Beach has some good options. Large shopping complexes have developed just beyond the seafront, the most popular being the chain stores found at Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach and The Market Common. If you’re a fan of malls, then Coastal Grand Mall and Myrtle Beach Mall offer an array of boutiques to explore. Souvenir shops line the boardwalk, but for quirkier finds, try Hudson's Surfside Flea Market.

Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer and has reported from all seven continents for dozens of internationally known publications. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small” and the editor of an online travel magazine.

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