12 of the Most Unique Myrtle Beach Attractions for Young Families
It’s no secret that Myrtle Beach has become one of my family’s favorite travel destinations. Coming from Atlanta, it’s such an easy road trip to take with it being just a straight shot on I-20 and the commute is short enough to curb the “Are we at the beach yet?” banter from the kids.
This past week, we spent part of the kids’ fall break in Myrtle Beach and I have to say, the fall season is the best time
to visit Myrtle Beach! The weather was absolutely beautiful, the waters were warm and calm, and even more so than other times of the year, the crowds were just perfect for allowing us to relax and explore just as much as we wanted to.
We stayed at the newly renovated Caravelle Resort, which is located along the famed Golden Mile and convenient to most attractions in and around Myrtle Beach. I actually stayed there many years ago on girls’ trip and had just as much fun with the family. From the wild water pool to the lazy river to the top-rated breakfasts on site at the Santa Maria Restaurant, we could have easily spent our entire time just on the resort and beach.
However, on this trip, we really wanted to explore more of what Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach area has to offer. Since my kids are still pretty young, we wanted to find some fun, educational, and family friendly attractions in Myrtle Beach to explore and enjoy. To our surprise, we found a plethora of attractions for young families that offered us just that. What we discovered was that in addition to being a fun family beach destination, Myrtle Beach also offers some of the most unique attractions and experiences for young families and guests of all ages. Here are just a few of these must-see attractions we discovered:
WonderWorks is the ultimate amusement park for the mind. It’s truly one of the most unique attractions combining education and entertainment with more than 100 hands on exhibits. Located on Broadway at the Beach, you can’t miss the leaning building equipped with creaking sounds of a collapsing structured. Don’t worry, though, it’s all just a part of the immense illusions you have in store upon entering the building.
My entire family had an absolute field day in there. My husband was enamored by the science and my kids were having too much fun to realize they were learning something too. Complete with rides and multi-dimensional excursions, this is definitely a can’t miss attraction in Myrtle Beach!
Most are familiar with the Ripley’s attractions across the US, but this one is quite unique. A main attraction to see here is the Indoor Glass Bottom Adventure, which features a 340-foot-long glidepath that takes you through the Dangerous Reef, with only 3 inches of glass separating visitors from the sharp-toothed predators that call Dangerous Reef. If you get a chance to make it there this fall, the Pearl Harbor exhibit is worth a stop.
Of course, while some of the most notable and unique Myrtle Beach attractions for young families are the two I just mentioned, young families can truly enjoy simply exploring the shops, restaurants, carnival attractions and more Broadway at the Beach. While dining, we could overlook the water, boating guests and the kids got quite a kick out of feeding the catfish. I’d recommend to any old-schooler or retro lover to visit the store RetroActive for the most awesome collection of memorabilia from the 80s! Fantasy Golf and Old Tyme Portraits were a couple of more I’d heard other guests rave about and it’s on my list to someday take a paddle-boat ride on a warm evening.
Here you will come across a wide range of shopping options along with delicious recipes plus top class entertainment that will keep you engrossed for hours together. You can shop for jewelry, garments as well as gifts during the day or even select from a wide area of attractions including MirrorMaze, Alligator Adventure, or the T.I.G.E.R.S/Preservation Station where you can shoot photographs along with tiger Cubs.
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, which happens to be 1.2 miles long, is actually a fairly recent addition/expansion to Myrtle Beach. Most commonly identified by the iconic SkyWheel, you’ll also come across some good eats, thrill rides and other entertainments. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk located in downtown Myrtle Beach is home to many cool festivals and events that take place throughout the year. Among the most notable things to see at the Boardwalk – the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove, Fun Plaza Family Fun Center, Ripley’s Moving Theater, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium deserve special mention.
The thrill of going way up high in the 42, 6-person gondolas of the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel is simply incredible. Here you will have the opportunity of getting a fantastic view during your memorable ride a whopping 200 feet above sea level. Plus, there’s no better place to capture some of the most breathtaking photos and instagrammable (yes, that’s a word) moments. If your family’s up for it, definitely go for the amazing 20-minute ride in a gondola while getting panoramic views from almost every angle. Interestingly, as many as 1 million LED lights are responsible for illuminating this wheel at night.
If you have the opportunity, spend a night attending one of the fantastic shows at The Carolina Opry. While this isn’t necessarily geared toward only younger families, you can find something here for everyone. It’s world class entertainment blending live music, comedy, dance and more. Among the highlights of our evening, we got to see Delvin Choice of NBC’s The Voice, national recording artist Brad Long, and hip-hop cloggers All That! NBC’s America’s Got Talent. If you’re attending in the next few months, be sure to check out their calendar of events for upcoming performances.
Unique Family Attractions Near Myrtle Beach
If you’re willing to take a ride a little outside of Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens is an excursion worth exploring. It’s about a 30-35 minute drive from Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, but a very easy drive. Brookgreen Gardens is a former rice plantation and now the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the nation. While we enjoyed seeing these highly interpretive sculptures, my kids really enjoyed the onsite Lowcountry zoo, Enchanted Storybook Forest (a play area themed to the most iconic children’s books), and especially the butterfly garden! Though we didn’t have the time to explore this, the 30-minute audio tour throughout the Lowcountry trail, which overlooks a restored rice field of the former Brookgreen Plantation, was highly recommended. Speaking of time…I made the mistake of only allotting a couple of hours for this visit, but you could easily spend an entire day here.
If you’re able to explore a little further away from Myrtle Beach, Historic Georgetown is another great destination to spend the day. It’s a little over an hour from Myrtle Beach (though we just drove 40 minutes from Brookgreen Gardens). Historic Georgetown is home to several historic museums and sites, waterfront views, rich culture and authentic cuisine.
Among the destinations in Georgetown to explore, these are a few that could offer a pretty interesting history lesson:
Built circa 1740, about 40 years before the American Revolutionary War, Hopsewee Plantation was one of the South’s major rice plantations and the birthplace of Thomas Lynch, Jr., one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. It remains the home and property of the Lynch family. Here I met with Zenobia Harper, a Gullah descendant and historian at Hopsewee, for a personal tour and in-depth experience learning about the Gullah Geechee culture in South Carolina.
The Gullah Museum was unfortunately closed when I arrived, but I learned that this is the place for tours, presentations and demonstrations of traditional Gullah and Lowcountry crafts. The owner of the museum, I hear, is also more than willing to share facts and history of the Gullah culture. Meanwhile, here you can pick up a sweetgrass basket, quilt, grass doll and/or other collectibles, or a book on Gullah.
I learned quite a bit about the significance of rice cultivation and its contribution to the history of Georgetown, SC was also recommended to visit the Rice Museum. Here you’ll find a permanent collection of dioramas, maps, paintings, artifacts and other exhibits that tell the history of rice cultivation in Georgetown County.
These are just a few of the latest Myrtle Beach attractions for families we found on this trip, but I can honestly say that with each trip, we discover something new. This area seems to be constantly growing and expanding; and truly a leading travel destination for young families.