If you’re looking for tips on what to do in Myrtle Beach away from the beach, we’ve got you covered. Can you believe we have visited Myrtle Beach three times now and never jumped in the ocean or played on the beach!
Yep, each of our visits has been in the cooler months of October, November and January so we are well acquainted with all the best Myrtle Beach attractions, shows, restaurants, shopping and non-beach activities.
Whilst many people go here for the beach, there are still a ton of fun things to do in Myrtle Beach SC without getting wet. It’s considered one of America’s best family vacation spots in America and the tourist capital of South Carolina for a reason – there is something here for everyone!
So if you love going to a beach destination but don’t actually like getting salt water up your nose or sand between your toes, this post is for you!
How far is Myrtle Beach from Raleigh? A short 3 hour drive (179 miles) so now that we live in Raleigh permanently I can see this being one of our frequent getaways from Raleigh.
Whilst the cooler months means less crowds and cheaper prices, we definitely plan to visit Myrtle Beach in the summer months too!
So what is there to do in Myrtle Beach, besides just the beach? We have plenty of fun in store for you down below!
What to Do in Myrtle Beach
Walk the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
One of the best ways to see the beach without actually setting foot on it, is to explore the boardwalk.
Along the main shoreline is a 1.2 mile stretch of boardwalk from 2nd Avenue Pier to just north of the 14th Ave Pier.
There are two main sections: one is more serene and natural, the other is focused on some of the fun things to do in Myrtle Beach like the beachfront shops, arcades, bars, restaurants and the iconic 200-foot SkyWheel (see down below).
Stop in at the Gay Dolphin Gift Shop, the oldest and largest gift shop in Myrtle Beach and a tradition since 1946.
Pop into the Fun Plaza Arcade (an open-air arcade in operation for 80 years), grab a hot dog and a milkshake from Peaches Corner (a staple since the 1930’s), or enjoy a drink oceanfront style at Sharkey’s Beach Bar.
Eat and take in the view at Rip Tydz Oceanfront Grille & Rooftop Bar
For incredible elevated views of Myrtle Beach, and ginormous burgers, don’t miss Rip Tydz. The views from the rooftop bar are amazing, but if the weather is not being kind, you can move to the inside dining area with floor to ceiling windows.
Either way, the views and food will leave you feeling satisfied.
Our pick, the OMG burger: two patties piled high topped with Applewood Smoked Bacon, cheddar cheese and crispy onion straws.
Ride the SkyWheel
If you want an even higher and more spectacular aerial view of the beach and downtown area, then take a ride on the SkyWheel.
This gigantic observation wheel that stands unmissable in the cityscape has 42 glass-enclosed gondolas that can seat up to six people.
The ride goes for about 10-minutes and you get beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and up and down Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach State Park
Located on the southern end of the Myrtle Beach city limits, this is a 312-acre preserve that features the beach, a maritime forest untouched by human development, as well as modern conveniences like a campground, a nature center, and a fishing pier.
This is one of our favorite places to visit in Myrtle Beach!
On a previous visit a few years ago, our kids participated in a ranger program on the pier and learned about blue swimmer and hermit crabs (and caught some), and jellyfish.
We also walked along the boardwalk to find monarch butterflies to tag.
Myrtle Beach State Park reminds us of the natural bush you’d find on many of our beaches back home where we grew up in Australia.
There is a campground in the State Park and other cool programs like sunrise and sunset beach yoga.
Go Kayaking through a Salt Marsh or Cypress Forest
If you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know that one of our favorite family activities is to go kayaking (or stand up paddle boarding).
And we’ve been kayaking twice now in the Myrtle Beach area on a guided tour with the folks from Black River Outdoors, once through a salt marsh and the other time through a cypress forest.
This has to be one of the top things to do in Myrtle Beach for those that love the outdoors without getting wet (you get a few sprays and drops from your paddle).
Our paddle through the salt marsh in Huntington Beach State park has some of the best bird watching on the East Coast with birds such as egrets, herons, cormorants, eagles, vultures and osprey – we even saw a kingfisher standing on the tip of the grass and it looked so much like its relative, our very own kookaburra from Australia.
For our most recent kayaking tour through the cypress forest along the Waccamaw River, it was one of the gentlest kayaking trips we’ve done.
The river took us downstream past bald cypress, their leaves recently stripped with the changing of the seasons, and we saw all manner of birds: turkey vultures, Anhingas, and kingfishers, plus turtles sunning themselves on logs, and we spotted a gator!
It was a peaceful way to spend the morning with not another soul in sight, just us and our guides teaching us about the ecosystem of this region.
One of our favorite places to visit in Myrtle Beach is Murrells Inlet.
Located about 25 minutes south, this small fishing village was once the lair of the infamous pirate Blackbeard and we love its Southern coastal vibe on the intracoastal waterway.
A must do is the Marsh Walk, an easy ½ mile wooden boardwalk along a natural saltwater estuary which offers gorgeous views of the marshlands and the fishing boats coming in with the day’s fresh catch for the string of restaurants lining the boardwalk.
There’s outdoor seating areas, water views, and the place to be for seafood, drinks, and relaxed southern fun. We ate at Wicked Tuna (see down below).
There are plenty of water sports to do in the area including parasailing, jet skiing, and fishing charters.
Next time we’d like to check out this guided stand up paddle board trip around the beautiful waters of Murrells Inlet. Or if we’re with a group of friends, maybe rent a pontoon boat for a fun time on the water.
Murrells Inlet is located right near Huntington Beach State Park and Brookgreen Gardens so there’s endless natural beauty here.
Indulge in Local Seafood at Wicked Tuna
If you’re looking for one of the best Myrtle Beach restaurants that serves up fresh local seafood, it’s hard to beat Wicked Tuna.
We had a delicious seafood dinner at their Murrells Inlet location, but they also have a prime spot at 2nd Ave Pier overlooking the ocean.
Either way, each location is a premier waterfront dining experience (slightly upmarket).
As for Murrells Inlet, it’s known as the seafood capital of South Carolina and the seafood Wicked Tuna is straight from hook to table.
See Magnificent Live Oak Trees at Brookgreen Gardens
If you’re looking for Myrtle Beach activities that provide your own space and tranquility, with incredible live oak trees, then visit Brookgreen Gardens.
This place is a national historic landmark that hosts the largest collection of outdoor American sculptures in the world with over 2,000 works by 425 artists over the 9,127-acre property.
Don’t miss Live Oak Allée which is home to 250-year-old Live Oak trees with weeping Spanish moss that were planted in the early 1700s when Brookgreen Gardens was four thriving rice plantations.
There’s a fun activity booklet for the kids to keep them engaged with various scavenger hunt type questions.
And also on property is a small zoo, an Enchanted storybook Forest, a butterfly house and boat rides and trekker excursions taking you deeper into the property.
So if you’re looking for things to do near Myrtle Beach, we highly recommend Brookgreen Gardens!
Huntington Beach State Park
I know you’re interested in what to do in Myrtle Beach away from the beach, but Huntington Beach in the state park is definitely worth a look and a short walk with its powdery white sand and sweeping isolation.
Huntington Beach State Park is another place that offers a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Myrtle, and the place to come for easy nature walks, camping, and birdwatching – it’s considered by many to be the best birding spot in South Carolina.
We enjoyed the easy 2 mile Sandpiper Pond Nature Trail that goes through the scrub forest beside a lake with some glimpses out over the beach. It ends at the viewing deck on a pond that attracts egrets and herons.
There’s also a short boardwalk that goes over the salt marshes for a closer look at this ecosystem that makes up a lot of the Carolina coastline.
And, you can also visit the remains of Atalaya, a vast 1930s Moorish-style castle which was the home of renowned sculptures, the Huntington’s, who once owned the land.
Walk out on the Piers
Another place to escape the surf and sand is on many of the Myrtle Beach Piers.
Aside from the uninterrupted ocean views and recreational fishing, the Myrtle Beach piers also offer a variety of dining and entertainment options.
- Pier 14 is the downtown Myrtle Beach Pier that offers sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean, the beachfront hotels, the SkyWheel and is home to the Pier 14 Restaurant & Lounge and a bait and tackle shop.
- Second Avenue Pier is where you can stroll 900 feet out over the ocean and get a spectacular view of the sea and city skyline. You can fish all day or enjoy a delicious seafood meal at the famous Wicked Tuna.
- Apache Pier is the East Coast’s longest wooden pier and a good spot to drop a line or just take a relaxing stroll and check out the scenery. Visitors can walk the pier for a dollar each.
- Also check out Cherry Grove Pier, Surfside Beach Pier, and the Pier at Garden City Beach.
Sip on a Local Craft Beer
Wherever we travel to I always like to taste the local beers on offer.
New South Brewing is a small microbrewery in the heart of Myrtle Beach. They have a taproom with over a dozen beers. I enjoyed their Nut Brown Ale, whilst their flagship beer is their White Ale (wheat beer with orange peel & coriander).
The Crafty Rooster in Conway features a long list of craft beer selections, and was started by former Coastal Carolina students. My pick was the Ny Haze of Mind IPA. I also enjoyed a delicious bison burger here
Atlas Tap House is a relaxed hangout serving up craft brews and bourbon, plus burgers, BBQ sandwiches and tacos nestled in the heart of Myrtle Beach across from the SkyWheel.
Watch a magnificent sunrise over the ocean
You’re on the east coast so you have to take in a spectacular ocean sunrise on at least one morning of your Myrtle Beach vacation!
For us Aussies who grew up on the east coast of Australia, there is no better way to start a beach vacation than watching the sun rise.
From our condo at Royale Palms we could even watch the sunrise from our bed, but we wrapped ourselves in a blanket and sat outside on our balcony with a steaming cup of coffee – totally worth getting up for!
We’ve also seen an incredible purple color sunrise from the beach!
Explore Historical Conway
The historical town of Conway, with its oak-lined streets and historical buildings, is one of the oldest towns in South Carolina and a nice place to spend a few hours.
Here you can pick up a map from the visitor center and do a self-guided tour of the many buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places – our favorite was the City Hall, beautifully decorated for Christmas.
We also enjoyed a stroll along the 1.5-mile boardwalk beside the Waccamaw River and under dripping Spanish moss.
Where to eat in Conway:
- For contemporary flair, consider the Rivertown Bistro.
- For something a little more low-key at an affordable price that involves craft brew, the Crafty Rooster Bar & Grill was recommended to us by our kayaking guide!
- Don’t miss The Trestle Bakery for a delicious array of cakes and pastries – the donuts we bought for our kids were stuffed with custard and layered with chocolate.
See a Performance at the Carolina Opry
Looking for fun things to do in Myrtle Beach at night? If you like singing, dancing and a little comedy thrown in, then consider a night out at The Carolina Opry.
We enjoy taking our kids to shows and the theater, like we did at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and Broadway in NYC, so a night out at one of the top Myrtle Beach attractions was a no brainer and we’ve been twice now!
The Opry was the first show to open in Myrtle Beach and is now in its 35th season, longer than any show in Broadway history.
At our first show a few years ago we liked how the music spanned multiple genres and ages like soul, country, and pop and rock.
Just recently we saw The Carolina Opry Christmas Special – a two hour performance of your favorite Christmas songs, stunning costumes, Christmas decorations, and a funny comedian.
Shop, Eat, Drink and Play at Broadway at the Beach
For other endless stuff to do in Myrtle Beach, Broadway at the Beach is home to some of the top Myrtle Beach attractions and the place to go for shopping, restaurants, family entertainment and nightlife. All this bordering a 23-acre lake.
Here you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Myrtle Beach with kids like WonderWorks (see below), Ripley’s Aquarium, Margaritaville, and Hard Rock Café.
If you’re looking for nightlife in Myrtle Beach, you’ll find it here. Hang out at the Crocodile Rocks dueling piano bar, and grab a daiquiri at Fat Tuesdays.
WonderWorks – an amusement park for the minds!
Not sure what to do in Myrtle Beach on a rainy day? Your kids (and you) will love WonderWorks but from looking from the outside in at this upside down building you can’t imagine what fun is inside.
Out of all the science museums we’ve visited around the world, WonderWorks has to be one of our favorites.
If your family likes interactive exhibitions and quirky fun that help you learn and become amazed with the world around us, inside are three levels of imagination, experiments, and adventures.
Each level and activity teaches you something interesting about life.
We learned why the beds of nails we were lying on were not piercing our skin, how high we could jump, what a hurricane could potentially feel like, how cold the water was when the Titanic sunk, and much more.
And we played laser tag and had fun riding a 6D simulated roller coaster. There’s also a high ropes course and zipline inside (unfortunately closed during Covid).
Thank you, WonderWorks, for taking care of much of my homeschooling curriculum for the month – our kids did well in the weather and natural disaster quizzes!
Get Your Burger Fix at River City Cafe
I LOVE a good burger as you may have seen from my recent post about the best burgers in Raleigh, and if you want a GOOD burger in Myrtle Beach head to the River City Cafe for a family-friendly place to eat with a wide variety of burgers.
With a few locations throughout the Myrtle Beach area, we enjoyed the colorful outdoor seating area of the location on 21st Avenue North the most.
No matter which location you choose, the eating here is quick, easy and affordable and the burgers at River City Cafe are voted best on the beach year after year.
The Market Common (Southern Time Square)
We really enjoyed exploring, shopping and eating at the Market Common area, a unique and modern outdoor lifestyle and shopping hub just south of Myrtle Beach in an urban village community.
But possibly our favorite meal from our most recent Myrtle Beach vacation was at Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, a contemporary Modern American Italian restaurant incorporating fresh regional ingredients, a gluten free menu and an impressive collection of carefully-chosen wines and an atmosphere of comfort and style.
There was a live musician playing a fantastic set of old and new tunes, the food was delicious and well-priced, and the $5 glass of chianti was delicious and BIG!
Definitely put the Market Common area on your list of best things to do in Myrtle Beach (away from the beach)!
Eat Award Winning Waffles at Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery
Looking for kid-friendly places to eat in Myrtle Beach and for the waffle lovers in your family? Then don’t miss Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery for some of the best waffles in America!
That’s right, according to the Food Network, the red velvet waffles at Johnny D’s rank amongst the nation’s best – our kids certainly loved the red velvet waffles (also a local’s fave) whilst we enjoyed a hearty beef brisket skillet and pancakes, eggs and sausages!
They also serve up premium omelettes, creative benedicts, and breakfast sandwiches.
And good news gluten free pancake lovers – they serve up gluten free strawberry and banana hot cakes!
Definitely kick-start one of your mornings on your Myrtle Beach trip here!
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show
Our kids are tumbling addicts so as soon as the Pirates Voyage show started and the pirates began tumbling, back tucking and doing more amazing acrobatic tricks our girls were mesmerized and we knew had arrived at the right show.
Needless to say, we all enjoyed eating our four-course meal whilst watching the 90 minute show with special effects and singing as the pirates searched for lost treasure.
Put this on your list of fun things to do in Myrtle Beach at night.
Mini-Golf (it’s the Myrtle Beach Way)
You can’t visit Myrtle Beach without playing a fun game of Mini-golf which has been one of the most popular Myrtle Beach activities for 50-plus years and the mini-golfing capital of the world.
There are endless miniature golf courses to choose from with a wide variety of themes; pirate adventures, jungle safaris, castaway islands, and even prehistoric golf with dinosaurs.
We had a game at Captain Hook’s Adventure, putting our balls through the dangerous skull cave on the quest to rescue Tinkerbell.
This is without doubt one of the most fun things to do with kids in Myrtle Beach.
If you’re looking for things to do in North Myrtle Beach, another cool and unique shopping, dining, and entertainment district located in a picturesque setting along the Intra-coastal waterway is Barefoot Landing.
It’s like a miniature version of Broadway at the Beach down south.
Don’t miss the Crooked Hammock Brewery which is currently serving from a small tiki bar and mini caravan in a tree filled backyard, with their large and permanent brewery under construction nearby.
Grab a pint and a signature giant pretzel, plus sausage or crab cake sandwich – located right next to the playground (perfect for families with young kids).
Wine Tasting at Duplin Winery
Even the wine lovers are looked after in Myrtle Beach.
Duplin Winery was founded in 1976 by two brothers in nearby Duplin County in North Carolina but has a tasting room in North Myrtle Beach, so we stopped in on our recent Myrtle Beach vacation for some holiday wine tasting.
Tastings cost $10 for 10 samples, crackers and cheese, excellent service, and a glass of wine of your favorite after it and Caroline thoroughly enjoyed learning the story behind Duplin Winery whilst sipping on a wide range of red and white wines.
Keep in mind that Duplin mostly produces sweet wine but did have one drier white wine at 1.2% sweetness, but Caroline’s favorite was the dangerous wine slushy called, Jolly Juice.
They currently have great Christmas shopping and home décor here in between the various tasting rooms and a lovely outside seating area.
Breakfast at Croissants Bakery and Bistro
To keep your kids happy with yummy pancakes and croissants, head to Croissants Bakery and Bistro for a French-inspired breakfast.
Their signature breakfast menu items include: pancakes, cinnamon bun minis, croissants, eggs benedict or bananas foster french toast.
And in our opinion this is where you get the best coffee in Myrtle Beach (a locals tip – confirmed by us).
Be sure to grab some macaroons to go when you leave – they are delicious!
Where to stay in Myrtle Beach
This resort is easy driving distance to most of the top Myrtle Beach attractions and proved to be ideal accommodation for our family beach vacation.
The condos are huge with separate bedrooms, kitchen and living room area, and laundry facilities. We had a large private balcony with sweeping views over the beach and forest behind it.
When you stay in these Myrtle Beach vacation condo rentals you get access to all Hilton resort facilities which includes three pools and a hot tub.
We loved the big pool area located right on the beach, giving you the best of both worlds and a little beach privacy.
Watch our video review of the Royale Palms:
I hope this post answers your question of what to do in Myrtle Beach and places to go in Myrtle Beach off-the-beach!
Leave a comment down below if you have further questions, or if you’ve already been and have your own tips!