About Myrtle Beach
Millions of visitors flock to Myrtle Beach every year, which is the center of South Carolina’s grand strand, and one of the most popular vacation hot spots on the East Coast. Here, vacationers will be greeted with exceptional shopping, dining, entertainment, and over 100 golf courses just waiting to be discovered.
Myrtle Beach is a relatively new vacation destination, and tourism wasn’t even introduced to the area until the early 1900s, when the Intercoastal Waterway was established, allowing more visitors to explore the area. It became an official city in 1958, and since then, the area has been a paradise for vacationers who want to enjoy the beaches, the attractions, and the endless entertainment that’s available around every corner.
Myrtle Beach Attractions:
Boardwalk & Promenade
A 1.2-mile boardwalk runs between two piers, from 14th Avenue to 2nd Avenue, along the sunny, sandy shoreline. Starting from the north end at 14th Avenue it passes through Plyler Park before coming to the carnival-style area in the midsection known as the Pavilion Amusement Park site around 8th Avenue. Then down on the south end you’re back to walking through an oceanfront park once again.
The new boardwalk replaces an old concrete walkway that shut down in 2006. The old pavilion closed at the same time, a 58-year-old attraction. The new boardwalk opened during the annual Beach Music Festival in May 2010, and promises to be the scene of many festivals to come. Every year since 1951 Myrtle Beach has hosted Canadian-American Days, or Can-Am Days, during Ontario’s spring break. Also in the spring, an annual festival known as Coastal Uncorked celebrates local food and wine. Harley Bike Week and Black Bike Week roar into town in the springtime.
The boardwalk is the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July and Oktoberfest. Of course the party is so nonstop during the summer season that staging an actual festival is likely to go almost unnoticed.
Events take over the Plyler Park end of the boardwalk every day of the week from April through September, live concerts on Tuesdays and Saturdays and a kids’ carnival on Mondays with inflatables, face painters, jugglers, balloon artists and stilt walkers. Wednesday is fireworks night and Thursday is bagpipe night. A Dixieland band strolls the boardwalk on Friday, and Sunday is a night of juggling, acrobatics, stilt walkers and human statues.
The Sky Wheel is 196 feet tall and hoists 42 glassed-in “gondolas” into the air, so you can take this ride without mussing your hair. Each gondola holds up to six passengers, and since it’s a glorified Ferris Wheel you can see forever from the top. It twirls high above Jimmy Buffet’s Landshark Bar & Grill, an oceanfront complex that includes a full-service restaurant, observation deck and gift shop, and puts on nightly light shows.
By the way, Jimmy Buffet and many other names you might recognize are all over Myrtle Beach. Buffet’s Margaritaville is just up the street, at Broadway at the Beach.
Broadway at the Beach
Celebrity Circle is a circular road that cuts a wide swath around a 23-acre lake lined with shops, restaurants and unique attractions. Various sections of the lakefront are built around themes such as New England Fishing Village, Caribbean Village, Charleston Boardwalk and Heroes Harbor.
Within those clusters around the lake are theaters, restaurants, specialty shops, and a number of huge attractions that are a little more difficult to broadly categorize. With so many things to see and do around Lake Broadway, the following list merely hits some of the many highlights.
BB&T Coastal Field is the “Home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans,” a minor league team that plays just about daily throughout baseball season. The stadium has 5,200 fixed seats and nine luxury suites, and the seats are from Fulton County Stadium, former home of the Atlanta Braves. It also has a playground, a picnic area and Pelican’s Beach near left field. Call 843-918-6000 for ticket information.
Carmike’s Broadway Cinema 16 has 16 movie screens. This significantly increases your chances of seeing something good. Call 843-445-1600.
Celebrity Square is a New Orleans-inspired nightclub district that starts at the foot of Hard Rock Café’s Great Pyramid and encompasses ten nightclubs that regularly host street parties and live performances. Among these well-known watering holes are Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville and Blarney Stone’s Pub & Cigar Bar. Celebrations is a conglomeration of Malibu Surf Bar, Club Boca, Froggy Bottomz and Broadway Louie’s, all under one roof for one cover charge.
Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf has a 30-foot-tall fire-breathing dragon that pops out of the top of a castle and issues dire warnings every 20 minutes or so. Tiptoe around this fearsome creature to choose between two 18-hole miniature golf courses that run through waterfalls, volcanoes and caves, with many medieval encounters—nay, knightly quests—along the way. Your club is your sword. Call 843-913-1301.
Legends in Concert is living proof that it’s not too late to see Elvis in concert. In fact, you can catch his act on the same ticket with Madonna, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles and the Temptations. This show has toured for more than 20 years, picking up new celebrity impersonators all along the way. For ticket information call 843-238-7827.
Myrtle Waves Water Park is 20 acres of slides, chutes and waves in more than a million gallons of water. Try the Night Flight (shooting through chutes in the dark), Snake Mountain (Python, Water Moccasin and King Cobra), or the Ocean in Motion Wave Pool, among many options ranging from tame to terrifying. Also check out the private cabanas, the shopping and the dining. Call 843-913-9260.
Palace Theatre is the home of three different spectacles: Le Grand Cirque Adrenaline, the Magical Spirit of Ireland and Hooray for Hollywood. During the holiday season, Christmas on Ice introduces the concept of ice to a Southern community that is accustomed to seeing it only in drinks. Call 1-888-841-2787.
Pavilion Nostalgia Park has nine rides that were transplanted from the boardwalk’s pavilion when it recently closed after 58 years, including the classic Herschell-Spillman Carousel dating back to 1912. The sprawling facility has added to that original collection, now comprised of a collection of kiddie rides—Tea Cup, Motorcycle, Dune Buggie, Pirate Ship and Boat Ride—and more thrilling rides for older kids such as The Caterpillar, The Wave Swinger and Willie the Whale. On the midway are games of every sort, from Duck Pond and Spill the Milk to Bushel Baskets, Mini Basketball, and an arcade with 45 video and redemption games. Call 843-918-8725.
Ripley’s Aquarium recreates panoramic watery and fishy scenes from around the globe. Visit the equatorial rainforest via an Amazon River filled with piranhas and stingrays, step on a 340-foot glidepath to move through an acrylic tunnel for a feeling of total immersion, and visit a coral reef in the Living Gallery. Rainbow Rock takes you to the Indo-Pacific Ocean region where you watch divers feed the fish. The Sea-For-Yourself Discovery Center has interactive exhibits and you can touch a ray at the Touch A Ray Bay. Call 843-916-0888.
Soar & Explore is right next door—to WonderWorks, as a bit of an extension to an already massive facility that needed a bit more space. The zipline travels 50 feet above water on a line that runs 1,000 feet between two towers. The ropes course is three levels, 40 feet tall, with more than 3,000 ropes and cables, all centered around a pirate theme. Call 843-448-SOAR.
WonderWorks has a fairly outlandish legend you’re going to have to go along with if you want to play with the 100 or so interactive exhibits. You see, there was once a top secret research laboratory in the Bermuda Triangle run by the great Professor Wonder. He was working to create his own private tornado and somehow the experiment got away from him. The swirling vortex ripped the laboratory from its foundation, carried it thousands of miles to Myrtle Beach, and dropped it upside down on top of a crab shack. Visitors must enter an inversion tunnel and be turned upside down in order to properly enjoy the Hurricane Shack, Anti-Gravity Chamber, Natural Disasters, Space Zone, and other completely up-ended wonders. Call 843-626-9962.