Top-Rated Destinations Include Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach top destinations

Year after year, TripAdvisor recognizes Myrtle Beach as one of America’s top beaches and vacation destinations. In 2011, it was rated No. 1 in the travel-related website’s Travelers’ Choice® award for the Best Beach. In 2012, the beach was rated No. 3. And in 2013, the entire community was rated among the overall top-rated destinations in the United States.

What makes Myrtle Beach so special?

So, what is it about this small coastal town of just 135,000 residents that attracts more than 14 million people every year? According to those who responded, this is the perfect place for families with children who love the beach. With shallow waters and soft golden sand, it’s ideal for both sunbathing and swimming. The incredible sands of Myrtle Beach are also great for building sandcastles, hunting for seashells or finding shark teeth that washed up on shore. Grab a bucket and watch the kids fill it with keepsakes—you’ll be amazed at how many souvenirs they can find to bring home that didn’t come from a gift shop.

In the mood for fun? Then you’ve come to the right place. Myrtle Beach is filled with numerous oceanside attractions and hidden gems.  In fact, there are so many things to do you’ll probably never have to go to the same place twice in 10 years.

The locals who handle the tourist industry take great pride in providing one of the greatest family vacation destinations along the South Atlantic seaboard. Myrtle Beach vacations aren’t geared toward the masses—they’re more about intimate, personal experiences.

Broadway at the Beach

This 350-acre complex is the #1 attraction in Myrtle Beach. In fact, Broadway at the Beach is South Carolina’s most popular hotspot, with diverse, dazzling, fun and fascinating entertainment options for the entire family.Myrtle Beach Broadway

Dive right in at Ripley’s® Aquarium. At 85,000 square feet, this spectacle is far more impressive than your average fish tank. Touch sharks, walk under a reef and watch mermaids swim by.

Pavilion Nostalgia Parkis filled with the sights, sounds and flavors of yesteryear. Bring the kids to enjoy rides that are a blast from your past: 1912 Herschell-Spillman Carousel and The Wave Swinger (suspended swings). Answer the call of the Midway hawkers to play arcade games like Mini Basketball, Spill the Milk and Bushel Baskets. You’ll also find tasty treats like funnel cakes, cotton candy and corndogs.

From the weird, wacky and unusual to the freaky, scary and disgusting, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!® museum has it all. Oddities like a cow with six legs, ceremonial Tibetan skull masks and shrunken heads are on exhibit and available for your curious viewing 365 days a year. After you get done staring at others, take a look at yourself. Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze is an exciting family attraction filled with limitless reflections, dead end corners and continuous loops—good luck finding your way out.

Standing tall at 70 feet and guarded by Sphinx-like creatures, the Hard Rock Café pyramid is right at home near the sands of Myrtle Beach. But don’t let this Egyptian-themed cafe fool you; the food is all-American. Order a piping hot barbecued chicken or dig into a juicy burger. Vegetarian delights are also available as are regional favorites and sugary-sweet desserts. Of course great rock and roll is always on the menu and can be heard playing on state-of-the-art sound systems. Craving memorabilia? With guitars from icons like Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton and BB King to Johnny Cash’s black leather boots and Paul McCartney’s wool suit, you’ll find plenty to satisfy your appetite. Rock on.

Waterfront Dining

With crashing waves, ocean ambiance, sunsets that take your breath away and prime rib specials you’d cross the ocean for, Pier 14 Restaurant & Lounge gives a whole new meaning to surf and turf. Shark bites are a great way to start your meal and the seafood specialties include Stuffed Flounder, Filet of Grouper, shrimp, oysters on the half shell and just about anything that swims. Landlubbers will no doubt run for the hamburger or cheeseburger. They both have been voted “Best on the Beach.”

Myrtle Beach Pier 14After dinner, do more than just feast your eyes on the SkyWheel®—stroll down the boardwalk and take a ride on Myrtle Beach’s newest attraction.

For 75 years the 2ndAvenue Pier has been a popular spot for fishing, dining, family fun and the best ocean views in Myrtle Beach. This landmark is the anchor at the southernmost point of the famous boardwalk. If you consider yourself an angler, cast out your line and land the big one for prize catches like finger mullet, flounder, mackerel, trout and barracuda. If they’re not biting, don’t worry. The restaurant is stocked with whatever you have a taste for. Start the day with a cup of coffee as you watch the sun rise over the ocean. For lunch and dinner, fresh seafood selections are popular and always prepared to order.

Top off your meal with a decadent dessert or pass the day away at the second floor open air bar featuring appetizers and drinks along with cozy couches and chairs.

Food For Every Mood

Myrtle Beach is home to 1,700 restaurants. That’s even more than Manhattan can stick a fork into. From fresh tasty seafood to juicy steaks and every delicious morsel in between, Myrtle Beach offers delectable dining options sure to satisfy even the most discriminating tastes.

Ahoy Mateys! Captain George’s Seafood Restaurant reels in and serves up some of the freshest catches in Myrtle Beach. Tasty turf selections are also available to satisfy your hunger.

Myrtle Beach FoodThe place to go for romantic evenings, private parties, group events or dinner with the family, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is well-known for its tender-as-butter steaks. Its close proximity to the ocean also accounts for its excellent seafood selection.

Immerse yourself in the sophisticated luxury and urban ambiance of SeaBlue Restaurant. Award-winning chefs are paired with exceptional wine, creating a dinner to remember. Think South Beach meets Myrtle Beach.

Are you ready for the best steak you’ve ever had? Then sink your teeth into the Thorny’s Steakhouse & Saloon 80 oz. Steak Dinner Challenge. For those who want to eat without a challenge, succulent signature steaks, award-winning ribs and delicious salads are all available. Try it once and you’ll be stuck on Thorny’s.

Take your food for a dip at the Melting Pot. Fondue meals include tangy cheese for the appetizers, savory oils and broths for the main course and decadent chocolate for dessert.

When it comes to steamed crab and oysters, all-lump crab cakes and raw oysters shucked right from the shell, The Noizy Oyster is making some noise. This family-friendly restaurant sits right on the strip and serves up Maryland-style seafood.

The place to go for good steaks, great burgers and locally-brewed brews. TBonz is a favorite among locals, as well as returning visitors, as it accommodates the needs of all friends and families.

Barefoot Landing

Myrtle Beach SkywheelTreat your family to an almost limitless variety of shopping, dining and entertainment in a natural setting on the Intracoastal Waterway. Trademarks of this fun-filled destination include the creepy, crawly inhabitants Alligator Adventure, Alabama Theatre featuring The Show voted #1 by Myrtle Beach visitors and House of Blues, where you can fill up on international and regional dishes with nightly music. If you need a second opinion about Barefoot Landing, just ask the locals—they consider it one of the best places to have fun in North Myrtle Beach.

The Swiss-manufactured SkyWheel is the only observation wheel of its kind in the United States—and it’s located in Myrtle Beach. Hop in one of 42 climate-controlled gondolas and get ready for a ride that takes you to an elevation of 200 feet for spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Bring your friends because every gondola can seat up to six people. Impressive and towering, this Ferris wheel proudly serves as the centerpiece of the Grand Strand. At night, its 1 million LED lights act as an inviting beacon for an incredible lightshow display. The SkyWheel Myrtle Beach has partnered with Jimmy Buffett’s LandShark Bar & Grill and LandShark Surfshack to bring visitors this exciting new attraction on the oceanfront in downtown Myrtle Beach.

Endless Fun

Myrtle Beach is a small town with plenty of big opportunities to have a good time. Get out, explore and enjoy everything this incredible vacation destination has to offer. You won’t be disappointed—or at a loss for things to do.

A world of more than 100 species of animals exists within 15 minutes of Myrtle Beach at the Waccattee Zoological Farm. Explore 500 acres of private property with meandering wooded trails. Check out zebras, egrets, heron, kangaroos, scarlet macaws, camels and more! The only thing you won’t see here is a concrete jungle.

There are more than 30 rides at Family Kingdom, each with their own level of excitement. Try the legendary Swamp Fox wooden roller coaster or head to the water park for refreshing under water thrills.

There’s only one place on the planet that offers feasting, jousting and merrymaking, all under one roof—Medieval Times. The first one opened in Spain in 1973, and now, the tradition continues in Myrtle Beach.

Hand your child a magic wand and watch them activate flat screen TVs, trees and mountains with just a flick of the wrist at MagiQuest.

Great Golf

Myrtle Beach GolfMyrtle Beach is a golfer’s paradise. With pleasant year-round temperatures and more than 110 award-winning courses on and off the beaten path, you’ll never be at loss for places to tee it up. One of the most popular is Caledonia. According to Golf Digest, this sprawling beauty is one of “America’s Top 100 Greatest Public Courses.” And sprawl is does! The first hole is an astonishing 624 yards, so break out the biggest stick in your bag. Amidst the century-old oak trees you will find two other par-5s that average just over 600 yards each. Of course, it’s better to play from the tips and get your money’s worth because let’s face it—this is DEFINITELY not a miniature golf course. Looking for another reason to play this exceptional award-winning course? Then you’ll have to wait until you approach 18. The clubhouse porch is lined with golfers on rocking chairs overlooking the final green with nothing better to do than shower you with cheers and jeers. Line up your shot and drop a birdie in the cup. Or shoot one their way…it all depends on how well you play the hole.

There are courses and then there are Tournament Player’s Club golf courses. Play one and you’ll never forget the first time you hit the green on this tour-caliber course. The TPC Myrtle Beach is conveniently located in the heart of the Grand Strand and was designed by one of golf’s most gifted course architects: Tom Fazio. Play it and you’ll see why this TPC course earned 5 stars from Golf Digest. (No other course on the Grand Strand has ever received this honor.) Challenging and unique with fairway landscaping that would turn even greatest gardener’s thumb green with envy, some say playing here is on par with a royal experience.

Fish Stories

Myrtle Beach FishingWhen the fishing boats come into Murrells Inlet they’re not dropping off something that was caught days ago. In this Seafood Capitol, it’s more like hours ago. And the daily catch has made this historic fishing village a popular spot to enjoy the freshest fish from the best restaurants. Of course, you can reel in the prize catch yourself, too. Cast your line from the beach, pier, inlet or deep sea. There’s no license required to fish in these waters.

Myrtle Beach’s Most Famous Dance

When in Myrtle Beach…do the Shag. After all, it is the official state dance of South Carolina. This swing-style dance dates back to the late 1940s and early 1950s. In those days, the Shag was wildly popular with teenagers who would quickstep to the dance at beach clubs and pavilions along the Boardwalk. Kids often referred to themselves as jitterbugs. The upbeat tempo makes it easy for anyone with even a few basic moves to enjoy this dance. Shag classes are available for those who want to cut the rug and dance across the boardwalk on their next vacation to Myrtle Beach.

With so much to see and do, you will definitely need more than one day to take advantage of everything one of the best beaches and overall top-rated destinations in the United States has to offer.