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Best Things To Do in Myrtle Beach

AOL PICK from our Editors
Some of the best Myrtle Beach things to do can be found beyond the beach. The Grand Strand’s miles of white sand beaches may seem like the primary attraction, but adventure seekers and relaxation addicts alike will find something to love about Myrtle Beach. Tour historic plantation homes to learn about the area’s rich history, peruse priceless art at Brookgreen Gardens, or explore local wildlife on the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk. If catching your dinner is more your speed, book a trip with the area’s best deep sea fishing outlet, Capt. Dicks, for an afternoon on the waves. Don’t think you can leave without taking to the green—in both miniature and “regular” form, Myrtle Beach is considered one of the country’s top golf destinations. Craving a rousing time for the whole family? Don’t miss the Family Kingdom Amusement Park or Ripley’s Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach. Fashionistas don’t need to wait for a rainy afternoon, either. The area has multiple outlet locations and numerous local shops for discount finds or even traditional Pawleys Island Hammocks. There are so many things to do in Myrtle Beach that you’ll need an extra vacation just to fit it all in. 

Brookgreen Gardens

Neighborhood: Murrells Inlet
We know what you’re thinking—fine art in a town known equally for pick n’ eat seafood and an annual “Bike Week”? It’s a rarity, but a good one. Created in the 1930s on the site of four former rice plantations, Brookgreen Gardens is now one of Myrtle Beach’s top attractions and also home to some of the finest examples of American figurative sculpture in the world. More than 900 examples of sculpture by more than 300 artists are owned by the Gardens, which is open year-round to the public. Start with a stroll through the manicured gardens, then explore the Low Country History fields and the Wildlife Preserve. If you have time, take a boat or carriage tour through the tidal creek area to learn what life was like for plantation owners and early area settlers. A quick FYI admission is not free—expect to pay $12 for adults, with $7 extra for special tours

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Capt. Dick's Marina

Neighborhood: Murrells Inlet
No visit to a seaside resort is complete without at least one day of water action. Whether you’re a pro angler or simply jonesin’ for a race on a Wave Runner, Capt. Dick’s has something for you. Schedule a half or full-day guided fishing excursion, where Dick himself will teach you the ways of the water on a quest for Sea Bass, Snapper and more. You choose the duration (per person prices range from $44 for 4.5 hours to $200 for 25 hours) and they’ll outfit you with everything from a fishing license to a rod, reel and bait. Gulf Stream excursions for Tuna, Marlin and Wahoo are available, but significantly more pricey ($1,300 for a full-day trip for six). Wave runner and boat rentals, dolphin watch trips and parasailing excursions are also available.

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Hopsewee Plantation

Neighborhood: Georgetown
Searching for your inner Scarlett O’Hara? You’ll find her at Hopsewee Plantation, located just south of Georgetown. Dating back to 1740, the former rice plantation was the home of Thomas Lynch, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Stroll the restored home and marvel at the antique furnishings, or wander the beautifully-manicured grounds. If you like tea we seriously recommend calling ahead (call at least three days in advance) to make reservations for the English tea that they offer Tuesday through Saturday afternoons, for $25 per person. The plantation also offers popular basket weaving classes, a three-hour activity ($40 per person) that teaches the weaving technique so beloved in Charleston and other southern cities. The plantation is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

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Murrell's Inlet Marsh Walk

Neighborhood: Murrells Inlet
Hailed as the “seafood capital of North America,” Murrells Inlet is more than just a town—it’s a veritable mecca of outdoor activity, all centered on the Marsh Walk strip. From fishing to sightseeing (you see piles of oysters and may even glimpse a heron or two), you’ll find locals and tourists alike strolling the recently re-vamped Marsh Walk, which is constructed of beams made from recycled materials. Pop in to one of the bars and restaurants along the walk, like our favorite, Creek Ratz, for a brew and live entertainment, or drop a pole or net to catch your own supper in the form of oysters and native perch. Don’t miss seasonal activities, including a family-friendly 4th of July boat parade and fireworks show. As the sun goes down, the average age of patrons goes up—plan a date night at one of the local bars and you’re in for a low-pretense/ high-fun time.

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Murrell's Inlet Marsh Walk  

Hawaiian Rumble Miniature Golf

Neighborhood: North Myrtle Beach
You don’t have to play like Tiger (in fact, we’d encourage you not to—he’s in enough trouble as it is) to be a “pro” at the Hawaiian Rumble course. Myrtle Beach golf has its championship rep to maintain and this little course proves to be no exception. Home of the Mini Golf “Masters” championship, this 18-hole extravaganza features the area’s only erupting (man-made) volcano. Prepare for some earth-shaking entertainment as the lava spews every 20 minutes from the 40-foot tall volcano.  Practice your “lei” up, as you enter—guests are greeted by talking parrots and Hawaiian leis, making this course particularly popular with the little ones. Looking for more? The course is so popular that it has spawned two sister sites, Hawaiian Village and Hawaiian Caverns.

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Ripley's Aquarium

Neighborhood: Downtown
This is the closest you’ll ever get to a shark without worrying about a Jaws-esque interaction. Perfect for an overcast or rainy day (but less crowded on a sunny afternoon), this is one stop that both kids and adults love. The 85,000-square-foot Aquarium is located inside the family-friendly Broadway at the Beach complex and offers a number of typical aquatic exhibitions, including a marine life petting zoo. Catch the cool stuff (read: sharks) in the “Dangerous Reef” exhibit, conveniently featuring a 340-foot long moving walkway that keeps traffic to a slow, yet manageable pace. Those hosting birthday parties (and keepers of exceptional patience) can even book overnight “Shark Sleepovers,” where the kiddies enjoy private insider-access aquarium time, educational games, tee shirt decorating, and more (call ahead at least one month to set this up). Insider tip: buy tickets online to save time waiting in line.

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Dye Club At Barefoot Resort

Neighborhood: North Myrtle Beach
The names of the courses at Barefoot Resort read like a “who’s who” of top golf architects—Norman, Love, Fazio and Dye all designed their own slice of paradise for this North Myrtle Beach golfer’s haven. Hailed by Golf Digest as one of the top golfing destinations in the country, the resort is tricked out with its own accommodations, shopping strip (Barefoot Landing), and of course, the aforementioned courses. Start your day at the 30-acre range (offering an onsite sports bar) before teeing off for nine, 18, or even an adventurous 27 holes with a four-some of your pairing or one arranged by the resort. Need a little practice? Visit the resorts onsite Golf Academy for tips from PGA professionals. The journey won’t be cheap—expect a round to run between $105 and $140—but it’s well worth it.

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Family Kingdom

Neighborhood: Downtown
Ferris wheels, funnel cake and family time—what would summer vacation be without it? Family Kingdom, both the amusement park and adjacent water park, have long topped Myrtle Beach’s list of best-loved attractions. Freefall 110 feet in the Slingshot Dome, get a taste of old-fashioned fun on the wooden coaster, or challenge a sibling to a race of bumper cars. After all, it’s the only time that violence is the acceptable answer. Need something a bit more low-key, or just care to work on your tan? Head across the street to the water park, where you’ll enjoy a leisurely spin down the Lazy River or an exhilarating tumble down the Speed Slides. Insider tip: sign up online for exclusive web-only coupons.

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Hyman Vineyards

Neighborhood: Between Georgetown and Pawley's Island
Although the area is not known for its wineries, this South Carolina gem offers a glimpse into the fine vintages produced from native Muscadine grapes. The farm itself dates back to the 1800s, where members of the Hyman family have been farming for more than five generations. Today, the farm effortlessly blends traditional farming techniques with cutting-edge sustainable growing practices to produce some of the Pee Dee area’s finest Muscat wines. Take a tour of the working vineyard (if you don’t have time, at the very least stop to pick up a bottle at the onsite store). Tours are available Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the summer months only.   

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Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival

Neighborhood: Downtown
The culminating event of a Myrtle Beach summer, the Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival showcases three of the Grand Strand’s finest features. Drawing around 60,000 visitors annually, the Labor Day weekend showcase features South Carolina’s official barbeque competition, car shows, and live entertainment that is fun for the whole family. Don’t miss the $10 wristbands, which buy you unlimited samples of the best ‘cue in town on Saturday. Wash your meal down at the onsite beer garden, and don’t forget to stick around ‘till the sun goes down for the fireworks. The 2010 fest is scheduled for September 3rd and 4th.

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