Myrtle Beach is a destination renowned for its beaches and sunshine, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye. With historic neighborhoods and an active arts community, you’ll also find plenty to keep the culture and history buffs in your crew busy for days. Here are five ideas for finding family-friendly arts and culture in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
1. Go on a Museum-Go-Round
Pack up a sketchbook and head to The Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum a.k.a the Myrtle Beach Art Museum to discover art exhibits in a variety of mediums, from watercolor to textile arts. Check their calendar for Saturday KidsArt programming and Community Family Days. Don’t forget to replenish your art supplies at the gorgeous gift shop. For an active local history museum, check out the North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum, free for kids 5 and under and just $3 for kids five to 12.
2. Discover Hidden Gems in a State Park
Located at Murrells Inlet, a historic area where you’ll also find Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, head to Huntington Beach State Park. In addition to three miles of breathtaking beach, you’ll also find the historic Atalaya Castle. It is also the site of an Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival held each September. While you’re at the park you’ll also have a chance to see loggerhead turtles and other endangered plant and animal species. They frequently have family-friendly programming in the summer and on weekends.
3. Get Lost in an Art Lover’s Paradise
Not all art is hanging in museums. Explore the ruins of what was once a Spanish-inspired winter home for the founders of Brookgreen Gardens. As the largest outdoor sculpture garden in the world, Brookgreen Gardens is a sprawling display of beauty both man-made and natural. In addition to touring the works of art, you can marvel at the botanical gardens, check out the Lowcountry Zoo, take a pontoon boat ride, visit the butterfly house, and discover native plants and animals. All in a golden afternoon.
4. Celebrate Gullah Culture
Visiting a plantation with the kids can be a tangible hands-on way to help children understand slavery and the complex history of race in the United States. When you visit Hopsewee Plantation, you will see firsthand what life was like for an enslaved person on a southern plantation. But you will also celebrate the African experience and their contributions to society on both a local and national level.
Through live demonstrations, classes, tours, displays, and storytelling, you will learn about the Gullah Geechee people and the special significance of their creolized culture and language, directly from members of the Gullah Community. Every Thursday, Vera Manigault, an eighth-generation Gullah descendent, teaches sweetgrass weaving, a tradition that originated among the first enslaved people from West Africa. Hopsewee also has on-site dining featuring regional Lowcountry cuisine, ghost tours, and acres of beautiful gardens.
5. Be a Farmer for a Day
Head to the Horry County Museum in nearby Conway to check out the L.W. Paul Living History Farm. Kids can experience what life was like on a family farm from 1900 to 1955 through guided tours, demonstrations, and various events throughout the year. Don’t forget to check out the freshwater tank aquarium to see local fish. Bonus: the museum is free. And for even more area history, hop on one of Myrtle Beach History Trolley Tours to learn all about the area’s rich past from ghosts, pirates, movies, military, and famous who’s-who. The bus, which departs from Market Common, is air-conditioned, making it a welcome and entertaining rest for the wary.
To learn more about Myrtle Beach’s storied past through its art, history and culture, head to visitmyrtlebeach.com!