The perfect family vacation isn’t just a walk in the park with adventurous kids in the mix—not unless that park has a zipline and a waterslide. Lucky for you, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has all that and more. With plenty of family adventures for people big and small—an epic water park to interactive pirate escapades to dolphin excursions—here are some of our top must-dos for a family vacation they’ll never forget.
1. A Day in the (Water) Park
As promised, there is an incredible water park with something for kids of all ages. Wild Water & Wheels Water Park features a splash pool for the under-48-inches crowd and speed slides for the older adrenaline seekers. Book a cabana—there are lockers to stow your stuff safely—and then head to mini-golf before you hop back in the lazy river or one of the three pools.
2. The Sky’s the Limit
If you’re up for seeing the beach from a different point of view, check out Express Watersports for a parasailing adventure and stand-up paddleboarding, or visit Downwind Sails for some action-packed jet skiing. Head to the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel for an entirely different perspective of the 1.2-mile attraction-packed Boardwalk.
3. A Pirate’s Life
Visit Murrells Inlet, once the hideout of Blackbeard himself. After walking around the beautiful MarshWalk, grab a festive lunch at piratey Drunken Jacks. Then head out on the kid-friendly Pirate Adventures of Myrtle Beach, where they’ll start by getting outfitted like a pirate before hopping on board the ship for interactive stories and a battle against smelly Pirate Pete. Keep the pirate party going right through dinnertime by booking a spot for dinner and a swashbuckling show at Pirates Voyage (bonus win: it’s owned by Dolly Parton!).
4. The Sporting Life
Sports fans should be sure to catch a minor league baseball game with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. There are fireworks every Friday night, and kids 12 and under can run the bases. Also, check out the events calendar at the John T. Rhodes Myrtle Beach Sports Center, a 100,000-square-foot indoor sports facility with eight basketball and 16 volleyball courts. They host local youth basketball games, dance competitions, camps, and more.
5. Endless Animal Adventures
Bird watchers won’t want to miss Huntington Beach State Park, where over 350 species of birds descend. Depending on the season, you can spot herons, egrets, rails, wood storks, shorebirds, and bald eagles. Or head to Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach and visit Alligator Adventure for gators, snakes, kangaroos, wolves, and crocodiles. Don’t forget to go dolphin spotting with one of the many dolphin excursions in the area, like the Blue Wave Adventures Dolphin Watch Cruise. Huntington Beach State Park as an amazing place for birdwatching. Rangers report they see over 350 species of birds in the park throughout the year, and they have a great interpretive center where you can learn about all kinds of native wildlife.
6. STEM-Themed Explorations
For some adventures with an educational twist, curious kids will want to explore WonderWorks, where over 100 totally interactive exhibits for all ages, from weather science to a virtual roller coaster to a ropes course and laser tag. The EdVenture Children’s Museum for some STEM action that introduces kids to aviation and astronomy.
7. Hop ‘Til They Drop
Still not tired? Burn off all that energy and take a break from the sunshine by bouncing at the Rockin’ Jump Myrtle Beach Trampoline Park, located close to downtown Myrtle Beach. Little ones can go for toddler time every Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Big Air Trampoline Park. Race around the course at Broadway Grand Prix, where you’ll also find an arcade and mini-golf. Or head to 810 Billiards and Bowling for bowling, billiards, foosball, darts, board games, and a full menu.