Offseason Myrtle Beach with kids - entertain us!
February 18, 2020 10:04 AM   Subscribe

We got tired of New England mediocre winter and booked a last minute cheap trip to Myrtle Beach for the first week of March. It's the offseason. What should we do?

Two kids, ages 5 and 2. We enjoy being outdoors. 5 year old loves fair/amusement park type things. Husband loves kitschy beach town stuff like boardwalks and arcades. We don't love wax museums and all that stuff, and would prefer to be spending time outside in the not-35-deg-and-rainy weather anyway, though some rainy day backup plans are of course necessary.

I saw there's this neat crabbing thing kids can do at the state park but it's summer only - things like that would be awesome if you know of similar activities that are doable in winter.

And yes, we will make use of our resort's pools and the beach.

Experienced Myrtle Beach-goers and residents, what would you recommend?
posted by olinerd to Travel & Transportation around Myrtle Beach, SC (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Pavilion Park (an amusement park) has a lot of rides for young kids. The SkyWheel is neat. The Children's Museum, WonderWorks (worth a stroll by -- your kids will get a kick out of the architecture), and Ripley's aquarium are all nice if the weather doesn't cooperate on some frosty morning. And "EdVenture" has its flight simulations for kids. There's a small state-park nature center, and a north Myrtle Beach "Safari," though I can't personally vouch for the latter.
(Side note: Some hotels re-open outdoor pools at the end of the first week in March.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:34 AM on February 18, 2020

Best answer: Brookgreen Gardens is amazing and great for kids. There are lots of places to run and explore and a zoo. There's a great public beach very near by, Huntington State Park, which is also home to Atalaya, the winter home of the Huntingtons, who built Brookgreen Gardens. It's basically just a shell now, but you can tour it,and I thought it was pretty interesting.
posted by kimdog at 10:43 AM on February 18, 2020 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park. There is great bird watching in the state park and some fun boardwalks over the salt marshes. I grew up going to MB in the off season (often in Nov, Dec, or Jan) and never really did any of the downtown/kitschy things. Just indoor pool/walks on the beach/drive to state park and repeat walks on the beach. My family included daily trips to the various K&W cafeterias in town (now down to one, I think?). If you want cheap, Southern food served cafeteria-style for an adventure, then do that! (Rhiannon Giddeons is a fan!)
posted by catdapperling at 11:02 AM on February 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Husband loves kitschy beach town stuff

As I recall, there is lots of miniature golf there.....there's an all-year-round Christmas store.....
posted by thelonius at 11:26 AM on February 18, 2020

This is NO HELP but when I lived in Michigan, March was about the time of year when one of my brothers-in-law would got to Myrtle Beach to golf.

I've not been to Brookgreen in ages but when I first came to South Carolina, Brookgreen was famous for its gardens and 20th century sculpture. Anna Hyatt Huntington was a well-known sculptress. At least one of her works, a lovely Diana, is in the Metropolitan. I see now by Google that it has more attractions. You'll be early for azaleas but there will be bulbs and maybe camellias.

I doubt you'll want to go in the ocean the first week in March, but the beaches of South Carolina are beautiful, especially off-season.
posted by tmdonahue at 11:44 AM on February 18, 2020

Yessss you gotta go to The Gay Dolphin!

Brookgreen Gardens is awesome. You guys could spend the better part of a day there. There’s Barefoot Landing and Broadway at the Beach. You could drive to NMB and go listen to beach music at Fat Harold’s and learn how to Shag if you don’t know already - it’s a dying art, but I love to Shag! I’m only ok at it, but everyone is always welcome.

There’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not and a Ripley’s aquarium.

Rockefeller’s Raw Bar is my favorite place to eat in all of Myrtle Beach; it looks like a dive from the outside, but the food has been great the 20 someodd years I’ve been eating there. People love Oscar’s too. A lot of breakfast houses, but mama always told us we were on our own for breakfast on vacation.

The Pelicans aren’t playing baseball yet, but if you ever go back later in the year, it’s a great minor league ballpark.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 11:47 AM on February 18, 2020

Nthing Brookgreen Gardens, it's so loverly.

I like visiting Murrells Inlet for lunch or an earlybird supper whenever I'm in that area. It's a collection of restaurants along a marshy section of waterfront with a short boardwalk that has great views and lots of bird spotting potential. There's a famous "goat island" there (not accessible) that they sometimes evacuate during hurricanes.
posted by missmobtown at 2:01 PM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

^ The Gay Dolphin is ridiculous (there was a mini-department devoted to Elvis memorabilia), but be forewarned (because you're traveling with a spouse that loves kitsch, plus your small children): "The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove ... calls itself "the nation's largest gift shop". As of 2011, the Gay Dolphin had 26,000 square feet and store owner Justin "Buz" Plyler said the store averaged 70,000 items" (Wikipedia); the store is a block from the SkyWheel.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:04 PM on February 18, 2020

Best answer: I grew up going to North Myrtle in various times of the year. There really are some epic putt-putt courses there.

Murrell's Inlet is fun to walk around and eat. There are also boat tours and kayak rentals there. The fun tours have fishing poles for everyone and an aquarium in the middle of the boat where you can put your catches and watch them swim around. Some also let you off on sand bar islands to go shelling.

Finally, I would put in a plug for buying a kite and flying it on the beach. Most people never get a good chance to just fly a kite, and it's a great place for that.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:00 PM on February 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you or your husband are into The Simpsons, you are in for a treat.
posted by 41swans at 8:02 PM on February 18, 2020

Came here to recommend Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach, Murrells also (Dead Dog Cafe is a great place to eat there), also go down to Pawleys Island and shop in the Hammock Shops! There are lots of gifty-type shops like candles and candy, and places to eat. Walk around Broadway at the Beach. Visit Surfside Beach.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:20 AM on February 19, 2020

Ripley’s Aquarium is actually a really nice aquarium (I didn’t expect that from the Ripley’s brand name, but it is). It’s at Broadway at the Beach. Contains a really cool transparent tunnel that you can walk through with fish and sharks all swimming around you. An excellent activity on a rainy day.
posted by snowmentality at 2:01 PM on February 19, 2020

Response by poster: Update: we're back! Brookgreen Gardens was indeed really great (thanks to kimdog for helping us make that happen). It was pretty rainy the last couple of days we were there so we didn't get to all the outdoor stuff we wanted to do, but we ate some delicious seafood and enjoyed the beach and pools and drank fruity drinks out of frozen pineapples. The beachfront/boardwalk area was nice, and also my daughter had the most amazing time at the Pirate's Voyage dinner show, which as cheesy as all get-out but apparently perfectly hits the 5yo sphere of interest.

We did also visit the Gay Dolphin and my daughter enjoyed her souvenir shopping there, but I have to say I did not expect for her to be handed a Chick tract by the cashier. Hoo boy.
posted by olinerd at 8:04 AM on March 6, 2020

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