This summer’s hottest places for amusements, nightlife and shopping

Myrtle Beach Skywheel

1110 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach; www.myrtlebeachskywheel.com.

Fly 200 feet above the ground as you experience of of the area’s signature attractions, the Myrtle Beach Skywheel.

This amazing feat of engineering, which opened in 2011, offers gorgeous views, letting you see all the Atlantic Ocean and all the area sights — including the entire 1.2-mile oceanfront boardwalk — in a way you and your family have never seen them before.

Ride in one of 42 climate-controlled gondolas to cool off from the summer sun and heat and take photos to your heart’s delight.

Skydive Myrtle Beach

Grand Strand Airport, 2800 Terminal St., North Myrtle Beach; www.mbskydiving.com.

There are plenty of thrills to be had in these parts, but since this attraction opened in 2012 it’s quickly jumped to the top of the list for “scariest things to do in Myrtle Beach.”

Experience a 120-mph free fall from more than 2 miles above earth, followed by a five-minute parachute ride with breathtaking views of the Grand Strand and North Myrtle Beach coast line.

Skydive Myrtle Beach offers top-notch education from a team of friendly and experienced instructors ready to help first-timers in a tandem jump and bring them safely to the ground – or accompany seasoned skydivers on their trip to ensure the best time possible.

The Sling Shot at Myrtle Beach Thrill Rides

1201 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach; www.myrtlebeachthrillrides.com.

One of the most thrilling rides in Myrtle Beach, the Sling Shot propels riders into the sky, bouncing up and down repeatedly and twisting and turning as a pair of cables brings them back to a stop. It’s a unique way to look at downtown.

Two riders lie on their backs and are strapped in before being shot into the sky like a sling shot and propelled more than 300 feet high at speeds up to 100 miles an hour.

Myrtle Beach Thrill Rides also houses a number of other family rides and thrill rides including the Sky Bounce kids’ bungee jumper, the Sundance vertical spinning pendulum, the Shooting Star, a giant hydraulic swing, and the Airstrike – an extreme spinning ride you have to see to believe.

Myrtle Beach Zipline Adventures

321 9th Ave. N. Myrtle Beach; www.mbziplines.com.

Cruise across the oceanfront lot at up to 50 mph as you glide through the sky to a tower where you’re treated to a thrilling “first step” off the Free Fall Express, which safely drops you 60 feet to solid ground.

Myrtle Beach Zipline Adventures, on the site of the former Pavilion amusement park, features six side-by-side racing lines that zip riders 600 feet – between a pair of towers – at up to 40 mph.

Complete the adventure with a jaw-dropping free fall from a 60-foot tower.

Huffman Helicopters

3000 S. Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach; www.huffmanhelicopters.com.

This long-running Myrtle Beach attraction is still wowing summer visitors with unique views of the beach from high above. Whether it’s a quick, minutes-long jaunt for $20 or the full Grand Strand tour for nearly $200, you’re sure to enjoy your time in the air.

There are also chopper tours of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, the inlets and marshes, the south end of Myrtle Beach and more.

House of Blues

4640 U.S. 17 S., North Myrtle Beach; www.houseofblues.com/myrtlebeach

Playing home to the area’s biggest-name concerts, top-notch food, an outdoor bar and deck and a wide variety of great events, those looking for entertainment will surely find something to enjoy it here, at one end of the Barefoot Landing shopping complex.

Sitting at the intersection of food, music and art, Crossroads Restaurant at the House of Blues is a dining experience that brings top-notch cuisine to an area surrounded by entertainment on all sides.

Legends In Concert

2925 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach; www.legendsinconcert.com/myrtle-beach.

Legends In Concert puts on one of the best tribute shows in the world, featuring a rotating lineup of tribute artists performing as music’s greatest legends from today and yesterday – all backed by an amazing live band and dazzling dancers.

For more than 15 years, Legends has been entertaining capacity crowds along the Grand Strand and since 2012 has taken residence in a state-of-the-art theater at Broadway at the Beach.

This year’s summer lineup is a tribute to Taylor Swift, as well as classic favorites such as Steven Tyler, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and the Blues Brothers.

The Boathouse Waterway Bar & Grill

201 Fantasy Harbour Blvd., Myrtle Beach; www.boathousemb.com.

The buzz continues to build for this bar/restaurant, thanks to a great location along the Intracoastal Waterway and a lineup full of free live music events. Its backyard summer concert series has become a local institution for party people, filled with bikinis, boaters and beer every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer.

Its Backyard Summer Concert Series, which runs every Sunday through September, is locally famous for its free shows, top-notch talent and a party atmosphere filled with swimsuit-clad concertgoers and boaters who take full advantage of this Myrtle Beach music venue’s prime location.

The bar also hosts shows throughout the week during the high season and is known for showcasing country up-and-comers indoors every Friday night.

Ocean Annie’s

9550 Shore Drive, Myrtle Beach; www.oceanannies.com.

The self-proclaimed “Most Famous Bar in Myrtle Beach” is inside the Sands Ocean Club Resort off Lake Arrowhead Road on the north end of Myrtle Beach.

This beach bar features a huge, dual-layered deck directly off the beach with a laid-back atmosphere, awesome views of the ocean and live music from area bands from 1 to 11 p.m. every day during the summer.

You’ll also find a menu full of beachy drinks, cocktails and shooters, a lively crowd of partying locals and visitors and a friendly staff that’s ready to make sure you have a blast.

Dead Dog Saloon

4079 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, S.C.; www.deaddogsaloon.com.

Dead Dog has everything you could want – great food, indoor, outdoor and waterfront dining and a great lineup of live music and entertainment in the bar area. This Murrells Inlet Marshwalk spot has bounced back from its 2012 fire bigger and better than ever.

The Bowery

110 9th Ave N., Myrtle Beach; www.thebowery.com.

This classic honky-tonk bar, in operation since 1944 and which bills itself as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” is just steps from the boardwalk and the beach. If you appreciate the down-home charm of cheap beer served cold and hot live music, The Bowery is a must-see.

It’s famous for being the home of Country Music Hall of Famer’s Alabama, who got their start playing for tips at this well-worn honky-tonk.

Nowadays, you’ll still find one of the best house bands in Myrtle Beach – Lee Travis & The Bounty Hunters – performing live six nights a week all summer. The bar also hosts special guest concerts throughout the year.

Broadway Louie’s

1320 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach; http://bit.ly/U5s5Hl.

That you can watch a game on huge projection screens and grab a drink while the kids play in an awesome arcade is nice, but what puts this Broadway at the Beach-area bar over the top is its karaoke stage show.

Enter the million-dollar arcade and you’ll find tons of fun for kids and folks who are young at heart to enjoy together. Here you’ll find the latest video games, skill games, billiards tables and more, as well as an outdoor patio and bar area.

Flip over to the other side of this venue and you’ll find a huge sports bar area with a great menu of American cuisine, huge projection screens to watch the big game and a colorful stage area that gives hosts one of the area’s best karaoke shows, Jake All-Star Broadway Karaoke.

Revolutions Nightclub

1320 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach; www.fantasticclubs.com/Revolutions.

Not just for hipsters and club kids, this Broadway at the Beach-area dance club caters to party people of all ages with a huge multi-level dance floor and music from across the decades.

Come get your groove on at this smoke-free nightclub in Myrtle Beach and take in the party atmosphere provided by DJ Rich playing the best music and videos with state-of-the-art lights and sound.

Grab a drink as the friendly staff serves you at one of three bars, including the upstairs Z Bar area, a Vegas-style cigar and martini bar that serves as a sophisticated getaway from the other Broadway at the Beach nightlife options in Celebrity Square.

Bummz Beach Cafe & Bar

2002 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach; http://bit.ly/1w5ZeyD.

This shack of a beach bar doesn’t look like much inside, but it opens up to a relaxing backyard with an oceanfront view, a great outdoor bar and a small stage filled with live music acts throughout the summer. Doesn’t hurt that Bummz also has great burgers and a friendly staff.

Landshark Bar & Grill

1110 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach; http://bit.ly/1sCqtkm.

Known mostly for being part of Jimmy Buffet’s expansive array of restaurants and for its oceanfront locations under the Myrtle Beach Skywheel, Landshark offers surprisingly good seafood, sandwiches and service. Generally less of a wait and a better view than its more well-known sibling, Margaritaville, Landshark is worth a try if you’re downtown.

Enjoy delectable desserts, cocktails and, of course, LandShark beer. There is a complete children’s menu at the family-friendly restaurant.

2001 Entertainment Complex

920 Lake Arrowhead Road, Myrtle Beach; www.2001nightclub.com.

This legendary Myrtle Beach nightclub, which features multiple clubs in one, has been a popular spot for visitors for more than 30 years. Already known as a great place for the older crowd to dance and enjoy the best beach music and show band, the club has recently opened an area called 2001 MMI, designed as a live music venue and nightclub to appeal to a younger audience.

With three nightlife venues in one party place, 2001 Entertainment Complex is one of the largest clubs in Myrtle Beach.

Check out the Next Level club to hear some of the best bands around performing live music of all sorts – including top 40, oldies, beach music and more. Hop over to Club Touch to dance with huge video screens, light shows and top DJs spinning the latest hits.

Fat Harold’s Beach Club

212 Main St., North Myrtle Beach; www.fatharolds.com.

Duck’s Beach Club

229 Main St., North Myrtle Beach; www.ducksatoceandrive.com.

A pair of bars that deserve to be mentioned together are the popular shag clubs of North Myrtle Beach. Fat Harold’s & Duck’s – along with spots like OD Lounge, Pirate’s Cove and Spanish Galleon – combine to create a one-of-a-kind throwback experience where visitors can hop from lounge to lounge all night, dancing the shag and enjoying great Carolina beach music bands.

Fat Harold’s is a world-renowned beach music club known as one of the best shag bars in the Myrtle Beach area.

Suck Bang Blow

3393 U.S. 17 Business Murrells Inlet, S.C.; http://bit.ly/1oGH5oq.

Big Beaver Bar

3381 U.S. 17 Business, Murrells Inlet; www.beaverbar.net.

While these two bars each have their own distinct personalities, they cater to much the same crowd and, a quarter-mile apart, they combine to serve as the epicenter of Myrtle Beach Bike Week events each spring and fall. If you’re a motorcycle rider visiting the area, make sure you take an afternoon or evening to visit one of these legendary biker bars.

SBB, opened in 1996, features a 40,000-square-foot nightlife venue on five acres of land with three live music stages, indoor and outdoor burnout pits, The Hog Pound at SBBQ barbecue restaurant and much more.

BBB began as a woman selling beer from a garbage can during a motorcycle rally and blossomed into a staple for riders. The Big Beaver Bar has a wide selection of beer that can be enjoyed to good music, while watching TV or just talking with friends or the staff. Live music is often on tap.

Hard Rock Cafe

1322 Celebrity Circle, Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach; http://hardrock.co/1lXcYGk.

Popular with visitors due to its powerful brand name and its unique look, this pyramid-shaped restaurant at Broadway at the Beach is more than just a mecca of rock ’n’ roll paraphernalia. The staff is great, there’s live music during the summer and though the food isn’t cheap, it’s good.

Enjoy your favorite drink or cocktail from the bar and dance.

Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

Downtown Myrtle Beach, between 1st Avenue North and 15th Avenue North; http://bit.ly/VPHzAm.

No other attraction on this list has done as much to transform downtown as the 1.4-mile boardwalk. Filled with shops, nightlife, restaurants and oceanfront scenery, it represents the heart and soul of Myrtle Beach.

Stretching through the heart of downtown, the oceanfront Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Promenade is one of the most well-traveled areas of the Grand Strand.

Running along the sand between 2nd Avenue Pier and Pier 14, this area is home to numerous restaurants, shops, nightlife spots and attractions including an arcade, a miniature golf course, Plyler Park and the Myrtle Beach Skywheel.

Since re-opening from a $6.5 million renovation and extension effort in 2010, the boardwalk has become the catalyst behind a major revitalization of the downtown area and now hosts a number of tourist-friendly events throughout the year.

Brookgreen Gardens

1931 Brookgreen Garden Drive, Pawleys Island, S.C.; www.brookgreen.org.

With the largest and most comprehensive collection of American figurative sculpture in the U.S. set against a backdrop of endless flora and fauna, this south-end garden is one of the most beautiful and popular attractions in Myrtle Beach.

Boat rides turn into history lessons, a butterfly house becomes a conservation class and an Enchanted Storybook Forest engages children’s imagination and love of reading. It’s also home to the Lowcountry Zoo.

There are also several indoor facilities to enjoy climate-controlled comfort, such as the Welcome Center , the Sculpture Galleries, the Lowcountry Center, Children’s Discovery Room, the Keepsakes shop and the Pavilion Restaurant.

T.I.G.E.R.S. Wild Encounter Tour & Preservation Station

4598 North Kings Hwy., North Myrtle Beach; www.myrtlebeachsafari.com/preservationstation.

Even though the $239 price tag on touring this wild animal preserve makes it beyond the budget of many, it’s consistently one of the top-rated user experiences around. Luckily, visitors can also get a taste of the experience free at T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station, a tiger exhibit at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach. Though small, it gives you the opportunity to get close to 500-pound adult tigers, enjoy some quality time with a tiger cub or cuddle up with an ape.

Get your picture taken with the rare animals with proceeds going directly to fundraising efforts for the rarest tiger on Earth, the golden tabby tiger.

Pier 14

1306 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach; www.pier14.com.

Equally appealing to those trying to catch fish and those looking to eat fish, this pier offers amazing seafood and a great dining experience while also catering to visitors with a gift shop, bar area and a wooden walkway for fishing or strolling to enjoy views of downtown.

Pier 14, in downtown Myrtle Beach, has stood in some form since the mid- 1980s despite attempts by hurricanes and tropical storms to knock it down.

Atop the pier is the Pier 14 Restaurant & Lounge, one of the best seafood spots in town. It is a great option for those wanting a romantic meal or a waterfront dining experience.

There’s also a lounge bar area with live music, dancing, great drinks and a friendly staff.

The pier provides a fishing opportunity for those wanting to test their angling skills. The gift shop at Pier 14 has a large selection of gifts, and also rents all the tackle and bait you need to provide your own dinner if luck is with you.

The Pier at Garden City

110 S Waccamaw Drive, Garden City, S.C.; www.pieratgardencity.com.

This visitors’ favorite is notable for its 24-hour fishing, gift shop, arcade and the lively crowds that gather to dance to live bands and sing karaoke at the pier’s bar throughout the summer.

The Pier at Garden City is often open 24 hours for fishing fanatics, and sounds can be heard wafting over the waves as live entertainment is on tap during the summer months.

There is a full arcade at the pier, and fishing tackle can be rented and bait purchased. A license is not necessary when pier fishing in South Carolina.

The pier also has a waterfront cafe that is open 7 a.m.-11:30 p.m. late spring through summer.

Plantation Island Tours

5800 Highway 236, North Myrtle Beach; www.plantationislandtours.com.

Nestled into a secluded stretch of land near Little River, Plantation Island Tours offers visitors a variety of ways to explore a 10,000 acre plantation – by horseback, kayak, UTV or boat – to take in the pristine beaches and natural beauty of this “best kept secret,” which includes Fort Randall, a historic battery that was active in the Civil War.

Plantation Island Tours offers a private beach where you can ride ATVs or horses, go surf fishing or kayaking and more as a couple or the whole family. Tours with plenty of wildlife and trips to a barrier island are also available, as well as photography sessions.

Myrtle Beach StatePark

4401 S. Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach; http://bit.ly/1juvZFM.

Huntington Beach State Park

16148 Ocean Hwy., Murrells Inlet, S.C.; http://bit.ly/1trU8AQ.

While there’s not much here that screams “new” or “sexy,” the draw of the area’s two state parks is clear – undeniable natural beauty that’s wide open for exploration. Whether it’s the pristine beaches, campground and walking trails at Myrtle Beach State Park or the birdwatching or wildlife at Huntington Beach, there’s plenty to enjoy.

Home to one of the most remarkable stretches of sand on the Grand Strand, Huntington Beach State Park is known not only for its pristine beaches, but also a number of great features and facilities. You can also visit one of the area’s most unusual sights – Atalaya, the picturesque, Moorish-style castle home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, the philanthropist and sculptor who are the park’s namesake.

North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex

150 Citizens Circle Little River, S.C.; www.nmbpark.com.

This new park (it opened in March) has fields for baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse, but it’s the two dog parks and one of the area’s coolest playgrounds that visitors will really love.

Set to host many competitions, tournaments and other events, the park features sporting facilities including six baseball/softball fields, eight soccer/lacrosse fields, batting tunnels, concession area and more.

There are also picnic shelters, three playgrounds, an amphitheater, walking and bike trails, a dog park, a 25-acre lake and a large meadow for enjoying the natural beauty of the outdoors.

Georgetown Harborwalk

Georgetown, S.C.; http://bit.ly/TVmLG5.

The harborwalk, which stretches through downtown Georgetown, was literally one of the hottest attractions last summer when a massive fire ravaged many of the historic buildings along the boardwalk. The city has begun to recover nicely and the waterfront once again has plenty of great restaurants, shops and scenery.

Broadway at the Beach

1325 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach; www.broadwayatthebeach.com.

Year after year, you simply can’t beat this massive shopping and entertainment complex that’s been voted South Carolina’s No. 1 attraction multiple times. Whether it’s nightlife in Celebrity Square, shopping options, great restaurants or top attractions, Broadway has it all.

The shopping complex has over 120 specialty shops, restaurants, nightlife venues, attractions and more. Some of those attractions include top tourist draws like Wonderworks, Ripley’s Aquarium, Magiquest, Backstage Mirror Maze and more.

Places to eat range from snack carts to popular restaurants like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, Joe’s Crab Shack, Liberty Steakhouse, Senor Frogs and much, much more.

You can also visit the Pavilion Nostalgia Park for games, rides and amusements for the whole family.

Broadway at the Beach also has fireworks weekly during the summer.

Barefoot Landing

4898 U.S. 17 South, North Myrtle Beach; www.bflanding.com.

Full of specialty stores, great restaurants, attractions and two of the area’s best entertainment venues – Alabama Theatre and House of Blues – it’s a no-brainer to put this North Myrtle Beach shopping complex in the Top 5.

The popular tourist attraction has a vast array of shopping and entertainment venues, attractions, amusements, specialty stores and lots more.

Dining options range from snack bars to some of the Myrtle Beach area’s best, like Greg Norman’s Australian Grill, Fire Island Grill, Tbonz Grill and Castano’s Italian Steakhouse.

Among the top-notch attractions are House of Blues, Alabama Theater, Alligator Adventure and the Barefoot Princess.

Tanger Outlets

www.tangeroutlet.com/myrtlebeach17; www.tangeroutlet.com/myrtlebeach501.

With locations on U.S. 501 in Myrtle Beach (4635 Factory Stores Blvd.) and on U.S. 17 near Myrtle Beach Mall, the variety of shopping options at Tanger is seemingly endless. New additions for 2014 include Express Factory Outlet, Hot Topic, Direct Tools, Zhedo Boutique and more.

Tanger Outlets has acres of bargains in a wide variety of shops, like Nike, Ralph Lauren Polo, QVC, Coach, Under Armour, Timberland, Levis, Tommy Hilfiger and many more.

Coastal Grand Mall

2000 Coastal Grand Circle, Myrtle Beach; www.coastalgrand.com.

While the outlets may offer a better bargain on the whole, when it comes to sheer shopping space, you can’t beat Coastal Grand Mall’s 1 million square feet of retail bliss.

The mall opened in 2004 and has a large food court, theater, games for kids and much more. Stores include the likes of Dillards, Belk, Sears, Abercrombie & Fitch, Old Navy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, J.C. Penney, Radio Shack and more.

The Coastal Grand Mall is also surrounded by several shopping stops and popular restaurants.

The Market Common

4017 Deville St, Myrtle Beach; www.marketcommonmb.com.

Even with closure of stores such as Tommy Bahama and Coldwater Creek, this upscale shopping complex continues to draw visitors based on the strength of additions like the new CO Sushi restaurant, Stage Left Theatre Company and lots of cool little shops in the live-work townhomes.

The shopping complex is built on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base and has high end-stores like Wilson & Sonoma, CityMac Apple Store, Anthropologie and more.

You can also catch a film at the state-of-the-art cinema complex, or stroll around a pristine lake at a leisurely pace or tackle the exercise trail. Or perhaps you just prefer a coffee and book at Barnes & Noble.

The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove

910 N. Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach; http://gaydolphin.com.

While not much has changed about this iconic downtown gift shop over the years, that’s exactly the reason many of the visitors who come stop here year and after year. There’s something nostalgic and special about getting lost in the trinkets and souvenirs of this gift cove.

Peruse more than 26,000 square feet and more than 70,000 items with a wide selection of souvenirs and gifts of Myrtle Beach. Shoppers can find sharks’ teeth, shells, T-shirts, pirate swords, Hummel figurines and so much more.

The Gay Dolphin Gift Cove is near the popular Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Myrtle Beach SkyWheel.

The Hammock Shops Village

10880 Ocean Highway, Pawleys Island, S.C.; www.thehammockshops.com.

With more than 20 fun specialty shops, including Christmas Mouse, The Freckled Frog, Coastal Wine Boutique – and of course, the Original Pawleys Island Hammock Shop – this quaint village of retail options is draped in Spanish moss and steeped in Southern charm. Add excellent restaurants like Nosh and BisQit and it’s an excellent stop for anyone visiting the south end of town.

Dining options range from casual, like Island Dogs, to Nosh, an upscale choice featuring Northern Italian/Mediterranean inspired fare.