Looking for a place to enjoy the Grand Strand’s outdoors? Here’s where to point your shoes.
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 reopening 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.
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.
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.
Plantation Island Tours
5800 Highway 236, North Myrtle Beach; www.plantationislandtours.com.
Nestled into a secluded stretch of land near Little River, S.C., 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 as a 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 namesakes.
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.
The park features sporting facilities that include six baseball/softball fields, eight soccer/lacrosse fields, batting tunnels, a 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, S.C.; http://bit.ly/TVmLG5.
The Harborwalk, which stretches through downtown Georgetown, was literally one of the hottest attractions in the summer of 2013 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.