A couple of weeks ago in late September we visited Myrtle Beach and couldn’t have had a better time as a family. I honestly can’t say enough great things about our trip. I know I’ve shared a little about our trip on Instagram, but keep reading to find out what we did, what attractions we saw, where we ate, and more this past September in Myrtle Beach.
Our first visit to Myrtle Beach as a family was nothing short of amazing—from family-friendly activities to the beach—there’s seriously no shortage of things to do/see and eat down there! We stayed at a kid-friendly Myrtle Beach Resort with ocean views.
Traveling During Covid-19
Like most families, we have been staying home all year and following our local restrictions and guidelines. So, we knew we would continue to follow those COVID guidelines and rules on our trip to Myrtle Beach. We felt very safe and comfortable visiting several attractions. We practiced social distancing, wore our masks, ordered takeout, and followed the local social distancing guidelines in place everywhere. Restaurants, resorts, shopping centers, and all businesses are expected to follow social distancing, so please do your part. Stay at least six feet away from others, and this includes on the beach. With 60 miles of wide, clean beaches, this should be easy enough. Please stay in groups of three or fewer, or in household family groups, and make sure you set up at least six feet away from others.
Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the East Coast of the United States in Horry County, South Carolina. Myrtle Beach is 60 miles of beautiful coastline with breathtaking sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean.
We drove down I-95 South on a rainy Friday from Northern Virginia, and it took us just under seven hours to get there in moderate traffic. The drive was not bad at all, we stopped once for gas and snacks in a small town called Emporia in South Virginia. We drove back to Northern Virginia on Monday after Little A’s virtual home school session. This was nice because it allowed us to travel without her missing any school—win-win!
Where We Stayed
We stayed in one of their Oceanfront Queen Suites with two queen beds in the bedroom, a separate living room with a sleeper sofa and full-sized wall bed, a kitchen equipped with all basic cookware and dinnerware, two televisions, one bathroom and a spacious private oceanfront balcony.
Guests could check-in safely behind the plexiglass barriers that have been installed between the front desk attendants and guests, and floor markings to ensure social distancing between guests standing in line to check-in.
With our hotel on the north end of Myrtle Beach, beach access was easy from the outdoor pool deck. The resort is located in North Myrtle Beach and is a family resort with water park with a 3-story waterslide, both indoor and outdoor pools and lazy river.
There are a few restaurants on the property, a tiki bar by the outdoor pool and even though a couple of the restaurants and Starbucks were closed due to COVID restrictions. The hotel is located just a short drive from the main road with access to plenty of restaurants and area attractions.
It rained on our drive down from Northern Virginia, but the weather was absolutely beautiful during the two days we were there with temps in the 70/80s.
What We Did
Brookgreen Gardens was repeatedly on the list of top things to do in Myrtle Beach. It is a sculpture garden and wildlife preserve, located just 30-minutes south of Murrells Inlet. As we made our way through the entrance at Brookgreen Gardens, we were astonished by the depth and breadth and the expansiveness of the grounds. The drive up was just so beautiful it felt like we were in a movie, it was nothing short of magical.
Considered the finest outdoor presentation of American figurative sculpture in the world, Brookgreen Gardens was created in the early 1930s by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. I did a little research and found that Brookgreen Gardens was originally four distinctive South Carolina rice plantations, named The Oaks, Brookgreen, Springfield, and Laurel Hill. Brookgreen Gardens is home to more than 1,400 works (550 currently displayed) by 300 of the greatest names in American sculpture, past and present.
Brookgreen is located on a 9,100-acre property that is part botanical gardens, part American Sculpture Garden (indoor and outdoor), part Lowcountry and wildlife preserve with native plants and animals , and the Lowcountry Zoo. Considered a must-see Myrtle Beach area attraction and named one of the Top 10 Gardens in the US by TripAdvisor, Brookgreen is a natural showcase of spectacular breathtaking landscapes providing a safe natural habitat to local wildlife preserve, beautifully aged trees and local foliage, and magnificent gardens. Brookgreen Gardens is an enchanted experience that combines art, nature and history and truly is a must-see Grand Strand destination. We mostly explored the gardens and sculptures during our visit
Open Daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For the safety of your pets and the safety of the animal collection, pets are not allowed, nor can they be left in vehicles inside Brookgreen. Service animals that have received special training to assist disabled persons are welcome. Animals whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
We took a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium and were just mesmerized by the more than 14,000 beautiful fish on display as well as many interactive experiences. With most of their live shows and unique exhibits currently on hold due to the pandemic, we could only interact with the stingrays. One of our favorite exhibits at the aquarium was the spectacular underwater view walkway called Dangerous Reef. Walking through the acrylic tunnel was an immersive experience especially seeing the giant green sea turtle, giant stingrays, sawfish, so many sharks and all the colorful tropical fish and eels was not only fun for all of us, but an incredible learning experience.
From getting up close and personal with the stingrays to watching African penguins swim and interact with us, we had a delightful time at Ripley’s Aquarium. Ripley’s is located inside Broadway at the Beach complex. Ripley’s Aquarium is open 365 days a year. All visitors are required to wear a mask when visiting during COVID-19. We felt completely safe while we were there due to safety measures put in place. To learn more about Ripley’s Aquariums.
The first thing you notice as you drive up to the Hollywood Wax Museum is the giant King Kong on the outside of the building and is the only wax museum in the country devoted entirely to celebrity figures! One of the first attractions we did together was a visit to the Hollywood Wax Museum, a fun, family-friendly attraction located near the popular Broadway at the Beach, and one of the area’s most popular activities.
We loved every minute of it, especially our Little A who was absolutely mesmerized by the very life-like replicas of the stars! She even recognized stars like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Dwayne Johnson, and her personal favorite, Taylor Swift!
Fun fact: Hollywood Wax Museum is the longest-running wax museum in the United States.
The Carolina Opry Theater was the first live theater to open in Myrtle Beach. A two-hour musical variety show filled with high-energy music, comedy, and dance. The Opry is in a stunning theater complete with state-of-the-art lighting, sound, and special effects. Words cannot describe the joy we felt being at the Carolina Opry. The show was absolutely phenomenal—hands down the best two hours of our weekend!! The only word to describe how incredible this show was is amazing! From the talent to the atmosphere we were absolutely blown away by the show. It was actually the longest time we were indoors but felt completely safe. Face coverings were required at all times inside the theater. Also, to minimize touch points, only accept credit and debit cards, no cash.
Broadway at the Beach is the perfect place to spend an afternoon; it’s a boardwalk with lots of family-friendly activities like an amusement park and roller coaster rides. You can shop one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques, grab lunch at more than twenty restaurants and eateries or enjoy the view from on SkyWheel.
Where to Eat (recommended)
Since March of this year when COVID started we have not sat down to eat at a restaurant, so we knew that going on this trip we would only do takeout meals only. We ordered takeout from Gios Italian Kitchen (located on N. Kings Hwy). Even though we mostly ordered takeout these places came highly recommended, so I thought I’d share – feel free to tag me on social if you check them out!
- Lucy Buffet’s Lulu’s (inside Barefoot Landing, a shopping/entertainment complex. They have several kid friendly amenities)
- Nacho Hippo (great casual Latin food)
- Sea Captain’s House (a staple restaurant in Myrtle Beach, historic with an ocean view)
- RipTydz (ocean view in downtown Myrtle Beach near the boardwalk)
- Hook & Barrel (higher end, but excellent!)
- Johnny D’s Waffles and Bakery – http://johnnydswafflesandbakery.com
- Croissants Bistro & Bakery – https://croissants.net
- Big Mike’s Soul Food – https://bigmikessoulfood.net/
- Nacho Hippo (inside the Market Common) – www.NachoHippo.com
- Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show (they recently opened with many safety protocols)
What I Packed
Weekend beach trips are super easy to pack for, I always do a couple of bathing suits, shorts, a couple of nice tops, and two to three dresses that I can dress up or down. This time I added a shirt dress that transitioned well from daytime, visit to Aquarium, to nighttime, show at the Carolina Opry Theater.
What Little A Packed
Little packed quite a few bathing suits, which I highly recommend especially for kids. See below for my ultimate beach weekend getaway packing list for kids. No matter where you visit, you’ll need to add these items to your list when packing for a beach vacation with kids, including some key items for traveling during COVID:
- Masks (1-2)
- Hand sanitizers
- Disinfecting wipes
- Pajama (2-3 pairs)
- Flipflops (or Crocs)
- Reusable water bottles
- Swimsuits (3-4 pairs)
- UV shirts or UV suits
- Cover ups
- Lip balm with sunscreen — so important!
- Light sweater / jacket for cooler temps at night
Want more ideas on a complete packing list? Comment below and I will curate a larger list for a free PDF download! *please keep in mind Little A is eight going on nine years old so this packing list is not a full list and not inclusive of baby/toddler items*
Why You Should Go
Myrtle Beach is seriously filled with a wide variety of places to go and things to do as a family! Our resort, like so many Myrtle Beach area resorts and hotels had lazy rivers, multiple pools, kiddie play areas, children’s activities and more!
Here are a few reasons to visit Myrtle Beach this Fall
- So many attractions
- The beach
- Fun fall activities for the entire family
- Incredible restaurants and eateries
- Getting there is easy
- Tons of family-friendly resorts and hotels
- Visiting responsibly and safely is easy thanks to COVID restrictions
- Your kids will love it
- The sunrises and sunsets are so picturesque
My Little A loved so many of the same activities we loved, so we didn’t have to choose what to do, which allowed us to spend time together making memories. Surprisingly, being huge beach lovers, we hardly spent too much at the beach, because there were so many other fun and exciting attractions to do/see in Myrtle Beach.
Local businesses and restaurants are following recommendations from South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and the CDC, and strongly recommend that visitors wear a mask or comparable face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while visiting Myrtle Beach. Most businesses even go as far as to provide visitors and guests with complimentary masks, including hand sanitizers, so you feel completely safe to visit responsibly. Masks are not required on beaches as long as beachgoers maintain social distancing. You can find more information here.
Thank you to Visit Myrtle Beach for this incredible family-friendly beach vacation. We had such an amazing time as a family and we can’t wait to visit again soon!
Paid travel accommodations sponsored by Visit Myrtle Beach. All opinions and photos are mine.