This Fall Break, my two teens and I headed to Myrtle Beach. While it felt like all their friends left Nashville for North Florida, we headed East. Now, I’m sharing with you all the top things to do in Myrtle Beach with teenagers. Plus, you know I’ll tell you how you can save money in Myrtle Beach and along the way.
Top Things to Do in Myrtle Beach with Teenagers
After a long weekend in Myrtle Beach, we learned a thing or two about where to go, eat and stay. Thus, here’s my list of top things to do in Myrtle Beach with Teenagers:
- Broadway at the Beach
Broadway at the Beach boasts a TON of entertainment and attractions, including theaters and night-life, many of which are family-friendly. There is plenty to do and see, plus it’s somewhere that I would feel safe letting my teens walk around together.
- Myrtle Beach Boardwalk Entertainment District
1.2 miles of walkable boardwalk in downtown Myrtle Beach. With plenty of places to eat, play and shop, this is another area where I would feel comfortable letting my teens be teens for a night out.
- SkyWheel Myrtle Beach
The centerpiece of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk District, the SkyWheel offers stunning views from 200 ft above the oceanfront. I recommend doing this at the beginning of your trip to see an overview of Myrtle Beach before you begin exploring together.
- TIGERS Preservation Station Photo Encounter
This just may have been the highlight of our trip. Baby animals come over to the Preservation Station at Barefoot Landing from Myrtle Beach Safari for a couple of hours on certain days so guests can learn about and take pictures with these endangered species. My kids and I had uninterrupted time with a baby tiger, lemur and gibbon. I originally booked this experience for my 16yo daughter, but I had no idea the impact it would make on me! We walked away with an 8×10 printout and over 100 digital photos of the encounter. It’s not cheap, but the experience is priceless. Use code VMB for a discount.
- Rockin’ Jump
While not as big as some of the trampoline parks I’ve visited, Rockin’ Jump Myrtle Beach has a lot to offer teens, especially with 5 new attractions that feature some favorites you may have seen on American Ninja Warrior. If going with teens, I recommend either their Neon Jump Night from 8-10 on Friday nights or their After Dark Saturday (aka “Family Night Out”), also from 8-10 pm. Teens will find more friends their age and size, especially if they’re looking for some competition on one of the 3 hoops in their slam dunk zone.
- Mini Golf
You could call Myrtle Beach the “mecca of mini-golf”! I don’t care how old you are or what your skill level is, what is a beach vacation without some putt-putt? And with more than 50 courses, you have plenty of opportunities to challenge your teens or let them have some fun on their own. Check out this list of the top Myrtle Beach mini-golf courses. You can also save $2 off your entire group at Jungle Lagoon Mini Golf from Noon-6 with the VMB discount.
- Ron Jon Surf Shop at Barefoot Landing
My daughter has ALWAYS wanted to go to Ron Jon Surf Shop, but it’s never worked out for us to visit in Florida. Luckily, Myrtle Beach has TWO Ron Jon locations, but we visited the one at Barefoot Landing not once, not twice, but 3 times on our trip. Yes, we LOVED Barefoot Landing not just for all the great restaurants, shops and fun, but for the chill vibe. Plus, there are lots of Instagram-worthy selfie spots in Barefoot Landing, as well as scenic backdrops for all those TikTok dances you know your teens will be working on during your vacation.
- The Beach
Let’s not forget the #1 reason my teens wanted to go to Myrtle Beach…for the beach! There are a ton of watersports they can participate in as well, but don’t underestimate the joy of throwing a football on the sand or jumping the waves together.
While there is SO much to see and do, I’d venture to say some of the things are similar to attractions you’ll find at other beach towns and tourist destinations. I was a little surprised when I heard my teens say they wanted to skip some things I’d planned to stay at the beach, but also thankful. After all, it’s hard to come back from a trip feeling rested if all you’ve been doing is running around.
Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach
We were originally invited to stay in Myrtle Beach courtesy of Vacation Myrtle Beach after I shared about the chance to win an oceanfront Myrtle Beach Condo. They provided our accommodations, as well as access to some Myrtle Beach activities.
After our experience, I wanted to share both the best parts of our trip, as well as some questions we wish we’d asked before visiting. And since every family is different, I believe it’s important to not only share our own experiences, but provide you a framework for how you can decide the best way for your family to vacation in Myrtle Beach.
Hotel or Vacation Rental?
Before you book your stay in Myrtle Beach, you need to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
- How much time do you plan to spend in your hotel room?
- Do you want to be able to cook meals or will you primarily eat out?
- Will you be vacationing with just your family or are your kids bringing friends too?
- How important is a common area separate from a sleeping area?
- Do you want an oceanfront view?
- Do you prefer external (motel) access to your room or internal (hotel) access?
- How important are on-site amenities, like restaurants or an arcade?
If you are looking for a true escape, aren’t traveling with a large party and don’t plan on eating or hanging out in your room much, you may choose to opt for a hotel.
But if you are traveling with friends or family, plan to eat at least a meal or two each day on-property and don’t plan to do as much off-site, you may want to look into a vacation rental property.
It’s equally important to ask your teenagers these questions as well. I found when my kids were smaller, they liked doing a lot of activities while on vacation. As they’ve gotten older, they’d rather spend all day at the beach or pool. While they do like to do something fun after dinner, it might be something as simple as getting ice cream before coming back to the room to watch a movie.
Case in point: don’t assume anything when traveling with teens. Why kill yourself planning every minute of your day when they may be wanting to relax by the water as much as you do?
Count the Entire Cost of Your Stay
Once you answer the questions above and decide the most important aspects of your vacation, you need to count the entire cost of your stay.
For example, we previously stayed at the Palm Beach Marriott and had an amazing trip. One thing we loved was the beach lounge chairs and activities that were included in our stay. But we discovered the Marriott Myrtle Beach, like most of the other Myrtle Beach oceanfront properties, doesn’t provide lounge chairs on the beach.
Instead, you can rent two beach chairs with an umbrella for $40 a day from the city’s lifeguards. For us, that was too much.
It’s also important to ask if parking is included in your stay and if the property charges any resort fees. For our family, the more we have to spend on extra fees, the less we get to spend on having fun or eating at new restaurants. Be careful to read the fine print; it may look like you’re getting a cheaper room price at first glance but then you end up paying more after you add up all the additional charges and taxes.
Myrtle Beach or North Myrtle Beach?
Myrtle Beach is about a 9 hour drive from Nashville. I was actually surprised at how big (or should I say long) Myrtle Beach is.
We drove down through Atlanta and then across I-20 East to get to Myrtle Beach. I didn’t realize we could drive almost an hour once within city limits and still be in Myrtle Beach.
Originally, we were booked to stay in (South) Myrtle Beach. To be honest, this area reminded me of Pigeon Forge. There is no shortage of pancake houses, mini-golf and beach-themed gift shops. Most of the restaurants are local and many are family-owned, though you’ll still find familiar fast-food franchises and drug stores.
Just a short drive up the coast brings you to North Myrtle Beach. Dare I say, it’s a little more ‘upscale’, for lack of a better word. There is no shortage of chains you’ll recognize (both restaurants and shops). We also discovered more high-end restaurants, including the ‘farm to table’ feel we see in so many Nashville restaurants.
While you will find some of the activities I suggested above in Myrtle Beach (like the SkyWheel and Rockin’ Jump), we found staying in North Myrtle Beach more convenient. (For example, Barefoot Landing & Flying Fish were just down the street from Beach Cove resort where we stayed).
We spend our first night at the Captain’s Quarters Resort. But after realizing it was an exterior-entrance, motel-style oceanfront property, we opted to move. Also, not all the outdoor pools were heated and since we visited in October, this was important to us, especially for nighttime swims after dinner.
The team at Vacation Myrtle Beach graciously offered us a one-bedroom suite at the Beach Cove Resort in North Myrtle Beach for the remainder of our stay. You can read my review of Beach Cove Resort in this post.
Our Favorite Seafood Restaurants in Myrtle Beach
It’s no secret that Nashville isn’t known for its seafood. So the one thing we knew we wanted to find in Myrtle Beach was a seafood restaurant with the freshest seafood possible.
Spoiler alert, our favorite seafood restaurant in Myrtle Beach was the Flying Fish.
After a good deal of research and recommendations, we also uncovered these other favorite Myrtle Beach seafood restaurants that all get rave reviews for different reasons (click the link to read the full post for my reviews).
My Best Tips for Traveling to Myrtle Beach with Teens
I just shared a lot of information, so if I had to sum up, here’s what I want you to remember:
- Talk to your teens about what is actually important to them and what they want to make sure to do before going home
- Don’t over-schedule your days
- Stay at an oceanfront property: being within walking distance of the ocean was my teens’ #1 priority
- Eat one great meal each day: you don’t have to go out to eat for every meal, but pick a focal meal for each day to try something new. (Flying Fish & Blueberry’s Grill were our favorites of this trip.)
- Speaking of new, it’s fun to revisit favorites, but find at least one new memory to make together (ours was T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station)
I’ll continue to update this post as I process more pictures and gain more insights. If you have any of your own tips for traveling to Myrtle Beach with teens, I’d love for you to leave them in the comments below.