Myrtle Beach is a huge travel destination for people looking for sun, water, and fun.
You can stay busy in Myrtle Beach going on the amusement park rides, playing mini-golf, or the arcade games on the boardwalk.
However, if you visit for longer than a few days, you might need something new and different to do.
If you have a car, you can get to all of these places within an hour from Myrtle Beach.
Here are nine unique things to do in Myrtle Beach.
9 Unique Things To Do Near Myrtle Beach
1. Admire The Sculptures In The Brookgreen Gardens
Brookgreen Gardens is a fantastic sculpture garden and wildlife preserve a little over a half-hour south of Myrtle Beach.
The 9,100-acre property includes several themed flowery gardens featuring American figurative sculptures that are a joy to walk through and discover.
There is also the Lowcountry Zoo, where you can visit animals in natural habitats that have either been bred and raised in captivity or have sustained a significant injury.
This accredited zoo does a fantastic job with those rescued animals.
The other thing you can do is explore all the trails by ponds (make sure to watch out for alligators), the Labyrinth, and the Lumpkin Ricefield Overlook.
If you happen to be staying for a week, consider going to Brookgreen Gardens early in your trip because your ticket is good for seven days.
You can keep coming back to see the entire gardens.
The gardens are open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for children ages 4 through 12.
2. Look For Alligators At Huntington Beach State Park
This was a surprising adventure that I wasn’t expecting.
I explored the nature trails and boardwalks over the wetlands in Huntington Beach State Park when I saw a bump sticking out of the water.
An alligator was swimming in the muck toward the shore of the wetlands.
The funny thing is that when one person notices an alligator, everyone stops, including bicyclists and motorists.
By the time I made it from the boardwalk to the sidewalk on the causeway, there was quite a crowd.
By then, I had noticed another alligator swimming further out, popping its snout up out of the water.
Nature trails and boardwalks jutting out over the marsh are great places to see all sorts of birds, including egrets, ibis, spoonbills, and herons.
The cost is $8 per person to enter the state park.
3. Tour The Abandoned Atalaya Castle
I love touring castles, and to find one so close to Myrtle Beach, I had to check it out.
You can find Atalaya Castle on Huntington Beach State Park grounds, and this 1930s Moorish-style Spanish castle should be on your must-visit list.
This winter home was built for Archer and his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, the famous sculpture whose work can be seen throughout Brookgreen Gardens.
When you walk through the halls of this home, you can see how the entire place was designed to entertain and be a place for Anna to sculpt her masterpieces from live animals.
The self-guided tour costs $2 per person, and you can walk the grounds and view what is left of the more than 30 rooms that used to hold so much life, laughter, and love.
Plus, you can imagine what it would have been like to sit and see the ocean from their porch.
4. Have A Milkshake At The Crazy Mason
If you are looking for an out-of-this-world treat, you have to visit the Crazy Mason.
When you walk in, go toward the left to get in the line that winds around the small ice cream stand.
However, don’t let the small stand fool you.
They pack a lot in their AAAH-MAZING milkshakes.
Prepare yourself for the numerous menu items to choose from, but don’t get overwhelmed as you can switch out things if you want.
This is exactly what I did when I ordered the Short & Sweet and swapped out strawberry crunchies with chocolate chips.
The Crazy Mason is located inside 810 Billiards & Bowling at the Market Common shopping complex.
5. Watch The Goats On The Murrells Inlet Marshwalk
This is a great place to go for adult beverages, entertainment, boating activities, and goat watching.
Yep, among the beautiful natural backdrop of the saltwater marsh is Goat Island.
During the summer months, goats reside on this island, and you can see all of their antics while walking on the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk.
You can get an even closer look at the little goats on the island by taking one of the many boat, kayak, or jet ski tours available at Murrells Inlet.
This is a beautiful afternoon out that is less than a half-hour from Myrtle Beach that you have to experience.
6. Enjoy A Sweet Break At Painter’s Homemade Ice Cream
For more than 60 years, the original Painter’s Homemade Ice Cream has been a local favorite in Myrtle Beach.
After everyone leaves the beach, you can find lines out the door waiting to eat their favorite ice cream.
Their ice cream is some of the freshest and most delicious ice cream I have ever enjoyed, and I even worked at an ice cream store when I was young.
I spent a bit of time walking along the booths trying to decide which flavor to get.
In the end, I got two: one classic favorite, Cookies n Cream, and one new flavor, Black Raspberry. OMG!
I wouldn’t have thought of mixing flavors like that, but with this ice cream, you can’t go wrong.
They all taste excellent!
Go ahead and enjoy one or two scoops of your favorite classic flavors or pick some new ones, like banana, pineapple, and kiwi.
You never know what flavors are in the house until you get there, which makes an outing to the Painter’s Homemade Ice Cream shop a must on your vacation to Myrtle Beach.
There are a couple of Painter’s Homemade Ice Cream locations, but the one I went to was at 2115 US-17 BUS in Murrells Inlet.
7. Dig Your Toes Into The Smooth Sandy Beach On Pawleys Island
Pawleys Island is one of the oldest beach vacation destinations on the East Coast, and it is one of the South’s best-kept secrets.
Pawleys Island is less than four miles long and only a quarter of a mile at its widest point, but the main reason to visit is the beach.
This is the most unspoiled stretch of beach I have found on the east coast.
However, if you show up in the middle of the day, you might have trouble finding a parking spot on the island near the beach entrances.
Toward the south of the island, a public parking lot seems to fill up quickly, and you cannot park on the street.
My recommendation is to head toward the north of the island, there is more parking available, and there are some areas where you can park on the side of the street.
Then you can walk on the boardwalks that take you out to the pristine (no shells), long sandy beach.
You might even see people flying kites on this beach.
8. Take A Walk On The Scenic Boardwalk Trails At Vereen Memorial Gardens
Finding this quiet nature walk north of Myrtle Beach was a great bonus.
The Vereen Memorial Gardens isn’t really a garden but a scenic hiking area with boardwalk trails that take you through natural wetlands.
Suppose you want to get away from the craziness on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and head north for some quality peace & quiet.
Once you start walking on the boardwalk over the saltwater marsh, you hear crickets, birds, and all sorts of other critters happy that you visited their home.
You can find a lovely gazebo on one of the side paths overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, where you can sit and watch boats and jet skis ride by breaking up the quiet nature.
The c can be found at 2250 SC-179 in Little River, 32 minutes from Myrtle Beach.
9. Step Into The Past At The Hopsewee Plantation
The furthest unique thing to do away from Myrtle Beach, past Georgetown, is to explore Hopsewee Plantation.
There is not much left of the rice fields, but the slave cabins and plantation house are still intact, and amazingly, is still lived in by the family that currently owns the land.
The Hopsewee Plantation, built in 1740, is open for guided tours where you can tour every floor of the home, including the attic and basement.
The reason this is a must-visit National Historic Landmark is that this was the home of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Lynch, Jr.
After the plantation home tour, you can enjoy a lovely, leisurely southern tea in the River Oak Cottage Tea Room and then wander around the grounds.
Make sure to say hi to the little kitties that hang out around the tearoom looking for food.
There is a nice boardwalk for wonderful river views, and the grounds are filled with giant oaks just begging for you to take their photograph with the Spanish moss hanging down from their branches.
If you are looking for an authentic southern plantation tour, come and see what Hopsewee Plantation is all about.