Myrtle Beach, Charleston, and Greenville are arguably the three most visited destinations in South Carolina. While Myrtle Beach may be best known for family vacations, that doesn’t mean you can’t find grown-up fun and romantic things to do in Myrtle Beach.
In fact, it may surprise you how many great things there are to do and see for couples in and around this vibrant seaside resort are. The activities run the gamut, from the stunning natural resources, delicious and varied dining, and plenty of arts and entertainment venues.
1. Stroll Around Brookgreen Gardens
What better place to start your weekend or week of romance than a leisurely amble around to take in the sculptures, reflection pools, and flora and fauna in Brookgreen botanical gardens and wildlife preserve. Hosted throughout the 9,127-acre property is the largest and most comprehensive collection (some 2,000 works) of American figurative sculpture in the country.
One of the highlights is Live Oak Allée which contains 250-year-old Live Oak trees that were planted in the early 1700s when the property was four thriving rice plantations.
Brookgreen Gardens is listed as one of the Top Ten Botanical Gardens in the U.S. by USA Today 10Best.
2. Ride the SkyWheel
Did I say grown-up? Can we regress for just a few minutes? Whenever I travel, I head straight to the highest point to get the best aerial view. In Europe, that’s usually the old clock tower. In Myrtle Beach, it’s the Skywheel. At 200 feet high, it’s the highest Ferris wheel in South Carolina.
It not only offers stunning 12-minute panoramic views over the ocean, boardwalk and city, but it’s enjoyable in its own right.
3. Catch a Sunrise…or Sunset
It’s hard to decide which is more beautiful – catching the glowing orb come up or watching it slip away. Both can be classified as some of the most romantic things to do in Myrtle Beach!
Luckily I had the opportunity to witness each from the windows of my high-floor room at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach.
4. Broadway at the Beach
Don’t miss a fun night out at House of Blues, an eclectically fitted-out venue that serves Southern dishes such as po’ boys & jambalaya, plus live music located in the Broadway on the Beach entertainment area. When we were there, we were treated to a fabulous concert by South Carolina’s own hometown hero, Darius Rucker.
But if Darius isn’t in town, don’t worry, there’s still plenty to do at Broadway at the Beach. Why not catch the famous “Legends” show? See some of your favorite entertainers come to life, such as the Blues Brothers, Whitney Houston, and of course Elvis. Check the schedule, because the performers change all the time.
5. Walk on the Boardwalk
The scenic and festive boardwalk is the highlight of Myrtle Beach. It spans a length of more than a mile, from Pier 14 to 2nd Ave Pier. All along the way are colorful trinket shops and ocean view eateries beckoning visitors to stop and take a look… or taste.
The Skywheel (#2) is located here, as well as other fun Instagrammable places like the faux hanging shark.
I had incredibly tasty fish tacos at Dirty Don’s Oyster Bar and Grill, just one of several restaurants on the strip.
6. Morning Jog on Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach State Park offers three miles of soft white sand on the Atlantic Ocean, popular for jogging, walking, swimming, or beach-combing. 2,500 acres also encompass wetlands inhabited by sea turtles and alligators. It’s a favorite with bird-watchers who come to spot egrets, herons, and over 300 species of birds. Note: it can be chilly on the beach in the early morning.
7. Learn History Atalaya Castle
Located within Huntington Beach State Park, Atalaya (which means “watchtower” in Spanish) was once the winter home of industrialist and philanthropist Archer M. Huntington and his world-renowned sculptor wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington. Archer was a noted scholar of Spanish culture and art and it is claimed that he designed the now long-vacant and empty 30-room Moorish mansion just from his imagination. The courtyard is dominated by a 40-foot tower, which housed a 3,000-gallon water tank. They chose the location for the milder winters as a retreat from New York for Anna Huntington, who suffered from tuberculosis.
8. Chill Out at the Beach, Of Course!
With over 60 miles of beautiful beaches on Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand, there are a variety of beaches to choose from, to suit different styles.
Some are crowded-but-merry during tourist high season, while others located on the intercoastal or in the small fishing villages are unspoiled and quieter.
9. Visit the Art Museum
The Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum is not your run of the mill gallery. The structure was originally the “Springmaid Villa” residence and was relocated from its original setting in order to avoid demolition. 11 galleries exhibit art that changes throughout the year. The “Chapin” is Myrtle Beach’s only art museum, showing paintings, textiles, sculpture, photography, video, ceramics, assemblage, collage and more – all free of charge to the public.
10. Explore the MarshWalk
Located in the nearby fishing village of Murrells Inlet, the MarshWalk is a half-mile wooden boardwalk perched above the wetlands. Along the MarshWalk are several restaurants and shops overlooking the waterfront with live music nightly.
The dining here is fabulous, from traditional low-country shrimp and grits to unique and tasty dishes presented with flair and panache, like the “Crab Stack” with avocado, mango salsa, cilantro, and sriracha. Lick-the-plate yummy!
11. Discover Georgetown
Just a short drive south of Myrtle Beach, Georgetown is the third oldest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Named after King George II, this small town of only 9,000 people boasts more than 50 historic buildings and antebellum homes dating back to 1737. Spend an afternoon walking around Historic District and Harbor Walk along the waterfront.
Don’t miss grabbing a bite at the Old Fish House a.k.a. Big Tuna. Whimsical, vibrantly colored décor adds a bit of playfulness to every meal. A delicious selection – as well as a great Instagrammable shot – is the grilled flounder! It’s a fresh whole fish, scored and deep fried, served with black beans & rice, and coleslaw.
12. Barefoot Landing
One of our favorite places was Barefoot Landing, particularly Lulu’s. Dinner was delicious, service was great, live music, a picturesque view of the intercoastal, and there are even a play-beach and an arcade!
After dinner, take a walk on the promenade and ride the carousel.
13. Learn about Gullah Culture
Myrtle Beach lies within the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, a federal National Heritage Area established by the U.S. Congress to recognize the unique Creole culture of the descendants of the enslaved West African people. The Gullah Geechee have a rich heritage of cultural traditions in art, food, and music that makes them distinctive among African Americans. Look for opportunities to attend a lecture, take a lesson in making one of their crafts, or purchase a piece of their renowned superb quality baskets.
14. Stay at a Beachside Resort
Captains Quarters Resort, right on the beach, is a great budget-friendly choice. Just steps from the ocean, the resort also has two pools (grown-up and kiddies), indoor and outdoor lazy rivers, a breakfast restaurant overlooking the water, and a bowling alley. Enough amenities to make you want to stay at the resort!
There are so many romantic things to do in Myrtle Beach! I’ve been four times, and each time I find new attractions that we love!
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Disclosure: The author was honored to be the guest of Travel South and Vacation Myrtle Beach during her multiple stays in Myrtle Beach but as always, the opinions, reviews, and experiences are her own.
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About the Author
Patti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning blog Luggage and Lipstick. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials.” Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal. Patti has traveled six continents looking for fabulous places and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer (and Gen X!) tribe.