Myrtle Beach with toddlers is pleasantly relaxing and rewarding. From sun, sand, and splashes at its sprawling beach, to discovering nature and getting a taste of amusement park thrills, there is something for the WHOLE family to enjoy when traveling with your toddler in Myrtle Beach.
Huntington Beach State Park
About 30 minutes from downtown Myrtle Beach you’ll find a peaceful escape from the bustle of the city.
You could easily fill an entire day with fun at Huntington Beach State Park, but if you want to pair it with with another great Myrtle Beach with toddlers attraction, it is just a half mile away from Brookgreen Gardens.
The top things to do with little kids at Huntington Beach State Park are:
- Stop into the Nature Center – The Nature Center is a fantastic spot to start your day or use it to escape the heat for a little bit. The desk staff is a wealth of knowledge.
Inside you’ll find aquariums including a touch tank. There’s also several terrariums of turtles and snakes.
- Spot an Alligator on the Causeway – Your best chance to see Alligators is right along the causeway road on the pond where you enter the park. If you’re visiting early in the morning, you might see a rookery of birds in the trees just above the alligators at the shoreline.
Gray fox, bobcats, snakes, and racoons are all predators of the birds. So they strategically place their nests above the alligators to deter their predators from coming anywhere near their nesting area.
- Fill out the log book in one of the Bird Notes Mailboxes and list what types of wildlife you spotted and where you’re from.
- Climb the Octopus Tree – To find this sprawling oak tree, which is essentially growing on its side due to the soft ground on which it stands, start from the North Beach parking lot. There’s an entrance here to the Sandpiper Trail. Walk only 4 minutes into this trail and you won’t miss the ultimate climbing tree.
- Tour the Atalaya Castle ($2 per person) which is what makes Huntington Beach State Park so recognizable.
- Enjoy the pristine north or south beach.
- Play on the playground at south beach.
- Fly a kite.
Ride the Skywheel
Rides are offered from sunrise to dark. We went at night to enjoy the lit up wheel. All ages are welcome. Kids 2 and under are free, I liked that they called them “Angels” on the price list. Each gondola fits 6 people (except the VIP gondola which fits 4) and there are 42 gondolas. Since they weren’t busy when we visited, the boys and I got our own gondola.
The prices are a little steep, but at least you get a lengthy ride out of it, lasting about 10-15 minutes. (Compared to two full circles at Chicago’s Navy Pier) Check Skywheel’s social media site for special promotions throughout the month. We lucked out and happened to wear teal on their Teal Tuesday which saved us 50% off on tickets. If you visit before 5pm there’s always a $2 off coupon at the Myrtle Beach tourist website.
Upon entering you’ll have your group’s photo taken and find it printed after you exit the ride. It’s $20-$27 to purchase a full size print or print plus SkyWheel magnet package.
Brookgreen Gardens and Zoo
The Brookgreen property was once a thriving plantation only accessed by the river, as roads came much later as means of transportation.
The top things to do on the grounds for kids are:
- A Children’s Garden
- Children’s Sensory Trail (Play in Cinderella’s Castle, Rapunzel’s Tower, the Crooked Man’s house, or a Pirate Ship!
- Storybook Garden
- Brookgreen Zoo
All of the Animals living within Brookgreen Zoo are local to the region.
You can learn quite a bit about low country’s fauna AND flora by joining on the Brookgreen Zoo’s “Mother Nature Cafe” guided tours. These are included with admission and offered twice daily at 11am and 1pm. For 90 minutes, a local expert feeds the animals while explaining the origins of each animal coming to this area (most from Europe).
Know Before You Go
All tickets are good for 7 days. $22 per adult, $14 for kids, free under 3 years old. (Most hotels will give you a $2 off coupon.)
There are designated spots to enjoy picnic lunches or a café to purchase food onsite. Most of the grounds are stroller friendly.
This plantation is adjacent to the Huntington Beach State Park so you could make a whole day trip (or two) from downtown Myrtle Beach to this area.
Grand Strand Beach
Your best bet of “relaxing” while vacationing in Myrtle Beach with toddlers is to spend portions of your days at the beach. Little kids can entertain themselves for hours on end digging in sand, building sand castles, and splashing in the shoreline.
The beach is clean and expansive with amenities never far away for snacks or bathroom runs.
Myrtle Beach is known as a great spot for shark tooth hunting too! You’re most likely to find them from 50th Ave N down to 10th Ave S. Look in the line of shells left behind from high tide or right where the waves are currently breaking and leaving behind pointed, shiny black pieces. On closer inspection that just might be a tooth!
Walk the Boardwalk and a Pier
There is a wooden boardwalk that runs 1.2 miles of the the shoreline from Pier 14 down to the 2nd Avenue Pier. The entirety of Myrtle Beach spans an impressive 60 miles of sandy shoreline!
There are numerous piers that jet out into the waters. Walk to the end and see what the fisherman are catching! Some said they were even catching small sharks, octopus and even stingray!
There’s a mega playground about 10-15 minutes from the downtown Myrtle Beach hotels called Savannah’s Playground.
They have a massive play structure to climb and slide, with lower sections that toddlers will be able to conquer. Additionally, they have 3 glider rides, one on a rope and two with full seats, ideal as a toddler activity in Myrtle Beach.
Make music with your little ones in the Harmony Garden and let older siblings take on the ropes course.
Admittedly, this playground is more than you need if you’re solely traveling with a toddler, but it is ideal if you have older siblings with you as they’ll be over the moon with the new equipment to conquer. My toddler spent most of our time there at a good ‘ol swing.
There are indoor toilets, a water fountain, and a little library onsite as well.
The adjacent pond is an excellent place for a family (nap) walk or to exercise your canine friend.
Important: If you plan to go on Tuesday, they don't open til noon rather than 8am like every other day.
Broadway Grand Prix
We spent 4 hours or so at Grand Prix and our kids were just in heaven with the rides. The go kart rides have a minimum height of 40″, but our 2 year old (at 36″) was able to ride four kiddie rides while his brother raced to his heart’s content. If you’re visiting Myrtle Beach with toddlers and your little one is at least 36″, they’ll be able to right the carousel, oval race track, airplane, and train ride.
There’s a kiddie track, junior track, family track, slick track and more. At 40″, kids can do the kiddie track alone and the family track with a chaperone.
Grand Prix also has two mini golf courses that are included with the wristbands.
Their arcade and midway games are not included in the wristbands. We bought our 5 year old the $12 bungee ride and he was overjoyed! They were great with him, coaching him on how to jump, flip, and fly for about 10 minutes.
Before you decide on a place to take the kids go karting or mini golfing, check with your hotel to see if they offer deep discounts or free tickets for any nearby attractions. Hilton’s Ocean Enclave, where we stayed, gave us free unlimited wristbands for Broadway Grand Prix as well as free Minigolf just a few blocks from our hotel. This entertainment complex had something for all ages!
Pirates Voyage Dinner Show
The Pirates Voyage Dinner Show provides 90 minutes of nonstop entertainment and a hearty meal served throughout.
This was our biggest splurge on a tourist activity during our latest Myrtle Beach trip and it was definitely worth the money.
The best thing about bringing a toddler is that under 3 is free of charge as long as they sit on an adult’s lap and share their plate. Our normally squirmy 2 year old sat through the entire performance nibbling away at my meal. He was completely enthralled by the acrobats, fire, and animal entertainers.
Barefoot landing is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon with kids! We enjoyed meandering along the boardwalk. There’s a playground, turtles to spot in the lake, giant chess and checkers, midway rides, and lots of treat shops.
We are beer lovers so we grabbed lunch from Crooked Hammock Brewery to go and eat outside while our kids could stay active in the yard.
We enjoyed their beer, but felt that the food was overpriced for the quality and portions. The outdoor atmosphere is fantastic though, with a beautiful patio overlooking the lake featuring plenty of yard games to keep the kids entertained.
Broadway at the Beach
Similar to Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach is another great place to explore with the kids. You can spend a lot or very little to entertain little ones here.
For free, you can soak in the surroundings of the boardwalk including watching speedboats whip around the lake, zipping right through the bridge under your feet. Our kids also enjoyed watching fish feedings; giant carp swarming to the surface for a bite. We climbed dinosaur statues and grabbed a bag of fun, unique sweets from Ice Scream for Candy.
If you want to make a day out of it, ride the amusement rides, explore the Aquarium (see below) or dine at one of the many theme restaurants like Margaritaville, Hard Rock,, or the Hangout (more on this later).
Parking is free.
Located within Broadway at the Beach is a highly rated Aquarium. This is an outstanding rainy day option. The brand “Ripley’s” might scream tourist trap, but they’ve really done a wonderful job with the aquarium at Broadway at the Beach.
A day pass to the museum is $39.99 ages 12+, $24.99 ages 3-11, and 2 and under are free. You can typically find coupons for a few dollars off their admission. (Save your Pirate’s voyage tickets.)
You can’t drive more than a mile on Myrtle Beach’s King’s Highway without passing a mini golf course, but three of the top rated are: Captain Hook’s Adventure Golf, Mt. Atlanticus, Lost Treasure Golf, and Spy Glass Mini Golf.
You can expect to spend about $10-12 per person.
Like I mentioned earlier, if you’re staying at a resort, your hotel may offer discounted attractions, so check first!
Where to Eat in Myrtle Beach with Kids
For brunch: Croissant Bistro and Bakery
For great seafood: Hook and Barrel
For dinner or a drink with live music: The Hangout. Get up and dance on your table, listen to live music in the yard, play cornhole, let your toddler play in the sandpit and don’t miss the foam party every hour on the hour!
For dinner after a day at Huntington Beach State Park or Brookgreen gardens: Enjoy the view over the inlet while eating southern fare and drinking local beers at Graham’s Landing. They have a kid’s menu too and our picky eaters were pleased here.
Family Travel Guide: Myrtle Beach with Toddlers
FAQ about Myrtle Beach with Toddlers & Family Vacation in Myrtle Beach
Is Myrtle Beach with toddlers safe?
From the reviews I read before our trip I was expecting it to be far more seedy. After dark, we did have a few homeless folks ask us for money (which happens anywhere so no judgement on Myrtle Beach) and were starting to see more rowdy college kids emerge.
But we had very little exposure to this side of Myrtle Beach as we have little kids and were back to our hotel by 9pm. I felt very safe our entire visit.
Is Myrtle Beach clean?
YES! The closest thing to litter I found on the beach (after spending 8 days there) was a handle from a sand bucket that had broken off. The beach was pristine. “Dirty Myrtle” is a stereotype of the past.
Are there bugs at the beach in Myrtle Beach?
Bugs on Myrtle Beach are not especially problematic. I’m a bug bite magnet and didn’t get any bites on our April Spring Break trip. In July, you should wear bug spray at the beach as a precaution, but typically the wind keeps the mosquitos off of you.
No see ums (sand gnats) show up in the height of summer and bug spray can help fend them off. I also swear by these repellant bracelets to mitigate bites. You’re most likely to be bit by sand gnats if you’re digging below the surface of the sand. I also notice a big difference in relief from bites when using our “Bug Bite Thing.”
What is a good family friendly hotel in Myrtle Beach?
We stayed at the Hilton Ocean Enclave and found the location and amenities to be fantastic.
The sights from the Oceanview rooms are spectacular, especially at sunrise. There is an activity room with games, toys, and children’s books you can checkout or enjoy there; clutch for a rainy day on your trip to Myrtle Beach with toddlers.
We appreciated having a kitchen and full size washer and dryer in our room too.
Where should I get groceries in Myrtle Beach?
If you’re wondering where to buy groceries in Myrtle Beach without spending an arm and a leg, head to one of the Walmart Neighborhood Markets. We found this to be cheaper than the Piggly Wiggly or Publix.
Save money by packing a kids’ medicine bag with many of the essentials.
Where to buy gas on Myrtle Beach’s grand strand?
The cheapest gas we found in Myrtle Beach, by 20 cents or more, was also at Walmart Neighborhood Market.
Myrtle Beach with Toddlers – Save for later!
Catherine – Savvy Family Travel
My favorite pastime is finding fun, interesting experiences to share with family and friends.
I’m a mom of two energetic and curious boys who have endless patience with my tendency to over plan activities on our family vacations. My tireless husband, Troy, provides comic relief, is our favorite photographer, and expert navigator.
I’m a firm believer that travel with kids doesn’t have to be intimidating or expensive. It can be affordable, epic, and, dare I say, even relaxing!
Are you a travel loving parent too? I’d love to meet you, please reach out via Messenger and say “hi!”
The beach is the most magical place in the world when you are a young child. You can build castles and dig to the other side of the world in the sand. Beautiful!
Seems like there is plenty to do at Myrtle Beach for the whole family of all ages. Saving this for a future visit.