There’s no time for relaxing in Myrtle Beach, the liveliest vacation spot on the South Carolina coast. With theme parks, putt-putt courses and wacky museums, this sun-blasted stretch of golden sand is beloved by active families. If you prefer reading and napping, 60 miles of shoreline await your favorite beach chair.
For an overview of the scene, step into a gondola on the 187ft-high SkyWheel, which bedazzles beachgoers nightly with more than one million lights. This striking Ferris wheel anchors the Oceanfront Boardwalk & Promenade, a pretty place to stretch your legs. For more carnival rides, plus water slides, visit Family Kingdom. There’s a distraction for every family member at Broadway at the Beach, an outdoor mall with a Ripley’s Aquarium and a WonderWorks science museum.
For low-key amusement, head north to Brookgreen Gardens, a 9,100-acre wonderland of sculptures and seasonal blooms. Hike through coastal woodlands at Myrtle Beach State Park, three miles south of the main drag. Craving fresh seafood? Everyone heads to the village of Murrells Inlet.