As a kid, we went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina over several summers. Those wonderful childhood memories made my first visit to the Myrtle Beach area with my son just that much better. While there are several beaches to choose from in the area, we love North Myrtle Beach for a family vacation destination. Not only does it have a beautiful beach, but it’s a little quieter and still offers easy access to so many great things to do in the North Myrtle Beach area.
Read below for our guide on where to stay, where to eat and things to do for a family vacation in North Myrtle Beach.
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The Best Time to Visit North Myrtle Beach
The most popular time for families to visit Myrtle Beach is typically during the summer from June-August. Weather-wise, our favorite time to visit Myrtle Beach is in June. It’s warm but not unbearably hot, and the water is warming up. Although it can be a little rainier in Myrtle Beach in June, the mild weather is ideal for a family beach vacation with kids. The crowds are also much more reasonable in late spring or early fall.
If you’re debating North Myrtle Beach vs Myrtle Beach for a family vacation, both are great options. Myrtle Beach tends to draw bigger crowds and also has more tourist attractions. Alternatively, I found North Myrtle Beach to be less crowded and have more locally owned restaurants and shops.
You can find a map of North Myrtle Beach and Myrtle Beach here.
How to Get to North Myrtle Beach
Flying and driving are the two most popular ways to get to the Myrtle Beach area. My family was meeting us from eastern Pennsylvania and made the 11 hour drive to North Myrtle Beach. Since my husband was working and it was just my son and I coming from Pittsburgh for this trip, we opted to fly this time. (And it was so easy that I’m going to have trouble making that drive on our next trip to North Myrtle Beach.)
The Myrtle Beach International Airport offers a number of different flights and discount carriers. Spirit and Allegiant are two airlines that specifically have nonstop flights from Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach. We flew Allegiant this time, based on the flight prices and times and had a great experience with the no frills airline. The distance from the Myrtle Beach airport to North Myrtle Beach is about 20 miles or a 30 minute drive.
The Myrtle Beach International Airport is fairly small, making it easy to navigate. The Myrtle Beach airport is about a 30 minute drive from North Myrtle Beach.
- How to Survive Long Car Rides with a Baby
- Flying with a Baby: Tips for Before and During Your Flight
- Flying with a Toddler: Tips and Products to Help You Navigate
Where to Stay in North Myrtle Beach
With 5 adults, 2 almost adults and 2 toddlers, we needed a 4 bedroom condo in North Myrtle Beach. Although there are so many North Myrtle Beach condos to choose from, it can be tough to find oceanfront beach rentals in North Myrtle Beach with more than three bedrooms. We rented unit 210 at the Ocean Bay Club, and I highly recommend it.
If you’re not currently a member of AirBnB, you can sign up through my referral link here to get a credit toward your first stay.
My family stayed in the Ocean Bay Club previously. It’s one of the best North Myrtle Beach oceanfront condos and a perfect location for a family vacation. Since the condos at the Ocean Bay Club are privately owned, each one varies in style and how updated and maintained they are. We were really happy with our condo, both in terms of the maintenance and decor. The kitchen amenities and two balconies were definitely a plus as well.
You can search additional North Myrtle Beach rentals here.
Amenities at the Ocean Bay Club in North Myrtle Beach include:
- Private Beachfront Access
- Lazy River (one of few North Myrtle Beach resorts with a lazy river)
- Separate Baby Pool and “big kid” pool
- Small indoor pool
- Covered parking garage
- A pair of beach chairs and an umbrella are included with some units or can be rented. (Our unit, 210, included chairs and an umbrella with the rental.)
Additional Tips for Staying at Ocean Bay Club: Kids wearing diapers are not allowed in the big pool at the Ocean Bay Club. Be sure to include an accurate number of people staying with you as each person needs a pool tag and will not be allowed in the pool without one.
Things to Do in North Myrtle Beach
While the beach is the biggest draw to the area, there are so many fun things to do around North Myrtle Beach, depending on your family’s ages and interests. Keep reading for additional recommendations of North Myrtle Beach things to do.
The Beach in North Myrtle
The beach is obviously the biggest draw to the Myrtle Beach area. The North Myrtle Beach water is warm even in early June, and it continues to get warmer throughout the summer. The beach is also a short and easy access from the street and many condos.
If you’re not staying right near the beach in North Myrtle, there is ample street access and parking to get to the beach. There are also restrooms, beach chair and umbrella rentals and other facilities available throughout the beachfront. (The closest restroom facilities near us were at Ocean Park, 101 South Ocean Boulevard.)
Wondering where to find shark teeth in South Carolina? Both seashells and shark teeth are prevalent in North Myrtle Beach. You’re bound to find a few if you look!
Be sure to check out North Myrtle Beach’s beach laws prior to your visit. Particularly if you’re planning to bring a tent or other shading device with you.
Related Post: 8 Tips to Prepare for the Beach with a Baby
Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach
It’s not a trip to North Myrtle Beach without at least one visit to Barefoot Landing. Barefoot Landing is one of my favorite things to do in North Myrtle Beach with kids (or without!) This waterfront area is filled with shops, restaurants and activities. It was a favorite of ours growing up, and I loved visiting again with my 2 year old son.
While many of the older parts of Barefoot Landing remain from 20+ years ago, so many new things have been added in the past several years. Since Barefoot Landing has grown, it’s been divided into four sections. These include the Low Country Village, Harborwalk Village, Lakeside Village and Dockside Village. Below are a few highlights of things to do in Barefoot Landing with kids.
Fun Things to Do with Kids (or Without) at Barefoot Landing
- Satisfy your sweet tooth at one of many candy stores including It’Sugar, plus several ice cream shops and other sweet treats.
- Visit the great barefoot landing shops including the newly opened Savannah Bee Company store. This honey and bee themed store includes live honey bees, honey tasting and several gifts made from honey. Plus, there’s an awesome playhouse and reading nook to entertain kids while the parents are sampling mead or drinks at the cafe.
- Play in the interactive playground at Barefoot Landing that includes both a toddler playground and one suited for older kids. You can even sit and listen to the live music at Barefoot Landing while the kids are playing.
- Experience fun for the whole family at LuLu’s, one of the best Barefoot Landing restaurants for families. It includes an arcade, ropes course and games on the sand including corn hole and a water fountain feature.
- Ride one of several rides at Barefoot Landing, including a carousel, bumper cars, a train ride and more.
- Walk on the boardwalk area and search for wildlife including turtles, fish and alligators.
- Stroll along the adjacent Barefoot Landing Marina to check out the boats.
Topgolf in Myrtle Beach
The Topgolf in Myrtle Beach was my first experience at this franchise, and it didn’t disappoint! I definitely recommend it, whether you’re visiting on a nice day or looking for a fun, rainy day activity in the Myrtle Beach area. We went in the morning around 10am on a rainy day and it was filling up quickly after we got there. There was also a mix of adult groups and families with kids of all ages.
To play at Topgolf, you rent out a bay per hour that can be used for up to 6 people. This includes use of golf clubs and unlimited balls during that time. Hourly rates are lower in the morning, and it was only $25 per hour for the 5 of us. If it’s your first visit to Topgolf, you need to pay $5 for a lifetime membership to activate your profile. Once purchased, your membership can be used at any other Topgolf location.
Music on Main Summer Concert Series
From mid-May until the end of September, North Myrtle Beach has a live band each Thursday night from 7-9pm. This is a favorite of locals, and you’ll find hundreds of beach chairs lined up as well as golf carts parked at the section of the street that’s blocked off.
Be aware that it does get crowded when concerts are taking place on Thursday nights. Definitely keep that in mind if you’re planning to eat dinner on Main Street in North Myrtle Beach on a Thursday. A portion of Main Street is also blocked off to accommodate golf carts from 5-9pm each Thursday night. The beach access parking lot also closes at 2pm.
Additional Ideas for Things to Do Near North Myrtle Beach with Kids
While we stayed close to the beach on this trip, below are a few additional ideas for things to do with kids near North Myrtle Beach. (All of which we have done in the past or have been recommended to us by locals.)
- Miniature golfing at Lost Treasure Mini Golf
- Go-Kart racing at Track Myrtle Beach
- Bowling and other games at 810 Billiards and Bowling
- Interactive dinner show at Pirates Voyage
- Get up close to alligators at Alligator Adventure
- Shopping, dining and other activities at Broadway at the Beach or Market Commons
- Take a day trip to Charleston, South Carolina
Where to Eat in North Myrtle Beach
We cooked several meals at home on this trip. (And it was actually nice to split crockpot meals and casual dinners versus getting everyone dressed and fighting the crowds for dinner each night!) We did have a chance to check out a few great local North Myrtle Beach restaurants, however, and I’d recommend them all.
Blueberry’s Grill in Barefoot Landing
Blueberry’s has a few locations throughout the Myrtle Beach area, and we ate at the Blueberry’s Grill in Barefoot Landing. If you’re looking for some of the best breakfast in North Myrtle Beach it should definitely be on your list. The menu is huge, with every kind of breakfast option you can imagine. They don’t offer a separate kids menu, but kids love the signature grilled blueberry muffin or pancake and waffle selections. You can also find healthier breakfast options, like the kale and avocado omelet with a side of fruit.
Krispy Kreme Donuts
Although Krispy Kreme stores are located throughout the US, it was founded in North Carolina. Ever since having my first Krispy Kreme donut at one of the original locations in Wilmington, I can’t make a trip to the Carolina’s without at least one stop at Krispy Kreme. If you’re grabbing donuts in the morning, be sure to look for the “hot light” hours. (This is when the freshly made donuts are available!) Any location I’ve been to gets busy in the morning, but it’s definitely worth waiting for Krispy Kreme donuts that are freshly made.
If you’re looking for other ideas for breakfast restaurants in North Myrtle Beach, Dino’s House of Pancakes is a local favorite. While I didn’t personally go there on this trip, other members of my family did and loved it.
Buoys on the Boulevard
We stopped at Buoys on the Boulevard for a quick dinner on our first night in North Myrtle Beach. It was easily accessible to the main part of North Myrtle and was less than 2 blocks from our house. Buoys is primarily known for sushi and burgers. While I can’t say it was the best sushi in North Myrtle Beach, it has diverse menu which makes it great for everyone in the family to find something they enjoy.
There’s also Jenga available on every outdoor table, which was a big hit for the big and little kids. If you’re looking for restaurants with live music in North Myrtle Beach, Buoys is also perfect for that. They have live music on the patio on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, as well as happy hour from 4-7pm each day.
We passed this small, locally owned Texas BBQ joint one day and decided to stop for a late lunch. Everything at Brisket is smoked daily, and they offer a huge variety of smoked meats and barbecue. With so many choices to pick from, our group of 5 opted for the “Feed Bag” to get a sampling of everything. The Feed Bag at Brisket included several cuts of smoked meat, hush puppies and other sides including baked beans, collard greens and cole slaw. While the menu indicates it’s good for 4-5 people, we had a lot of leftovers. (Even with 2 hungry teenage boys!) If you’re looking for the best barbecue in North Myrtle Beach, I highly recommend stopping at Brisket.
King’s Sushi North Myrtle Beach
Our family was craving sushi and discovered King’s Sushi in North Myrtle Beach. It’s one of few Japanese restaurants in North Myrtle Beach, and it has hibachi, all-you-can-eat sushi and more. If you don’t like sushi or hibachi, there are several other menu items as well.
Unlike all you can eat seafood buffets, the food at King’s Sushi is made fresh to order. We ordered several varieties of sushi, along with salads, edamame and hibachi. (For the non sushi eater in our family.) The fish was fresh, and while the rolls weren’t the most innovative I’ve seen, it was a good value for the price.
King’s Sushi also offer kids menu items, and our toddlers were happy with their edamame, chicken nuggets and French fries. The price is reduced for kids, and children 3 and under eat for free.
Bimini’s Oyster Bar
We heard about Bimini’s from three different people during our trip to North Myrtle Beach, so we knew we had to try it. Bimini’s is one of few local seafood restaurants near North Myrtle Beach, and it’s known for it’s oysters and happy hour specials. The oysters we had were super fresh, and my fresh caught grouper and tuna were great as well. If you’re looking for a sampling of their best seafood, my brothers shared a classic steampot and were raving about it. It’s packed with crab, mussels, shrimp, clams and sides including hush puppies and corn on the cob. (And I was having food envy that I didn’t get it myself!)
Note: Bimini’s is located in a shopping plaza in a busy part of Myrtle Beach. There’s limited parking in front, but ample parking is available in the back of the restaurant. Bimini’s is definitely one of the best seafood restaurants in North Myrtle Beach, so prepared for a wait at Bimini’s unless you go early!
Melt Craft Ice Cream
There are several ice cream shops in North Myrtle Beach. Melt is so good though, that after our first stop we didn’t want to go anywhere else. This family owned craft ice cream shop updates its menu regularly with several unique flavors made fresh each day. Our favorites when we were there were cookie monster, midnight caramel, and grasshopper. There’s almost always a line out the door of this small shop, but it goes quickly. If you’re looking for the best ice cream in North Myrtle Beach, definitely check Melt out!
Have you been to Myrtle Beach or North Myrtle Beach recently? Please share in the comments if you have any favorite places to eat or things to do.
For more inspiration on family friendly beaches on the east coast, check out these posts:
- 7+ Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida with Kids
- West Ocean City, Maryland: Kid-Friendly Guide
- Islamorada, Florida with Kids
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