(Editors note: Our hotel stays were sponsored but our activities were paid for by us. All of our opinions are our own.)
Families have flocked to Myrtle Beach for decades to enjoy its 60 miles of pristine Atlantic coastland, great food and plethora of entertainment options. It’s impossible to see and do everything in just a few days which is why many people visit this South Carolina destination over and over.
Fall is the perfect time to visit Myrtle Beach, especially if you can visit during the week when it is less crowded. We were there for almost a week in October. While it was still a bit crowded on the weekends, by Monday we were able to get seated at most restaurants immediately–even the famous Blueberry’s Grill. I still think about their French toast!
Myrtle Beach is also beautifully decorated for fall and Halloween. We did not get to stay for some of the festivities but noticed the traditional hay rides and Octoberfest activities were planned.
My adventurous nature took me beyond the beaches to some little-known attractions that were so much fun. Some of these adventures you can experience all year!
A garden with a surprise
Vereen Memorial Historical Gardens is on the northern end of the Strand and is more than just a park. Follow the path to the shore you will find an area with shells hanging from the trees. The shells were placed there for a variety of reasons. Some are expressing their love for their significant other. Some are remembering a loved one. While we where we found this display that honored the 13 Marines killed in Afghanistan.
You can find plenty of shells on the marsh shore line just a short walk from the trees. Vereen Gardens has plenty of other trails to explore. You will also find a playground and picnic areas.
Learn about Myrtle Beach’s military history at Warbird Park
Myrtle Beach was home to an Air Force base until March of 1993. Warbird Park on the southern end of Ocean Boulevard pays homage to the base and the military. You will find a variety of plans, including an A-10 and A-7.
Stroll through the park to find the Wall of Service that includes all who served at the Myrtle Beach Air Force base. Two monuments stood out to us. The first was this POW memorial with the empty chair.
The other was this monument simply labeled “Warrior.” It was dedicated in 2012 in honor of those who served.
Entrance to Warbird Park is free. It’s located near the Myrtle Beach Airport. Benches are located on the far side of the park so you can watch plans take off and land.
After spending some time at Warbird Park, visit Market Commons, a residential and mixed-use community. The homes are gorgeous and there are so many great restaurants you will have a hard time choosing one.
Visit a castle on the beach
Atalaya Castle was high on my list to see but we almost missed it! I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I wanted but I was impressed with all that I saw.
The castle is located in Huntington Beach State Park. It was built in the early 1930s by Archer M. Huntington, who wanted a place near the beach for his wife, Ann, who had tuberculosis. Atalaya was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. For a $2 entry fee you can wonder through the halls and see the intricate details of the structure.
After visiting Atalaya, we spent some time on the beach. The entrance fee to the park is $8 for adults but it’s worth the minimal cost. The beach is pristine and not as busy as other parts of Myrtle Beach.
We got there late because we spent the early part of our day at Brookgreen Gardens. This 9,100-acre site is a must-see for anyone who loves gardens and art. Be sure to take the boat tour and learn more about the history of the rice fields in South Carolina. You may see an alligator or two!
Visit an adorable small town
If you love Halloween, you don’t’ want to miss Conway, South Carolina in October. Their decorations rival any you would see in a Hallmark movie. Pumpkins hang from trees. Spooky things await at City Hall.
We had so much fun walking through downtown and looking at the decorations.
The Horry County Museum located just outside of downtown is a great place to learn about the area. I enjoyed seeing vintage photos of Myrtle Beach. I was surprised to learn that soldiers had camped in the area during the American Revolution. Also, be sure to check out the museum’s auditorium, which includes information on the area’s movie history.
Stay at a cool roadside hotel
Myrtle Beach is full of condominiums but you will also find cute roadside hotels near the beach. We were hosted by Holiday Shores and Waikiki Village on our trip. Each has something unique you can’t find in a condominimum.
Holiday Shores not only has comfortable rooms and suites, you can also rent a cute beach cottage that is just behind the hotel. It’s the perfect place for families. The three-bedroom cottage includes a kitchen where you can cook your own meals. It is located on the northern end of The Strand and is just a short walk to the beach.
We stayed in a beautiful suite overlooking the pool. The bed was so comfortable we wanted to sleep in every day. I don’t find that often in a vacation rental. I love anything retro and our suite did not disappoint. How cute is this couch?
Waikiki Village is on the southern end of the strand. We had a wonderful suite here as well. We could see the beach from our living room. You can read more about our stay in this article I wrote for Travel the South.
Visiting Myrtle Beach in the off-season means fewer crowds and more spots on the beach. It’s still warm enough in October for shorts and T-shirts. Coastal South Carolina was not on our radar but we hope to return often to explore more this beautiful area has to offer.