The Grand Strand offers a lot of fun and sun, but sometimes visitors want to enjoy a slower pace and head to the south side of Myrtle Beach, where they find plenty of exciting things to do in quieter coastal towns. Attractions southside include the quaint seaside hamlets of Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, where world-famous hammocks are handcrafted using traditional methods, and where local restaurateurs dish up a delectable regional fare in some of the best restaurants south of Myrtle Beach. Here, you can browse quaint shops for craftsman-quality souvenirs or one-of-a-kind gifts for the people on your holiday shopping list. Check out some of the best things to do in south Myrtle Beach.
If you’re an outdoor or art enthusiast, add a day trip to Brookgreen Gardens to your itinerary. Located on the southern end of Murrells Inlet, this National Historic Landmark boasts over 15 square miles of topiaries and landscaped gardens scattered with original sculptures by world-famous artists. As the nation’s only public sculpture garden, Brookgreen marries art and nature in a wholly unique way. In addition to enjoying the imaginative gardens and displays, guests can visit the Lowcountry Zoo, an animal refuge on the grounds. Take a tour with an experienced interpreter to learn about the river otters, marsh tacky horses, and others who make the Lowcountry Zoo their home. For a relaxing afternoon trip to south Myrtle Beach, visit Brookgreen Gardens.
If you’ve never been, Huntington Beach State Park is certainly worth the drive south. The park includes a marsh, beach, trails, camping, and more. In September, you can catch the impressive Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival featuring local artists, food, and music. Admission into the park is $8 for adults and $4 for children, and hours are from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. (10 p.m. during daylight savings). Play on the beach with the family or enjoy a picnic at one of the picnicking areas, and don’t forget to visit the Atalaya Castle, a perfect place for a photo op!
Crazy Sister Marina tops the list of fun things to do south of Myrtle Beach for outdoor enthusiasts, anglers, and water babies. Just south of the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, Crazy Sister offers kayak and SUP rentals, dolphin-sighting tours, tiki bar cruises, and fishing charters. Enjoy an afternoon splashing around the inlet in a rented boat or jet ski, or explore the marsh in a rented kayak or paddleboard. Fishing enthusiasts can book a seat on a group fishing charter that goes both inshore and offshore throughout the week. Smaller charters for private groups are also available, as are deep-sea fishing trips.
Arrrrrrrgh you and your little mateys ready for swashbuckling fun south of Myrtle Beach? Then look into Pirate Adventures, a treasure hunt at sea designed especially for kids ages 3–10. An interactive pirate ship attraction, the Sea Gypsy treats kids and parents to a whirlwind hour that includes a treasure hunt, water cannon battle with enemy pirates, and raising of the flags.
There is something magical about the atmosphere at Frank’s Outback in Pawleys Island. When you walk into the outdoor dining area at Frank’s, you’ll be transported into an oasis of twinkle lights, live music, and intimate seating. Frank’s Outback menu offers a mix of cultural flavors from their Pickled Brined Fried Chicken to the Roasted Rack Of New Zealand Lamb. You’ll love the Lowcountry luxury of Frank’s Outback, but be sure to make a reservation as their tables fill quickly.
For scenic oceanfront fine dining, reserve a table at Austin’s Ocean One in Pawleys Island. Pair your perfect steak, seared duck breast, or succulent sea scallops with a favorite vintage from the restaurant’s impressive wine list. Enjoy the blend of Lowcountry cooking with white-tablecloth standards.
For a selection of tasty eats, stop by the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk. Located along the inlet, the MarshWalk offers a variety of restaurants connected by an oceanfront boardwalk. Sample some of the best seafood around as you enjoy breathtaking views of the South Carolina tidal landscapes. Most of the restaurants offer covered outdoor dining, so it’s easy to take advantage of the views. In addition, most eateries on the MarshWalk offer live music throughout the week, making this a great destination for late-night drinks and entertainment. Other popular hotspots include Bovine’s Wood Fired Specialties, Wahoo’s Fish House, The Claw House, and Wicked Tuna, which plates some of the best sushi along The Grand Strand. After dinner, enjoy a scenic stroll along the boardwalk and breathe in the refreshing seaside air.
For a truly distinctive shopping experience, head to the Hammock Shops Village on Pawleys Island. Ensconced by majestic ancient oaks, the Hammock Shops have been in business for more than 75 years and own the original design of Captain Joshua John Ward’s handmade rope hammock from 1889. Watch craftspeople weave hammocks by hand just as Capt. Ward did. At the Original Hammock Shop, you’ll find the famous Pawleys Island hammocks, as well as everything from gourmet food items and gifts to handcrafted clothes and accessories. If you get hungry, grab a made-from-scratch biscuit sandwich or biscuit burger at the Southern-style BisQit restaurant. Or, enjoy fresh-sourced drinks and noshes at Local gastropub. No trip to Hammock Shops Village is complete without a stop at The Candy Cottage. If you’re not the shopper of your group, take a seat in a porchfront rocking chair and relax in the peaceful heart of the Lowcountry.
Across from the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk, you’ll find plenty of Southern charm at the Lazy Gator Gift Shop. Sit a spell in the colorful rocking chairs on the spacious front porch or step inside to discover a wonderland of delicacies, homemade fudge, and collectibles, including seashells, apparel, and coastal décor. The Lazy Gator also offers complimentary parking for the MarshWalk.
An afternoon or evening venturing to the south side of Myrtle Beach offers visitors a slower pace and a nice change from the bustling atmosphere of the Grand Strand. With rich culture and friendly locals, southside sea towns offer a different glimpse into beach life in South Carolina. Be sure to include Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island on your next Myrtle Beach vacation. From unique shopping to decadent dining, take a break from the city pace and plan your stay today.