Paradise on a Penny: Affordable Adventures in Myrtle Beach

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Vacationing on a budget? No problem. Look no further than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Home to exciting attractions, delicious eats, and affordable accommodations, this coastal paradise features 60 miles of sandy shoreline and relaxing vibes.

From fishing on a pier in a state park to exploring local farmers’ markets, here’s your guide to all things budget-friendly in Myrtle Beach.

Affordable Attractions and Activities

Enjoy 312 acres of campgrounds, hiking trails and more for only $8 per day at Myrtle Beach State Park. The perfect place for a peaceful retreat, the park offers on-site picnic facilities, cabins, a nature center and a fishing pier. There’s also a mile of pristine beachfront to soak up the sun away from the crowds. Spend an afternoon searching for hidden treasure (geocaching). Watch for native birds, such as Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons. Or, lounge under towering oak trees and take in a beautiful sunset over the surf.

A view of the SkyWheel in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Photo CreditL meunierd / Shutterstock.com.

For local shopping, dining and free live entertainment, head to the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade. The boardwalk offers plenty of affordable activities to enhance your trip. Grab a cone at MadMyrtle’s Ice Creamery – the strawberry cheesecake is the perfect mix of sweet and tart. Play some games at the penny arcade, and for a bird’s eye view of the beach, take a ride on the 187-foot SkyWheel – tickets are less than $20, and the coastline from above is simply incredible.

If you’re looking to spend the day at one of the most popular destinations in Myrtle Beach, check out Broadway at the Beach. During the summer, the complex hosts free firework shows on Tuesdays and Fridays. Love dinosaurs? Check out Dino Park – an affordable attraction (admission is only $15) that’s home to 20 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs, including a menacing T-Rex! After a day in the sun, why not cool off at Myrtle Waves Water Park? You can enjoy discounted admission on Fridays, relax in a cabana, or drift along the lazy river.

Located along the Grand Strand, the Myrtle Beach Farmers’ Market offers tourists a fantastic way to support local businesses while browsing an abundant variety of locally grown produce, baked goods, artisanal gifts, and live entertainment. Admission is free, and the market is open from June to October on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Check out this spot to grab groceries for your stay or souvenirs to take home.

Huntington Beach State Park, South Carolina.

Just south of Myrtle Beach in Murrells Inlet, Huntington Beach State Park boasts 2,500 acres of coastal beauty within South Carolina’s salt marsh. Explore the park via a hike on the Sandpiper Pond Trail, stroll on the sandy coastline away from the crowds of the bustling beaches, and keep your eyes toward the skies for eagles, ospreys and colorful red-throated loons. Don’t miss a chance to explore The Nature Center, where exhibits highlight local bird and marine life. You can even get close to some aquatic creatures in the touch tank.

During your stay in Myrtle Beach, check out The South Carolina Hall of Fame. This attraction was established to honor individuals of the past and present who have made extraordinary contributions to the state’s heritage and progress. Located in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the museum is free and offers tourists a great way to learn about the change-makers that have positively influenced South Carolina over the years. Inductees include civil rights leaders, artists, musicians, lawyers, athletes, educators, and veterans.

Art lovers should stop by The Franklin G. Burroughs-Simon B. Chapin Art Museum. Also known as the Myrtle Beach Art Museum, this popular space features four permanent visual art collections and 11 rotating galleries. Even better, admission is free! Centrally located on Ocean Boulevard in a restored 1920s beach cottage, the museum aims to highlight the works of Southern artists like Dixie Dugan and Jonathan Green. Recent exhibitions include “Lifting Black Voices” and a retrospective of the works of Frida Kahlo.

A sunny day at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Of course, no trip to Myrtle Beach is complete without lounging in the sun on one of its many beaches along the Grand Strand. Surfside Beach offers visitors pristine beaches and games of tennis, bocce and shuffleboard for an afternoon of family-friendly fun. Looking for small-town vibes and a great place to golf? North Myrtle Beach is the place to be. Atlantic Beach is a thriving community known for its Black-owned businesses, while Myrtle Beach proper is the ultimate tourist hub thanks to its boardwalk and promenade.

Delicious Dining

You won’t go hungry during your trip to Myrtle Beach, thanks to various restaurants serving everything from classic pub grub to delicious seafood.

The Peanut Butter Burger at River City Cafe. Photo Credit: Paull Young.

River City Café is a local favorite with multiple locations along the Grand Strand. Serving up classic American fare with a twist, you can dine on mouthwatering burgers like the Peanut Butter Bacon burger or the Continental featuring a fried egg and avocado. Up for a challenge? Try the Double Dawg Dare Ya burgers. These belly busters come loaded with all the fixings on top of two patties between either grilled cheese or egg and cheese sandwiches. And with a majority of the menu under $20, you can feast like a king and not eat again for a week!

If you’re craving some good old-fashioned Southern cooking, Big Mike’s Soul Food delivers. Bite into crispy fried chicken with collard greens and mac and cheese. Indulge in sticky barbecue ribs with candied yams. And don’t miss out on cheesecake or peach cobbler for dessert. Even better, most of the menu is under $15. 

When you want to let loose, you go to Moe Moon’s—an oceanfront hangout known for its elaborate fishbowl cocktails and drinks served in a fresh pineapple. Dine on a modest menu of beachside bites, from chicken wings to fish tacos and po’boys. And for the kids? This ultra-popular beach bar pulls out all the stops, serving meals on frisbees and drinks in souvenir shark cups.  

A delicious homestyle breakfast.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Eggs Up Grill is doing it right with its crave-worthy brunch menu. This is the perfect place to kick off your day, from hash and eggs to fluffy omelets and loaded home fries smothered in onions, peppers and cheese. And if you love pancakes, Eggs Up serves up creative twists on the loveable flapjack, such as caramel apple pancakes with fire-roasted fuji apples.

For a quick and affordable bite, Simply Southern Smokehouse is a popular buffet known for its big portions and Southern hospitality. Featuring dishes like mama used to make, you can fill up on everything from barbecue pork and chicken n’ dumplings to sweet potato casserole and decadent banana pudding. All you can eat for lunch and dinner under $20? Yes, please!

Budget-friendly Accommodations

Your one-stop shop for oceanfront fun, the Crown Reef Beach Resort & Waterpark is great for families, couples and solo travelers seeking affordable accommodations with easy access to Myrtle Beach’s popular attractions. Relax in rooms with ocean views, splash at the year-round waterpark featuring thrilling slides, a lazy river and shaded whirlpools, or spend the day gaming in the on-site arcade. And thanks to the resort’s location, the beach is only a short walk from your room – perfect for a picturesque sunset or a day of sunbathing.

The Crown Reef Beach Resort & Waterpark. Photo Credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com.

Every day is a luau at the Waikiki Village Retro Hotel. Originally built in the 1960s, this hotel is a Hawaiian blast from the past with island-inspired guestrooms that can best be described as retro chic. Lounge by the outdoor pool and hot tub, fire up the community grills for a beachside barbecue and enjoy quick access to the beaches, airport and the iconic Broadway at the Beach.

If you want to immerse yourself in the beauty of South Carolina’s natural landscape, pitch a tent at the Myrtle Beach Campground in Myrtle Beach State Park. With nightly fees between $21-$55 per night and a mix of electric and full hook-up sights, this campground provides an affordable place to relax and recharge while enjoying all the area offers. Spend the day surfing, hike on one of the many trails, or cast a line for flounder and king mackerel at one of the fishing spots.

 

 



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