Myrtle Beach, aka the “Grand Strand”, is all about fun for all ages. Myrtle Beach consists of 60 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, high rises hotels and resorts, exciting attractions, and world-class golf courses.
While it’s best known for its beach activities, off the beach you’ll find endless things to do with the family including going to water parks, riding roller coasters, exploring aquariums, catching entertainment shows, shopping, and dining.
And while summer may be a very popular time to visit, paying Myrtle Beach a visit during the wintertime will grant you a very different, yet equally rewarding experience.
If you’re wondering what there is to do in Myrtle Beach in the winter season, this guide will help you form your perfect winter itinerary. Let’s dive right into the best things to do in Myrtle Beach in winter!
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Where is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina?
Myrtle Beach is located on the southeast coast of South Carolina.
It’s a small town with a population of about 20,000 people and has been voted one of the top 10 places to retire by Money Magazine.
What Is Myrtle Beach Known For?
The area is known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, great shopping and entertainment options, golf courses, and many other attractions.
The Grand Strand is home to over 100 miles of pristine white sand beaches that are some of the best on the East Coast. There are so many outdoor things to see and do here such as parasailing, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, fishing, boating, dolphin watching, biking, hiking, horseback riding, visiting amusement parks, mini-golfing.
But if you thought Myrtle Beach was just an outdoor destination, think again! This town is loaded with great museums, art galleries, live theatre, dining, nightlife, and more!
Myrtle Beach’s main attractions include:
- its many beaches
- Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- Alabama Theater
How To Get Around Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a very easy getaway from various parts of North Carolina! It’s a very popular weekend getaway, and winter is a great time to explore the area.
The closest airport to Myrtle Beach is the Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). You can also arrive via major interstates in South Carolina.
You will likely want to rent a car to get around, though Uber and Lyft are viable options as well, and are widely available.
Need to rent a car? If you are the type to compare prices between rental car companies, use Priceline’s rental car search! Not only does the tool allow you to compare rental car prices across the major rental car companies, but most of the time you can book with no prepayment and no cancellation fees.
Why Visit Myrtle Beach In The Winter?
You can score some really good hotel deals
Winter travelers can save loads of money by visiting Myrtle Beach in the winter as opposed to visiting in the summer. For the best savings, aim to visit in January, where hotel rates are at their lowest (after the Christmas rush and before the spring breakers begin to pour in.
During this season, you’ll get to experience that oceanfront hotel or luxury resort for a fraction of the usual cost!
The weather is still pleasant
While you won’t be spending time bathing in the sun or swimming in the ocean, you also won’t be freezing your butt off as you would be in other parts of the country!
The winter weather here is way milder compared to the climates in other parts of the world. The average temperature from December to February is about 57 to 59°F degrees–which can be considered very mild winters.
Myrtle Beach averages over 200 days of sunshine each year, so even if you do have cooler temperatures, you will still likely see the sun shining!
All you’ll need to do is throw on a jacket to begin exploring what Myrtle Beach has to offer in the wintertime.
There is a lot to do, minus the crowds
With colder weather comes lesser crowds. Take advantage of the low season by hitting up some of Myrtle Beach’s most prime attractions. Only instead of having to waste time standing in line with everyone else, you’ll be able to zip right to the front because chances are, there are no lines!
If you’re used to visiting in the summertime and were always too busy with outdoor activities to participate in the indoor activities on your list, now is the time!
There are so many great dining options
If you’re accustomed to having to wait for a table at restaurants during peak season (summer) in Myrtle Beach, then you’ll really enjoy the winter season. You won’t need to spend hours waiting for a table, and chances are that you’ll get way better service too.
January is also the month of South Carolina Restaurant Week, where many of Myrtle Beach’s eateries offer special prix fixe menus and even discounted meals.
Best Things To Do In Myrtle Beach In Winter
1. Enjoy Winter Wonderland at The Beach
Winter Wonderland at The Beach brings the magic of the holiday season to life, right in the heart of Myrtle Beach!
During this festive season, the downtown area and boardwalk area are transformed into a holiday dreamland, filled with twinkling lights and lots of family fun.
This new festival features a path that will take you throughout the park, allowing you to enjoy the festive light and holiday tree displays. Each area has its own little theme, from classic holiday decorations to a beach-themed area even!
There is also an ice rink to enjoy, where you can rent skates or bring your own.
2. Visit an art gallery in Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach certainly loves its art! And one of the best times to really enjoy it all is during the wintertime when there are fewer distractions.
The first place you’ll want to go is Seacoast Artists Gallery located in The Market Common. Seacoast Artist’s Gallery features over 70 local artists’ original works of art in various mediums including painting, photography, fiber art, metal engraving, pottery and sculpture. Its exhibits change often, and there are frequent events held at the museum.
A few other art galleries to check out include:
- William H. Miller Studios & Fine Art – features local artists
- Wolf Creek Gallery – features Native American art
- Master’s Editions Broadway at the Beach Gallery – features fine art by nationally known artists
For a more formal art museum, do not miss the Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum!
3. Spend a day at an antique car museum
Interested in all things related to cars? Head right on over to Wheels of Yesteryear to learn about some of the coolest cars in history!
4. See the stars at Hollywood Wax Museum
5. Take the kids to EdVenture
Take the kids to EdVenture, a fun and interactive children’s museum located in the Market Common. Locals love bringing their children here regularly because it’s such a unique place for them to both play and learn.
When children play at EdVenture, they role play as fire fighters, grocers, farmers, chefs, astronauts, and a host of community helpers, as they learn so much about their world.
6. Broadway at the Beach
Broadway at the Beach is one of Myrtle Beach’s most popular places to eat, shop, enjoy live entertainment.
This outdoor entertainment and shopping complex features one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques as well as nationally recognized names like Ron Jon Surf Shop, Crocs, Earthbound Trading Company, and more.
After checking out the shops and restaurants, consider hopping onto one of the amusement rides or getting lost in a maze of mirrors at Backstage Mirror Maze, all for a good laugh before moving on to your next winter activity!
7. Stroll along the Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade
The always-lively 1.2 mile-long Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade stretches from 14th Avenue to 2nd Avenue Piers in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach.
Take a walk along the beach, peruse a few of the beach shops, eat at one of the many restaurants on the pier, or grab a coffee or ice cream!
Once you’re done with your exploration, it’s time to get onto The Myrtle Beach Skywheel–the biggest Ferris wheel on the East Coast boasting fantastic views of the Grand Strand and the Atlantic Ocean.
8. Catch an entertainment show
Myrtle Beach has got some of the most talented stage performers in the southeast. And a lot of them perform at the Alabama Theatre, a venue that has been entertaining locals and tourists on the Grand Strand since 1993.
Visit the famous Alabama Theatre in the offseason for one of the greatest Christmas shows around, The South’s Grandest Christmas Show! This holiday musical experience is sure to put you in the season’s spirit.
Other popular entertainment venues include the Carolina Opry House (winter brings the Carolina Opry Christmas Special), House of Blues, and Legends in Concert. There are events all year long at all of these venues, so be sure to check out their event calendars to find something that interests you.
If you’re looking for entertainment shows that are more suitable for kids, consider one of the two dinner theater shows in Myrtle Beach–Medieval Times and Pirates Voyage.
9. Take the Myrtle Beach History, Movies and Music Trolley Tour
Discover the streets of Myrtle Beach as you explore the city on a historic trolley!
Hear the story of Myrtle Beach’s coming of age in the mid-20th century to the present day, the movies that were made/premiered there, the role music played in its history and the role that Myrtle Beach played in music history.
Stops include the Jack Thompson Photo Gallery, Charlie’s Place Historic Site, where several famous artists performed between the 1930s and 1960s, and more.
This is a great winter activity, especially for people who love history, movies, and music!
10. Enjoy indoor amenities at the resorts
Just because the weather is not beach perfect does not mean you can’t take a dip in the water! There are a lot of resorts and hotels that offer indoor pools and indoor water parks, arcade rooms, bowling alleys, and more.
Take Dunes Village Resort for example–this resort features Palm Water Park, a massive 30,000-square-foot indoor water park with a lazy river.
The resort also has a basketball court, tennis court, a game room, and a year-round kid’s club. Guests can also dine at the Cabana Tiki Bar or at the Captain’s Café, which is open for lunch and dinner. The whole family could spend an entire day at the resort and not be bored!
Coral Beach Resort is another awesome option, featuring features 10 pools, one of the largest indoor heated pool complexes in Myrtle Beach, a water park, lazy river, and indoor/outdoor hot tubs.
Coral Beach Resort even offers an 8-lane bowling alley, arcade games, and table games with an ice cream parlor and snack bar in the Entertainment Zone as well.
11. Take the family to WonderWorks
Broadway at the Beach’s WonderWorks is an interactive museum disguised as a playground that kids and teens will love. At this 50,000-square-foot upside-down “laboratory”, visitors will get to expand their creativity and thinking with more than 100 hands-on exhibits.
Exhibits include donning an astronaut suit, lying on a bed of nails, creating gigantic bubbles, and experiencing realistic hurricane-force winds.
In addition to these educational exhibits, there is also laser tag and a ropes course that adventurous kids can enjoy.
12. Take a scenic helicopter ride in the sky
Throughout Myrtle Beach, you’ll see signs offering oddly inexpensive helicopter rides. And no it’s not a scam, there is no bait and switch–for $20, you will really be able to see the city, beach, and ocean from above!
Your two best options for these affordable helicopter rides are going to be OceanFront Helicopters or Helicopter Adventures. Both will take you and your family on a ride over the ocean for just 20 bucks per person!
13. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium
Marine animal lovers won’t want to miss Ripley’s Aquarium, a very popular thing to do in Myrtle Beach in the winter. Located at Broadway at the Beach, Ripley’s features many different exhibits that aim to educate visitors about various aquatic species from all over the world.
The unmissable attraction here is the 340-foot tunnel that brings visitors under a tank filled with sharks, sea turtles, large fish, and more. You’ll really get to experience what happens underwater here.
Don’t miss the new penguin exhibit or the stingray encounter, where you’ll be able to feel them with your own hands!
The aquarium also offers unique experiences like a glass-bottom boat ride, as well as the chance to swim with sharks, and more.
14. Explore Huntington Beach State Park
A few miles south of Myrtle Beach is the picturesque Huntington Beach State Park, one of the best things to do in Myrtle Beach in winter.
This park offers visitors the chance to explore a quiet beach as well as to enjoy some short hiking trails around the park. We recommend the easy, 2.8-mile Huntington Beach State Park Trail. There is also an old castle/dwelling to visit, and lots of perfect beaches to enjoy!
While you might not be able to see the park’s wildlife during the winter months as you would in the summer, this is still a beautiful spot to spend some time outdoors.
15. Go brewery hopping
What better way to warm up during the cold months in Myrtle Beach than with a few pints of beer?
New South Brewing is a great brewery in Myrtle Beach. They’re quite popular, as you’ll find many establishments offering their beers throughout the Grand Strand. However, if you want to visit the source of it all, head to New South Brewing on Campbell St.
Their tasting room is open throughout the winter season, and they also offer complimentary brewery tours on select days.
Other great breweries include Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, Independent Republic Brewing Co., and Tidal Creek Brewhouse.
16. Enjoy a wonderful seafood buffet
Myrtle Beach is known for its fantastic dining scene, and one of the most popular meals here is the iconic seafood buffet. While some of the restaurants that hold buffets are closed during the winter months, there are still a good amount that are open year-round.
Crabby George’s Calabash Seafood Buffet, Captain George’s Seafood Buffet, and The Original Benjamin’s Calabash Seafood are all open and wonderful options for this time of year.
17. See the flora and fauna at Brookgreen Gardens
Brookgreen Gardens is a must-see Myrtle Beach attraction, and it was even named one of the Top 10 Gardens in the US by TripAdvisor.
It is by far one of the best gardens in the Southeastern portion of the USA and is beautiful, even during the winter months! As you walk the lanes arched by centuries-old live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, you’ll really begin to experience the natural beauty and history of this place.
While you’re here, you can enjoy the sculpture garden, galleries, and history center. Oh, and did we mention that there’s even a zoo here?
In addition to all of that, the winter is especially special because of its winter holiday experience. Stroll through sculpture garden (completely decked out in holiday lights) while enjoying hot chocolates and live music. The whole thing is both festive and romantic!
Yeah, we’d say a visit to Brookgreen Gardens is a must when visiting Myrtle Beach in the winter!
18. Visit a few historic landmarks
North Myrtle Beach Historical Museum: Immerse yourself in stories of the region’s first inhabitants to the development of today’s tourism at the NMB Historical Museum.
Historic Myrtle Beach Colored School Museum & Education Center: A window into the past, and a door to the future. View artifacts from the school and the period and a reference library of African-American history.
Atalaya Castle in Huntington Beach State Park: Atalaya was built by Archer Huntington and his wife Anna between 1931 and 1933 as a winter residence after she was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
19. Take the family to Broadway Grand Prix
If you’re looking for one of the most fun non-water attractions in Myrtle Beach, Broadway Grand Prix easily takes that title!
Broadway Grand Prix offers many attractions and games for the entire family to enjoy–you can race to victory on one of their 7 go-kart tracks, climb on a rock wall, go mini-golfing on two 18-hole courses, or or play games at the Grand Prix arcade!
They have various All You Can Ride Wristband packages as well as week-long passes and season passes.
20. Take unlimited selfies at Selfie WRLD
Selfie WRLD is exactly what it sounds like. It’s one large interactive museum that caters to teens and what many of them like doing best, taking selfies!
Arguably one of the most instagrammable places in the southeast, you and your family can immerse yourself into the fun, eye-catching, interactive art installations here. You can pretend like you’re sitting on a plane, stealing money from a bank, sitting in the cafe featured in Friends, and more!
If you’re traveling with grandkids, kids, or teens, this is one of the best things to do in Myrtle Beach in the winter! It is also a great way to keep the kids entertained in Myrtle Beach on a rainy day year-round.
Admission costs $15-20 depending on your age.
Pro Tip: Not able to go while you are in Myrtle Beach? No worries…there are locations all over the USA from Miami to Boston to LA!
21. See the gators at Alligator Adventure
Get up close and personal with some of the most dangerous and beautiful animals on the planet at Alligator Adventure in North Myrtle Beach!
This 15-acre park features hundreds of reptilian species as well as other exotic animals, including venomous snakes from around the world, Chilean flamingos, squirrel monkeys, and spotted hyenas.
Alligator Adventure offers educational shows every hour during operating hours (they have special winter hours so check their site for the latest). They also offer photo opportunities with some of their animals as well.
22. Go shopping
No matter the season, whether before or after the holidays, shopping in Myrtle Beach is abundant. You’ll find a wide variety of gift shops, specialty shops, major franchises, and local independent boutiques selling anything and everything you can think of.
A few great spots to shop include Tanger Outlets, The Market Common, Coastal Grand Mall, and Barefoot Landing.
23. Original Motown Tribute Show
Enjoy a musical journey through the history of Motown during this highly-rated and highly-reviewed Motown cabaret show at the GTS Theatre in Myrtle Beach.
During the tribute show, you’ll hear classic songs like “Dancing in the Streets” as performers pay tribute to legends such as Diana Ross, The Four Tops, Martha & the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, Gladys Knight, and more.
This show is a great activity option for a girls’ night out or even a date night!
24. Take a day trip to Charleston, SC
Enjoy a scenic journey to one of America’s greatest historic treasures—Charleston, South Carolina, for a day of sightseeing, shopping, and dining!
On this 10-11 hour sightseeing day trip from Myrtle Beach, you’ll be able to experience all the highlights this wonderful city has to offer.
The tour package includes a boxed lunch, a ride through the historic district in a traditional horse-drawn carriage, a Charleston Harbor boat tour, a guided visit to Boone Hall Plantation, and a brief stop at the Old City Market.
It’s going to be an exciting day of new sights, sounds, tastes, and fun!
Myrtle Beach Annual Events During Winter
- Annual Beach Ball Classic (December)
- Legends in Concert (December)
- Grand Strand Boat Sportsman Expo (January)
- Conway Chocolate Walk (February)
Where To Stay In Myrtle Beach
Where you stay will depend on what type of vacation you’re looking for. Do you want to be in the middle of the action? Do you want to be conveniently situated on the beach at an oceanfront resort?
Here are a few great hotel options:
- Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes – Marriott never disappoints
- Ocean Enclave by Hilton Grand Vacations – you’ll be getting a lot more room at these suites
- Ocean 22 by Hilton Grand Vacations – also a good Hilton vacation home option
I would also recommend looking into vacation home rentals, especially if you’re traveling with a larger group and need a little more space. We have been using VRBO lately and have had outstanding experiences from booking to completing our stays.
Again, simply by visiting Myrtle Beach in the winter, you’re going to have so many more options at way more reasonable rates!
Essential Packing List: Myrtle Beach In The Winter
- Comfortable walking shoes | You’re going to be doing a lot walking here, so bring comfortable walking shoes. My all-time favorite travel shoes these days are the tried and true Ecco Soft 7‘s (they’re stylish, comfortable, and have been raved about for decades since they were first created)! Lucky for us, they have them for both men and women.
- Smartphone UV Sanitizer and Charger | Our phones gather all the grime and bacteria we touch throughout the day, and then they are stored in warm, dark places like purses and pockets, which make for great breeding grounds for bacteria to grow. They are the third hand we never wash, but should! Using a UV sanitizer such as PhoneSoap on a regular basis will help keep germs and illness at bay.
- First Aid Kit | It’s always good to carry a first aid kit around with you when traveling. Road trips make it easier to do this since all you need to do is toss it in the trunk! Bringing luggage, opt for a smaller kit.
- Hiking Boots | If you plan on hiking or taking longer strolls outdoors, bring well broken-in hiking boots or trail running shoes with good ankle support and good traction.
- Puffy Jacket | If you’re traveling in the fall or winter, or even spending time on the coast during summer, you’re going to need layers. You have a lot of options here, but I personally have the North Face Thermoball, and it’s kept me warm throughout my many years of adventuring!
- Travel Daypack | I’m a huge fan of the Fjallraven Kanken Mini Backpack. It’s stylish and has ample room for all the snacks and water you’ll need, as well as for your camera and the safety essentials for a hike or just a regular day out.
- Travel Towel | These are light and quick-drying, which is exactly what you need when you’re hopping from the water back to land, or simply need to dry your feet off. This one here is a great option for all these use cases!
- Sunhat | Sun protection is key for any destination, anytime.
- Sunscreen | Sunscreen is absolutely necessary. Even if it’s overcast or cloudy, the UV index can be very high, so be sure to apply whenever you’re outdoors. No matter where we go, we like a coral reef-safe brand, as traditional sunscreens contain chemicals that damage our environment. For the face, we are absolutely obsessed with the magical Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen.
- Hand Sanitizer | Hand sanitizer gel or wipes are a must any time you’re going to be in contact with surfaces many other people have touched. Never leave your hotel room without it! And if you do happen to forget it, remember to wash your hands often, especially before eating or touching your face.
- Body Wipes / Feminine Wipes | Feeling a bit gross after a hike or bike ride but don’t have the time to shower right in that instant? Just whip out one of these body wipes for a quick refresher. The feminine wipes I like are infused with cucumber and aloe. Trust me, you will feel and smell so much better. Always good to have a few handy in your travel bag.
- Portable Power Bank | You’re probably going to be out all day, snapping away taking pictures… the last thing you want is to be driving along with no phone battery! A portable power bank is a must-have, and Anker’s ultra-light, ultra-portable power bank is tried and true by so many travelers! I never embark on a day of exploration without it.
- Soft Hydration Flask | Stay hydrated throughout the day with a water bottle that can go anywhere with you—and fold up when not in use. I love the packability of these bottles!
- Emergen-C packets or Liquid I.V. Hydration Packets | These are a great way to support your immune system and overall health on a trip. They are light, take up no space, and are very easy to pack!
We hope we were able to inspire you to book that Myrtle Beach vacation with our list of the best things to do in Myrtle Beach in the winter. Safe and happy travels!