Known as The Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is home to many golf courses, wide miles-long beaches and plenty of family friendly and free things to do. This affordable family vacation spots is one of the premier resort communities in the country. The weather is mild and much of the beachfront entertainment is free, making summer the best time to take advantage of these free activities.
The area’s biggest attraction is the ocean, and of course it is a free and public space. Visitors should bring beach towels, blankets, and chairs to avoid the cost of rentals.
Murrells Inlet MarshWalk
Experience nature along the MarshWalk, which offers great views of the saltwater marsh, birds and beautiful scenery. Here you can find waterfront restaurants and free live music to enjoy.
During the summer there is live music nightly in most of the restaurants. Some of the restaurants feature live music year-round and, according to the MarshWalk website, there is never a cover charge.
The eight restaurants that line the Marshwalk serve dishes ranging from burgers to sushi and feature locally-sourced ingredients.
It is said that at Murrells Inlet, where the MarshWalk is located, you may also have the chance to meet some friendly island goats, pirates and even a ghost.
Hot Summer Nights concerts
On the Myrtle Beach boardwalk you can find the Hot Summer Nights free concert series.
This annual Myrtle Beach tradition takes place from June through August and offers a variety of live concerts and a carnival for the kids called the Boardwalk Kids Carnival.
At the kids carnival there are giant inflatables, face painting, characters, super heroes, princesses, games, balloon art and of course live kids’ music for the whole family to enjoy.
The “adult” concerts are a mixture of genres, from rock, to country and acoustic. There is also an Elvis impersonator, beach volleyball and street performers of all sorts.
The Boogie & BBQ Festival
The Boogie & BBQ Festival usually takes place in the beginning of September at the Horry-Georgetown Technical College Conference Center. There you can taste some great barbecue and experience family-friendly fun.
There are activities for kids, such as arts and crafts vendors. For parents, there’s the beer and wine garden. You can sample barbecue wings, sandwiches and ribs all weekend long and live entertainment is planned for both days.
Burroughs and Chapin Art Museum
Considered the Grand Strand’s home for contemporary visual art in all mediums since 1977, this museum has been a showcase for living Southern artists, including Myrtle Beach’s own Alex Powers, Dixie Dugan, and Ouida Salvo.
The museum has exhibited works from some of America’s foremost names in the world of art, including those of John James Audubon, Ansel Adams and Jasper Johns.
Special events are offered regularly including children’s programs. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Broadway at the Beach
This entertainment complex, in the center of Myrtle Beach, includes street performers, a free pontoon ride for kids and fireworks on Tuesday nights.
Hours for Broadway at the Beach vary depending on the season but the area usually operates beginning at 10 a.m. and is open until the evening hours.
4th of July Boat Parade
For more than 30 years, decorated boats have sailed down Murrells Inlet for the annual 4th of July Boat Parade. The parade usually takes place during 4th of July weekend, not necessarily on the actual holiday.
The boats compete to be named the best decorated of them all as they float from Garden City Point through the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk all the way down to Hot Fish Club.
You can watch the parade from the many, also heavily-decorated, docks on the banks of the inlet.
The parade begins at 5 p.m. and concludes with a spectacular fireworks display in the inlet. Awards for the best boat and dock decorations are announced at the end of the night.
This post was updated by Alexandra Olsen, a college student intern for TravelingMom.com, in June 2016. Her love of travel began at a very young age–traveling with her family to little beach towns growing up in Brazil. She has her own personal travel blog, Trail Mix, which she started while spending a summer studying abroad in Norway.
What is your secret for finding free activities during your vacations? Tell us in the comments section below!