Travel
March 23, 2017 posted by Lindsay Ferrier

Four Days in North Myrtle Beach: A Fun-Filled Family Itinerary

Four Days in North Myrtle Beach: A Fun-Filled Family Itinerary

This post was written in partnership with Explore North Myrtle Beach.

South Carolina’s coast is a good four hours farther away from our home in Nashville, Tennessee than the Florida beaches — Yet we return to South Carolina over and over again. The reason is that we’re looking for more than just a beach on our beach trips — We want great food, an appreciation for the area’s history, plenty of preserved natural spaces, and lots of local culture. South Carolina has all that in spades, and North Myrtle Beach is no exception. We spent four days in North Myrtle Beach and fell in love with this laid back beach town just a few minutes away from pretty much everything. Check out our family-friendly itinerary and discover North Myrtle Beach for yourself.

 

North Beach Plantation Review
 
North Myrtle Beach has a range of places to stay, including a wide selection of condos, beach houses and cottages. We vacationed at the towers at North Beach Plantation on this trip — These beach condos were the only high-rise towers for miles, so our beach was never crowded. We’d stay here again in a heartbeat.

 


 
Our two-bedroom/two-bathroom condo was spacious (even prettier than the one pictured here) and clean, with a spacious kitchen and dining area, washer/dryer unit, and the largest private balcony I’ve ever seen in a beachfront condo. Our kids loved having double beds and a flatscreen television in their shared bedroom and I loved the large whirlpool tub in the master bathroom. But what we loved most was what lay just outside our sliding glass door…

 

North Beach Plantation Review
 
It was an entire complex of pools, fountains, and whirlpools. Just inside, off to the left, was another indoor pool and lazy river. The kids couldn’t believe their luck! The weather was chilly during our stay, but the kids swam every single day thanks to the indoor pool, lazy river and outdoor infinity pool, which was heated to 80 degrees.

 

North Beach Plantation Pool Review
 
North Beach Plantation alone was enough to make their vacation complete — They could happily have stayed here for the next four days and been perfectly content. My husband and I, however, had other plans!

 

Hamburger Joe's Review North Myrtle Beach
 
We got in late on our first night in North Myrtle Beach — Fortunately, one of the most popular casual restaurants in town was right across the street from our resort. Hamburger Joe’s is known for its burgers and onion rings and both were delicious. In fact, we liked the food so much, we came back later in the week for another meal! This is the perfect spot for a tasty and affordable meal in North Myrtle Beach, but visit an ATM before you come — Hamburger Joe’s only takes cash.

 

Cherry Grove Fishing Pier
 
The next morning, we headed out to explore the area. We stopped first at North Myrtle Beach’s iconic Cherry Grove Pier. Built in the 1950s, the pier quickly became a popular fishing spot, especially when a world record-sized tiger shark weighing in at nearly 2,000 pounds was caught on this pier in 1964! Today, visitors can rent a rod, reel and bait from the pier’s tackle shop and try their own luck. Pier employees are happy to provide instruction to beginners on how to catch their own dinner.

 

Seashells North Myrtle Beach
 
Since we’d happened to arrive at the pier at low tide, we spent most of our time here picking up the many seashells that dotted the sands. The Myrtle Beach area is rich in shells, and if you have a shell seeking family like mine, this is a very good thing!

 

Boulineau's Review North Myrtle Beach
 
Our next stop was Boulineau’s IGA, the largest supermarket on the Grand Strand. We planned to stop in for a few necessities for our kitchen, but we ended up staying here much longer than planned. Established in 1948, Boulineau’s has become a one-stop-shop for everything a vacationer could possibly be looking for… and I do mean everything! In addition to food, fresh produce, a sizable selection of beer and wine, a deli and bakery (try their homemade fudge!), this two-story megastore also carries hardware, greeting cards, party accessories, toys, books, magazines, beach toys, and a thousand other odds and ends you never knew you needed until you got here.

 

Boulineau's Review North Myrtle Beach
 
Take this Sip-N-Ooodle, for instance — It’s a pool noodle THAT ALSO STORES A BEVERAGE. Drink while you play! Play while you drink! Where do they come up with this stuff?! This is a perfect example of the unexpected things you’ll find at Boulineau’s! Your shopping cart will soon runneth over.

 

Elizabeth's Kitchen North Myrtle Beach
 
Boulineau’s also has a short-order counter called Elizabeth’s Kitchen, as well as a dining area so that customers can eat their food on the spot if they’d like. I mention this because I noticed a steady stream of customers at Elizabeth’s the entire time we were there– It must be good.

 


 
Once we’d filled our trunk with goods, we headed out to lunch at Flying Fish Public Market & Grill. I have to admit, I have high hopes for a seafood restaurant that has its own fish market and is just a few steps away from a marina — Fortunately, Flying Fish did not disappoint.

 

Flying Fish North Myrtle Beach Review
 
In addition to stunning views of boats cruising the inland waterway out back, Flying Fish is the go-to place for fresh fish, prepared any way you like. Everything we ate here was absolutely delicious, especially my daughter’s shrimp po boy, my soft-shelled crab BLT, and the hushpuppies. Do not miss the hushpuppies here– They’re flash-fried like donuts and come with cinnamon and sugar butter for dipping. They are HEAVENLY.

 

North Myrtle Beach Review
 
After lunch, it was time to spend a few hours on the beach. It was a bit cool outside, but the sun was shining, the skies were clear, and the water was sparkling — We found plenty to do.

 

Sand North Myrtle Beach
 
My son spent quite a while working on this sand masterpiece. He called it, ‘A Kid.’

 

Beach Pictures North Myrtle Beach
 
Meanwhile, I took advantage of the light and the fact that my kids weren’t neck deep in the water to take some family photos. If you find yourself at the beach on a cool day, be sure to take your family and your camera down to the shore– I’ve found the quality of the sunlight on these cooler-weather beach days really can’t be beat.

 

Beach Pictures

 

North Myrtle Beach Trip Itinerary
 
We know how to have a good time!

 

Joe's Bar & Grill North Myrtle Beach

 

We cleaned up and headed out to dinner at the cozy Joe’s Bar & Grill, just a stone’s throw away from our resort. We’d heard this was one of the best places in town for dinner, and it ended up being our favorite meal while we were in town — and that’s saying a lot! Although the name makes this restaurant sound ultra casual, the menu is upscale and absolutely delicious. You’ll definitely want to make a reservation if you’re planning on a meal here — Even in the off-season, Joe’s fills up fast.

 

Joe's Bar and Grill North Myrtle Beach
 
Joe’s has been open for 25 years here, so they’ve had plenty of time to perfect their menu. My husband’s Filet Neptune — tenderloin medallions topped with crabmeat, shrimp, scallops, and béarnaise sauce, was perfection. My shrimp & grits entree was literally the best shrimp & grits I’ve ever had. The seafood chowder was what we all aspire to be– rich and fabulous.
 
Joe's Kids Menu Myrtle Beach
 
My son ordered the prime rib off the kids menu. Check out the size of his prime rib! I also loved that beverage choices on the kids menu included a Roy Rogers, a Shirley Temple, and a Virgin Daiquiri. Way to make the kids feel special!

On warmer nights, sit outside if you can find a spot — Joe’s beautiful and spacious deck overlooks the Carolina salt marsh– It’s also home to a family of raccoons, and they’ve become quite popular with the patrons.

After a mouthwatering dessert of Mandarin Pineapple cake (made from an old family recipe by the owner’s daughter), we had one more stop to make before heading home.

 

Fat Harold's Beach Club North Myrtle Beach
 
Fat Harold’s Beach Club! This local hotspot is THE place to go to learn South Carolina’s state dance: The Shag. It originated right here in North Myrtle Beach and shag dancing continues to be a popular way to spend an evening for locals and tourists alike. Fat Harold’s was packed with shag dancers — Kids are welcome to join in as well until around 10pm, provided they’re well-behaved! Fat Harold’s also offers shag lessons each week for adults and for children. It’s definitely worth a stop (or several) while you’re in town.

 

Hoskins Restaurant Myrtle Beach
 
We started off the next morning with a late breakfast at local hotspot, Hoskins Restaurant. This Main Street mainstay is always crowded with diners, and it’s worth the wait. Breakfast is affordable, filling, and the home fries can’t be beat.

 

The Wildflower Shopping North Myrtle Beach
 
Of course, we couldn’t leave Main Street without a stop at The Wildflower. This eclectic shop is chock full of new and vintage furniture, accessories, and curiosities.

 

The Wildflower North Myrtle Beach
 
You’ll also find a large selection of yard art outside. We couldn’t leave without buying an antique bottle for my daughter and a mermaid wall hanging for ourselves.

 

Alligator Adventure
 
It was time for the activity my son was most looking forward to on our trip– a visit to Alligator Adventure. Located in the heart of North Myrtle Beach, Alligator Adventure is actually one of the largest reptile facilities in the world, and it’s definitely worth seeing.

 

Alligators
 
Inside, you’ll find hundreds of alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles of all shapes and sizes. Alligator Adventure is home to seven rare albino alligators, as well as the largest crocodile in the United States. Born back in the 1960s, ‘Utan’ is truly ENORMOUS.

 

Spider Monkey
 
If you’re looking for something… with hair, Alligator Adventure also has spider monkeys and two very active hyenas.

 

Alligator Adventure Photos
 
Alligator and reptile shows are held throughout the day, giving guests a chance to pet and hold alligators and other reptiles. As you can imagine, my son was in heaven. And honestly, we all had a great time here and learned quite a bit about alligators- It was definitely a highlight of our trip.

 

The Parson's Table
 
Dinner that night was in the nearby fishing village Little River, where The Parson’s Table is a highly regarded restaurant housed in an 1850s Methodist church. We loved the atmosphere inside the restaurant and marveled at the main dining room’s Tiffany chandelier and the elaborate collection of stained glass throughout the restaurant.

 


 
We had another standout meal here, and ate so much that we could barely move when our meal was finished. Standout dishes here were the homemade cornbread and the Brooklyn Brown Ale-glazed Beef Short Rib. We also loved our Brie en Brioche appetizer. The Parson’s Table is definitely a standout option for a night to remember.
 
Crumb Buns Bakery
 
We had plans to go kayaking the next morning, but on the way, we made a stop at Crumb Buns Bakery. Don’t let the unassuming storefront fool you — You can find some incredible pastries, pies and breads here and a line of locals to prove it.

 

Crumb Buns Bakery North Myrtle Beach

 

We tried a little bit of everything — for research purposes only, of course — and from the raspberry twist to the cookies to the strawberry cheese danish to the moist crumb buns topped with powdered sugar, every single thing was delicious. I would go back here again in a heartbeat.

 

Great Escapes Kayak Review
 
We drove on to Great Escapes Kayak Expeditions in nearby Longs, South Carolina for a two-hour guided expedition on the peaceful Waccamaw River. My husband and I opted for tandem kayaks with the kids, but this black river is so calm and easy to navigate that both my 9 and 12 year old easily could have navigated it in solo kayaks.

 

Kayaking North Myrtle Beach
 
This was my favorite activity of our trip. The weather was perfect and the leaves were just starting to form on the trees, making for beautiful spring color along the river banks. We paddled through a protected nature preserve and saw osprey, herons, turtles, and as the grand finale at the very end of our trip, a large herd of wild boar rushing along the river bank. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.

 

Capt. Juel's Little River
 
For lunch, we headed back to Little River, where Capt. Juel’s Hurricane Restaurant has been open on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway since the 1950s. Our hearty lunch here was another favorite meal of the trip– We feasted on fresh sushi, a crispy fish sandwich with a surprisingly delightful coating of cornflakes, firecracker shrimp, a tender mahi-mahi sandwich, freshly made hushpuppies, and a thick, juicy cheeseburger.

 

Hurricane Restaurant Little River
 
Everything we ate was fantastic. You really can’t go wrong with this menu.

 

Capt. Juel's
 
For dessert, my son decided he still had room in his stomach for some chocolate cake. The biggest piece of cake I’ve ever seen arrived and we were all obligated to help him out!

 

The Country Rooster Little River
 
We stopped after lunch at The Country Rooster, a gigantic, barn-like shop filled with antique and vintage finds, garden accessories, Christmas decor, furniture, local crafts, and more.

 

The Country Rooster Review Little River
 
This is another one of those places where just about anyone can find something they like — It’s well worth stopping for.

After a few hours of swimming back at our resort, it was time for our vacation’s grand finale, at least as far as the kids were concerned:
 


 
A trip to Pirates Voyage for dinner and a show.

 

Pirates Voyage Join the Crew
 
We went early so that both the kids could get made up like pirates (kids can also choose to be mermaids if they prefer). This ended up being money well spent.

 

Pirates Voyage
 
Not only did the kids look amazing in their makeup and pirate accessories, it also really got them in the mood for the show.

 

Pirates Voyage
 
We might have gotten into it a little bit as well…

 

Pirates Voyage
 
The show itself was also phenomenal and included lots of acrobatics, pyrotechnics, animals, aerialists, and more. Even the food was good– At a dinner theater show, I don’t set the bar too high, so I was pleasantly surprised by the meal. We had a great night here and I’d recommend it to any family visiting North Myrtle Beach.

 

Pirates Voyage kids
 
Be warned, there is a well-stocked gift shop here — Our kids managed to convince us to buy them pirate swords. They’ve been dueling ever since!

 

Heritage Shores Nature Preserve Review
 
We woke the next morning and sadly checked our of our beautiful condominium. The days had gone by too fast, and we felt like we were leaving just as we were settling in. Before we went to the airport, we had time for a walk at Heritage Shores Nature Preserve, seven acres of trails on elevated boardwalks in the Cherry Grove salt marsh.

 

Walking Trails North Myrtle Beach
 
This is another little-known North Myrtle Beach treasure, and it’s well worth stopping for a visit. Go at sunrise or sunset for the best light, and bring your camera — This is a great spot for a photo op.

It was time to head back home, but we can’t wait to return. North Myrtle Beach has everything we love — a laid back, family friendly atmosphere and close proximity to all kinds of restaurants and activities. Check it out for yourself and I think you’ll love it, too.

For more ideas on what to do in and around North Myrtle Beach, check out my post on iExplore.com: 7 Reasons North Myrtle Beach is the Beach Town of Your Dreams.

 

Fun Things to Do with Kids North Myrtle Beach

 

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