Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, plays host to 15 million tourists a year and is one of the most popular destinations for those living on the east coast of the U.S.


With excellent weather from June through August, the big draws are golf and beaches (though I was there for a conference). When I had free time, I enjoyed exploring on my own, but Myrtle Beach is perfect for families, couples, and friends.


Here’s a list of things to do when you’re on a budget or you simply don’t want to spend a heap of money every day on your vacation.



The 1.2-mile boardwalk stretches along the main section of Myrtle Beach and is jam-packed with souvenir and ice cream shops, arcades, and thrill rides. Even though it’s such an active place, you don’t have to empty your wallet here. Wander this section and perhaps the most entertaining thing you could do is people-watch. Whether you’re in Myrtle Beach during the high summer season or the shoulder seasons (spring and fall), you’ll enjoy a stroll along this pathway.


During the summer months, the Oceanfront Merchant’s Association puts on free concerts. It’s a carnival atmosphere that includes fireworks on Wednesday nights.

Photo courtesy of Myrtle Beach Area CVB



One of my favorite things to do on any beach is to stroll and make my own discoveries. I have a jar filled with beach glass that I’ve picked up from around the world. Tiny shells and washed up coral line my windowsills. Though I can’t identify from which beaches each of these came, they make an aggregate of memories that I cherish.


In the Myrtle Beach area, you’ll find sand that stretches from Little River, S.C. to Georgetown, S.C., and encompasses 12 different towns and two counties over a 60-mile stretch.


Broadway at the Beach

This 350-acre entertainment and shopping complex includes theaters with live entertainment, a wide variety of family-friendly restaurants, a NASCAR Speed Park, concerts at many of the venues, and accommodations including Courtyard Myrtle Beach Broadway, La Quinta Inn & Suites Myrtle Beach Broadway, and Hampton Inn Myrtle Beach Broadway.


Don’t miss Coca-Cola Summer Nights, where you can watch fireworks on Friday nights!


Concerts on the beach

Free concerts, such as the North Myrtle Beach Sounds of Summer Concert Series (at McLean Park), take place throughout the summer. Events like this one are family-friendly and alcohol-free. Bring a picnic dinner, a chair or blanket, and enjoy an evening of live music.

Photo courtesy of Myrtle Beach Area CVB


Market Common events

You could easily spend the day at Market Common, a tight-knit community near the beach. With shops, restaurants, special events (such as outdoor farmer and craft markets), you can wander without spending anything but a bit of money on food. Across the street from the shopping and dining area are Grand and Valor parks.


Grand and Valor Parks

These parks, located at the Market Common shopping area, host events all summer long including farmers’ markets, free carriage rides on Fridays, and free movies under the stars on Wednesday nights. Over Labor Day weekend, the Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival takes place at Grand Park. BBQ sampling tickets are just $1 each.


Myrtle Beach Art Museum

This free museum showcases emerging artists from both Myrtle Beach and from other regions. Located in a 1920s-era beach cottage, it regularly holds events just for children.

Viewfinder Tip: Consider booking a hotel room with a kitchenette so you don’t have to eat every meal out.

Carolina Shag Dancing

Yup, North Myrtle Beach is home to what’s called Carolina Shag Dancing – a sort of swing dance. You can get free lessons at Fat Harold’s every Tuesday night.


What kind of free activities do you seek out when you travel?