Everyone knows about Myrtle Beach's thrill rides, water slides and miniature golf courses, but there are a lot more fun things to do on the Grand Strand than amusement parks, water parks and putt-putt parlors.
In fact, some of the most unique attractions are also among its best-kept secrets. Why not try something different while you're on the Grand Strand, things you can't do anywhere else? Here's a list of five uniquely Myrtle Beach attractions for the adventurous at heart:
* Dolphin Watching Tours: There are lots of deep-sea fishing opportunities on the Strand but a few outfitters also offer dolphin and porpoise watching adventures, such as Blue Waters Adventures and Myrtle Beach Dolphin Cruises. Set sail for just a few miles offshore to the deeper waters where pods of dolphins swim and play. Experienced guides almost always find what they are looking for, and passengers usually get some great photo ops as the dolphins often come close to check out the boat.
* Go Ape Treetop Adventure: Visitors tend to gravitate to the coast for outdoor fun, but the inland areas of the Strand also have some unique attractions. This new zipline and ropes course highlights the scenic maritime forests of the area, allowing guests to swing through the trees and enjoy a bird's eye view of the recently opened North Myrtle Beach Sports and Recreation Complex. Test your climbing skills and spend the day getting back to nature in the treetops. The park also has hiking trails, a dog park and a tranquil meadow by a lake if you want to get outdoors but keep your feet on the ground.
* Huntington Beach State Park: This 300-acre oceanfront park in the Lowcountry of Murrells Inlet gives visitors a first-hand look at the natural beauty of the Carolina coast. Featuring towering sand dunes and pristine beaches, Huntington Beach is a great place to find some seclusion. The park also has tidal creeks and salt marshes that are home to abundant wildlife, including alligators and birds of prey. The highlight is Atalaya, a replica of a Spanish castle that sits high above the shoreland and is open for tours. Hiking trails and a nature center make Huntington Beach a great place for families to get back to nature.
* Myrtle Beach SkyWheel: The neon-lit SkyWheel is the centerpiece of the downtown Myrtle Beach skyline, but the view from atop the 190-foot modern-day Ferris wheel is even more spectacular. Climate-controlled, glass-enclosed gondolas provide a panoramic view of Myrtle Beach and the Atlantic Ocean and the windows are photography friendly. Private gondolas are available and the top of the SkyWheel has become a popular place to pop the question for visiting couples. The SkyWheel, the tallest Ferris wheel and the only observatory ride of its kind on the East Coast, has quickly become an iconic symbol of the rebirth of the downtown district.
* WonderWorks: OK, so this Broadway at the Beach attraction isn’t exactly off the beaten path. In fact, it’s almost impossible to miss. The three-story building has been turned on its roof, under the premise that the scientific laboratory saw an experiment go horribly wrong. In reality, it’s an attraction horribly gone right for visitors with senses of adventure and strong imaginations. The tour begins on the third floor (basement) and features science-based exhibits and interactive games designed to display the laws of nature in action. Gravity, motion, energy and electricity are among the themes explored in an entertaining way so the kids don’t get too stressed out that they might have to learn something during their vacations. The ground (top) floor features Laser Tag, ropes courses and other fun activities for the whole family. Be sure to visit the snack bar and souvenir shop.