Discover why Garden City Beach, SC, is one of the best beach towns for families. A few miles south of Myrtle Beach, families find that this small beachside town is the ideal spot for the perfect family vacation. While the beach is always a popular attraction on everyone itinerary there are plenty of other awesome things to do near Garden City SC.
Garden City Beach lies along the Atlantic Ocean near Murrels Inlet, a small fishing village and former hideout of the infamous pirate Blackbeard! Visitors to Garden City can experience excellent fishing, crabbing, and other fun coastal activities. Here are five fantastic things to do in Garden City Beach, SC, that every visitor should experience. This article contains affiliate links.
Hit The Trails At Huntington Beach State Park
While many visit Garden City Beach, SC for their sandy shores. There is plenty of other great ways to experience the great outdoors. A visit to Huntington Beach State Park should be on your itinerary. The park is full of great hiking, plenty of wildlife, and is a great spot to get away from the crowds. The Sandpiper Pond Nature Trail offers hikers an easy 2-mile hike through the forest of red cedars and oaks, by the beach, and to a gorgeous pond. Once you arrive at the pond, there is an observation tower that I highly recommend everyone go up in. The pond usually is full of wildlife! Be on the lookout for herons, ospreys, and egrets who call this pond home.
A shorter trail is the Kerrigan Nature Trail, which is only a quick .3 miles but is bound to be full of birds and wildlife. Huntington Beach State Park has a large bird population, which keeps birders coming back year after year.
What once was the winter home to Archer M. Huntington and his wife, the Atalaya Castle, was built in the early 1930s. The Castle was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 to preserve the history of Anna Hyatt Huntington and her husband, Archer Huntington. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the Castle.
Admission Into Huntington Beach State Park
$8/adult; $5/ S.C. Senior; $4/youth age 6-15; Free for children five and younger.
Atalaya Admission: $2/person ages six and up. Children 5 and under admitted free.
Discover More Great Hiking Trails Near Myrtle Beach.
Try Your Hand At Ghost Crab Hunting On Garden City Beach SC
A great free activity to do in Garden City Beach, SC, is to attempt to catch a ghost crab. It is a fun evening activity that is bound to create lasting memories. Atlantic ghost crabs are iridescent, sand-colored crabs that are known for their speed. They can be found along the quiet beaches along the Atlantic coast, including South Carolina.
Tips For Ghost Crab Hunting
Ghosts crabs typically come out at dark as they live in their burrows below the sand during the daytime. Head to the beach after night falls and bring a bright flashlight, bucket, and a net. Many brave individuals will attempt to pick up the crabs with their hands but remember they still have pinchers. We have found a simple net does the trick, if you are quick enough to catch them!
After catching the crabs, we always release them back on the beach. It is quite funny to watch everyone do a little dance as the crabs scatter every which way!
Create A Seafood Feast From Harrelsons Seafood Market
There are plenty of great seafood resturants throughout Garden City Beach, SC; however, for a more affordable option, consider creating your seafood feast at home. Harrelsons Seafood Market in Murrels Inlet specializes in fresh local seafood, which delicious specialty items. This family-owned business has been selling freshest seafood from the local fishermen for years.
Try a few local favorites such as She-crab Soup, crab cakes, local shrimp, and grouper. Those are only a few of the popular items. Indulge in lobster tails, crabs, oysters, conch fritters, and endless selections of fresh fish. Scanning the aisles and frozen items will leave you coming back again and again. Don’t forget to grab a packet of Harrelson’s famous seafood broil seasoning.
Check Doordash or Grubhub to have orders delivered straight to your home or rental.
Want to catch your own seafood dinner? Hop aboard a fishing charter or rent your own boat!
Address: 4368 Highway 17 Business Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Indulge At Kudzu Bakery
Another hidden gem that is off the beaten bath is Kudzu Bakery, which is located near Pawley’s Island. Only a ten to fifteen-minute drive from Garden City Beach, SC, this bakery has one of the best key-lime pies. In addition to having stupendous baked goods, grab one of their sandwiches, which are already picnic-ready. Options include egg salad, chicken salad, and tuna salad. All are delightful.
One of the reasons we frequently Kudzu Bakery many times during our visit to Garden City Beach, SC, is that they have a great selection of snacks and appetizers. Perfect for a low-key evening watching the sunset set with a glass of wine. The shrimp and crab dips are excellent, along with their wine selection. End the evening on a sweet note with a slice of their coconut cake.
Address: 221 Willbrook Blvd. Pawley’s Island, SC 29858
Take In Nature’s Beauty At Brookgreen Gardens
For a truly spectacular hike or walk, take time to visit Brookgreen Gardens. The gardens are full of beautiful sculptures, well-maintained walking trails, and the only accredited zoo on the Carolinas coast. Prior to visiting the gardens, check to see if any special exhibits are going on or if any exhibits are closed.
The Botanical Gardens
Throughout the gardens, there are 2,000 works by 430 artists. This includes works of art found in the Rainey Sculpture Pavilion. Spend hours discovering all the hidden gems located throughout the 9,127-acre property. The four wings butterfly garden is a popular spot to visit along with the Dorothy P. Peace Garden Room for Children. Discover flowing fountains, a stunning array of fauna, and ancient trees looming over pathways.
The Low County Zoo
Your general admission ticket also gets you into the zoo. The zoo may not have exotic animals such as tigers and giraffes, but it is home to animals who have suffered injuries or have been bred in captivity and could not survive in the wild. Farm animals also call the zoo home, including chickens, bulls, and sheep. Be sure to swing by the otters as they can be quite entertaining if you visit while they are active.
Admission to Brookgreen Gardens
Admission to Brookgreen Gardens as of 2020 is $18.00 for general admission to the gardens. Daily general admission tickets are good for return visits to the gardens for seven days. Children 4-12 are $10. Children under 3 are free. Seniors 65 and older are $16.
Address: 1931 Brookgreen Garden Dr, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
More Great Things To Do In Garden City Beach SC
Garden City Beach has a fun pier that is perfect for fishing, shark watching, or simply enjoying the sea breeze. At night the pier transforms into an entertainment hot spot where visitors come to enjoy live music and drinks. Nearby Painter’s Ice Cream is the perfect stop to grab a cone before exploring the pier.
Grab A Hotdog at Sam’s Corner at Garden City Beach SC
Directly across the street from the pier is Sam’s Corner. Since 1976 Sam’s has been the greasy spoon diner that beachgoers flock to for a quick bite. There is a reason folks are lined up around the building every time you pass by. While the restaurant serves up classics such as traditional breakfasts and burgers, it is their hotdogs that guests rave about.
Go On A Dolphin Watch Tour
Head out to sea to catch sight of dolphins, sea turtles, string rays, and more. You never know what awaits you onboard a dolphin cruise. From sunset cruises to private charters, the perfect dolphin cruise awaits. For a more thrilling dolphin cruise check out SEA THUNDER.
Wild Water and Wheels
Take a break from the beach to beat the heat by tackling the water slides at Wild Water and Wheels. This entertainment center is home to a waterpark, Go-Cart Track, Mini-Golf, and Rides. Cool off in their Wipe Out Wave Pool or take it easy by relaxing in their lazy river.
Grab a table with a beautiful ocean view at Conch Cafe. This establishment has been a staple to Garden City for decades. Serving up seafood, steaks, and sandwiches, Conch Cafe is a favorite among locals and guests.
Where To Stay In Garden City Beach SC
From luxurious beach house rentals to primitive campsites Garden City Beach, SC is full of great accommodations. Those looking to escape the crowds of beachgoers look for a rental that is a little ways away from the nearest public beach access and the pier. Maps of the area can show public beach access points and the piers. Huntington Beach State Park has campsites available with a variety of camping options.
Things To Do Near Garden City Beach SC