Things To Do in Garden City Beach SC
Family Travel,  Southeast,  Travel

13 Awesome Things To Do Near Garden City Beach SC

Planning a family vacation to the beach? Don’t miss out on these top things to do near Garden City Beach, SC! 

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’s itinerary there is plenty of awesome things to do near Garden City SC. 

Things To Do In Garden City Beach 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.

While you may include a day or two to explore the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach, here are thirteen fantastic things to do in Garden City Beach, SC. This article contains affiliate links. 


Hit The Trails At Huntington Beach State Park

Hiking in South Carolina While many visit Garden City Beach, SC for its 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, and 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.

Atalaya Castle

Atalaya Castle In South Carolina

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 are admitted free.

Discover More Great Hiking Trails Near Myrtle Beach.

Try Your Hand At Ghost Crab Hunting On Garden City Beach SC

Ghost Crabbing at Garden City Beach, SCA 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

Ghost crabs typically come out in the 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!

Check out our Guide on how to catch a Ghost Crab before hitting the beach!

Create A Seafood Feast From Harrelson’s Seafood Market

Harrelsons Seafood Market In Murrels Inlet 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. Harrelson’s Seafood Market in Murrels Inlet specializes in fresh local seafood and delicious specialty items. This family-owned business has been selling the 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

Kudzu's Key Lime Pie 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 frequent 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

Things To Do In Garden City Beach, SCFor 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

Brookgreen Gardens 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

The Pier

Starfish in Garden City, SCThe Garden City pier is the heart of this small beach community. The pier is the perfect place to catch live entertainment, play a few arcade games, grab a bite to eat, or simply enjoy the sea breeze.

It is a fantastic fishing pier, with many coming to cast their lines in hopes of a big catch. Nearby Painter’s Ice Cream is the perfect stop to grab a cone before exploring the pier. Car and golf cart parking is available under 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 hot dogs that guests rave about. 

Planning Tip: Sam’sCorner is right across the street from the pier. You can order carry-out to enjoy on the pier.

Catch A Sunset Cruise

Take in a gorgeous sunset aboard a happy hour cruise with Express Water Sports. These one-hour cruises take guests out on the Intracoastal Waterway to watch the spectacular sunset over the inlet.  Sip on rum punch while gazing out for sights of dolphins, nosh on a cheese tray then cheers to a beautiful relaxing evening.

Planning Tip: The cruise boards behind Drunken Jacks along the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk. Plan on grabbing dinner before or after then enjoy the live music along the boardwalk.

Go On A Dolphin Watch Tour

Head out to the 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.  

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.  The whole family will be wanting to come back immediately after you leave! 

Conch CafeGarden City Beach SC

Head to Surfside Beach to grab lunch with a beautiful ocean view at Conch Cafe. This establishment has been a staple in Garden City for decades. Serving up seafood, steaks, and sandwiches, Conch Cafe is a favorite among locals and guests. 

Planning Tip: Conch Cafe does not accept reservations. I recommend arriving when they open to secure a table without a long wait time.

Garden City Pavilion Arcade

Deemed the best arcade in the Myrtle Beach area, the Garden City Pavilion Arcade has quite a reputation.  Play traditional arcade games such as Skee-ball, Whak A Mole, and more!  The arcade sits right in the heart of Garden City Beach with Sam’s Corner next door and the pier across the street!

Tip: Unlike other arcades, I felt that my money lasted longer here. Games seemed to be more affordable.

Sanford D. Cox Sr. Community Park

We stumbled upon a quaint little park with a nice playground only minutes from the beach. The Sanford D. Cox Community Park has a lovely boardwalk over the saltwater marsh which is ideal for wildlife spotting. Look for alligators, birds, crabs, and more.

The playground has a big play structure, swings, and an area with bars for climbing. The parking lot is small, so we ended up parking on the street.


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

Fun Things To Do In Garden City Beach SC