Things to do when it rains or is too hot for your Myrtle Beach vacation

Riders try to new 6D Motion Ride, one of the new rides and exhibits have been added at WonderWorks at Broadway at the Beach.

As a little girl, I was convinced that if I chanted “Rain, rain, go away..” rain would stop pouring down from the clouds. As an adult, however, especially in an outdoor-centric place like the beach, I rely on a plan for alternative indoor activities in case of inclement weather. If you are caught in the Myrtle Beach area on a rainy day, there is no need to mope in front of the unit television set. There is plenty to do without getting wet. Although the suggestions here do not comprise an exhaustive list of what’s available, it should give you a good start on keeping busy when the day is gray and wet instead of sunny.

One of my favorite places to go is the public library and it is free. There is plenty to do in addition to reading. Myrtle Beach’s Chapin Library Director, Jennifer Nassar welcomes visitors to the library. Chapin has play areas and computers and areas for imaginative play such as dress-up. Nassar says, “We support imaginative play. This kind of play and reading go hand in hand. Our children’s area is definitely not a quiet space.”

The Horry County Memorial Library system, which has ten libraries, has children’s areas in each branch. Two of the larger children’s areas are in Carolina Forest and North Myrtle Beach. (see below for website that lists all branches, their locations and phone numbers.) Many of these branches also offer activities for older elementary children and teens. Call before you go, not all branches are open seven days a week. Check to see if there are special events going on –some do not require advance sign up. While non-card holders cannot borrow books, used book areas offer bargains.

Museums are another good option for a rainy day. Only the art museum is free. If you are looking to entertain younger children and don’t mind paying a fee, try the Children’s Museum of South Carolina. They have a similar philosophy and boast Interactive exhibits & programs for kids including a hurricane simulator, art center & gem mining. Jessica Gregory the Museum Manager says, “The Children’s Museum of South Carolina is an incredible resource for locals as well as families visiting Myrtle Beach. Our interactive exhibits allow children to learn through play and we offer a variety of educational programming throughout the week in addition to monthly special events. We are proud to be a part of the Myrtle Beach community and to offer learning opportunities for everyone, young and old.”

In Conway, the Horry County Museum is located near enough to the Conway branch of the Horry County library system that you can run between the rain drops and divide your day between the two of them. The Horry County Museum tells the history of life in this area—save the farm for a sunny day, but you can enjoy the natural and social history, including its new aquarium tank no matter what the weather outside is doing.

The Myrtle Beach Museum, once specializing in shag memorabilia, was severely damaged during Hurricane Mathew but when it reopens around August 1 will be one more option with exhibits for the whole family that tell about life on the Grand Strand and will offer activities for families.

Broadway at the Beach and the Boardwalk offer several indoor options besides shopping. If you are considering  activities in Broadway at the Beach, and want to go elsewhere as well,  know that  you can leave your car parked and then head down to the Boardwalk on the Coast RTA(coastrta.com/routes-and-schedules.aspx) . This free shuttle bus that runs every thirty minutes on a route that makes several stops, including Boardwalk and Broadway at the Beach.

Wonder Works is a mind-boggling experience that will keep you busy for hours. There is a lot to do here, including 100+ hands-on science exhibits, laser tag, and a 6-D motion ride. Be sure to check local coupon books and Groupon for discounts.

Ripley’s Aquarium offers a chance to learn about what is going on in and under the sea without getting wet! If you decide to go to one of the Ripley’s, keep in mind that there is a discount for a multiple location visit.  Ask about this when you purchase your first ticket. If you are just going to be the Aquarium and you are a resident of North or South Carolina, adult entry is discounted to ten dollars on a special promotion for this summer.

Although the Boardwalk is a place you might think of as an outdoor spot, in the rain, it offers the indoor delights of four more Ripley facilities and of course, there is always the Arcade at the Boardwalk with a full complement of beach games, including the venerable staple of beach vacations of my own youth, “skee-ball.”

Mini-golf played indoors, bowling , and even a day pass at one of the area indoor recreation centers are three more fee-based options that offer some large muscle exercise for the whole family. Lovers of all things snake and alligator will find the indoor exhibits at Alligator Adventure at Barefoot landing of great interest and they can return on a second (sunnier) day to enjoy the outdoor exhibits and shows (within one week).

Indoor mall walking offers great exercise and is a no-cost activity unless the lure of the lovely goods entices you to give your credit card/wallet some exercise as well. Malls, indoor Coastal Grand and Myrtle Beach Mall, and Inlet Mall are also good places to catch up on the latest movies, another way to stay occupied while remaining dry and, if the day is right, take advantage of  free or low cost children’s movies.

Open-air malls like Barefoot Landing, both Tanger Outlets, and the new North Myrtle Beach Coastal North Village Shops are other options if shopping is your choice of rainy day activities.A day-trip north to explore Calabash is another good rainy day option. In this tiny hamlet you can find great eateries, and nearby are the indoor entertainment options of Ingram Planetarium (where skies are always clear!) and Ocean Isle’s  Museum of Coastal Carolina. This location offers a chance to touch ocean animals and learn about the beach and sea environment from the barrier islands all the way down the Grand Strand.

Local craft stores, dollar stores, even pharmacies, supermarkets and others, offer supplies that can help keep your crew busy making puppets or other crafts and then entertaining the adults with puppet shows.

As noted, some of the suggestions are free while others charge a fee. Some of the movie theaters offer free movies for children on certain weekday mornings. Be sure to ask.Some of the locations are open seven days a week and others have closing days. Call your selections to and or check their websites and Facebook pages to check on opening times, days, and possible fees. For those activities that charge fees, check Sun News, Groupon, and various local coupon books for discount offers.

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s meant to give you a good start on your planning. When plotting out your trip to any of these locations, remember that the Grand Strand area includes several separate entities, Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Murrells Inlet, Little River, Conway, Little River and more. Be sure to note the correct city in your GPS or on the internet or other device if you are looking for directions.

Also, if you have any other rainy day favorites that you did not see listed here, please share them with everyone on the Myrtle Beach Life Facebook page. Enjoy.

Guide to Options Listed in Article (Note: Most of these sites also have Facebook Pages)

Libraries (free)

Museums (All but the Art Museum charge a fee)(Some are open daily; however, several are closed on Mondays)

  • Children’s Museum of South Carolina, 2204 N Oak St, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577 (843) 946-9469
  • Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, www.myrtlebeachartmuseum.org, 3100 S Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; (843) 238-2510
  • Horry County Museum, 805 Main St., Conway, SC(843) 915-5320
  • Museum of Coastal Carolina (has joint ticket discount arrangement with Ingram Planetarium) 21 E 2nd St, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469; (910) 579-1016
  • North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum (Check Facebook for details)

Other Spots (all fee)

  • Alligator Adventure (at Barefoot Landing)4604 Hwy 17 S, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582; (843) 361-0789
  • Ingram Planetarium, 7625 High Market St Sunset Beach, NC 28468; (910) 575-0033
  • Ripley’s Aquarium, Broadway at the Beach, 1110 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; (843) 916-0888
  • Ripley’s  Four At Boardwalk ( but discount for multiple site admission) Believe it or Not!, MovingTheater, 5D, Mirror Maze and Haunted Adventure, 901 N Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; (843) 448-2331
  • Wonder Works, Broadway at the Beach, 1313 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; (843) 626-9962
    Two Fitness Centers/Indoor Public Pools (fee)Day Pass costs vary by center and age of person. Call to find out what each center includes in the day pass Check Facebook and the Horry county website for others, such as the one in Carolina Forest, North Strand and South Strand.
  • North Myrtle Beach Aquatic and Fitness Center, 1100 2nd Ave S, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582; (843) 281-3737
  • Pepper Geddings Center, City of Myrtle Beach 3205 N Oak St, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; (843) 918-2280

Mini Golf with indoor course (fee)

  • Molten Mountain, 1010 Vereen Rd, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582; (843) 280-5095

Bowling ( both open in afternoon) (fee)

  • Myrtle Beach Bowl, aka Waccamaw Bowling Lanes, 101 Philip Gray Dr, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579; (843) 236-1020
  • 710  Bowling, restaurant and bar, 1105 US-17, North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582; (843) 663-2695

Movie Theaters (fee)(call or check web, Facebook or The Sun News for current showings. Be sure to ask if there are early shows , free or low cost for children)

  • AMC Broadway 17, Broadway at the Beach, 1175 Celebrity Circle, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577; (843) 445-1600
  • AMC Colonial Mall 12,(at Myrtle Beach Mall), Myrtle Beach, SC; (843) 272-6598
  • Cinemark Myrtle Beach, at the Coastal Grand Mall, 2100 Coastal Grand Circle Myrtle Beach; (843) 839-3225
  • Frank Theatres, 10125 Highway 17 Bypass, Murrells Inlet
  • Inlet Square Stadium 11, 843-651-9400
  • Grand 14, at The Market Common, 4002 Deville Street, Myrtle Beach; (843) 282-0550
  • Rivertowne Stadium 12, 220 Rivertown Blvd., Conway, SC (843) 365-9000

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