MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. | Golfers who want to play some fantastic courses have been flocking to South Carolina’s northern coastline for years. What many others have discovered is that outdoor enthusiasts have been doing the same in and around Myrtle Beach for just as long. For those who double up the two loves, we’ve got you covered. From historic properties to wildlife viewing to hiking and more, all the Grand Strand offers under the sun is about much more than just the beach and links for the leisurely strollers and extreme sports enthusiasts alike.
At just a hair under 10,000 acres, Brookgreen has been a locals’ and visitors’ favorite for years. The reason is clear. Via the property’s botanical gardens, oversized sculpture yards and what is the area’s closest thing to a living zoo, Brookgreen finds several ways to make the price of admission worth every penny. Guided tours, regular activities for families and even the occasional adults-only functions for the most part happen in the open air. Make sure you pack the camera.
Packaged conveniently (but not coincidentally) across the street from Brookgreen, Huntington Beach State Park is in many ways only the divide of U.S. 17 from being considered the ultimate production of what Archer and Anna Huntington left behind. A few short steps from part of the protected oceanfront property is the crown jewel of the park – Atalaya. Known to many locals as the castle, it was actually the couple’s former home. The mostly roofless remains of it now serve as popular grounds for weddings and other private events while taking visitors to a time long past.
Horry County includes plenty of forested sections, and some are very much attainable for hikers, bird-watchers and those not afraid a bit of bug spray. At Myrtle Beach State Park lies arguably the area’s most scenic stretch of treed grounds adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. Those taking advantage can also make use of the park’s 200-plus camp sites, something more than a few golfers have done over the years in lieu of hotel stays.
If the hiking of Myrtle Beach State Park isn’t quite enough for you, “The Hulk” may be more your speed. Located just off the Intracoastal Waterway northwest of Myrtle Beach city limits, the Horry County Bike and Run Park (it’s official name) is a seven-mile-long stretch of trails that push bikers and runners to their limits. Seventy-two total acres are woven together with unpaved paths and some wooden trails. Altogether, this isn’t your walk in the park.
Need to kick it up yet another notch? May we suggest the brainchild of Greg Norman, Jr. (yes, the son of the Shark). Shark Wake Park is the first of Norman’s two-prong entertainment venue built atop the lake next to the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex. There is an inflatable water park system for the young’ns. But what truly stands out here is the cabled wakeboarding system that allows first-timers and pros alike the chance to navigate the obstacle course and test their own boundaries.