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Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - An Expensive Town With Affordable Options

Updated on June 19, 2013
It feels this crowded everywhere on the strip... even on the beach!
It feels this crowded everywhere on the strip... even on the beach!
No view, no pool, no breakfast, no service... all for only $80 a night - times required 3 night minimum!
No view, no pool, no breakfast, no service... all for only $80 a night - times required 3 night minimum!

Not For The Budget Minded

The strip of Myrtle Beach where the attractions and hotels are clustered together like sardines in a can is like a good beach gone bad. There are so many amusements and attractions, you can't see the beach, can't find parking for the beach, or even walk safely to the beach. The worst part of this once-lovely surfside town is that it is so expensive.

The run-down hotels without pools will start at $80 a night. The nicer hotels start at twice that rate - with required two to three night stays during the busy times of the year. A family of four will be hard pressed to find an attraction to enjoy that doesn't cost at least $100. Yet, people continue to pour into this city during the summer and spring breaks and head straight for that stretch of town, as if there were no other part of town with amusements or other beaches that are actually better just a few minutes down the road.

Even the Transportation Dept Steers You Away From the Strip!

Affordable Options in Myrtle Beach

This is a terrific town in general, if you like amusements such as shows, rides, theater, and miniature golf. Unfortunately, it's quite expensive. Always the budget-minded traveler, I looked for free entertainment and low-cost options. I found two places I can recommend to most anyone looking for affordability plus fun without the maddening crowds suffocating you. One is WonderWorks and the other is a town about ten minutes away from the strip called Surfside Beach.

WonderWorks - You Get The Full Bang For Your Buck!

The WonderWorks is a quasi-scientific indoor amusement park that is heavy on the playing and not so much on the science. There are many choices such as indoor laser-tag, getting "blown away" by an indoor tornado, experience the freezing temperatures of the Titanic, and getting yourself harnessed and tied up to navigate balance beams 20 feet up in the air.

As someone past the point in life of needing to be a test-pilot for a space shuttle or wanting to zipline, I want to thank the designers for including areas to sit and watch my young ones knock themselves out. This multiple floor facility will take you hours to exit. If you are interested in eating out, an onsite restaurant and bar are available, too. Within walking distance are other nearby eateries with more food choices beyond hot dogs and burgers. The tickets are about $80 for a family of four (2 adults, 2 children) and you are allowed to exit and reenter with the same tickets all day long (until 11pm in the summertime).

Surfside Beach - Only a Few Minutes Away

If you like the crowds, lack of parking, and cut-throat pricing, you can stay in the heart of the Myrtle Beach strip, also known as Ocean Blvd. If you like the attractions and beaches with less insanity of tourism and more affordable dining, consider the outskirts of Myrtle Beach or even a town next door, such as Surfside Beach. Surfside Beach is a long and beautiful stretch of beach where the tourist can still breath while walking down the sidewalk and she doesn't have to wait twenty minutes in line for that ice cream cone. There are hotels available without the calamity and noise found on the amusement strip.

Other equally satisfying amusements such as Pirates Voyage and restaurants as entertaining as Planet Hollywood are just outside of the throws of the Myrtle Beach strip. Just outside the strip are resorts and camping choices. The KOA is off the strip, yet has everything at an affordable $55 a night (tent site) which is about the cheapest rate in town unless you have managed yourself a state campground outside the Myrtle Beach amusement strip and closer to the airport.

See Surfside Beach's calendar of events for more information on local happenings.

Find Exciting Attractions Outside the Strip

Traveler Beware

While I wouldn't completely write off the Myrtle Beach area based on cost, the traveler should be aware of what awaits them as they exit the quiet beach towns on either side of the Myrtle Beach area and enter a Las Vegas-style playground. It's good to know there are other options on the outskirts of Myrtle Beach and in nearby beach towns that also offer amusements that satisfy - at a budget-friendly price.

show route and directions
A markerMyrtle Beach -
get directions

B markerSurfside Beach -
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    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 4 years ago from United States

      When I went to Myrtle beach I stayed at a campground that is right off the beach. It is just a short walk from the main stretch and it was a heck of a lot cheaper than a hotel!