Myrtle Beach's most popular attractions come with varying price tags. Relaxing on the beach, strolling the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and enjoying fireworks shows and concerts are free, while activities like golf, deep-sea fishing and shopping can be expensive.
But what about the activities that fall somewhere in the middle, the things to do that are fun and affordable for vacationers on the budget. Myrtle Beach has you covered in that department as well with a plethora of attractions that fall in the $25 range. Here are five of our favorite activities that will put a smile on your face without putting a dent in your vacation budget:
Brookgreen Gardens: The oldest and largest sculpture garden on the East Coast is also one of the best deals on the Grand Strand. With tickets ranging from $7 for children to $15 for adults, Brookgreen Gardens' admission is good for seven consecutive days so you can come back as many times as you want during the week. Located in Murrells Inlet and built on a former rice plantation, the 4,500-acre property combines the natural beauty of the South Carolina Lowcountry landscape with works of art by great American sculptures. See stately live oak trees draped in Spanish moss amid art galleries and fields of native flora. Brookgreen also includes a Gullah Cultural Arts Center, the Lowcountry Zoo and special programs that are free with regular park admission.
Helicopter Adventures: If you have ever dreamed of climbing aboard a whirlybird for a whirlwind tour, here's your chance to scratch that item off your bucket list for under $25. Granted, the $20 introductory tour that is touted on billboards is a quick, short ride, but the scenic beauty that comes from a bird's-eye view of Myrtle Beach is well worth the cost and the memory. Located across Highway 17 Bypass from Broadway at the Beach (just look skyward for helicopters taking off and landing and you can't miss it), Helicopter Adventures also offers longer and slightly more expensive tours that take groups up and down the coastline and to other local landmarks.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans: The crack of the minor-league baseball bat also represents one of the best bangs for your entertainment bucks on the Grand Strand. With general admission tickets starting at $9, you can buy some peanuts and Cracker Jacks without spending $25. In fact, you can even throw in a couple of hot dogs if you visit on $1 Wiener Wednesdays, and wash it down with a couple of ice-cold brews if you come on Thirsty Thursday. Best of all, you don't have to be a baseball fan to have a good time at Pelicans Ballpark. The Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs puts on a great sideshow of between-innings entertainment and nightly promotions such as free postgame fireworks.
Myrtle Beach SkyWheel: If you think the giant, neon-lit Ferris wheel in the heart of downtown Myrtle Beach is an attractive sight, wait until you see the view from atop the 190-foot ride. The tallest high-tech Ferris wheel on the East Coast provides a unique perspective of the Atlantic Ocean and the downtown district. For $13 for adults and $9 for children, guests can ride in an air-conditioned gondola and snap photos of the view from high above the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. Couples also find it as a romantic spot for celebrating an anniversary or popping the big question.
Ripley's Aquarium: This Broadway at the Beach attraction holds the natural treasures of the world's oceans under one roof and in 1.5 million gallons of water. Visitors get to experience interactive encounters with some of the aquatic life, like petting the stingrays in Ray Bay or handling sea turtles and horseshoe crabs in the Discovery Center. But the main attractions are the abundant species of sharks that are assembled in Danger Reef, a large aquarium that allows guests to ride a moving walkway and come eye to eye with the deadly but amazing creatures. Other exhibits include sea life from all over the world, from the Rio Amazon display or the Great Barrier Reef exhibit. Tickets are $22.99 for adults and $14.99 for children.