Top 10 Things To Do in Myrtle Beach in December
Visiting Myrtle Beach in December is your chance to see this cheerful holiday paradise in action and catch special events that come around only once a year. Anyone who thinks the Grand Strand is solely a summer destination has never been here in the winter. Despite the cooler weather, December is one of the best times to visit Myrtle Beach because there are fewer crowds, fresh new shows, pop-up markets, and loads of festive activities through the New Year.
While new events and shows abound in the winter months, many of your favorite summertime attractions remain. The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, Boardwalk, and Ripley’s Aquarium are open year-round. While it might be too cold to hop on a Jet Ski or go parasailing, most of the sightseeing cruises are up and running so you can still get out on the water. The early winter months are peak dolphin migration periods, so December is actually when you’ll have the best chance to see these mammals along the shores of Myrtle Beach.
From holiday shows to winter events and Santa meet-and-greets, you’ll find a long list of Christmas activities in Myrtle Beach to look forward to each December. Every establishment, from Myrtle Beach’s oceanfront hotels to restaurants and stores, is decorated to perfection. Whether you need to jump-start your holiday spirit or finish off your shopping, why not do it during a winter getaway?
Book your hotel in Myrtle Beach and make this Christmas extra cheerful. Here are the top 10 things to do in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in December to make your itinerary merry:
1. See Holiday Shows
The Myrtle Beach shows and theaters pull out all the stops during the holidays. With beautiful imagery and talented singers, dancers, entertainers, and actors, all of the award-winning Christmas shows in Myrtle Beach will get you into the spirit of the season. Choose from tribute shows featuring all your favorite carols, original productions, like The South’s Grandest Christmas Show, and dinner theater renditions of A Christmas Carol.
2. Get Tickets to Nights of a Thousand Candles
1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Brookgreen Gardens is a botanical sculpture garden in Murrells Inlet. This winter wonderland comes alive during the Nights of a Thousand Candles events held each Thursday through Sunday in December (with an adjusted schedule for Christmas week). The gardens are decorated with more than 2,700 hand-lit candles illuminating the scenic paths and sculptures. Sip on cider as you walk the grounds and listen to holiday music. Advanced tickets are required.
3. Check Out Christmas Tree Displays
If your passion for Christmas décor is similar to Will Ferrell’s character in Elf, you won’t be disappointed by the area’s decked-out holiday trees. Whether you’re making a montage of Christmas selfies or you’re drawing inspiration for your own tree back home, touring these public displays is one of the best free things to do in Myrtle Beach in December. Here are a few of the best places to find festive trees around Myrtle Beach:
Broadway at the Beach
Check out the 46-foot musical tree at Broadway at the Beach. Stop by and listen to the musical light show, which begins every 30 minutes from 4 p.m. to close throughout the holiday season.
Head to Dockside Village at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach to view their festive Christmas tree. Pose for pictures in front of this 20-foot tree near the waterway.
Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
The Boardwalk features a holiday tree and loads of holiday lights as part of its Winter Wonderland festival every winter. Stop by and enjoy a free light show while checking out this oceanfront Christmas tree.
The Market Common
When you’re headed out for holiday shopping, stop by the Grand 14 Movie Theater at The Market Common to pose in front of this Christmas tree that looks fit for royalty.
Ripley’s Aquarium features a tree for every state and territory of the U.S. — more than 50 in all — at its annual Festival of Trees. It is free with aquarium entry throughout the holidays.
The Christmas tree for the town of Surfside Beach is located in Memorial Park; if you’re in town in early December, you may be able to catch the lighting ceremony, too.
North Myrtle Beach
Head to McLean Park to see the annual Christmas tree for the city of North Myrtle Beach and then stick around to stroll this lovely 10-acre park.
4. Finish Your Holiday Shopping
You’ll find endless beachwear stores and shopping centers in Myrtle Beach for last-minute gifts, and the area is brimming with specialty stores and gift shops offering one-of-a-kind finds. Treat yourself to a souvenir or get ornaments as stocking stuffers for your family. Watch for pop-up holiday markets and browse loads of other places for holiday shopping in Myrtle Beach.
5. Visit The Great Christmas Light Show
This fairly new Christmas activity in Myrtle Beach is a hit with locals and visitors. Find the family-friendly drive-through Great Christmas Light Show at the North Myrtle Beach Sports Complex. The festivities feature tons of magical Christmas light displays, including some that extend 55 feet in the air! After the show, take a rain ride, visit Santa, check out the petting zoo, and enjoy s’mores and hot chocolate in Santa’s Village.
The light show is open daily from November 20th until December 10th (closed on Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, and Christmas Day); Santa’s Village is open Thursdays through Sundays weekly until December 10th after which it is open daily. Admission for the light show is charged by the vehicle, and add-on experiences at Santa’s Village aren’t included.
6. Ride the Polar Express in Myrtle Beach
All aboard! Don’t miss the Polar Express Bus in Myrtle Beach this December. Ride to the enchanting sounds from the motion picture soundtrack. Passengers receive a golden ticket, a sleigh bell, plus a snack and hot cocoa once they arrive at the destination. And, keep your eyes peeled for a surprise visit from you-know-who. This one-hour ride departs every Friday and Saturday in December until Christmas. Two time slots (5 p.m. and 7 p.m.) are available each day. Purchase tickets in advance to ride.
7. Explore Winter Wonderland at the Beach
The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is open year-round, and in December, it is teeming with holiday happenings, including the Winter Wonderland festival. The light show at Winter Wonderland at the Beach is one of the best free things to do in Myrtle Beach in December. About one mile of the promenade transforms into a light show every night so you can wander along the twinkling shoreline listening to cheerful holiday music. Thursdays through Sundays bring even more fun events. Browse the weekend market and listen to live music and carolers, or hop over to the ticketed Family Fun Zone for an inflatable jump area, s’mores, and winter-themed activities.
8. Attend the MarshWalk Santa Crawl
Waterfront, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Why is Santa the only one who gets to dress up for Christmas? Put on your best Scrooge, Grinch, or Elf attire and head to the MarshWalk for a costume-themed bar crawl. This year’s event is set for Saturday, December 9th, starting at 5 p.m. Get a taste of the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk nightlife as you stroll to each restaurant enjoying spirited drinks, eating festive meals, and collecting fun party favors. Remember to register for the costume contest—the best dressed wins prizes!
9. Say Hello to Santa
4017 Deville St., Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
It’s always a good idea to put in a good word with Santa himself. You’ll find him at multiple locations around Myrtle Beach leading up to the big day. If you’re in town during Broadway at the Beach Christmas Parade, this can’t-miss holiday party hosts Santa and his friends. But, you can also get photos with the bearded fellow on weekends at Center Court. Look for Santa sightings at local malls and shopping centers, too. If you’re staying in a Myrtle Beach Boardwalk hotel, pop over to the Winter Wonderland festival on the weekends for a meet-and-greet with the man himself.
10. Celebrate New Year's Eve
Visitors that stay through the New Year have no trouble making plans in Myrtle Beach. Find kid-friendly daytime celebrations, wild club parties, and elegant four-course dinners. There’s no wrong way to ring in the New Year in Myrtle Beach.