Visitors to Surfside Beach are lucky to have nearby Myrtle Beach State Park for low-cost and memorable family recreation. The 300-acre park, which is located 10 minutes from Seafood House Calabash Buffet restaurant, has one mile of coastline and an oceanfront maritime forest.

While you don’t have to sleep at the park to enjoy it, tent and RV camping are available along with cabin rentals. There are 278 campsites, and 138 of them are equipped with water, electricity and sewer hookups.

Established in 1936, it is one of 16 South Carolina state parks built by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Fishermen visit daily to catch fish and crabs from the pier, and the pier is also a perfect place to spot sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and even the occasional seal or whale.

Locals and out-of-town visitors enjoy using the park’s seven picnic shelters for birthday parties, family reunions and other group gatherings. They are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, and the price is $75 to $200 per day. Some are larger than others, some are oceanfront, and others are equipped with grills, fireplaces, water and electricity.

Myrtle Beach State Park has two easy hiking trails that are perfect for releasing energy on a chilly day or for enjoying shade on a hot summer afternoon. Families enjoy the park’s self-led scavenger hunt, which is a fun game that also teaches about the park’s plants and trees.

Park staff organize frequent activities designed for education and entertainment. Participants can learn about birds, snakes and sea turtles, go geocaching or crabbing and learn about shells found on the beach.

Myrtle Beach State Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. during March through November, and from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. December through February. Admission is $5 ages 16-64, $3.25 ages 65 and older, $3 ages 6-15 and free for ages 5 and younger.

The park is located at 4401 S. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, and you can learn more at