So, this post was mostly written and ready to go when I published the first post about how to save money in Myrtle Beach, but I just completely forgot to publish this second part. Whoops.
Better late than never, though, right?
In the last post I mostly talked about saving money on accommodations, and today I have some frugal activity ideas to share.
Do free/cheap things
The Myrtle Beach area is filled with attractions that can suck your wallet dry, but you don’t have to go that route in order to have an enjoyable time. Here are some free things we do to entertain ourselves:
1. Play on the beach/in the pool
That’s the main reason you came to the beach, right? So go enjoy it! Unless you’re in an area that charges for parking (Surfside Beach does but North Myrtle Beach doesn’t, and I think Myrtle Beach doesn’t either), you can access the beach for free. And if you stay beachside like we do, accessing the beach is a (free) piece of cake.
Play in the water,
sit and read,
look for shells,
and sea creatures,
or go for a walk.
We always rent a condo that has a pool (and sometimes a lazy river), so when we need a change of page, we go play in the pool or sit in the hot tub.
Though the beach and pool are most often used during the day, sometimes we go for walks on the beach or swim in the pool at night. The kids especially enjoy the unexpected thrill of getting to put their bathing suits on after dinner.
Obviously, we pay for the privilege of staying by the beach and the pool, so it’s not technically free. But using the pool and the beach doesn’t cost us a penny extra, so I consider it to be a frugal vacation activity.
2. Have a picnic/grill out.
In my last post, I talked about how we don’t eat out a lot on vacation. We eat a lot of our meals in the condo, but to make things more interesting, we sometimes bring a meal out to the beach for a picnic, or we grill our meal on the beachfront grills.
Grilling by the beach in the evening is really quite lovely…I highly recommend it!
3. Go to Broadway at the Beach
Broadway at the Beach is a shopping center build around a lake, which means that it can definitely be an expensive stop. But sprinkled in among the stores, there are some great free/cheap things to do with kids.
Near the Imax theater, there are some very fun fountains built into the concrete, and our kids always enjoy playing in the water on a hot day. Pack some swimsuits if your kids don’t like having wet clothes (some of mine prefer to get their clothes soaking wet).
Not far from the fountains, two large dinosaurs stand in the middle of the walkway. These are most popular with the small crowd, of course (my two year old nephew didn’t want to get off).
This isn’t free, but it’s not crazy expensive either. The pond/lake that the shops surround is filled with really large fish, and they love to be fed. There are little coin dispensers that sell fish food, and sometimes a shop or two sells bags of fish food for a couple of dollars.
For some reason, I have no pictures of this, but there’s a playground at Broadway at the Beach. It’s geared toward littler kids, so if your children are Joshua and Lisey’s age, I’d skip it.
If your children can handle it without getting a terrible case of the gimme’s, window shopping can be fun. Our kids love to look around at the Toys and Co. shop even if we don’t end up buying anything (that’s where we discovered the glitter that sticks to everything…oh yay.) Also, Broadway at the Beach has a Del Sol shop, so if you’ve got your coupon, you can buy something small and get your free canvas bag.
So, those are my cheap activity ideas, but before I wrap this up, I have one last bit of advice:
Save so you can spend.
Not everything we do in Myrtle Beach is frugal.
We go on some amusement park rides.
We go out for ice cream.
We go out to eat.
And we manage this by saving up all year. We have an ING savings account. dedicated to vacation savings, and we start saving for next year’s vacation as soon as we get home from the beach.
I wrote a whole post about how we use ING accounts to manage our individual savings goals, and really, I can’t recommend this practice enough. It’s useful for spendthrifts, because saved money means credit doesn’t have to be used, and it’s just as good for frugal people like me, who resist spending money unless it’s set aside and earmarked for spending.
Even if you put just $50/month into your savings account (have it automatically drafted so you don’t forget!), you’ll at least have something set aside when vacation time rolls around.
So, what would you add? Do you seasoned Myrtle Beach vacationers have some other ideas?
Today’s 365 post: Six plates again
Joshua’s 365 post: A Peach Picture