I had a few free hours on a business trip to Myrtle Beach last week so I grabbed my camera and set off in search of adventure. My mission? To bypass the hotel’s suggested destination of Broadway at the Beach — home to Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Cafe — and to look for something a little more authentic. And actually on the beach.
Enter a very accommodating taxi driver named Rick. After I told him what I was looking for, he made a few phone calls to unknown buddies. Eventually he dropped me off at Family Kingdom. Billed as Myrtle Beach’s only seaside amusement park, the venue had a Ferris wheel, wooden roller coaster, and a slew of retro rides and games. And because early March was still off-season, I had the place to myself.
I bundled up against unseasonable cold and started exploring. My hands-down favorite was the Hurricane with its vintage electric sign and lightbulb-studded palm trees. Also catching my eye was the YoYo and, of course, the wooden roller coaster surrounded by palm trees (real ones this time).
I wandered around the park and on nearby Route 17 (home to the Jungle Lagoon miniature golf course) until it started getting dark and the temperature began to drop into the thirties. I ducked into a fast-food joint to warm up and call taxi guy Rick to take me back to the hotel. Mission accomplished.