If you are looking for things to do in Myrtle Beach beyond the beach, Brookgreen Gardens is the answer. Never heard of them? You are not alone. Hard to imagine but, these fascinating gardens managed to stay under the radar of South Carolina’s beachgoers, despite ranking among the ten top gardens in the USA. What can you expect there? Nine thousand acres of beautiful natural scenery, 2000 amazing sculptures, fountains, ponds, garden rooms, stunning flowers, and two hundred years old oak trees. Read on to learn why Brookgreen Gardens is a must-see attraction when visiting Myrtle Beach.
THINGS TO DO IN MYRTLE BEACH – BROOKGREEN GARDENS
I love gardens and have seen many of the most magnificent gardens in Europe and North America, but I can honestly say that Brookgreen Gardens are my favorite. I can’t even pinpoint why. They simply spelled magic on me. Less formal than most of the famous gardens, they invite visitors to be a part of the scene. You will find there beautiful alleys, numerous water features, lilies covered ponds, and incredible sculptures. Each section of the park takes you to a different page of a storybook.
Brookgreen Gardens – History
History of Brookgreen Garden goes back to the year of 1931 when Archer Milton Huntington, one of the wealthiest men in America, purchased the land to build a retreat for his wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington who was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Anna was an established sculptor. Her initial vision was to showcase only her art. From there, the couple took it into the first public sculpture garden in America, and eventually one of the finest outdoor museums of its type in the world.
Location of Brookgreen Gardens
The gardens are located off Highway 17 in Murrells Inlet, half an hour south from Myrtle Beach. The entrance is marked by the sculpture Fighting Stallions by founder Anna Hyatt Huntington.
1931 Brookgreen Drive
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Off US Highway 17 Bypass, between Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island
How much does it cost to enter the Brookgreen Gardens
General Admission Tickets
According to current official information, admission to Brookgreen Gardens is valid for seven consecutive days. Please verify this before you visit. During my visit, the tickets were valid for 2 days. Open every day but Christmas, Brookgreen Gardens welcomes visitors from 9:30 am until 5:00 pm with extended hours in the summer and for special events.
Keep in mind that general admission ticket does not include special events.
How long does it take to tour Brookgreen Gardens
I spent one full day in the gardens and felt that I completely miscalculated the time needed there. The gardens consist of three main sections, the Sculpture Garden, the Lowcountry Center, and the Native Wildlife Zoo. You need a day just to walk through the parks’ major attraction, the magnificent Sculpture Garden. I suggest at least two days to get a broader experience.
If on limited time, start at the welcome center. Take a free guided tour of the gardens if available. You will learn about the history of Brookgreen Gardens and the sculptures of Anna Hyatt Huntington and other artists. If you prefer visiting on your own, get a map and prioritize the places you want to see. Start with the Sculpture Garden located close to the welcome center then take advantage of a free shuttle to reach other parts of the park.
In case you are spending a week-long vacation in Myrtle Beach, use your multiple-day pass to take a break from the beach. Come to enjoy the art and to cool off under the beautiful oaks trees. You will find plenty of open green spaces to walk or lay back and relax. Have a picnic at one of the designated areas or visit onsite restaurants.
Brookgreen Gardens – a great option for thing to do in Myrtle Beach with kids
If you are looking for things to do in Myrtle Beach with children, Brookgreen Gardens certainly delivers. Young children will enjoy the Butterfly Garden and the Enchanted Storybook Forest. Additionally, small Lowcountry Zoo welcomes young visitors with native animals of South Carolina’s swamps and woods—alligators, red foxes, river otters, and white-tailed deer living in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats.
From March through November, for and the additional fee, you can take Creek Excursion Boat Rides. This experience includes an interpreter who talks about the tidal creeks, surrounding land and history of the colonial rice plantations that once made up Brookgreen Gardens. Chances are you will see alligators basking in the sun.
How many sculptures are displayed in Brookgreen Gardens
With some 2,000 sculptures by 425 artists, the Brookgreen Gardens collection represents the largest and most comprehensive American figurative sculpture collection in the United States. The gardens are true heaven for art lovers.
Events at Brookgreen Gardens
Brookgreen Garden hosts a variety of holiday and cultural events, like Harvest Home Weekend in October and Nights of a Thousand Candles in December. Check the garden’s website for summer events. Events are not covered under general admission.
Nights of a Thousand Candles in December
Among Brookgreen Gardens’ events, Night of a Thousand Candles, South Carolina’s major Christmas attraction, draws the most crowds. The gardens come to life with 2,700 hand-lit candles and countless sparkling lights. Xmas carols play over loudspeakers throughout the park. You can enjoy hot chocolate, wine, or beer during your visit. Additionally, kids can meet Santa Clause and share their Christmas wishes.
Restaurants at Brookgreen Garden
Brookgreen Gardens offers three dining options.
This restaurant, located by the Rainey Galleries, is open from February through November, from 11:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. It offers freshly prepared sandwiches, salads, soups, appetizers, and desserts.
The Courtyard Cafe
Located in the Wall Lowcountry Center Courtyard, the restaurant is open daily and offers a variety of snacks, deli sandwiches, salads, hot dogs, and cold beverages including beer, wine, and soft drinks. The Courtyard Cafe is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Look for Old Kitchen at the end of Live Oak Alleé where you will find sandwiches, salads, desserts, beverages, and light refreshments. The Old Kitchen is open 10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Dogs in Brookgreen Gardens
Dogs are not allowed in the gardens.