Myrtle beach has a lot of attractions for visitors to enjoy and has a rich history. Over the years many attractions have come and gone and the Grand Strand has a constantly changing variety of entertainment options for visitors to enjoy. Amusement parks are always popular tourist attractions, and Myrtle Beach has had its fair share of them. Some have withstood the test of time and have been in the same location for years while others only last a couple of seasons. These amusement parks were once some of the most popular attractions at the beach, but now they are just a pleasant memory for all who enjoyed them.
The Pavilion Amusement Park
Year Opened: 1948 | Year Closed: 2006
The Pavilion Amusement Park is possibly the best loved and most missed attraction in Myrtle Beach history. Located on the corner of 9th Avenue and Ocean Boulevard, The Pavilion Amusement Park was an 11 acre park that featured many carnival style rides. It was a popular attraction for families and teenagers and was almost always packed. I have very fond childhood memories of the Pavilion Amusement park. We usually visited the park a couple times during our summer vacation. I was upset when it closed in 2006 and was torn down a short time later. There is a GREAT photo gallery on GoToMyrtleBeach.com with more photos of the original Pavilion Park.
Astro Needle Amusement Park
Year Opened: 1970 | Year Closed: 1981
This park opened in 1970 and was located on 8th Avenue North. Its signature ride was the large astro needle, which was 200 feet high and rotated as it moved up and down. It offered some of the best views on the Grand Strand. Other rides at the amusement park included bumper cars, a dark ride and other carnival rides. It couldn’t compete with the Pavilion Amusement park and eventually the park was closed.
Freestyle Amusement Park
Year Opened: 2008 | Year Closed: 2009
The Freestyle Amusement Park had a short life and is now sitting abandoned with all of the rides dismantled. The park originally opened in 2008 under the name Hard Rock Park and had many rides named after famous songs and musicians. Financial problems forced the park to close temporarily that same year and it reopened the following spring with the new name. The park still struggled financially and closed at the end of the 2009 season. I never got a chance to visit the Freestyle Amusement park, but I always enjoyed seeing the coaster from a distance on my way into Myrtle Beach.
Year Opened: 1964 | Year Closed: ~1995
Pirate Land was a small amusement park located on S. Kings Highway. It opened in 1964 and offered several rides, including log flume, chair life and paddle boats. It was later sold and renamed Magic Harbor and given a British theme in the mid-70’s. It featured live shows, alligator feedings and carnival rides. It closed in the mid 90’s due to financial problems.
Gay Dolphin Park
Year Opened: 1949 | Year Closed: ~1973
Adjacent to the popular Gay Dolphin Gift Cove there was once a Gay Dolphin Park. This amusement park closed in the 70’s but was once one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Myrtle Beach strip. A Ferris Wheel, Wild Mouse roller coaster and numerous kiddie rides all entertained visitors right on the ocean. Although the amusement park is gone, the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove is still open and just as popular as ever.
There are still a few amusement parks left in Myrtle Beach, including Family Kingdom and the Ocean Drive Pavilion, and it is likely that there will always be at least one in the area. What is your favorite Myrtle Beach amusement park from the past or present?