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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Best Places to See an Alligator in Myrtle Beach, SC

Photos of alligators and Myrtle Beach

Best Places to see an Alligator in Myrtle Beach

Some of the most world-renowned sites and attractions such as the Ingram Planetarium, Children’s Museum of South Carolina, and Brookgreen Gardens can be found in Myrtle Beach. However, there are plenty of other attractions here, with some of the best being the wildlife that thrives here. You’ll find one of the most fearsome reptiles here: the alligator. Here, we’ve compiled a list of the best places for alligator viewing in Myrtle Beach, for an experience that you’ll never forget. 

About the Alligators of Myrtle Beach 

Residents in South Carolina share their space with an estimated number of 100,000 alligators. The mating season for American Alligators starts in April and can last until May or June, where males will put on a show to attract females. Displays such as making water dance on their backs, blowing bubbles, making a deep growl called a “bellow” and slapping the water with their tail are typical of alligators during this time. 

Once a female chooses a partner, she will create a nest around June or July where she will lay up to 50 eggs. Alligator moms are highly protective of their babies and will continue to watch over them for up to three years. Unfortunately, it is during these times that alligators are most dangerous since they will become territorial. 

While serious injuries are rarely a result of alligator bites, it’s still best to observe them from a safe distance, and don’t attempt to feed them. Alligators can quickly become conditioned to people, especially when food is part of the equation. As a result, alligators will become aggressive, so it’s illegal to interact and feed American Alligators in South Carolina. 

1. Alligator Adventure 

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to see alligators, Alligator Adventure lets you see these majestic creatures in captivity. Here, you can take a self-guided walk through the boardwalk located behind the House of Blues. Because this marshy area sits close to the oceanfront, it attracts various animals such as birds and alligators throughout the year. 

You’ll find Alligator Adventure at 48th S. Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, near the Apache Pier, where you’ll witness live feeding shows and a 20-foot crocodile named Utan. This rehabilitation center is also home to various exotic animals and several collections of cats, birds, reptiles, as well as lemurs. Of course, the main attraction here is the alligators, where hundreds can be found within and around the site. 

Alligator Adventure is also known for its rare specimens of other reptiles, such as snakes; the Snake House displays snakes native to the Carolinas as well as venomous snakes from around the world. It’s a favorite among locals and new exhibits are added regularly, with Galapagos tortoises, mountain lions, and alligator hatchlings exhibit added just this year. Be sure to make your way here if you’re looking for the ultimate alligator experience, with tickets ranging from $19.99 for kids to $29.99 for adults; it’s also open seven days a week. 

2. Huntington Beach State Park

Huntington Beach State Park is a part of the Grand Strand with a pristine and welcoming stretch of sandy shoreline — it’s also one of the most recognizable landmarks in South Carolina. Here, you can spend your days camping or surf fishing in the finest waters that South Carolina has to offer. You can even enjoy some of the best bird-watching experiences on the East Coast, but that’s not all that this stunning beach park has to offer. 

This park is a nature lover’s paradise, where you will enjoy a wide range of programs which include the chance to see loggerhead turtles along with other endangered animal and plant species up close and personal. Huntington Beach State Park is also home to a freshwater lake where you will most likely see alligators in their natural habitat, as well as minks. Visitors to this area are often thrilled to see the big alligators that call this place their home, as they will often be seen bathing in the sun along the lake’s shoreline. 

One activity for thrill-seekers to try is walking along the causeway where alligators lie just 10 feet away from the water’s edge — without a barrier in between you. Once you’ve had your dose of adrenaline, you can make your way through the park’s other landmarks, such as Atalaya Castle, the picturesque home of Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. If you’re looking for a unique combination of a relaxing, yet heart-pumping weekend getaway, head over to Huntington Beach State Park. 

3. Brookgreen Gardens

At Brookgreen Gardens, you’ll see gorgeous views that contain acres of gardens, miles of walkways, beautiful statues, some lakes, and plenty more. This purely magical place has something for everyone: trees, flowers, animals, and even a zoo that contains numerous indigenous species such as foxes, herons, alligators, and others. You’ll also witness alligators in the wild as they sunbathe on the banks along the lakes, which you can also view from the center’s river cruiser. 

Brookgreen Gardens is another great site to visit if you’re looking for an up-close and personal experience with alligators. Visitors are welcome to say hi to Cowboy, the garden’s resident alligator. This gentle giant has lived at Brookgreen Gardens for more than 50 years, and you can observe one of the zookeepers present a talk during his exhibit which is available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 1:45 PM from May through September.

To get the most value out of your experience, be sure to purchase a ticket to give you access throughout Brookgreen Gardens. For just $14 per adult (there are also family packages offered) you can use your ticket for six days, where guided tours are also available. Shuttle buses also make rounds every 20 minutes, which roam to and from the zoo and the Welcome Center, while a restaurant and cafe are also inside the site for breaks. 

4. Grand Strand

If you’re looking for a golfing experience that’s a little on the wild side, many of the golf courses along the Grand Strand (specifically The Dunes Club) are a good place to see alligators. It’s also home to another one of the most stunning state parks on the East Coast: Myrtle Beach State Park. Located on the south side of the city of Myrtle Beach, the Myrtle Beach State Park is a 350-acre oceanfront paradise that offers hiking trails, beaches, and a fishing pier. 

Myrtle Beach State park has an on-site nature center that features exhibits on native species, tours, and educational programs, so be sure to bring a camera. Here, you’ll find exotic birds and alligators, to name a few. Lately, giant reptiles have also been seen a lot around the Grand Strand. Because alligators are so large with small legs, they prefer to travel in water, and with the recent dry weather in the past few months, they have been on the move. As a result, they’ve been easier to spot. 

Another reason why they’ve been more active and seen more lately is that they have less habitat as a result of all the development around them. These creatures live in wetlands and swamps, but these environments are being destroyed through the development of homes, malls, and other structures. Should you see an alligator in the Grand Strand, be sure to observe from a safe distance, and always remember never to feed them. 

5. Barefoot Landing

Barefoot Landing, located at 4898 Hwy 17 S. North Myrtle Beach, SC, is a busy shopping, dining, and entertainment district in Myrtle Beach, but it offers much more than that. It runs along the Intracoastal Waterway in stunning North Myrtle Beach, where beauty and nature are combined. It’s also home to Alligator Adventure, where you’ll come face to face with some of the most beautiful yet fiercest animals that nature has to offer. 

Outside of this park, however, you’ll also spot exotic fish along the shores of Barefoot Landing, along with hundreds of migratory birds in the air and other wildlife. You may also spend a few hours looking at the wildlife while window shopping at the retails stores around the area. Here, you will appreciate the best of both worlds; watching wildlife in their natural habitat, while enjoying the fine things that life has to offer as you shop and relax in this sanctuary. 

Conclusion

Alligators are some of the most fascinating animals on earth, and we can’t blame you if your inner adrenaline junkie just has to see them. By all means, go out there and find the adventure of a lifetime. There’s no need to fly to Florida to see these beasts; Myrtle Beach is certainly an excellent alternative. If you’re looking for something different to do when summer comes, be sure to head over to the places featured above. You can be sure to get the best alligator experiences that not only you’ll enjoy, but the whole family will too! 

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Preston Guyton