The SkyWheel is one of the first true “observation wheels” in North America. This Ferris wheel, which opened in May 2011, is the largest in the US east of the Mississippi River, and on a clear day, riders can see up to 25 miles in all directions. The Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel stands 200 feet above sea level. Located on the boardwalk, along Ocean Boulevard, the Ferris wheel is open from to 10 am to 2 am and provides a look at the city and the Atlantic Ocean through glass-enclosed gondolas, each of which seats up to six passengers. When the sun dips below the horizon, the spectacle of lights takes over, and the SkyWheel becomes a revolving display of 1 million LED light bulbs; passengers who stick around in the darkness after their own rides will be able to see a brilliant, dazzling show of twinkling lights.

The Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel is a great family-friendly attraction in this part of South Carolina, not least because it’s not too long—the ride lasts about twelve minutes and goes around three times—and it’s easy on your wallet. Tickets for children and seniors are less than $10, children under 2 are free, and adult tickets run about $12. There are VIP gondolas as well, if you’re able to spend a bit more and want to make the most of your ride. In these, riders sit in leather bucket seats and have glass floors to add to their view. Tickets for the VIP cabins can be bought at the boardwalk or online ahead of time. There are 42 gondolas total, which are capable holding more than 250 people altogether, but there is only one VIP option, so if you have your heart set on riding the SkyWheel in luxury, it may be best to book ahead of time.

Nearby the Ferris wheel in Myrtle Beach is the new (and very beachy) Landshark Bar & Grill. Owned by the same people who run Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, this restaurant is one of the classic beachfront restaurants that have great food and drinks along with excellent views of the surrounding area. There is both indoor and outdoor seating at the Landshark, and the beachside outdoor deck is one of the great eateries right along the beach in this part of South Carolina, and the Sky Wheel gift shop is also located here, in case you want to pick up a few souvenirs after your ride and a good meal.

The SkyWheel is a must if it’s your first trip to Myrtle Beach, or at least your first since the Ferris wheel opened. In addition to being located near great restaurants and plenty of hotels, the Myrtle Beach Sky Wheel is close to the boardwalk itself, which is arguably the city’s best attraction, alongside its beaches. The 1.2-mile boardwalk is home to Broadway at the Beach, which is a popular shopping and entertainment complex, as well as Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.

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