Myrtle Beach is a coastal resort city in Horry County, South Carolina. It is an international tourist destination. With a city population of 22,759 and the Metro Area of 299,353, it is the 13th fastest growing Metropolitan area in the USA. It receives 14 million tourists per year, making it the second most popular tourist destination in the USA. It is also known as America’s Beach Playground. The city’s motto is First in Service.
It features the Grand Strand, a sixty mile stretch of beautiful white sand, from the North Carolina border to Georgetown. It has a unique combination of beach, sports, arts and culture, history, shopping and food which makes this destination truly amazing, diverse, affordable and easy to tailor to suit your interests and needs.
The Waccamaw Indians occupied this land near Long Bay. It was first settled in the 17th century by Europeen plantation owners for indigo and tobacco. It became a town in 1938 and a city in 1957.
It was named by Mrs. Burroughs in a contest after the wax myrtle, an abundant shrub in the area. The former name was New Town.
The economy is primarily tourism-based. The newspaper is the Sun News for local information.
How to get there
Myrtle Beach International Airport MYR, which opened in 1976, is served by six major airlines including Continental, Delta, Hooters, NorthWest, Sprint and US Airway. Daily non-stop flights are available form over 20 destinations. This airport, located on the south side of the city has a convenient Airport Shuttle service, serving the entire Grand Strand, over sixty miles long. It also houses nine car rental companies, limousine service, taxis and bus service. Just type MYR into your favorite travel search engine to find your next flight.
Myrtle Beach is located on Hwy 17 in South Carolina, on the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby driving distances: are from Charleston, SC 83 miles; Raleigh NC 150 miles.
It is also accessible by Greyhound, depot is located at 55 7th Ave. 843-448-2471.
Veteran’s Hwy links U.S. 501 W of Conway to U.S. 17 North of Myrtle Beach.
Most attractions are on Rte 17/ Kings Hwy which splits into a business route and a bypass. Be careful not to confuse north Myrtle Beach with the town North Myrtle Beach. Rte. 501 runs west to Conway and I-95.
Visitor information is available at the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce, 1200 N. Oak St., parallel to King’s Hwy at 12 St. N. (843) 626-7444 or 800-356-3016.
Ocean Boulevard Lymo is a bus shuttle service that runs up and down the main strip 488-0865 daily 8am to midnight.
The Bike Shoppe located at 715 Broadway near Main St 448-5335 rents bicycles for ½ or the whole day. M-F 9-6, Sa 9-5.
Myrtle Beach boasts an average of 215 sunny days per year. The winter months average temperature is between 55 and 60 º F. Starting in March until November, the average temperature is above 70º F, with June to September being over 85º F. The National Weather Service has indicated that Myrtle Beach Is Tsunami Ready and Storm Ready.
Things to do
Canoeing, kayaking, jet-skiing, ocean surfing, swimming, sail boating, scuba diving, parasailing, and fishing (ocean or in stocked ponds and lakes) abound. Boats are available for charter.
Golf paradise is here in this golf capital of the world, with over 120 courses, many award-winning. 10 of the country’s top 100 courses are here. Visit mbn.com; it features all area courses, tee times and packages. From novice to expert and whether you are reserving ahead or last minute this is the place to get your information. 4.2 million rounds of golf are played here annually. Mini golf is everywhere. There are over 200 tennis courts available. Annual Bi-Lo Myrtle Beach Marathon is in November. Myrtle Beach Pelicans are the Atlanta Braves farm franchise. 51 players from this team made it to the MLB since 1999. Check their schedule and try to see a game when here. The local hockey team is Thunderbolz in ECHL, based in nearby Conway.
You can get romantically married right on the beach for non-commercial weddings. Wedding licenses are issued in nearby Conway. You can rent the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot for receptions or parties. Many hotels feature day spas to pamper the wedding party.
Helicopter rides are available via Myrtle Beach Aerial Tours, which originate from MYR. Gray Line offers guided motor coach tours of the Grand Strand call (800)261-5991.
Myrtle Beach Amusement Park comes complete with roller coasters, waterslides and mini-golf. Family Kingdom Amusement Park is located at 300 S. Ocean Blvd. Hard Rock Park is a new 140-acre theme park featuring six themed areas to celebrate Rock ‘n Roll: located at 211 George Bishop Pkwy (843) 236-7625. Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium features live sharks and boasts it is the most visited attraction; 1110 Celebrity Cir. in the Broadway at the Beach Complex jct US 17 and 29th Ave. Ripley’s Haunted adventure is at 915 N. Ocean Blvd. N. (843) 916-8971 IMAX 3D theatre is open for business at Broadway and the Beach call (843) 449-IMAX (4629). The Nascar Speedpark is at US 17 bypass and 21st Ave. N. opposite Broadway and the Beach; it is a 26 acre theme park with 7 different tracks, climbing wall and mini-golf. Gambling and gamings are available.
Arts and Culture
Art galleries, symphony, theatre and dinner theatre are all here. The Franklin G. Burroughs-Simoeon B. Chapin Art Museum is at 3100 S. Ocean Blvd, Tues-Sun (843) 238-2510. Historical information is available at the history museum, featuring the plantation era and civil war years. Grandstrandevents.com have up-to-date listings of happenings in the city.
Myrtle Beach State Park Campgound opened in 1936 and was the first in South Carolina. It is 3 mi. S of the city off U.S. 17 (843) 238-5325, with 347 sites and access to the beach, fishing pier, pool and nature trail. It is great for birdwatching. Day use fees.
Huntington Beach State Park Campground is 3 mi. south of Murrell’s inlet on US 17 has lagoons, beach and marshes complete with gators. (843) 237-4440.
The butterfly pavillon, which features over 40 species of butterfly in free flight, is located at Broadway at the Beach (see above). Alligator adventure has hourly gator feedings and a huge collection of snakes, lizards and frogs; located at Rte 17 at North Myrtle Beach Landing (843) 361-0789.
The Children’s Museum of South Carolina features self-discovery and hands on learning at 2501 N. Kings Hwy (843) 946-9469. Waccatee Zoo features a 500 acre farm for more than 100 species and scenic canal cruises; US 17 bypass, 6 mi. SW via SR 707 to 8500 Enterprise Road (843) 650-8500.
Music and nightlife
Carolina Opry offers live music and comedy performances: call (843) 913-4000 or (800) 843-6779, located at jct. US 17 and US 17 bypass. Broadway at the Beach is a large entertainment complex featuring sounds from the beach, shag, country and blues. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and Dinner Show details the history of America and includes a buffalo stampede, horsemanship, North vs. South and a music finale; located n. jct of US 17 and US 17 bypass 843-497-9700 or (800) 433-4401. The Palace Theatre showcases big acts in a large 2600+ auditorium; located at 1420 Celebrity Cir. (800) 905-4228.
Dancing, karaoke, sports bars, pubs with music for every taste ranging from rock, country, bluegrass.
Murrells inlet has deep-sea fishing cruises from this seaside village, known for its crabbing, shrimping and seafood restaurants.
Brookgreen Gardens on Rte 17, Murrells Inlet features over 500 sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries. The landscaped gardens include 2000 varieties of plants, a wildlife area and nature trails.
Huntington Beach State Park offers camping, surf fishing, picnicking and nature trails Admission $.
Pawley`s Island is a quiet summer resort known for its hand-woven Hammocks and artesan demonstrations.
Bellefield Nature Center, off Rte 17 near Georgetown, is a 17 500 acre wildlife refuge, exhibits on ecology, natural history and local marine animals including sea anemones.
Where to Stay
Myrtle Beach Lodging Reservation Service can help with reservation free of charge; it is located at1551 21st Association (843) 626-9970 or (800) 626-7477, Monday to Friday.
All your favorites are here, prices range from 35$-500+$ per night: large condo style with ocean view to average motel. High season is May to November. Great rates are available during the low season December to April. Accommodation tax is 11%.
Camping is available at Huntington Beach State Park Campground and Myrtle Beach State Park Campground (see nature).
The Coastal Grand Mall is the largest in South Carolina at 170 acres; located at US 17 bypass and US 501. Broadway at the Beach on Celebrity Circle has 100 shops. Colonial Mall is 8 mi. north off US 17 Bus. Rte. Tanger Outlet Center has two locations: on US 501, 3 miles west of Intracoastal Waterway and the second is at junction of US 17 Bus. Rte and Kings Rd. There are also other shopping malls, boardwalk shops and flea markets. Taxes are 7% retail.
Over 1800 restaurants serve every imaginable food from haute cuisine to deli style, with seafood, American steakhouse and ethnic food in between. Rte 17 offers many restaurants to tempt your palate with family diners, all-u-can-eat and buffets. Hard Rock Café pyramid style is here at 1322 Celebrity Circle (843) 946-0007. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament features a castle experience, with supper medieval style and royal entertainment of jousting and horsemanship; located US 17 bypass off US501 at 2904 Fantasy Way (843) 236-8080 or (800)436-4386.
Tips for a great stay
Relax, take time out at the beach during the day, and stroll the strip at night. Plenty of coupons are available for discounted entry, see: mbchamber of commerce. Pick up the Monster Coupon Book, Sunny Day Guide, Myrtle Beach Guide or Strand magazine at any tourist center. Great deals can also be found online.
Reserve in advance wherever possible. Wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Make it memorable by trying to sneak in a sunrise on the ocean or a night stroll to watch the moon’s reflections in the ocean and feel the warm evening breezes. Strolling along the strip is also fun, to see the local characters and tourists come to life after a full day out in the sun. Plan to stay as long as possible as there is so much to do here.
- Spanish Explorers sailing North from Hispaniola in the early 1500’s were the first tourists along the Grand Strand.
- George Washington visited Myrtle Beach in 1791.
- Actress Joan Crawford was the guest of honor at the first ever Welcome Center for Travellers in February 1968.
- Myrtle Beach was a site for a German Prisoner of War camp in the latter half of the Second World War.
- Myrtle Beach appeared on two Saturday Evening Post covers in 1957 and 1961, giving it national recognition as a tourist destination. These covers are on display at the Chaplin Memorial Library.
- Colonel Charles M. Duke Jr., a South Carolina Astronaut, visited the moon. His moon-booted cement footprints are on display at the Convention Centre.
- Loggerhead sea turtles nest and lay their eggs right on the beach between April and September. The eggs take 2 months to hatch. Baby turtles emerge at night from June to November. This year 11 nests containing 1163 eggs were found.
- Leeza Gibbons graduated from the University of South Carolina’s School of Journaliam.