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Categories: Us Cities > Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach

Located on the Southern Carolina coast, the ever-popular coastal city of Myrtle Beach is a bustling tourist destination known for its great golfing, warm beaches and overall charming appeal. The term "Grand Strand" often refers to the 60-mile stretch of coastline from Georgetown to the North Carolina border, but more commonly, the term refers to the area from Murrells Inlet north to Little River. The centerpiece of this vacation wonderland is Myrtle Beach, named for the once-ubiquitous trees long since replaced by palm-flanked beachfront resorts.

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The local white-sand beaches are gorgeous. Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach and Market Commons do provide memorable shopping experiences, and the combination of the Carolina Opry, Alabama Theatre and House of Blues do help justify promoters' claims that Myrtle Beach has become the Nashville — or at least the Branson — of the Deep South. And for golfers, Myrtle Beach is nothing short of Valhalla.

Quick Facts

  • Climate:

    A long summer season with an average temperature of 87° F. Mild, short winters with temperatures ranging from 60-70° or getting as low as the 40s.

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Categories: Us Cities > Myrtle Beach



Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is the center of the Grand Strand—a 60-mi/97-km strip of clean, sandy shoreline that stretches from Calabash, North Carolina, to Georgetown, South Carolina.

But if you're looking for quiet ambience, be forewarned—Myrtle Beach has more in common with Orlando than Hilton Head, with its Broadway-style theaters, shopping outlets and challenging golf courses.

Myrtle Beach has been described as noisy, tacky and a tourist mecca, but never as boring. The main thoroughfare through Myrtle Beach and neighboring North Myrtle Beach, Highway 17, is called the "strip"—and for good reason. Especially during peak seasons, it is a traffic nightmare.

Some parts of Myrtle Beach—such as the boardwalk and Pavilion Nostalgia Park—hearken back to the classic vacation days of yesteryear, but the city has since gone through a growth spurt. Once strictly a summer destination, Myrtle Beach has added prime deals on accommodations and new attractions to reinvent itself as a year-round vacation hot spot.

Shoppers enjoy the outlet stores, specialty shops, flea markets and shopping malls; golfers love a great selection of more than 100 golf courses; and children thrill at the abundance of almost nonstop activity.

It has also become a popular destination because many area resorts offer package deals and golf vacations. If family fun is your desire, Myrtle Beach gives new definition to the thrill and enjoyment of a family vacation.

Must See or Do

Sights—The great stretch of beaches; Broadway at the Beach; Barefoot Landing; the Myrtle Beach Skywheel.

Museums—The beautiful mermaid and unusual displays at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum.

Memorable Meals—A romantic meal at Thoroughbreds Chophouse & Seafood Grille; hot dogs at the counter of Peaches Corner; fresh local seafood at Catfish Johnny's.

Late Night—Comedy Cabana with its lineup of well-known and emerging comedians; listening to live bands along Murrells Inlet's Marsh Walk.

Walks—Sunrise or sunset strolls along the beach; the boardwalk.

Especially for Kids—The hands-on displays at The Children's Museum of South Carolina; getting up-close and personal with the sharks at Ripley's Aquarium; getting dizzy at the Backstage Mirror Maze and Escape Games; the rides at Family Kingdom Amusement Park.

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Myrtle Beach is a flat coastal area. It is separated from the South Carolina mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway. On the city's southern border lie Myrtle Beach State Park and South Park Village, site of a former U.S. Air Force base. The separation between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach is almost nonexistent—a sign is about the only way you can tell where one ends and the other begins.

Highway 17 snakes through Myrtle Beach, intersecting with Highway 501 about midway through the city. Highway 501 forks off toward Conway, and Highway 17 continues down the coast toward Charleston. Other Grand Strand cities, such as Surfside Beach, Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island, are also located off Highway 17.

Myrtle Beach may look like a maze, but it's really simple to navigate. As Highway 17 enters North Myrtle Beach, you'll travel through Restaurant Row—a strip of the roadway lined with every imaginable eatery. Highway 17 eventually splits into a business thoroughfare and a bypass. The business side parallels the ocean (it is also referred to as Kings Highway), and the bypass follows the Intracoastal Waterway. The roads merge into one highway again on the opposite side of Myrtle Beach, in the town of Murrells Inlet. Ocean Boulevard, one of the main (and busiest) thoroughfares in Myrtle Beach, contains most of the oceanfront hotels and beach-access points.


The Waccamaw and Winyah tribes occupied the area of Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand before Europeans arrived in the mid-1700s. Landowners in the Grand Strand became wealthy from crops of indigo, cotton and lumber. Before the Civil War, plantation owners from South Carolina's Low Country would vacation in the Grand Strand to escape the deadly diseases that thrived in the swampier areas.

Landowners farmed and leased timber rights until developers in the early 1900s became interested in the Grand Strand. A railroad to the beach was constructed, and Myrtle Beach saw its first hotel, the Seaside Inn, in 1901. Originally referred to as New Town, residents renamed the city Myrtle Beach after the wax myrtle shrub found throughout Horry County. By the 1920s, businesspeople began building resorts there for affluent society members. Golf courses and health clubs soon followed. By 1936, the Intracoastal Waterway was open for pleasure boats and shipping.

Myrtle Beach was incorporated in 1938. Myrtle Beach Air Force Base opened in the 1940s and was active in World War II. The first Sun Fun Festival was established by the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce in 1951, and it is still a popular and fun event.

Hurricane Hazel descended upon Myrtle Beach in 1954, destroying large sections of the city and the rest of the strand. The city rebuilt, and more golf courses opened in the area. Despite Hurricane Hugo's destruction to the beaches in 1989 and further brushes with tropical storms, construction continued through the 1980s and '90s, shaping Myrtle Beach into the year-round mecca for shoppers, vacationers and golfers that it is today.

In addition to its love of new attractions, Myrtle Beach has a respect for its past. After the Air Force Base closed in 1993, Myrtle Beach developed the site for residential use. The Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park, the historic 11-acre/4-hectare attraction that played an integral role in Myrtle Beach's development and helped make it a popular area for family vacations, closed permanently in 2006. But the memories of the Pavilion are preserved at Nostalgia Park at Broadway at the Beach.


In 1953, 67 Time-Life employees gathered at the clubhouse of Pine Lakes International Country Club. There they planned the mission of a new sports-oriented magazine that eventually became Sports Illustrated. The magazine and the National Parks Association has bestowed the title of "Sportstown USA" to Myrtle Beach for its abundance of golf courses and parks.

Myrtle Beach is where the country band Alabama got its start, performing at the Bowery Bar.

The water along the Grand Strand is about 20 degrees F/7 degrees C warmer than the water along the New England coast.

Before she cheered on contestants on Wheel of Fortune, Vanna White cheered on the Chiefs at North Myrtle Beach High School.

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