Myrtle Beach Travel Guide [y]

[y] Myrtle Beach Visitors Guide

Myrtle Beach is an energetic city known for more than just being the golf capital of the world. The entire family will enjoy over 50+ miles of white sandy beaches, restaurants and family-friendly dining, amusement and water parks, historic sites, outlet malls, specialty boutiques, flea markets, specialty stores, and exciting festivals. Myrtle Beach hotels offer a lot of perks and extras with great deals to make your Myrtle Beach vacation fun and inexpensive. Book your trip today!

Myrtle Beach Fun Guide

Myrtle Beach is the center of an area called The Grand Strand that includes the towns or cities of Little River, Longs, Loris, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, Carolina Forest, Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawley’s Island. Many also consider the southeast coastal area of North Carolina, which includes Calabash, Carolina Shores, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach to be part of The Grand Strand.

Travel Myrtle Beach

The approximate population of Myrtle Beach is 32,000 with 30,000 of them living here as residents. It is the most well-known city within the Grand Strand and has been a vacation destination since the late 1800s. During the 1900s people began to call Myrtle Beach, South Carolina home.

Myrtle Beach Vacation Guide

The beach, golf courses, shopping, entertainment, and special events have made Myrtle Beach a favorite for millions of people. Those in the know bought real estate and continue to do so because no matter what the market is doing they realize that there is only one Ocean on the east coast and prices for Myrtle Beach real estate are lower than comparable properties elsewhere.

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Flights are available to most major cities from Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). Close to the airport is The Market Common (live/work) concept which is a town within a town. Some of the top stores and restaurants that are famous nationwide have made Market Common Myrtle Beach their newest location.

Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas offer different types of fishing (surf, pier, deep sea, etc.), tennis courts fit for the pros, miniature golf courses that can challenge the best golfer, entertainment complexes like the Imax Discovery Theater and the Aquarium.

Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade

The Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Boardwalk and Promenade are located at the south end of Myrtle Beach from the 2nd Ave Pier past the 14th Ave Pier. The Boardwalk with the Promenade area that contains cafes, arcades, amusements and more making it one of the places to visit in Myrtle Beach.

Think about a semi-tropical region that is perfect for those who do not want to freeze in the winter or have hot weather all year. That would explain why so many have moved from the northern States and Florida to the Myrtle Beach area. Mild, barely noticeable Winters, months of Fall and Spring weather are little known facts that some have discovered and now you too know the secret.

Myrtle Beach Spring Break

Myrtle Beach Spring Break here we come! Since Myrtle Beach has a little something for everyone, college kids have discovered that it’s a fantastic place to go for Spring Break. In fact, Myrtle Beach is rivaling Florida’s Daytona Beach as the preferred spring break vacation spot for college students. Not to mention senior week. I quite enjoyed that trip. 🙂

The Grand Strand has 60 miles of great beaches and a nightlife that most definitely does not lack in variety and things to do. And the food and booze are quite cheap. There are plenty of beach houses and places to stay for groups within walking distance of both the beaches and the nightlife.

Spring break in Myrtle Beach is all about sand, sun, and an amazing nightlife. There is nightlife for everyone, from House of Blues to Club Kryptonite to Freaky Tiki and hundreds more.

For more great spring break information check out Coolest Spring Break – Coolestspringbreak.com is a travel guide featuring independent reviews of the most popular annual spring break parties and hot spots- built by Spring Breakers, for Spring Breakers.

Fall at the Beach and other Local Favorites

Myrtle Beach is known as a city of local secrets. We’re asked time and time again about secret restaurants, secret shortcuts, secret great places to eat, and the ever-popular question “What’s for free?”

Besides hush puppies, Grissom Parkway and sweet tea, the best-kept secret is the Grand Strand in September and October. With an average air temperature of 77 degrees and an average water temperature of 73 degrees in October, Myrtle Beach gets an A+ rating from the locals. The slow-moving traffic and congested roads have given way to pleasant scenic drives. Enjoy warm days without the humidity and cool nights for a slow stroll on the moonlit beach. Take advantage of “Early Bird Specials” at your favorite local restaurants where waiting in line is just a memory. And perhaps best of all, you can visit with us longer because many hotels are offering fantastic discounts.

Myrtle Beach Grand Strand
Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach, SC; photo by flickr/[email protected]

Local “Secrets” for Free or Inexpensive Entertainment

How about our main attraction – 60 miles of white sandy beach, known as The Grand Strand. Start your day early enough to see the sunrise and take a picture. Search for shells and shark teeth before the beach gets crowded.

Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach is a great opportunity to spend money, but there is a lot there for your enjoyment that doesn’t cost a penny. Ride the Miss Broadway water taxi from one end of Lake Broadway to the other, feed the fish and ducks, enjoy the large play area, or just sit a rocking at The General Store and take a load off your feet! Be sure to take your COUPONS just in case you spot that “must-have” item!

Children’s Museum of SC

The Children’s Museum of SC presents interactive exhibits and programs in an environment where kids can touch, explore and play while learning about their world. Located at 2501 North Kings Highway right next to Myrtle Square Mall on the ocean side of the Office Depot building.

Waccatee Zoological Farm

Waccatee Zoological Farm is located within 500 acres of private, carefully preserved, wooded property. To quote Kathleen and Archie Futrell, “We simply love animals – and we always have. We are not interested in a concrete jungle. The interest shown by local people, and by the church and school groups, have helped us decide to open Waccatee to the public.”

Visit Our Two Nearby Beachfront State Parks

Myrtle Beach State Park

Myrtle Beach State Park is located at 4401 South Kings Hwy. just north of the Myrtle Beach Resort. Take a picnic lunch and spend the day! Fishing pier, small store, cabins, picnic tables, hiking trails, and camping. 843-238-5325 ($3. adults)

Huntington Beach State Park

Huntington Beach State Park is one of the finest best bird-watching sites on the East Coast. It is also the site of the historic castle “Atalaya” which is listed as a National Historic Landmark. A prestigious juried arts and crafts festival attract thousands of visitors to the park each September. The wide sandy beach offers lots of opportunities for shelling. Located 3 miles south of Murrells Inlet on US Highway 17, across from Brookgreen Garden. 843-237-4440 ($5. adults)

Huntington Beach State Park SC
Salt Marsh at Huntington Beach State Park, SC

Get familiar with a few of our free city parks

Myrtle Beach visitors have access to three great state parks. The first one is Myrtle Beach State Park located at 4401 South Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach. The second one is Huntington Beach State Park located at 16148 Ocean Boulevard, Murrells Inlet. The third is Brookgreen Gardens located at 1931 Brookgreen Gardens Dr, Murrells Inlet.

  • The Bark Park, located off Mallard Lake Drive at the site of the former Air Force Base is a very popular dog run park.
  • Chapin Park at 16th Ave. and N. Kings Hwy has picnic tables, play equipment, and some lovely shade trees.
  • McLean Park at 2nd Ave south in North Myrtle Beach has an in-line skating rink, playground, picnic area, baseball field, and tennis courts.

Myrtle Beach’s Secret Season

For many vacationers, the days between Easter and Labor Day have always been seen as the time to be in Myrtle Beach. For the golfers, spring and fall are preferred. Winter brings an influx of snowbirds to our beaches, who stay through the season into spring. So the cycle repeats year after year.

However, visitors to the Grand Strand tend to overlook the month of September. Those who choose to visit during this month refer to it as the “secret season.” Why? For those who wish to enjoy Myrtle Beach’s attractions without the crowds and higher costs, this is the time to visit. Many schools start back at the end of the summer, clearing the beaches to near emptiness. However, the climate still allows for swimming and beach activities. Stores slash prices in anticipation of next season’s goods, luring patient shoppers to our outlet malls. Accommodations slash rates after the summer season to encourage visitors through the winter months. Lee Lear, Director of Operations with Resort Vacation Services says, “The sun and beach seem to be the best in September; September guests find that the beach is much more pleasant since they do not have to share with thousands of other tourists. ”

Another major factor is traffic. Beach traffic is significantly lower after Labor Day, making visitors’ overall experience more pleasant. Families with older children or those who can just getaway for the weekend might find September to be a great time to get away in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach Golf

Serious golfers flock to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina each year to enjoy some of the best golf courses in the country, and booking a Myrtle Beach golf package is the best way to experience what the Grand Strand area has to offer to devoted golf fans.

A Myrtle Beach golf package provides visitors with great opportunities for golfing on several courses, but can also make available first-class lodging and accommodations, excellent dining, and a chance to watch some of the area’s best entertainment.

While some Myrtle Beach resorts limit the number of area courses from which visitors can choose, many offer a full array of over 100 courses in the Myrtle Beach area, in conjunction with other amenities and top activities that are available on the hotel premises. These Myrtle Beach golf packages often include reduced rates for lodging and meals as compared to the cost of only booking a room at that particular resort during a Myrtle Beach golf vacation.

Golfers can enjoy the flexibility of playing on the Myrtle Beach golf courses during one season visit and experience the links of North Myrtle Beach the following year. The choices are abundant and experts at the golf resorts can help golfers choose the courses that are best suited for their skill level, ensuring a fun and enjoyable Myrtle Beach golf outing.

Golf packages like these can include beachfront resorts, but quite often offer Myrtle Beach lodging at golf villas, condos, or hotels located directly on the grounds of the chosen golf course. Such lodging offers close proximity to the golfer’s favorite courses, offering the advantage of being on the links without having to travel any real distance to play each day.

Many Myrtle Beach golf package accommodations also include fully-equipped kitchens and visitors can take advantage of the other activities and amenities available onsite, such as tennis, swimming, fitness centers, and dining at fine Myrtle Beach restaurants.

When visitors book a Myrtle Beach golf package, they have the opportunity to select from many features that will create the perfect Myrtle Beach golf vacation, custom-designed for them.  Whether playing golf for years or just beginning, there are loads of fun involved in being a golfer.

Shopping

Shopping in Myrtle Beach can be a diverse adventure that ranges from finding the right tacky tourist gift to the perfect pair of Italian loafers. A great place to start that search for the one-of-a-kind tourist icon is at the Gay Dolphin. The Dolphin stocks its store with those obscure and unusual souvenirs that most likely have been sitting on their shelves since the late 60′s. How can you pass up the opportunity to purchase an item as rare as a carved coconut head that looks like a little pirate, or maybe you would prefer a rubber fish? This glass-enshrined tourist Mecca has it all, a lookout tower on the roof and even a bizarre string fountain.

Sierra Trading Post

Once you have had your fill of beachwear stores, and have found that one-of-a-kind souvenir. You may want to then venture on to one of the Grand Strand’s many shopping complexes. With a vast variety of stores, each complex has its own unique twist. Colonial Mall is the shopping complex farthest North in Myrtle Beach and it tends to cater to a younger and more refined shopper. Next, there is Coastal Grand, the largest mall on the east coast. With stores like Belk, Dillard’s, Sears, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Cinemark Theaters. It located next to the intersection of U.S. Hwy 501 and SC Hwy 17 Bypass. Inlet Square Mall would be the mall that is located in the furthest South. They have more of an older conservative clientele. At each of these locations, you have your typical mall fare, lots of shops, a food court and parking (imagine that!).

The Grand Strand

The Grand Strand has several other shopping centers along its sunny shores which include Broadway at the Beach, a shopping, eating, and dancing dream come true, Barefoot Landing (see the aforementioned description), the Myrtle Beach Factory Stores, which is guaranteed to satiate the outlet shopping lover with stores like Nike, Timberland, Banana Republic and more.

Once you tire of shopping the mega-complexes there are many smaller boutiques that offer a more unique buying experience. There are places like Studio 77, which has the perfect items to decorate that posh New York City loft. And then there are funky and trendy clothing stores like The Venue, which help you to look fabulous while hanging out in your big city apartment. There are other great shops like Daze End that carry all the necessary survival gear for the skaters and ravers.

Golf Widows and families alike know that the Grand Strand has some of the best shopping on the east coast. You can spend a day at the outlet malls or at Broadway at the Beach and have a blast.

Myrtle Beach’s Best Kept Secrets

Bringing Your Toddler to Myrtle Beach

  1. Children tire easily, especially in the sun.
  2. Pack a lot of waterproof sunscreens, a number 45, one made especially for baby’s sensitive skin.
  3. A sun hat and beach toys are a must!
  4. Pack snacks that will help tide them over while waiting in traffic or busy overcrowded restaurants. Crackers, juice boxes,(freeze them first, to keep everything else chilled)) dry cereal, cheese, cereal bars, baby wipes.
  5. Buy some children’s Tylenol BEFORE you leave home.
  6. Plan an afternoon “siesta” when the sun is hot, and the toddler is tired. Take a nap or read with your little one, or just have quiet time, away from the crowds. You can then stay up later at night, sightseeing when it is cooler.
  7. Relax, and have fun as a family, take lots of pictures!
  8. Always keep a small bag with a change of clothes handy.
  9. Pack a favorite teddy bear, pillow, blanket, or toy, this will help them to feel secure while away from familiar surroundings.
  10. When you return home, make a scrapbook!

About the sunblock. My dermatologist always tells me to ONLY use a sunblock that has titanium dioxide listed as the first ingredient. Titanium dioxide is what helps prevent skin cancer later in life. Very, very important. I know Banana Boat Baby and Baby Magic Sunblock both have Titanium Dioxide formulas. Gotta protect their skin when they are young!

Myrtle Beach Attractions

  • Family Kingdom Amusement Park – 843-626-3447
  • Myrtle Beach Grand Prix – 843-272-6010
  • Myrtle Beach Pavilion – 800-819-2282
  • Myrtle Beach Pelicans – 843-918-6000
  • Nascar Speedpark – 800-819-2282
  • Ripley’s Aquarium – 800-734-8888
  • Sea Thunder – 843-280-2400
  • Wild Water & Race Theme Park – 843-238-9453

Alabama Theatre

The Alabama Theatre at Barefoot Landing is Myrtle Beach’s #1 Entertainment Attraction located in the heart of the Grand Strand. The Theatre’s exciting live productions are the highlight of family vacations. ONE The Show delivers America’s best music, dance, and comedy. The South’s Grandest Christmas Show brings the joy of the Holiday Season to the stage. When our all-star cast takes a night off, Guest Artist Concerts showcase the biggest names in Country, Motown, Pop, and Comedy.

Nightlife

There are so many different clubs and pubs to choose from in Myrtle Beach that it’s difficult to go to the same one twice. The largest nightlife conglomerate in Myrtle Beach is definitely Broadway at the Beach. At Broadway, there are world-famous establishments such as Hard Rock Café and Planet Hollywood, which offer a lot of memorabilia and occasionally live music. And then there are local favorites like Revolutions, where your platform shoes and disco dance moves are back in style. If disco doesn’t do it for you, then try Froggy Bottoms. Froggy’s is a blues and rock bar featuring live music almost every night of the week. There are two clubs that adjoin Froggy’s, the one to the left is Malibu’s and to the right is Club Boca. Both of these nightlife establishments are beach-themed, booty-shaking dance clubs.

If you are in the mood for something that is not quite so grandiose and doesn’t mind wandering about town for a while, then you might want to patronize one of the several smaller bars and pubs that specialize in import beers and micro-brews, Liberty’s, Stool Pigeons, and Bodo’s German Brauhaus, are just a few.

If live music is what you crave then be sure to start your nightly quest at the House of Blues. They are world-famous for their live music, food, and drinks. It is worth the trip alone to view all of the Americana and folk art adorning every nook and cranny of the establishment. If the local fare is more your flavor for live music, then try bars like Gypsys and Alley Cats. They specialize in rock, blues, and jam bands. By this point, if you still yearn for something different there is the Lazy I, which mainly caters to punk, Indy and experimental rock. If you are more into the rave scene then keep an ear to the street and an extra pacifier in your pocket there is always something going on and it’s usually around Industry. Be sure to keep an ear open for a local vinyl guru, DJ Tim “de groove” Scott. He’s always spinnin’ somewhere and is truly an auditory delight.

The visitors who come to the Grand Strand by way of the rainbow might want to check out a few local establishments that cater to those who live an “alternative lifestyle”. Places like Time Out, Paradox, and the Rainbow House should help point you in the right direction to have a good time. Whew, all this bar hoppin’ is making me tired. So at this point, you’re on your own. Have fun!

Guide to Myrtle Beach Laws

Whether you come by train, plane, or automobile(or perhaps by bike?), smart vacationers know that laws can vary from one place to the next. When it comes to state and local regulations, Myrtle Beach Living has taken the guesswork out of Grand Strand Laws for you!

It seems like an overwhelming list, but many of these regulations are common to beach areas. When deciding where to stay in Myrtle Beach, also consider the safety factors of your accommodations: location, security, and any other protective measures that may be in place to protect guests from unsavory activities. Such amenities as 24-hour security, private parking, and gated access often provide guests with more enjoyment at the beach. Guests who stay at The Myrtle Beach Resort often compliment the comfort they feel by knowing there are guards patrolling at all times, a gated entrance, and speed bumps to prevent accidents. Please have fun during your stay in Myrtle Beach, but also be aware of the rules and regulations. By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure a successful trip.

Traveler’s Tips

  1. Vacations should be stress-free. Here’s a list to get you organized before you hit the beach so you can spend more time enjoying your destination than in the airport.
  2. Make your luggage stick out. Tying a bright ribbon to your handles or making an “X” with duct tape will make it easier to spot your bags at the baggage claim. Place your name and contact information inside and out of the suitcase.
  3. Be prepared. Pack your carry-on with essentials and a few clothing items. This is especially important if you have connecting flights, in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.
  4. Plan an itinerary. Search online or call your hotel before you leave. Plan different activities that appeal to individual interests, and one activity a day that the whole family will enjoy.
  5. Cross-check, and check again. When preparing to return home, cross-checking with your family is a good way to avoid leaving things behind. On your way out, do one final sweep of the room, including the bathroom, and under the bed.
  6. Pack a Laundry Bag. It can be a different suitcase or just a plastic bag to re-pack your dirty clothes. It beats giving your clothes the “smell test” when you get home.
  7. A great vacation plan finds a family-friendly destination with activities and attractions that you and your kids will enjoy. The Grand Strand has that to offer you.

Map of Hotels in Myrtle Beach

  1. Myrtle Beach International Airport – Find hotels Near Socastee and Airport.
  2. Myrtle Beach Downtown – Find hotels Near Forestbrook and Socastee
  3. Coastal Carolina University – Find hotels Near Forestbrook and Myrtle beach
  4. Myrtle Beach -Find hotels Near Airport and Myrtle beach
  5. Surfside Beach – Find hotels Near surfside beach and garden city
  6. Golf Course – Find hotels Near Golf Course and Forestbrook