Myrtle Beach is a seaside vacation spot sandwiched between the waters of the Atlantic Ocean & the Intracoastal Waterway. This coastal city in South Carolina is considered to be the jewel of the Grand Strand, a long sandy stretch with ample activities & events for tourists. Read on for a complete Myrtle Beach travel guide!
Myrtle Beach gets its name from the Wax Myrtle that grew in plenty along this part of the South Carolina Coast.
If you go way back into Myrtle Beach’s history you’ll read that these parts were home to the Waccamaw people who had settled along the banks of the Waccamaw & Pee Dee Rivers. Later, the area became a center for the timber business, considering its waterway facilities.
Myrtle Beach’s becoming the tourist destination that it is today started when the timber workers began visiting the coast on their off days. In the late 1890s the area got a railroad, and in the early 1900s the area saw its first inn. Then, in 1937 Myrtle Beach got its own airport and it was well on its way to becoming a popular tourist destination.
What to see and do
Now one of the most sought-after beach vacation destinations on the US’s East Coast, Myrtle Beach has a ton of things for a visitor to see & do. Most tourists come to the city to spend time on its beaches which are part of the 60 miles of the Grand Strand.
The views of the beaches and the ocean can be enjoyed from the Ferris wheels that have almost become a symbol of this seaside city. Or you could do one of the widely popular helicopter tours that take you above the skyline to show you the natural & manmade views that this part of South Carolina is known for.
Other things that tourists to Myrtle Beach can enjoy while vacationing here include its many amusement rides, its shopping options, its golf courses, the birds of the marshland, and all the restaurants & seafood available here.
For more ideas of what to do in Myrtle Beach that aren’t included in this Myrtle Beach travel guide, check out my article: Top 10 Things to do in Myrtle Beach.
Fish, crab, shrimp, & other seafood are widely available in Myrtle Beach in upscale restaurants that offer fine-dining, in its many inexpensive restaurants, its local food chains, & also in the smaller waterfront cafes. Locals & regular vacationers will tell you that you must eat at the seafood eateries at Murrells Inlet Marshwalk. In fact, this part of town is also said to be the Seafood Capital of South Carolina.
The seaside town also has a fair share of bars in the downtown area, popular tourist attractions like the boardwalk, Broadway at the Beach, & the Marshwalk.
Myrtle Beach has many interesting restaurants too, from one in a library setting to another in an art-gallery. There are steakhouses, burger joints, & multi-cuisine restaurants.
For specific restaurants you need to check out that aren’t included in this Myrtle Beach travel guide, check out my post: Best Restaurants in Myrtle Beach.
This active coastal city also has a lot to offer the shopaholic visitors! Myrtle Beach has a good number of outlet-type shopping centers selling well-known brands. Coastal Grand Mall, Barefoot Landing, & Broadway at the Beach are all popular shopping places in town. It’s also fun to browse through the shops that line the Boardwalk.
You’ll find plenty of golfing gear, beachwear, fridge magnets, seashells, clothes, & seaside-destination-trinkets to take back as souvenirs or gifts from Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach lies towards the middle of the Grand Strand, the 60 mile stretch of beach that lies on the eastern part of South Carolina. As such, the Atlantic coast beaches are what most define the place.
The land on which this coastal city stands is separated from the mainland of the Carolinas by the Intracoastal Waterway, a 3000 meter long waterway. And towards the south of Myrtle Beach is an estuary & marshland that’s rich in coastal flora & fauna.
The state preserves some undeveloped beach & wetland under the state park system. Myrtle Beach State Park & Huntington Beach State Park are the 2 state parks here.
If you’re visiting the Grand Strand, chances are that you’ll want to stay in a place that gives you views of the Atlantic Ocean, the beaches, & sunrises.
Myrtle Beach has many such accommodations available. There are resorts, budget hotels, motels, and rental condos for vacationers to choose from.
While you’re planning your Myrtle Beach vacation, you could plan on staying in the main parts of the city if you’re here for the entertainment, nightlife, & the amusement parks.
If you’re looking for a quieter, relaxing place by the Atlantic, you might want to book your accommodation in the city of North Myrtle Beach or Surfside Beach, or one of the towns that are not in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach.
If you’re driving into Myrtle Beach, US 17 runs the length of the Grand Strand. There are several roads that connect other highways to this one. If you’re taking the road, there are also some buses that will get you into the area.
If you’re taking a flight to Myrtle Beach, you’ll be flying into the Myrtle Beach International Airport. This airport is connected to a number of US cities. Those taking private flights will most probably be landing in the airport in North Myrtle Beach.
Shuttles can take you from the airport to the city. To get around the city, to the beaches and other attractions nearby, you might want to rent a car. All major car players in the rental business have a presence here and the drives around here are not too long. Or you could Uber your way around.
If you’re looking for a more economical way to explore the area there are some buses, both city buses & electric tram, as well as the ones that connect to the other cities of the Grand Strand.
Best time to visit
Myrtle Beach’s peak tourist season is in the summer months of June, July, & August. This is when the weather is most pleasant and most of Myrtle Beach’s many events take place. However, around this time you could expect some rains. And it’s hurricane season, too, so don’t be surprised if there’s a hurricane in the forecast.
Going in the spring and fall months mean better room rates and smaller crowds at Myrtle Beach. You might also get to see some events like the bike weeks & golfing events.
In winter, it gets pretty cold around here yet some people visit for the events that take place around the holidays.
Myrtle Beach hosts a lot of events throughout the year so if you’d like to attend any or some of them, you could plan your trip around it, although certain attractions & restaurants might be closed when it’s not tourist season.
While this is a Myrtle Beach travel guide, there are many great places nearby that you can check out! Charleston, the oldest city of South Carolina, is around 2 hours south of here. And the capital city Columbia is around the same distance inland from the coastal city of Myrtle Beach.
If you’d like to see more of South Carolina’s coast, there’s Kiawah Island & Hilton Head Island further south of Charleston. While you’re in the area, you might also want to go see the Angel Oak Tree for yourself – the tree that’s believed to be 400-500 years old and stands in Angel Oak Forest on John’s Island near there.