Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
From its earliest days as a sleepy logging village and the construction of its first hotel to the closing of the Pavilion and the revitalization of Broadway at the Beach, our area has experienced great change during the past 100+ years.
When the Burroughs and Collins Company of Conway helped build the first railroad line to a village called New Town near the turn of the 20th century, there’s no way anyone could have imagined the area — later named Myrtle Beach — would grow into one of the premier vacation destinations in the U.S. Exceeding even the wildest expectations for this once humble resort town, Myrtle Beach has expanded outward in every direction addin thousands of high-rise hotels, golf courses, eateries and attractions.
Since having developed a reputation as a place for families throughout the “golden era” of wholesome fun in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the Grand Strand has spent the past several decades carefully walking the line between the traditions our area is known for and a desire to draw more visitors with bigger, better and newer attractions.
Myrtle Beach has a reputation as a world-class golfing destination – not exactly a promising sign for frugal beachgoers. But it’s smack in the middle of one of the country’s least expensive regions, meaning tourist dollars go surprisingly far here. Myrtle Beach also boasts a wide variety of affordable accommodations – if your heart isn’t set on staying at a five-star golf resort, at least.
So when it comes to affordable U S Beaches and budget conscious travelers loving to stretch a dollar as far as possible. This destination is a match made in heaven.
“Myrtle Beach” is actually several communities: Myrtle Beach proper, Surfside Beach and Murrells Inlet to the south, and North Myrtle Beach to the north. All sit on one of the longest contiguous beaches in the United States, guaranteeing an empty (or reasonably crowded) patch of sand for you no matter how congested the area gets.
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Myrtle Beach International Airport
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Myrtle Beach International Airport
And just to the south, Huntington Beach State Park showcases a classic, still-wild Atlantic shoreline ecosystem, complete with swampy forests, waving grasses, and raucous seabirds.
Best Time to Visit: Though frozen precipitation is rare in this region, winters definitely aren’t suitable for lounging on the beach. By the same token, summers can be uncomfortably hot and humid, even with onshore breezes to cool things down.
Summer tends to be the most crowded season too. Tropical storms pose a small but serious threat in late summer and early fall. With pleasant but not oppressive weather and manageable crowds, the sweet spots are March to April, and October.
Where to Stay: The Myrtle Beach area has plenty of affordable hotel options. If you avoid the high-end resorts just outside town, you’ll find rooms for as cheap as $60 per night during non-peak seasons – even on beachfront Ocean Boulevard, in the heart of the city’s tourist district. Camping is also a viable option here: Myrtle Beach State Park,
an oceanside spread just south of Myrtle Beach proper, is a short drive (or long walk) to the center of town. Rustic sites start at $25 per night during the off-season and range up to $40 per night during the high season.
How to Get There: If you live in the southeastern United States, driving is definitely an option: Myrtle Beach is less than six hours from Atlanta, and less than four from Charlotte. Flights from Northeastern and Midwestern cities, some of which require a layover, start at about $100 and rise from there.
For a break from the sand, take a hike in Huntington Beach State Park, or walk through the Broadway at the Beach mixed-use complex in Myrtle Beach – just focus on people-watching on the sidewalks instead of impulse-buying at any of Broadway’s dozens of pricey local and national boutiques.
In North Myrtle Beach, check out T.I.G.E.R.S., a free museum dedicated to ethically showcasing live tigers.
Special Events and Seasonal Attractions: On Wednesday evenings from June through August, check out the free Hot Summer Nights concert series in downtown Myrtle Beach.
Broadway at the Beach routinely hosts free fireworks displays in the warm season, though the schedule varies widely. The annual Beach Boogie & BBQ Festival is also free to enter, though you have to shell out a few worthwhile bucks for the barbecue.