The Myrtle Beach, S.C., area is entrenched in history and full of Southern charm, complete with plantations, barbecues, lazy days spent on the hammock, and, best of all, the soft waves of the Atlantic Ocean kissing the shore. One of the top traveler destinations in the Southeast, Myrtle Beach sits at the center of the Grand Strand, a long stretch of beach on the East Coast. Come experience a place where casual is a way of life, luxury is just around the corner, and year-round sunshine and the seductive waft of the saltwater invigorate your body, mind and spirit.
The Grand Strand spans around 60 miles of coastline in two counties: Horry and Georgetown. The Strand consists of Myrtle Beach, its hub; notable cities like Pawleys Island, Georgetown, Murrells Inlet and Conway; and many smaller incorporated and unincorporated towns. The area is rich in entertainment and attractions, giving residents and visitors alike plenty to do all year long.
Perhaps the biggest draw to the Grand Strand is the beach. From North Myrtle Beach down to Pawleys Island, the sands of the Strand are silky smooth, perfect for sunbathing, strolling barefoot and even biking. One of the best places to start exploring the Myrtle Beach shores is the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade. This 1.2-mile stretch of oceanfront opened in 2010 and was immediately ranked as No. 3 in the nation by National Geographic and the second best boardwalk in the United States by Travel + Leisure. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk offers weekly events on a seasonal basis, including firework shows, live entertainment and a children’s carnival. The boardwalk is dotted with parks, restaurants, bars and gift shops, all surrounded by meticulous landscaping and plenty of bench-style seating. Also worth discovering on the boardwalk is the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, an observation wheel 200 feet above sea level with glass gondolas overlooking the Atlantic.
Myrtle Beach hosts a variety of events catering to all interests. Since 1951, the area has been home to Canadian-American Days, or “Can-Am” Days, when tens of thousands of Canadian tourists flock to the area during March for a week of special events. Myrtle Beach also welcomes Coastal Uncorked, a food and wine festival held each year in late spring. In addition, there are two major motorcycle rallies that bring the rumble of excitement to the Strand: Myrtle Beach Bike Week, also called "Harley Bike Week," which started in 1940, and Black Bike Week, founded in 1980. Both rallies attract hundreds of thousands of tourists through the area every year.
With the Strand’s weather remaining favorable year round — cool, typically snowless winters and hot, humid summers — sports are readily available to watch or to play, no matter the season. Myrtle Beach is home to a Carolina League baseball team and Texas Rangers farm franchise, as well as a pro soccer team NASCAR-sanctioned stock-car racing is held at Myrtle Beach Speedway, a semi-banked, paved track off of U.S. 501. The most renowned recreational escape on the Strand, however, is golf. Myrtle Beach has been called the "Golf Capital of the World" because of its high volume of courses, the record of rounds played, and its many miniature golf courses. The area boasts more than 100 golf courses for all skill levels, with most meandering through the Strand’s pine forests, dunes and marshes. Famous courses and resorts including Whispering Pines, Palmetto Greens, River Oaks, Carolina Shores and Burning Ridge.
For those looking for a more relaxing stay, away from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk and local events, the Strand provides many sightseeing opportunities and ways to explore the area’s rich history. Head to North Myrtle Beach, where the state’s official dance — the Shag — originated, to shop at the massive Barefoot Landing retail and entertainment complex, cruise along Ocean Boulevard, and explore the tip of the peninsula, a small area full of islands, creeks and marshes. If sticking near the water and enjoying a taste of the sea sounds more appealing, Murrells Inlet awaits. In this fishing village, you’ll find plenty of incredible seafood restaurants, plus rentable fishing boats and boating excursions. Murrells Inlet also contains the nation’s largest and oldest sculpture garden, Brookgreen Gardens, and Huntington Beach State Park.
Finally, discover the quiet beauty of Pawleys Island, located at the southern end of the Strand. This island, sometimes referred to as "arrogantly shabby," began as a resort destination before the Civil War, when wealthy planters and their families summered here. Today, Pawleys is made up mostly of weathered, old summer cottages nestled in groves of oleander and oak trees. You can watch hammocks being made right before your eyes and enjoy bicycle rides around the island’s beach houses, many dating to the early 1800s.
So visit the shores of the Grand Strand, where quaint shops and delectable restaurants blend seamlessly with the area’s uncommon beauty, quiet beaches and Southern hospitality to create a truly one-of-a-kind destination!