South Carolina’s Grand Strand is gifted with blue skies, sun-bleached sand, golden sunshine, curling breakers and gentle breezes. The extraordinary natural beauty of this coastline has attracted visitors for nearly a century.
The Grand Strand is an island with a 60-mile oceanfront and three roads connecting it to the mainland. Surrounded on the north and the west by the Intracoastal Waterway, the east by the Atlantic Ocean and the south by Winyah Bay, the Grand Strand can be shut off from the outside world by closing four bridges, which gives the impression of its being a world unto itself.
Myrtle Beach and the other towns that dot this long island stretch, have become havens for visitors year round. From Little River to Pawleys Island, there are a dazzling variety of restaurants, as well as fantastic nightlife, concerts and theater, museums, interesting shops, and recreational pursuits for the whole family.
Places to Stay
Myrtle Beach hotels accommodate you just steps from serene beaches and vibrant green golf courses. You can relax in a high-rise hotel, with views of the beach, or gather with family in a cozy beach home. There is a wide assortment of hotels, resorts, motels, condo, beach home and vacation rental options in Myrtle Beach. Here are a few…
Landmark Resort – Enjoy oceans of fun at affordable rates at The Landmark. Featuring outdoor water park, 9- hole mini golf, large indoor pool complex, lazy rivers and more.
Horizon Resort at 77th – Located in a quiet neighborhood in Myrtle Beach, Horizon at 77th offers luxurious yet affordable ocean view 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condos. Features rooftop pools, lazy river and hot tubs. Close to area attractions, dining, entertainment, and golf!
Beach Cove Resort – The magnificent All Oceanfront Beach Cove Resort is the perfect tropical retreat for your next beach getaway. Located just steps from Barefoot Landing, The Beach Cove Resort’s tropical setting allows you to experience this breath taking North Myrtle Beach oceanfront retreat while being set among North Myrtle Beach’s most popular attractions, shopping, dining and golf.
Places to Eat
Myrtle Beach has some of the most incredible eateries — from mouthwatering seafood and steaks to heavenly pastries and coffee. After you’ve spent a morning at the beach, enjoy a light lunch at a local deli, where you can relax while taking in breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. In the evening, why not try some gourmet dining, or maybe something a little more casual from local diners to chain restaurants… most have a location in Myrtle Beach. Here are just a few…
Kansas City Steakhouse – Kansas City Steak House is an example of the traditional American prime steakhouse, combining simple elegance, a lively atmosphere, big drinks, fine wines and large cuts of the finest prime steaks, chops and seafood.
Sea Captain’s House – The Sea Captain’s House Restaurant has won more awards than any other restaurant in Myrtle Beach. Southern Living Magazine named it Best Seafood Restaurant four years in a row. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it offers a wonderful variety of unique seafood dishes as well as poultry, steak, pork and daily lunch specials.
River City Cafe – When you need a comfortable, no hassle place to go with the best burgers on the beach, it’s River City Cafe. Rustic and fun, there’s no better place to get that one of a kind, juicy, run down your chin, always made fresh burger.
As one of the most popular oceanside destinations on the east coast Myrtle Beach is also home to Planet Hollywood, Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and the House of Blues.
Places to Go
Here are some area attractions worth visiting…
Alligator Adventure – US 17 in North North Myrtle. Beach An alligator park and reptile research institute that adjoins Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, this is one of the largest reptile facilities in the world. In addition to alligators and crocodiles, the natural 12.5 acre setting is home to a variety of exotic birds, frogs, snakes, tortoises and lizards. All are situated in natural surroundings that emulate the beautiful wetland habitats to which these animals are accustomed.
Brookgreen Gardens – US 17 in South Murrells Inlet – Located twenty miles south of Myrtle Beach, Brookgreen Gardens is known as the most beautiful sculpture garden in America. In 1930, Archer Milton Huntington, and his sculptress wife, Anna Hyatt Huntington, purchased four colonial plantations. In 1931 they organized a non-profit institution to preserve habitats for native plants and animals while providing an outdoor showcase for American Figurative Sculpture.
Broadway At the Beach – 1325 Celebrity Circle in Myrtle Beach – A 350-acre entertainment complex in the heart of Myrtle Beach, offers 20 restaurants including Hard Rock Café, Planet Hollywood, Official All Star Café, Easyriders Café and NASCAR Café. Broadway at the Beach, nestled around a 23-acre lake, features more than 100 specialty shops and attractions such as Celebrity Square nightclub district, Carmike’s Broadway Cinema 16, The Palace Theater, NASCAR SpeedPark and Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf.
Family Kingdom Ocean Front Park – 301 3rd Ave South in Myrtle Beach – South Carolina’s largest roller coaster and largest Ferris wheel are both available here. . The Swamp Fox Roller Coaster is a great wooden classic with a 62-foot drop. Children like the miniature locomotive that chugs around the grounds. The antique carousel was built in Germantown, Pennsylvania, in 1932. Other attractions include go-carts, bumper cars and the Express Himalaya.
Myrtle Waves – 3000 10th N. Ext. in Myrtle Beach – 20 acres of water rides and slides. The Carolinas’ largest water park is also the tallest; Turbo Twisters is a 10-story, lightening-fast ride. With 30 rides and attractions, Myrtle Waves is proudly staffed by professionally certified lifeguards. The just-for-children Tadpool, only 18 inches deep, includes a Little Dipper Slide and the Magic Mushroom water fountain.
South Carolina Aquarium – The South Carolina Aquarium on Charleston Harbor depicts the rich variety of life that exists in the aquatic environments of South Carolina. The Aquarium brings together over 10,000 animals and 5,000 live plants normally separated by hundreds of miles in the wild. Journey from the Mountain to Sea, and learn how these environments, no matter how different, are mutually interdependent. River otters, snakes, fish, turtles, alligators, and birds, all in their natural habitats will be found under one roof. The South Carolina Aquarium offers the perfect balance between conservation, education, and entertainment.
Waccatee Zoological Farm – 8500 Enterprise Road, Myrtle Beach – The Waccatee Zoological Farm began approximately 20 years ago as a private collection of exotic and domestic animals. Today, on a 500-acre farm nearly hidden away in the Socastee community west of Surfside Beach, Waccatee Zoo contains more than 100 species of animals. Including a herd of miniature horses and deer; a variety of big cats such as a black leopard, a lion, cougars and tigers; a long-necked llama; ostriches; a rainbow of exotic birds; and a menagerie of monkeys, the Waccatee Zoo is a wonderful off-the-beaten-path treat for the family. The zoo also has a petting area that is ideal for introducing small children to animals.
The popularity of the Grand Strand has soared, with an estimated 12 million visitors pouring in every year. It is easy to avoid traffic snarls if you travel at the right times of day and night. Plan your trip so that you will be driving U.S. Highway 501 into Myrtle Beach before 7 AM or after 7 PM Monday through Thursday, or in the middle of the day. Another rule of thumb is to stay off beach exit roads right after hotel checkout time on Saturdays and Sundays. You will be much better off to check out of your room, put the bags in the car and plan to spend time in town or on the beach until late afternoon.
An excellent highway system has recently been completed providing easy access from all directions and within the area.
If you’re coming to the Grand Strand from eastern North Carolina, try Interstate 40 east or U.S. Highway 17 south to Wilmington, North Carolina. At Wilmington, head southbound on U.S. 17. Avoid rush hours.
From Charleston, take U.S. 17 north. It could be crowded at peak traffic times.
If you’re traveling north on Interstate 95, take Exit 170 (clearly marked “Myrtle Beach”), near Florence. Take U.S. Highway 76 to U.S. 501 and follow it the rest of the way. Vacationers heading to North Strand beaches — Little River, Crescent Beach, Ocean Drive, Atlantic Beach and Windy Hill — should veer to the left at Marion, cross two lanes of U.S. 501 and continue on U.S. 76. At Nichols, take a right onto S.C. Highway 9.
If you’re traveling Interstate 20, follow the signs toward Florence. The road will merge into I-95 north and bypass Florence. Then take Exit 170, same as if you’d come the whole way on I-95.
If you’re traveling south on I-95, take Exit 193 at Dillon. Head toward Latta, then take U.S. 501. If you’re going to North Myrtle Beach, you can take S.C. 9 all the way from Dillon.