The Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach

There’s so much to see and do on the Grand Strand that you’ll need a car. Explore the area with a Jeep safari or a historic carriage tour, or rent a scooter or a Segway® for the day. If you enjoy strolling, stop by the opulent Brookgreen Gardens or the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk to ride the 18-story SkyWheel. Challenge everyone to a mini-golf tournament before a few laps on the go-kart track for some family-friendly fun. Myrtle Beach is known as the “Golf Capital of the World,” with over 250 courses, many of which are among America’s most prestigious. When you’re ready to get wet, hop on a jet ski, take to the skies on a parasail ride, or land the big one on one of the area’s excellent deep-sea charter services.

North Strand

While visitors often assume that Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand are one and the same, the area is actually composed of several unique communities. Hop in the car and discover what makes each so special!

North Myrtle Beach is perhaps best known as the home of South Carolina’s state dance, the shag. Though several beaches along the East Coast claim to be the birthplace of the legendary dance, North Myrtle Beach is the only one drawing thousands of shaggers several times each year who come to dance, party and enjoy the wide, beautiful beach. Another claim to fame? It’s also the girlhood home of Vanna White, America’s favorite game show hostess, and Kelly Tilghman, the Golf Channel’s shining star!

North Myrtle Beach

In the 1970s, several small towns – Windy Hill Beach, Crescent Beach, Ocean Drive Beach and Cherry Grove Beach – joined together to become North Myrtle Beach. United under one government, each, to some degree, retains its own identity with distinctive shopping areas, golf courses, restaurants and amusements. In recent years, Ocean Drive’s Main Street has been revitalized with new shops and restaurants and is a hot spot for nightlife. Atlantic Beach, located between Windy Hill and Crescent Beach, chose to remain independent. Once called the “Black Pearl of the Atlantic,” it is a reminder of the days of segregated beaches.

Just up Highway 17 is Little River, a village with sweeping live oaks and a small-town feel. Long home to commercial fishing fleets, the industry still thrives here, though it has also become a favorite settling place of retirees looking for a quiet coastal lifestyle.

Main Street

Our shopping district in North Myrtle Beach features over two dozen businesses and an award-winning design coordinated by a revitalization project of the downtown Ocean Drive Section. Landscaping and a view of the ocean enhance the “Main Street” experience.

Calabash-style seafood

Calabash-style seafood is known around the world, and right across the North Carolina border, you’ll find the town that made it famous! Though restaurants featuring the lightly-breaded and fried seafood are still prominent, Calabash has become popular for its variety of specialty shops and boutiques. There are also award-winning golf courses and excellent fishing.

Explore the towns of the North Strand. Otherwise, you’ll miss some of the best the Grand Strand has to offer.

South Strand

Like siblings with different interests and distinct personalities, so are the communities that make up the 60 miles collectively called the Grand Strand. Head south on Highway 17 and you’ll soon find life a little more laid-back!

Garden City

Surfside Beach and Garden City Beach, minutes from Myrtle Beach proper, developed as “family beaches” in the 1950s. And while change has come in the intervening years, they still remain family-oriented with cottages, fishing piers, traditional open-air hot dog diners, and arcades. It’s not unusual to see several generations of extended family enjoying the beach together.

Murrells Inlet

Just beyond Garden City lies Murrells Inlet, a scenic village renowned for its seafood. Once populated mostly by fishing boats, seafood restaurants and their owners, it has, in recent years, become a highly desirable residential community with beautiful creek views and stately old live oaks. One highlight of the area is the Marshwalk and Veterans Pier, a community project built along the waterfront. It’s a wonderful place to stroll after a meal of freshly caught seafood!

Rich in history, Murrells Inlet marks the northernmost end of the Waccamaw Neck. This narrow spit of land between the Waccamaw River and Atlantic Ocean was once home to great rice plantations. Get a hint of what life might have been like in those days with stops at Huntington Beach State Park and Brookgreen Gardens.

Huntington Beach State Park

The wide, pristine beaches and marshes at Huntington Beach State Park offer a look at the coast without development. It’s a great place for shelling and to view native alligators and dozens of species of birds.

Brookgreen Gardens

One of the world’s largest outdoor sculpture gardens, Brookgreen Gardens is carved from several of the old plantations. It features more than 2,000 species of native plants, native wildlife, historical and cultural exhibits, and tours and excursions.

Pawleys Island

Continue through lushly landscaped Litchfield Beach to Pawleys Island. Known worldwide for rope hammocks, this picturesque little barrier island wears the title “arrogantly shabby” like a badge of honor, though big modern homes now sit alongside the historic old cottages and inns. Discover the communities of the South Strand, Myrtle’s quiet but entrancing “sisters.”

Leave a Comment