People choose to visit the Myrtle Beach area for lots of reasons, but it mostly boils down to this: options for fun. With 60 uninterrupted miles of beautiful sandy beaches, this coastal strip of South Carolina known as the Grand Strand is the necklace that strings together a diversity of beach destinations. Pick your pearl: the quiet fishing village of Little River, the luxury resorts of North Myrtle Beach, the family-focused beaches of Garden City and Surfside, the culinary haven of Murrells Inlet, the laid-back, Southern pace of Litchfield and Pawleys Island, the historical richness of Georgetown or shoot the moon and go for the bustling, high-excitement amusements of Myrtle Beach. The Grand Strand truly is your vacation oyster.
A Do-It-All Destination
Here's the real beauty of a stay on the Grand Strand: No matter where you decide to lay your head, a short drive enables you to experience it all, be it a deep-sea saltwater fishing excursion, parasailing over the waves, a day of shopping at local boutiques, outlet malls and flea markets, an afternoon golfing on the best courses in the South, memorable casual and fine dining, water park hijinks, live Vegas-style entertainment or simply a morning watching the tide come in as you sip a cold beverage. If you're looking for the best the beach has to offer, the Grand Strand is your treasure trove. It's one of the reasons Myrtle Beach topped TripAdvisor's list of travel destinations in 2015 and consistently turns up as a top choice for beaches in the U.S.
Affordable Family Fun
A Grand Strand vacation is also affordable, with lodging, dining and activities to fit any size wallet. This makes it a particularly attractive choice for families and budget-conscious travelers. For the ultimate outdoor experience, stay at one of the area's full-service campgrounds, many of which are beachfront and outfitted to accommodate RVs and tent campers alike. Fire up the grill, watch the sunset and take the kids shelling. Sometimes it's the simple things that make for a great getaway.
Yesterday and Today
But the Myrtle Beach area wasn't always the place where people came to fulfill dreams of sand and surf. Once the hideaway of pirates like Blackbeard and Drunken Jack, this stretch of coastline eventually caught the eye of British colonists who established settlements and rice plantations, particularly in the Georgetown area.
The area remained largely undeveloped until the building of the beach's first hotel in 1901, which marked the birth of what may well be the world's largest coastal playground. Soon thereafter, developers held a contest to name this new vacation hotspot and selected "Myrtle Beach" as the winning entry -- a fitting choice considering the many colorful crepe myrtle trees that flourish along the coast.
A destructive visit from Hurricane Hazel in 1954 launched a construction boom during which many new beach homes and hotels were built. The first golf courses made their appearance in the 1960s, with more than 100 currently luring professional and recreational golfers from across the country.
Today, the Grand Strand is a vacation playground, and the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce estimates that 14 million visitors annually come to experience its kaleidoscope of sights, activities and entertainment. Learn more about planning your ultimate Grand Strand vacation here.