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Myrtle Beach is often called the vacation capital of America and it's a tag that certainly does it justice. The resort lies at the center of the famous Grand Strand, a 60 mile stretch of glorious sandy beaches and scenic bays.
The vacation spirit is in evidence everywhere in Myrtle Beach, from its traditional boardwalk amusement arcades to its stunning Ferris wheel. Visitors will also find some of the city's best seafood restaurants close to the shore.
Myrtle Beach is a popular family resort that also attracts couples who come for romantic sunsets and walks on the beach. An abundance of activities, both on and off the water, ensure that the resort is an appealing destination for visitors of any age.
Myrtle Beach is an excellent choice for short breaks as well as longer stays, and there are many attractions that should be on any 'to do' list.
Unsurprisingly, most people visit Myrtle Beach for its spectacular sandy beach. Swim, sunbathe, build castles in the sand, or simply enjoy the magical sunsets.
Myrtle Beach has so much more to offer than golden sands and sunny shores. The city is also famous for its plethora of celebrity-designed golf courses and is considered the golfing capital of the world. Popular options include the affordable Whispering Pines and mid-range Blackmoor course designed by Gary Player. Premium courses include the Jack Nicklaus-designed Long Bay and Arnold Palmer's MBN King's North.
Broadway at the Beach boasts South Carolina's biggest entertainment complex and is home to a host of top brand and specialty stores. Adventurous visitors can even take a zip line ride across the center's lake while kids can try mini golf, visit the aquarium, or enjoy rides at the Pavilion Nostalgia Park.
The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel is one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the country. It enjoys a prime location on the Boardwalk and passengers will enjoy fabulous views over the city, the beach, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Sea fishing trips are available throughout the season and the city also boasts 7 piers, including Myrtle Beach State Park Pier, Garden City Pier, and Apache Pier, where you can while away the hours with a rod and line.
Myrtle Beach State Park is one of just a few parts of the Grand Strand that hasn't been developed for tourism. The unspoiled 312-acre park includes over a mile of beach, a terrific fishing pier, and selection of nature trails through its maritime forest.
It would be rude to visit the golf capital of the world and not take advantage of its famous courses. Choose from over 100 spectacular golf courses including many designed by celebrities.
Baseball fans can see Carolina League winners, the Myrtle Beach Pelicans at their home stadium, TicketReturn.com Field. You can also find sporting events and tournaments throughout the year at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center.
Families, couples, singles, and groups will all the enjoy unique features at Ripley's Aquarium, 1110 Celebrity Circle. This large aquarium is open daily until 9 pm and is home to stingrays, sharks, and other exotic marine life.
Brookgreen Gardens is one of the city's most popular attractions and has been for over 85 years. As well as acres of beautiful gardens, a butterfly house, and zoo, you can stroll among over 900 works by some of America's most famous sculptors of the past and present.
The fabulous weather makes Myrtle Beach a great choice at any time of year. However, during summer season, from the end of May until early September, the beach and nearby attractions can become very crowded. October is considered to be one of the best months to visit - the extreme heat of summer has passed, but daytime temperatures of 77F and water temperatures of 72F mean that it's still warm enough for some beach action. December is a great time for a family vacation and exceptional events like Nights of a Thousand Candles, Broadway at the Beach Christmas Parade, and Shadrach's Winter Wonderland ensure that you will enjoy a memorable visit. Take advantage of the start of the spring golf season and warm, sunny weather by booking a break during April and May.
Many people travel from other US cities to Myrtle Beach International Airport (IATA: MYR). The airport is just 3 miles south of the city and is used by airlines like Delta, American Airlines, Spirit, and United. International visitors most commonly fly to major cities like Atlanta before catching a connecting flight to Myrtle Beach. It's one of the busiest routes, and there are several flights from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach each day. There is a regular shuttle bus service from the airport to downtown Myrtle Beach, and taxis are also readily available. Those who prefer to drive can rent a car at the airport.
Although Amtrak's Silver Service and Palmetto trains operate services to Dillon, Florence, North Charleston and Kingstree, there is no direct service to Myrtle Beach. The closest station is Florence, South Carolina, but, as it is still a 70-mile journey to Myrtle Beach, travelers are advised to arrange ongoing transport before setting off.
Drivers using Interstate 95 South can then take US 501 South for a further 66 miles to reach Myrtle Beach. Alternatively, the Veterans Highway is a 28 mile stretch of 4-lane road that links US 501 to the west of Conway and US 17 just north of Myrtle Beach. The Carolina Bays Parkway is another popular route that runs from SC 9 to US 544 and ends near Myrtle Beach Raceway.
It's fairly easy to reach Myrtle Beach by bus. Carriers include Greyhound and Southeastern Stages, and passengers may have to change en-route or book each stage separately. Buses terminate close to the beach and city center on 7th Avenue, and it's then easy to reach most parts of the city by taxi or local bus service.
Everyone is catered for in Myrtle Beach, whether you want a family friendly campground, a luxury hotel or an apartment rental. Many luxury hotel chains and boutique hotels can be found on Ocean Boulevard, close to attractions like the SkyWheel. Those who prefer a quieter area away from the bustle of the beach and tourist areas might consider North Myrtle Beach or Surfside Beach.
South Ocean Boulevard – home to some of the most luxurious hotels and condos in Myrtle Beach and popular with those who want to be close to the attractions, nightlife, and entertainment.
North Ocean Boulevard – quieter than glitzy South Ocean Boulevard. A great choice for those who want affordable accommodation that's within easy reach of the city center and the beach.
North Myrtle Beach – affordable hotels and campgrounds, yet still just a few minutes from central Myrtle Beach.
Surfside Beach – just south of the city, Surfside Beach is another top choice for families who want self-catering facilities as well as couples and groups looking for apartments and beach villas to rent. Close to the Surfside Pier, it's a great choice for anglers too.
Local bus services cover every area of town, from the beach and Broadway at the Beach to the scenic natural environment of Brookgreen Gardens and the Conway Riverway. The Lymo bus service runs over 80 buses on 22 routes and covers many of the Grand Strand cities including Myrtle Beach. Fares are very affordable, ranging from $2 to $5, but buses tend to stop running fairly early in the evening. You will also find a range of local shuttle services that take visitors to and from the airport and the city's main attractions.
Taxis are readily available and operated by a number of private companies. Although prices are set by the City of Myrtle Beach at $2.80 a mile plus $1 for each extra passenger, it can be an expensive way to get around.
Many people are dissuaded from driving in Myrtle Beach because of its road system and traffic. However, with a little planning, a car can prove a real asset, particularly if you wish to explore areas other than the main beach. The major car rental brands are well represented at the airport, and several have branches in the city. A mid-range family rental car will cost $30 per day but it's worth booking in advance as rates increase during busy periods. Many hotels have off-street parking for guests, and there are car parks throughout the city including Boardwalk Parking, Chester Street and the high rise Lanier Parking Systems at N. Kings Highway. There is no parking on Ocean Boulevard between March 1st and October 31st, and the city's parking meter system is re-installed for the same period. Meters cost $1 or $1.50 per hour depending on the location.
Myrtle Beach is a paradise for shoppers as well as for beach lovers. Some of the region's best malls and designer outlets can be found in and around the city. Visit Broadway at the Beach, the huge Coastal Grand Mall, or Barefoot Landing for clothing and accessories from leading high street brands and designers, or shop amid fountains and walkways at The Market Common.
You'll find all the main supermarket chains in Myrtle Beach including Walmart, Publix, Bi-Lo, Food Lion, Lowes, and Piggly Wiggly. Try to avoid Saturday and Sunday afternoons when visitors arriving in town flock to the stores to stock up on groceries and basics for their holiday apartments or campers.
As you'd expect from a coastal location like Myrtle Beach, seafood is fresh and plentiful. Some of the best can be found at Lee's Inlet Kitchen, Murrells Inlet or at the Sea Captain's House on N Ocean Boulevard. Head to N King's Highway for steaks and classic dishes at Thoroughbred's Chophouse and Seafood Grill or try popular southern chain restaurant, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, at Marina Parkway.