Myrtle Beach is internationally known as a vacation destination, attracting an estimated 14 million visitors to the Grand Strand annually. Famous for its white-sand beaches, championship golf courses and abundant dining, shopping and entertainment opportunities, Myrtle Beach also has excellent residential communities that few vacationers get to see.
Featuring a 14-mile strip of land sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west, Myrtle Beach becomes a much smaller and quieter city during the offseason with a permanent popular of only 28,000. The smaller crowds and the numbered avenue grid make it much easier for locals and visitors to get around town.
Single-family homes and multi-family housing developments make up a large portion of the local real estate market. The north end of Myrtle Beach is regarded as the more residential side of town, with beach homes along the “Golden Mile” instead of high-rise hotels, and historic neighborhoods like The Dunes, Ocean Forest and Pine Lakes in place of tourist attractions.
The Intracoastal Waterway serves as the western border and has seen the addition of large, luxury homes along its banks in recent years. The south end of town includes the Market Common district on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, which closed in 1994 and is now an urban-style village with shopping, dining and new residential neighborhoods.
Myrtle Beach’s 14-mile stretch of oceanfront and easy access to the Intracoastal Waterway make boating, fishing and other watersports a focal point of the community, but there are plenty of activities on dry land to keep residents occupied year-round.
Golf, of course, is Myrtle Beach’s biggest draw, with more than 100 golf courses within a half-hour drive of the city. Tennis courts, hiking and biking trails and lots of indoor/outdoor recreation centers provide residents with plenty to do. Tennis, swimming and all the stick-and-ball fields are among the many facilities dedicated to recreation, including Myrtle Beach State Park, Grand Park at Market Common, the Grand Strand YMCA.
Despite the mild year-round climate, Myrtle Beach is offers indoor activities for those rainy days, such as the Chapin Library, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, South Carolina Children’s Museum and, of course, lots of shopping. Broadway at the Beach, Market Common and the Coastal Grand Mall are among several major retail shopping centers.
Myrtle Beach is the self-proclaimed “Golf Capital of the World” and it has the proof to support such a claim. The oldest and most famous courses are in the city limits and are credited with sparking the boom of more than 100 courses on the Grand Strand.
Pine Lakes International Country Club opened in 1927 as part of the defunct Ocean Forest Hotel property. Recently renovated and upgraded, “The Granddaddy” remains one of the top choices among local golfers. The Dunes Golf & Beach Club on the oceanfront was the second course to open in Myrtle Beach in 1954 and has hosted major national touring events.
The golf boom in the second half of the 20th century saw the addition of several courses in Myrtle Beach – the Grande Dunes, Myrtlewood Golf Club and Whispering Pines, the only municipal course on the Strand. A nice mix of private and public courses means there are plenty of good tee times to go around for locals and visitors.
Need to work on your game before hitting the links? Myrtle Beach also boasts a pair of par-3 designs with driving ranges and putting greens, as well as several golf schools in the area. For those who prefer to keep it light and fun, Myrtle Beach is also a bit of a capital for putt-putt golf.
Thanks to its Southern roots and close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, country cooking and seafood are the main courses in Myrtle Beach. Many eateries also come with an ocean view, such as the world-famous Sea Captain’s House on the northern end of “the strip” and Damon’s and its popular BBQ baby-back ribs on the south end.
Restaurant Row, located on the far northern end of the city limits, features dozens of restaurants with something for everyone, as do the popular hubs of Broadway at the Beach and Market Common. A drive down Kings Highway is like a world tour of flavors, including such international cuisine as Italian, Japanese, Mexican and more.