Where to Park Your Towel in Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach’s iconic Grand Strand beach spans 60 miles of windswept South Carolina coastline. Zoom in further, though, and you’ll find dozens of smaller beaches, each with its own distinct personality. Let us help you find the best beach in Myrtle Beach, whether you want to lie on your beach blanket, hang ten, or escape the crowds.
Best Beach for an Uncrowded Boardwalk | North Myrtle Beach
North Myrtle Beach is full of kitschy charm, without the crush of tourists found further south in Myrtle Beach proper. Enjoy people-watching along Cherry Grove Pier or shopping at Barefoot Landing, a fishing-village-themed boardwalk lined with souvenir shops and attractions including House of Blues and a gator farm called Alligator Adventure. This beach also has strong, choppy waves, making it a popular hangout for surfers.
Must-do activity: Surfing lessons—the small waves here are perfect for kids and beginners of all ages.
Other recommendations: Buy an unusual souvenir (think shark teeth and alligator heads) in the Gay Dolphin Gift Cove or take a peep at the oddities within Ripley’s Believe it or Not on North Ocean Boulevard.
Best Beach if You’re Traveling with Kids | Myrtle Beach Main Strip
There are countless kid-friendly things to do in Myrtle Beach, and the Main Strip is the epicenter. After a morning of swimming and sandcastle-building along the Grand Strand, stop by Broadway at the Beach’s Pavilion Park for a ride on the Myrtle Turtle coaster and the old-fashioned carousel.
Must-do activity: Step inside the glass gondolas at the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel to see aerial views of the Atlantic.
Other recommendations: Little ones will have a blast at Myrtle Waves Water Park, whose aquatic attractions include a lazy river, wave pool, and several twisting water slides.
Best Beach for Nature Lovers | Myrtle Beach State Park
Explore tranquil Myrtle Beach State Park, home to a protected maritime forest brimming with oak trees, wax myrtles, and blooming magnolias. Hike on the short, groomed trails within the forest or grab a boogie board and ride the gentle waves into the beach.
Must-do activity: Go horseback riding along equestrian trails near the beach in the off-season, November to February.
Other recommendations: Fish for flounder, king mackerel, and trout off the park’s pier or let the kiddos climb one of the three on-site playgrounds.
Best Beach to Have (Almost) to Yourself | Surfside Beach
Along the Myrtle Beach coastline, seclusion is a relative term—but Surfside Beach is about as uncrowded as it gets. Here, the white sands stretch as far as the eye can see with plenty of space for relaxation.
Must-do activity: Rent an umbrella from the lifeguard stations that dot the sand and stake out your own piece of paradise.
Other recommendation: Schedule a surfing lesson at Eternal Wave Surf Shop.
Best Beach to See Wildlife | Huntington Beach State Park
Within Huntington Beach State Park, there are 2,500 acres of oceanfront dunes, marshland, and forests with miles of nature trails and boardwalks. Keep an eye out for resident alligators, great blue herons, and crabs.
Must-do activity: Take a guided audio tour through Atalaya Castle, a Spanish-style manse steps from the beach that dates back to the 1930s.
Other recommendations: Pet a stingray or horseshoe crab in the touch tank at the park’s Education Center. Embark on a pontoon cruise through the stunning Brookgreen Gardens.
Photos: Cherry Grove Pier.North Myrtle beach by Pierre Rattini under CC BY-ND 2.0; Myrtle Beach by James Willamor under CC BY-SA 2.0; Walkway by Jacklyn Viazanica under CC BY 2.0; Myrtle Beach-2011-08-08-010 by Perry Quan under CC BY-SA 2.0; Egret Waiting by fran.trudeau under CC BY-SA 2.0
Stephanie McDaniel is a political theorist-turned-novelist from South Carolina. On the rare occasion she’s not writing, she spends her time folk dancing, singing, and adding sea salt to Lake Michigan.