Myrtle Beach Travel Guide

USA  #6 in Best Cheap Family Vacations
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Courtesy of Kelly Verdeck Photography/Getty Images

Myrtle Beach Area Map

Neighborhoods

There's no question that the main attraction in a small town like Myrtle Beach (a little more than 20 square miles), located along the length of the South Carolina shore, is the surf and sand. Most of the beach is open to the public and very clean, but the area can get crowded during the summer months. It isn't a bad idea to stake out a spot early in the day.

Unlike other beach destinations like Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Ocean City, Maryland, the beaches here are not backed by a boardwalk; rather, hotels and houses sit right on the sand. Ocean Boulevard is the road closest to the water and is lined with hotels and shops. U.S. Highway 17, also called Kings Highway, lies parallel to Ocean Boulevard. Kings Highway is a major thoroughfare into the city and is sometimes nicknamed Restaurant Row for the dining establishments that line it.

This bustling part of the city sits only about 2 miles inland. Highly recommended by locals and regular vacationers, this complex hosts a large group of bars, restaurants, shops and the popular Ripley's Aquarium. We recommend visiting for the Dangerous Reef exhibit, where sharks swim past visitors on all sides as they walk through.

North Myrtle Beach

Located about 11 miles north of the Grand Strand, North Myrtle Beach is known for being quieter and more residential than Myrtle Beach proper. The town still offers lots of activities and some beachfront for guests.

Recent travelers suggested making a stop at the Barefoot Landing complex, which also has a good collection of shops and restaurants. There is also live entertainment here, such as the Alabama Theatre and the House of Blues.

South of the city is Myrtle Beach State Park. Located on 312 acres of oceanfront, the park offers a campground, a fishing pier and a nature trail to take in the natural sights.

About 15 miles west of Myrtle Beach is the city of Conway, which is filled with art studios and funky galleries as well as cute bistros and shops. For those on a budget, hotels here are relatively more affordable than those you might find in Myrtle Beach.

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