Vacation and Tourism Information for Myrtle Beach, SC
Myrtle Beach is a major tourist destination along the South Atlantic seaboard of the United States, widely known for its wide beaches, large selection of challenging golf links, excellent seafood restaurants, and outlet-style shopping activities. It is set at the center of a 60-mile long chain of tranquil, sandy beaches known as the 'Grand Strand', and is only a couple hours' drive from such historical day-trip destinations as Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC.
- Land Area: 16.8 miles
- Elevation: 33 feet
- Parks: 3
- Golf Courses: 120
- Media: 1 newspaper (The Sun News), 1 TV (WFXB), 1 Radio (Surf 94.9 FM)
- Transportation: International Airport
Weather and Climate:
- Average daily temperature — 64 degrees Fahrenheit
- Average water temperature — 66 degrees Fahrenheit
- Average rainfall — 55 inches
Famous Landmarks & Historic Places:
- Hopsewee Plantation
Famous Natives and Residents:
- Vanna White (Wheel of Fortune)
Notable Moments in History:
- Kings Highway began as an Indian trail long before Europeans settled along the Grand Strand. Later, this trail became the route from the northern states to Charleston and Savannah.
- The area's first inhabitants were the Waccamaw and Winyah Indians, who named the region Chicora meaning 'the land.'
- Early attempts by European explorers to settle the Grand Strand were disastrous. Spaniard Lucas Vasques de Allyon founded the first colony in North America here in 1526, but the settlement was ravaged by disease, and the inhabitants perished within a year.
- English colonists formed Prince George Parish and laid out plans for Georgetown, the state's third oldest city, in 1730. Surrounded by rivers and marshlands, Georgetown became the center of America's colonial rice empire.
- Before the Civil War, plantation owners turned Pawleys Island into one of the first summer resorts on the Atlantic coast. Historic cottages and other landmarks still stand.
- Until the 1900s, the beaches of Horry County were virtually uninhabited due to the county's geographical inaccessibility and poor economy.
- Near the turn of the century, the Burroughs & Collins Company, a timber/turpentine firm with extensive holdings, began developing the resort potential of the Strand. In 1901, the company built the first hotel, the Seaside Inn. At that time, oceanfront lots sold for $25, and buyers received an extra lot if they built a house valued at $500 or more. The community was called New Town until the Horry Herald newspaper held a contest to name the area. Mrs. F.E. Burroughs, wife of the founder of Burroughs & Collins, won with her idea which she chose for the many trees growing wild along the shore.
- In the 1920s, a group of businessmen began building an upscale resort called Arcady at the north end of the community. Arcady featured the present Pine Lakes International Country Club (home of the Strand's first golf club and birthplace of Sports Illustrated) and the legendary Ocean Forest Hotel.
- In 1936, the Intracoastal Waterway was opened to pleasure boats and commercial shipping. During the 1940s, the Air Force Base was established and used for training and coastal patrols during World War II. The base was closed in 1993. The Pavilion was built in 1949, followed closely by the installation of the historic band organ and carousel at that site.
- The area was incorporated in 1938 and became a city in 1957.
- Hurricane Hazel demolished buildings and trees along the Strand in 1954, clearing the way for new hotels and homes. During the rebuilding phase of the 1960s, a golf boom began, with new courses being built each year. The number of golf courses along the Grand Strand now totals around 120.
- In the 1970s and '80s, construction of attractions, homes, retail shops, and other amenities increased steadily, paving the way for another boom in the early '90s. The Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 13th fastest growing area in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. The area grew 36.5 percent over the past decade.
- Birth place of Wheel of Fortune hostess, Vanna White.
- The 'Grand Strand' was coined by newspaper columnist Claude Dunnagan on 12/3/49.
- Intra-coastal waterway was originally built in order to be used as a secret passageway during WWII.
- The dance called, 'The Shag' was thought to have originated on Ocean Drive in the 40's. It began as an attempt to do the Jitterbug but the Jitterbuggers had drank too much so the slowed-down version of this became know as 'The Shag'.
- Oceanfront lots were $25 in 1905. If you built a property for at least $500 you received a second lot for free.
- The first people to arrive were a group of Spaniards from Hispaniola in 1526 who established the first European settlement 30 miles south of the town called San Miguel de Cauldape; however it was abandoned one year later when the settlers returned to their homeland.
- Listed among the top five golf values in the United States in an edition of Money magazine.
- Is the second most popular coast in the United States.
- Restaurant Business magazine ranks the area No. 1 in the U.S. for growth potential.
- One of the 100 Best Retirement Towns in America according to 'Where to Retire' magazine.
- The city's many titles include, 'The Seaside Golf Capital of the World,' 'Branson by the Sea,' 'The Campground Capital of the World,' and 'The Miniature Golf Capital of the World.'