Myrtle Beach is a coastal resort city in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. It is the de facto hub of both the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area and the Grand Strand, a complex of beach towns and barrier islands stretching from Little River to Georgetown, South Carolina.
The Grand Strand area receives a large influx of visitors during the spring, summer and fall months, with over ten million tourists visiting Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas. The area’s attractions include the beaches and many golf courses, as well as a number of amusement parks, an aquarium, dozens of restaurants including seafood restaurants, the large shopping complexes as “Broadway at the Beach” or “Coastal Grand Mall”, the largest mall of South Carolina, an IMAX theater, dinner theater, nightclubs, and tourist shops. The area is home to scores of hotels, many of which are beachfront hotels. Since 1986, Myrtle Beach has been the home of a theater industry, spawned by Calvin Gilmore and his original Carolina Opry show, which continues to be a draw for tourists 23 years later. Other attractions include the Myrtle Beach State Park and fishing.
Discover All The Fun Things To Do In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Enjoy endless excitement and fun things to do in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Experience for yourself the allure that draws thousands of visitors every year – making us one of America’s favorite vacation destinations.
The Myrtle Beach CVB boasts a healthy list of activities for the adventurous spirit or anyone seeking comforting recreation. Spend your days shopping at area malls, boutiques, and specialty stores. Finish your evenings with a memorable night at the theater, museums, or lively family entertainment. Some of the most popular attractions and fun things to do in South Carolina include:
Arising from a getaway for lumber workers from Conway, Myrtle Beach has rapidly developed into a major tourist destination in the Southeastern United States. As of 2006, the metro area had an estimated population of 299,353.
Myrtle Beach History
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the general area along Long Bay was inhabited by the Waccamaw Indians. The Waccamaw used the river for travel and fished along the shore around Little River. Waties Island, the primary barrier island along Long Bay, has evidence of burial and shell mounds, remains of the visiting Waccamaw.
The first settlers along Long Bay arrived in the late 17th century, attempting to extend the plantation system outward towards the ocean. Records are sparse from this period, with most of the recorded history pieced together from old land grants. They were met with mixed results, producing unremarkable quantities of indigo and tobacco. The coast’s soil was sandy and most of the crops yields were of an inferior quality.
Prior to the American Revolution, the area along the future Grand Strand was essentially uninhabited. Several families received land grants along the coast, including most notably the Withers: John, Richard, William and Mary. They received an area around present-day Myrtle Swash, at the time known as Wither’s Swash or the 8-Mile Swash. Another grant was given to James Minor, a barrier island named Minor Island, now Waties Island, off of the coast near Little River.
Mary Wither’s gravestone at Prince George Winyah Episcopal church speaks to the remoteness of the former Strand: “She gave up the pleasures of Society and retired to Long Bay, where she resided a great part of her life devoted to the welfare of her children.”
The F.G. Burroughs steamship, America reached independence, Horry County remained essentially unchanged, and the coast remained barren. George Washington scouted out the Southern states during his term, traveling down the King’s Highway. He stayed the night at Windy Hill and was led across Wither’s Swash to Georgetown by Jeremiah Vereen.
The Withers family remained one of the few settlers around Myrtle Beach for the next half-century. In 1822, a strong hurricane swept the house of R. F. Withers into the ocean, drowning 18 people inside. The tragedy made the Withers family decide to abandon their plots along the coast, and the area, left unattended, began to return to forest.
Following the Civil War, most of the abandoned land along the ocean was purchased by the Conway Lumber Company, now New South Lumber. The company built the Conway & Seashore Railroad to move chopped timber from the coast inland. A “Withers” post office was established at the site of the old Swash.
Original Myrtle Beach Airforce Base during World War IIAfter the railroad was finished, employees of the lumber and railroad company would take train flatcars down to the beach on their weekends off, in essence becoming the first Grand Strand tourists . The area where the railroad ended was nicknamed “New Town”, contrasting it with the “Old Town”, or Conway.
At the turn of the 19th century, Burroughs envisioned turning New Town into a tourist destination, a coastal town rivaling the northern beaches like Coney Island. Burroughs passed away in 1897, but his sons completed the railroad’s expansion to the beach and opened the Seaside Inn in 1901, to house new visitors .
Founded in 1938, a contest was held to name the town and Burroughs’ wife suggested honoring the locally abundant shrub, the wax myrtle. So the town was named Myrtle Beach. It continued to grow for the next couple of decades, and in 1957, it finally incorporated. In 1940, Myrtle Beach Municipal Airport was built, and Kings Highway was finally paved, giving Myrtle Beach its first primary highway.