Friday, July 27, 2012

Your Guide to Grand Strand Beaches

When you come to the coast to spend your vacation days lying on the shore and splashing in the ocean, there is one thing you need to remember: all beaches are not created equal. Sure, they all have the same basic elements of sea, sand and sun, but each beach is famous for its own special reasons. Instead of heading straight for the closest stretch of coast, take a moment to learn about each area and discover which is the perfect fit for you.

Boasting 6 miles of sandy shores, North Myrtle Beach is home to Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach and Windy Hill. Spend your day soaking up the sun and digging for shells or let North Myrtle Beach Horseback riding take you for an excursion along the coast. However you choose to spend your beach day, be sure to take a time out and visit The Hippo, the largest inflatable waterslide in the world! Located between 1st and 2nd Avenues South, this three-story waterslide only charges $3 per ride or $20 for an all-day wrist band.

Myrtle Beach
If you want to be in the heart of the action, Myrtle Beach is the place to go. Not only can you enjoy beautiful beaches, but the famous new boardwalk is just a few steps away. Stretching from 14th Avenue North to 2nd Avenue North, the boardwalk is home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions the whole family will love. It's the ideal place to people watch and make new friends! If you’re a surfer looking for a great place to catch a wave, make your way to Springmaid pier on the southern end of Ocean  Boulevard or to 64th Avenue North.

Myrtle Beach State Park:
Nestled among a sea-side forest, Myrtle Beach State Park offers an alternative to the bustling Grand Strand beaches. This isolated area also boasts nature trails, fishing areas, and classes to learn more about the area, wildlife, and ocean-life! Admission costs $3 for adults (16+)- children and seniors (65+) are free!

Surfside Beach

Known as the family beach of the Grand Strand, Surfside separates itself from the noise and bustle of Myrtle Beach without feeling isolated. This beautiful area is the perfect place to build sandcastles and boogie board with the kids. Bring a cooler to enjoy an oceanside picnic or sit on the balcony of the famous River City Café and munch on juicy burgers while taking in the panoramic view.
A locals’ secret and high school hang-out! Well south of the Myrtle Beach city limits, this area has fewer high-rise hotels and advertisements, giving it a small beach-town feel. Unlike some of the busier areas along the Grand Strand, parking is free! And fisherman should know- the Garden City Pier is a fishing hot spot.

Murrells Inlet
If a low-country atmosphere is what you seek, Murrells Inlet is your final destination. This area does not boast your typical sand-and-surf beach. Instead, you’ll find incredible views of the marshes and waterways as you walk along the famous boardwalk known as The Marshwalk. Don’t forget your gear, as this area offers excellent fishing. If you’re feeling adventurous, rent a kayak and explore the area, looking for wildlife and little islands just offshore. At the end of your adventure, take advantage of one of the dozens of nearby restaurants- after all, Murrells Inlet is the Seafood Capital of the Coast!

For beautifully preserved beaches, nature exploration and a touch of history, visit Huntington Beach State Park. Once you’ve gotten your fill of the ocean, there are dozens of areas for you to explore. Look for alligators in the park’s fresh water lagoons and salt marshes, journey down the coastline on the 26 mile bike trail, or take a tour of the Spanish-styled Atalaya Castle, former winter home of local arts pioneer Anna Hyatt Huntington. Huntington Beach State Park charges an entry fee of $5 for adults (13+) and $3 for children (6-12).

Once you’ve selected your perfect beach, click here to learn about parking in each of these areas. As you’re heading into town, remember to stop at the Official MyrtleBeach Welcome Center in Aynor, South Carolina for additional area information and to purchase discounted tickets to area attractions!

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