Garden City Beach
Credit: Perry_Baker 2007

Planning your summer vacation and not sure where to go? While the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina has literally hundreds of attractions, restaurants and live entertainment to be enjoyed, the 60 miles of coastline has remained the main event. The white, sandy beaches and welcoming ocean waters are what draws back more than 17 million visitors each year.

The beaches in the area have been likened to a playground for families for decades. From playing in the sand to jumping in the surf, walking the pier to jet skiing the open waters, there's no limit to how the ocean can be enjoyed. In March a South Carolina-based blog erroneously reported issues with the waters in our area. However, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released a report on March 18 reaffirming that all beach waters remain safe and offer exceptional quality for swimming, fishing and enjoying, just as they have been for years.

With 60 miles to choose from, this large of an area can be a bit overwhelming. Here are my recommendations for some of the best beaches to stay, shop, eat and enjoy.

Garden City Beach

The quiet and beautiful area of Garden City is known for its beachfront homes, dotting the shoreline with pastel colors and southern charm. The restaurants are also excellent – I especially love Gulfstream Café – and the pier, which features live music nightly, is a can't miss. The beaches in Garden City are wide and white, and right across the street you can also catch the serene Intracoastal Waterway.

Myrtle Beach State Park


Beginning in May the rare Loggerhead sea turtle will begin nesting on the shores of the Myrtle Beach State Park. They are an endangered species and protecting their nesting ground is a priority for the state park. They offer educational walking tours to explore the grounds, so visitors and locals alike can appreciate these creatures. The park also boasts a lovely pier, where visitors can fish and crab right from the edge, and a peaceful beach.

North Myrtle Beach


Aptly located on the northern end of the area, North Myrtle Beach's downtown has a nostalgic, beach town feel. As the birthplace of South Carolina's state dance, the shag, the area still has several shag bars where you can put your moves to test any night of the week. Local favorite Fat Harold's even offers free lessons for shag newbies on Tuesday nights. The beach scene here is mostly quiet and family friendly, alongside a good mix of attractions to entertain.

Litchfield Beach


Several scenic resorts and golf courses call Litchfield home, for its remote location and picturesque white-sand beaches. The shopping is also great in the area, with many quaint boutique shops lining the main thoroughfare. If you're a biker, the trails in the area are second to none and allow visitors to take in the beauty of the area.

Huntington Beach State Park

Credit: Perry Baker_2007

Our other state park, Huntington, is one of the best places in South Carolina to bird watch. Visitors come from all around to watch a variety of magnificent birds year round. Many also enjoy the hiking and biking trails, as well as the historic and sprawling Atalaya Castle. Across the street from Huntington is the breathtaking Brookgreen Gardens, which features acre upon acre of expertly maintained gardens surrounding hundreds of figurative sculptures.

For more information on these beaches, go to