The Grand Strand is a 60+ mile stretch of sandy beach that is one of the premier beach destinations in all of the United States. Every summer millions of tourists hit its shores to enjoy the refreshing waters, explore the coastal sand dunes and spend time at one of its many golf courses.
The crown jewel of the Grand Strand is the city of Myrtle Beach, which is the epicenter of all the action. Here high-rise condos and hotels line the sand, and the city is practically overrun with families on holiday. Accordingly, there are a huge amount of restaurants and family attractions to entertain visitors. The kids will be enthralled by the ferris wheel, amusement parks and beach, while adults will enjoy the golf courses and entertaining attractions like the Carolina Opry. A good example of Myrtle Beach’s dichotomy is that it’s probably one of the few places in the world that has an equal amount of both 18-hole golf courses and miniature golf courses.
But just because Myrtle Beach gets the lion’s share of visitors doesn’t mean there’s not a lot else to see in the Grand Strand area.
To the north, the city of North Myrtle Beach is a quieter alternative to the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach, as the high-rises are replaced by beach homes and smaller oceanfront motels. At the end of the Grand Strand, at Little River, there are some marshes that can be explored by canoe or kayak, which is a good way to get off the beaten path a bit.
Just across the state line, a bit further north, travelers can find even more peace and quiet at the Brunswick Plantation and Golf Resort. Situated on 1700 private acres, this resort offers luxury condo rentals, three golf courses and a couple of swimming pools. But though it seems a world away from the tourist-laden Grand Strand, it’s actually only a 20-minute drive.
[Also see our travel article “Exploring Coastal South Carolina“]
If we travel south from Myrtle Beach instead of north we’ll run into a host of different attractions. The small town of Georgetown packs an outsized punch when it comes to historic attractions. Its central historic district dates back to the 18th century – when the area was bustling with plantations – and is incredibly well preserved. The historic buildings along the waterfront have mostly been converted into restaurants or bars and are a great place to stop in for a bite.
On the way to Georgetown from Myrtle Beach travelers will pass through Pawleys Island, which is a small, sandy island that was a popular resort destination in the 19th century. Today it has a quiet pace that makes it ideal for cycling or lounging on the sand.