Nestled along the sleepy coast of South Carolina's low country, the resort area of Myrtle Beach is a series of barrier islands and beach towns extending from Little River to historic Georgetown. With a modest population of 26,600 people, the city of Myrtle Beach is fairly compact at 13.5 square miles. Its metropolitan area, though, stretches across South Carolina's expansive 1,134-square-mile Horry County, which is home to nearly 240,000 residents.
Dating back to the Waccamaw Indians, the area that is now Myrtle Beach was bought by the Conway Lumber Company after the Civil War, opening up several new jobs. After the work week was done, railroad and lumber employees would make their way to the sunny shores of Myrtle Beach, thus making it a top tourism spot in the area.
The tradition continues today with the over 14 million people that visit the region annually. In fact, Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular resort destinations on the Southeast coast, thanks to its 60 miles of scenic sands and wide range of restaurants, golf courses, shops and live entertainment venues.
A verifiable sanctuary of sun, fun and surf, outdoor recreation tops the list of visitor activities. Visitors can cast a line into the sparkling blue Atlantic waters on a deep sea fishing charter or canoe through the winding waterways of wetlands, creeks and rivers. Or, float down the 425-foot-long lazy river at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park and Oceanfront Water Park, the region's only beachfront water park.
The excitement of Myrtle Beach spills over to land. With more than 100 championship courses, Myrtle Beach is home to some of the most challenging courses in the world. In fact, it was named Best Value for the Money Destination in 2008 by Golf Digest magazine. Players can tee off at one of four unique courses at the phenomenal Barefoot Resort & Golf. Designed by celebrated golf architects Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye, these distinctive fairways combine stunning views and versatile terrain to create some of the most visually stunning courses in the region.
Off the fairways, guests can stroll through the country's largest sculpture garden at Brookgreen Gardens, or come face-to-face with nature's fiercest predators at Alligator Adventure. Thrill seekers flock to the new Hard Rock Park, the world's first rock 'n roll theme park, while history buffs peruse the South Carolina Hall of Fame. Conveniently located in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, the Hall of Fame is a captivating tribute to the people who made Myrtle Beach what it is today.
After night falls, Myrtle Beach lights up with unforgettable dining. Not surprisingly, Myrtle Beach is a haven for fresh seafood. In fact, the region's famed Murrells Inlet is nicknamed "the seafood capital of South Carolina." Seafood lovers can enjoy the many Calabash-style restaurants speckled across the Grand Strand. Designed for a hearty appetite, restaurants such as Benjamin's Calabash Seafood and Crabby Mike's serve up hefty portions of lightly battered, deep-fried delights.
Not just for seafood lovers, Myrtle Beach offers a wide range of cuisines to tickle the taste buds. From Southern homestyle cooking to international fare, Myrtle Beach boasts endless choices at more than 1,800 full-service restaurants. After dinner, indulge in live entertainment at the critically-acclaimed Carolina Opry or marvel at the high-flying spectacle of acrobats, jugglers and clowns at Le Grande Cirque at the Palace Theatre. However they find themselves watching the sun set, visitors to Myrtle Beach are quick to discover why this is the place for family vacations, weekend getaways, business trips and more.