Most of the city's smaller eateries sit along the two major roadways that run parallel to the beach — North King's Highway and North Ocean Boulevard. Both of these streets fill up at night during the high season with tourists walking to the various activities found there, such as the Nightmare Haunted House and the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel.
Like most of South Carolina, barbecue is at the heart of Myrtle Beach’s food scene, but you’ll also find plenty of fresh seafood on the menu. Aspen Grille on North King’s Highway is where the locals go to celebrate special occasions, as it’s considered one of the best restaurants in the city. This is the place to nosh on appetizing dishes like local shrimp risotto and seared New Bedford sea scallops. Be sure to visit on the weekends - they often have a piano player entertaining customers. Don't miss out on grabbing a slice of their famous seven-layer chocolate cake before you leave, either.
Tourists often head to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit to get their dose of South Carolina cuisine - high praise considering South Carolina's wealth of great barbeque joints. The restaurant offers everything from brisket to ribs with a hearty helping of its signature sauce. If you’re looking to fit in with the locals, head over to the Little Pigs Bar-B-Q. You may have a long wait to even get near the restaurant during the tourist season, but it will be well worth the wait. The restaurant is known for its awesome hush puppies, but its combo meals are especially popular, and the menu has plenty of choices to please the little ones.
When the sun goes down, stay near the beach and stroll along Ocean Drive or enjoy a local brew at the Atlas Tap House with its 25 beers on tap. Broadway on the Beach is a very popular spot for night or day, as it has a little bit of everything, including an aquarium, seasonal fireworks, a Ripley’s Believe It or Not venue and plenty of stores, pubs, and restaurants. If you’re looking for live concerts, head over to the House of Blues on Highway 17 and discover for yourself why "The HoB" is the place to be for great music.
Myrtle Beach has a colorful history that includes everything from pirates to ghosts, but it wasn’t until the 1920s that the area came into its own. Developers came in and began to build high-end resorts and the area’s first golf course, the Pine Lakes International Country Club. The area continued to develop until the 1970s when the local population tripled in size and it became known as one of the country’s popular golf hubs.
Visitors and locals tend to stick with outdoor activities, but the Art Museum of Myrtle Beach is a great way to immerse yourself in culture on a rainy day. There’s always something going on in Myrtle Beach by way of annual events and festivals. Some of the more popular events include the annual Sun Fun festival, the Craftsmen’s Classic Arts and Crafts festival and the many small wine festivals that take place throughout the year.
Myrtle Beach becomes very congested during the high tourist season, making it difficult to get around no matter what mode of transportation you choose. You’ll find plenty of pedestrians along Ocean Boulevard and the beach areas, but a lack of sidewalks and the neighborhood’s 15-mile length makes walking around the town difficult and dangerous on the more well-traveled roads.
Radio-dispatched cabs are always available, as is Uber, but most of the locals and tourists prefer the free shuttles that run from the hotel and beach areas to attractions like Broadway at the Beach. There are also convenient public buses that take passengers throughout Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas. For bikers, the southern portion of Ocean Boulevard, the Robert M. Grissom Parkway and a few smaller roads have dedicated bike lanes, but with as much traffic as Myrtle Beach gets, biking is not the best transportation option.
Traffic and the lack of large expressways makes Myrtle Beach difficult to get in and out of during any time of year. It’s a full 80 miles away from the nearest interstate highway, I-95, and most of the routes between there and the city are simple two- or four-lane roads, so give yourself plenty of extra time. Once you arrive in Myrtle Beach by car, parking won’t be difficult except near the beach during the peak tourist season. Be punctual about feeding your parking meter, however, as the parking authority is notoriously vigilant.
Myrtle Beach residents enjoy a relatively low cost of living for a coastal city. The overall cost of living ranks lower than the national average and other major cities in the southeast, although food and utilities rate slightly higher. Expect to pay less than $700 per month for an apartment, although that figure may go up depending on the proximity to the beach. Gas in town costs roughly 9 percent less than the national average, which helps when you consider the traffic you might find yourself caught in when the tourist season is in full bloom. Beer aficionados have nothing to complain about, as you can order a craft beer on tap for as little as $5 and bottled beer for as little as $3.50.
Area visitors tend to shop at the many beach-themed souvenir shops around the city or at stores found at Broadway on the Beach, but there's much more shopping to be had in Myrtle Beach. The Tanger Outlets on Highway 501 feature everything from perfumeries to furniture stores at discount prices, while Market Commons on Deville Street serves both city residents and tourists with a number of shops, activities and eateries. Spend some time bargain shopping at the 80,000 square foot indoor Myrtle Beach flea market, go antique shopping at Vintiques or find jewelry and other unique gifts at the Lazy Gator.
Kroger, Food Lion and Piggly Wiggly serve most of the grocery needs for those in the area, but locals know to head to the Fresh Market on King's Highway for salads, specialty foods and baked goods or Bay Naturals for a variety of healthy and organic foods. For the freshest locally sourced produce, visit the Myrtle's Market farmers' market on Mr. Joe White Avenue at Oak Street during the spring, summer and early fall.
Myrtle Beach has roughly 15 miles of shoreline filled with beaches that everyone flocks to when the weather is warm. Locals also frequent the beaches during the off season when the city allows them to bring their dogs. Camp, launch your boat, picnic or simply enjoy the beaches and walking trails at Myrtle Beach State Park. For a small daily per person entry fee, visitors can enjoy everything the park has to offer, including a nature center, playgrounds, and they can bring their horses for a day of riding.
The city has several parks, including Anderson Family Park, Futrell Park and Valor Park, that feature playgrounds, picnic areas, trails and sports fields for budding athletes. Most of the parks are free, although some charge a small fee for visitor parking. Bring your leashed dog with you to the Myrtle Beach State Park, or let your canine roam leash-free at Barc Parc or the North-End dog park at the Grand Strand YMCA.
Myrtle Beach has many annual festivals and events that keep visitors and locals entertained. Locals seem to be partial to the annual Myrtle Beach Beer Fest and the many smaller wine fests that take place throughout the year. The Blue Crab Festival that takes place each May attracts thousands of attendees, as does the Labor Day weekend celebration and barbeque competition and the Fourth of July spectacular, complete with fireworks.