One of the most popular beach towns in the southeastern United States, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina enjoys a humid, subtropical climate. The temperatures are mild, averaging around 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter and 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. August and September receive the most rainfall, while April and November are usually the driest months of the year.
Part of Horry County, the city of Myrtle Beach has a permanent population of about 30,000, but the entire Myrtle Beach metropolitan area has nearly 300,000 residents. The city also benefits from an influx of so-called snowbirds, who return during the winters year after year to stay in timeshares or other vacation homes.
Myrtle Beach is often referred to as the Grand Strand and is part of the 60-mile span of shoreline that reaches from Georgetown, South Carolina, to Calabash, North Carolina.
The city's economy relies heavily on tourism, as it is the third busiest tourism destination in the country.
Major industries in the city are health and social services, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and foodservices, educational and arts.
The city's largest private sector employers include Metglas, AVX Corporation, and Integrated Environmental Technologies.
Most of the Myrtle Beach's population is urban. The city accommodates around 14,500 houses with more than 10,000 occupied houses. The owners occupy approximately around 5,500 houses and the renters occupy roughly 4,900 houses.
As the city is the third busiest tourist spot in the country, it hosts many recreational parks. Notable parks in Myrtle Beach are Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Myrtle Waves and Hard Rock Park. Visitors can shop at various malls, such as Coastal Grand Mall, Broadway at the Beach and Myrtle Beach Mall.
North Myrtle Beach consists of the communities of Cherry Grove, Crescent Beach, Ocean Drive, and Windy Hill. These are residential, family oriented communities with access to the widest beaches along the Grand Strand. North Myrtle is also home to some of the nicer restaurants in the area.
Shoppers can visit Broadway at the Beach or the Coastal Grand Mall-South Carolina's largest mall, which houses nearly 170 stores. Boutiques, souvenir shops, and surf shops are scattered around the Grand Strand as well.
Myrtle Beach has been proclaimed the "golf capital of the world," thanks to its 120, mostly public, golf courses designed by some of the most famous names in the industry.
The city is also known for its beaches, which fill up with sunbathers during Spring Break and in the summer months.
Myrtle Beach State Park: Spanning 312 acres, this oceanfront park offers an array of activities-both on land and sea. Visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, picnicking, and a nature center where they can learn about the turtles, dolphins, and other sea creatures that live in the area. The park also features well-kept campsites facing the Atlantic Ocean. Since 1935, hundreds of thousands of people have visited this oceanside park.
Entertainment options abound in Myrtle Beach. Visitors can choose from nightclubs and theaters, fishing and swimming outings, skateboarding parks, mini-golf courses, and tours of area's homes and gardens.
South Carolina Hall of Fame: Visitors can learn about famous native South Carolina residents. A few highlights: Nobel Prize winner John C. Calhoun, eight signers of the Declaration of Independence, jazz great Dizzy Gillespie, astronaut Charles M. Duke, and President Andrew Jackson.
Carolina Opry: This two-hour musical variety act has received many awards, including the Governor's Cup, and was even awarded an official state holiday-Carolina Opry Day.
Ripley's Aquarium: This 87,000-square-foot aquarium features attractions including Dangerous Reef, with a 750,000 gallon tank, and Rainbow Rock-a giant viewing window the size of two movie screens that is filled with the red, yellow, and blue fish of the Pacific.
Myrtle Beach Speedway: The host of the Nationwide Series from 1988 to 2000, the Speedway now holds the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on Saturday nights from April through November. The Speedway is considered the home track of the USAR organization, host of the Hooters ProCup Series.
Alligator Adventure: Eight hundred alligators ranging in age from infants to 600-pound adults swim in the swamps and marshlands here. Two famous residents include Casper and Wendy, the only albino duo of alligators in the world. Alligator Adventure is one of the biggest reptile parks in the world, containing lizards, turtles, frogs, and birds.
Bi-Low Myrtle Beach Marathon: This annual event allows 6,000 participants in its Friday night five-kilometer run. A Saturday dawn run includes a half-marathon, a marathon, and a relay race.
Sun-Fun Festival: This annual four-day event celebrates the start of summer. It features air shows, sand sculpture contests, a parade, many child-friendly activities, and celebrity meet-and-greets.
The Beach Boogie and Barbecue Festival: A component of the Sun-Fun Festival, this event features a large barbecue competition-the only official barbecue competition in South Carolina. It also features a car show, children's activities, pageants, a five-kilometer walk/run, a competitive barbecue sandwich-eating event, and two days of live music.
Grand Strand Fishing Rodeo: With prizes totaling over $17,000, fishers compete from April through October, hoping to reel in the biggest fish. Participants fish off of piers, inlets, and in the deep sea.