Myrtle Beach draws millions of visitors to soak up the sun, sand and surf during the summertime, but that doesn't mean you have to share a crowded beach.
While large resorts line Ocean Boulevard's downtown district, where most of the tourists tend to congregate, there's a nice stretch of beach just north of the main drag where you can relax on a public beach that has a semi-private feel, even at the peak of the busy season.
Beautiful Beaches of Myrtle Beach — Photo courtesy of Myrtle Beach CVB
Myrtle Beach's Golden Mile (it's actually 3 miles, from 30th Ave. North to 65th Ave. North) features a strip of beautiful oceanfront homes and bungalows with only a handful of hotels, which cuts down on the crowds. For those in the know, there's a beach access and parking area on virtually every block primarily used by locals, who get to park for free but often avoid the beach in the summer months. If you don't mind feeding the parking meter some spare change and taking a short stroll down the beach, you can find pockets of island-like isolation.
Each beach access features wooden walkways, spray showers and patio decks where you can enjoy lunch without tasting extra "sand" in your sandwich, and there are permanent port-o-johns and handicap access ramps located every four to five blocks.
Myrtle Beach is situated in the middle of a 60-mile cape known as Long Bay, which creates smaller waves and calmer waters. The unique curvature of the coastline allows for beautiful sunrises and moonrises over the Atlantic Ocean and partial views of sunset as long as you're view isn't blocked by a high-rise resort.
The waves are better for boogie-boarding than surfing, which is prohibited around the hotels, and the combination of white sand above the tideline and wet sand below is perfect for building sand castles. Beachcombers can find lots of interesting shells and sharks' teeth, particularly at low tide. If possible, pack a child's little red wagon to carry your beach chair, cooler, boom box and beach toys.
Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean in Myrtle Beach — Photo courtesy of Susan Bentley