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Grand Strand Towns « Back

The Myrtle Beach/Grand Strand area’s main north-south automobile artery is U.S. Highway 17, often referred to as Kings Highway. Connecting the whole eastern seaboard, the route follows Indian footpaths and dates from colonial times. In fact, several spots can claim that George Washington stopped here when he made his tour of the South after the American Revolution!

Little River

Entering SC from the north, the first stop is the historic fishing village of Little River. Dating from the 1700s when it was called Frink’s Neck, Little River is Horry County’s oldest settlement. Sheltered from the Atlantic, the village fronts on the namesake Little River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway. Featuring enormous live oaks and a bustling waterfront with fishing boats, deep sea charters, casino boats, restaurants, and boutiques, Little River is home to the annual Blue Crab Festival (held the weekend following Mother’s Day) that showcases live entertainment, arts-and-crafts displays, and an abundance of local seafood. (Turn off Hwy 17 onto Minneola to reach the waterfront.) The Intracoastal Waterway connection makes Little River an active port and its Coquina Harbor a popular marina and docking port for water travelers.

North Myrtle Beach

Continuing South across the high-rise Intracoastal Waterway bridge, North Myrtle Beach is the next stop. In 1937, the area had one log-cabin-style motel, one filling station, and only a handful of homes. Growing rapidly after World War II and revitalized after the destruction of Hurricane Hazel in 1954, the oceanfront towns of Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, Crescent Beach and Windy Hill joined together to form the city of North Myrtle Beach in 1968. Each brought a distinctive geography and history to make the newly consolidated area competitive with “big sister” Myrtle Beach. North Myrtle Beach has long enjoyed a reputation as the best place for young adult “house party” vacations because the traditional cottage accommodations lend themselves to large groups and the beach is wide and firm. (Ocean Drive’s name is based on the fact people could actually drive on the beach at one time!)

Development of the area has brought stunning oceanfront residences interspersed with luxurious high-rise condominium resorts. Recently, the city has annexed land west of the Intracoastal Waterway making it now about the same in land size as the more densely populated city of Myrtle Beach.
Northernmost and positioned just southeast of Little River, is Cherry Grove. Surrounding Hogg Inlet, a fisherman’s paradise with a public boat landing, and offering views of Waties Island, a pristine piece of land donated to Coastal Carolina University’s marine biology department, Cherry Grove has been inhabited about as long as Little River and features channel houses on the inlet’s streams while beach cottages and high-rise condominiums populate the oceanfront.
Heading south on Ocean Boulevard, you arrive at Ocean Drive, billed as the “Home of the Shag.” This area, with its “horseshoe” beach access at the end of Main Street, offers the oceanfront Pavilion as well as numerous nightclubs dedicated to the “preservation” of “beach music” and the Shag dance step made popular in the 1950s (once described by Lewis Grizzard as “the jitterbug on valium”). These clubs host Society of Stranders (SOS) migrations four times a year where thousands come to renew old friendships, make new ones and keep the traditions lively!
Further south is Crescent Beach where 2nd and 3rd row beach cottages have been in families for generations. This area now also has new oceanfront condominium resorts highly sought out by families due to the wide beaches and “calmer” nightlife.

Windy Hill, the southernmost North Myrtle Beach section, is home to many full-time residents. It too offers oceanfront condominium towers and is eagerly awaiting completion of the North Beach Towers that will anchor the North Beach Plantation planned community. The Windy Hill area has grown in both residential and commercial options recently due to the Barefoot Resort development that is on the west side of the Waterway.

Atlantic Beach

Nestled into a four-block area between Crescent Beach and Windy Hill, this historic strip of oceanfront land was a lively and prosperous vacation destination for African-Americans in the days of segregation. Known as the “Black Pearl,” Atlantic Beach today is working on a development plan that will allow the predominantly African-American property owners to join in the growth that other areas of the Grand Strand have recently enjoyed.

Briarcliffe Acres

Continuing south on Hwy 17, the first town after North Myrtle Beach is Briarcliffe Acres. This upscale residential area incorporated to avoid aggressive commercial development. Oceanfront mansions peek over the dunes; the waterway is dotted with both homes and condominiums; in between a variety of single and multi-family homes nestle between the abundant trees and shrubs. It’s easy to miss this area as no high-rises grace the skyline.

After Briarcliffe Acres, there is an unincorporated area of Horry County that is changing rapidly. Here Veteran’s Highway (SC 22 which connects to SC 31 and US 501) joins Hwy 17 just north of “Restaurant Row.” The oceanfront Shore Drive area sports luxury high-rise condominium resorts that are permanent homes to many retirees and highly prized second homes for hundreds. Luxury single-family homes line the Arcadian Shores Golf Course celebrating the trees and lakes that make this area one of the more popular locations on the Grand Strand. A steady stream of vacationers also loves this area and keeps it busy year-round.

Myrtle Beach

The city limits begin at the split of Hwy 17 Business and 17 Bypass and travelers on either road are treated to the extravagant new residential properties marketed as Grande Dunes. Bypass travelers see the new Marina at Grande Dunes on the Waterway and then drive past the area’s extensive medical community anchored by Grand Strand Regional Hospital. Myrtle Beach has obviously grown exponentially since the 1901 opening of the Seaside Inn and today extends from the ocean to the waterway. Oceanfront travelers along Ocean Boulevard, east of 17 Business, find four distinct districts. From the northern city limits to approximately 52nd Avenue North, luxury high-rise oceanfront condominium resorts dominate the landscape. From roughly 52nd Avenue to 32nd Avenue is an exclusive residential district with spectacular residences. The historic city hub that grew up around the Inn and its pavilion today extends from roughly 30th Avenue North to 6th Avenue North. It features attractions, shops, restaurants, service businesses, and mostly high-rise oceanfront accommodations. Extending south of the hub to the airport area, Ocean Boulevard is one long line of high-rise and low-rise resort accommodations

Away from the oceanfront, between 17 Business and 17 Bypass, there are numerous residential neighborhoods, commercial districts including banking and city functions, shopping venues including boutiques, retail and outlet malls and national brands big-box stores, countless restaurants and numerous family attractions. The April 2008 opening of the Market Commons marks the beginning of redevelopment of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. Development between 17 Bypass and the waterway is also booming, driven by the new Hard Rock Theme Park opening April 2008. In short, Myrtle Beach offers all the benefits a vacation destination can deliver as well as multiple lifestyle options for those who choose to call it home!

Surfside Beach

(once known as Floral Beach) Continuing south from Myrtle Beach on Hwy 17 Business, past the Myrtle Beach State Park, brings you to the town of Surfside, incorporated in 1964 with 881 residents. Here, oceanfront accommodations are mainly beach cottages rather than high-rise resorts. Families love the area because it offers a laid-back leisurely pace but proximity to the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach.

Garden City Beach

(once known as Woodland Beach) is next up and it too is a family-oriented retreat sporting residential homes, summer cottages and a few condominium resorts. The southernmost oceanfront “finger” of Garden City Beach, running parallel to Murrells Inlet, is supported by the massive North Jetty built in 1979 to stabilize the inlet across the ocean so commercial and recreational boats can come upstream into Murrells Inlet.

Leaving Horry County and heading into Georgetown County, Murrells Inlet is the first stop. This historic fishing village, as old as Little River, was founded when John Morrall bought 610 acres on the inlet in 1731. Romantic tales of pirates hiding away in the abundant coves and streams belie the hard work done by the generations who have made their living off the creeks and waterways. Today, as for centuries, the inlet is the community center. Charter fishing boats, kayaks, shrimpers and tour boats line the docks or bob at their moorings. Visitors stroll the signature MarshWalk boardwalk to enjoy the views before indulging in fresh seafood and gourmet options at the exceptional restaurants lining the inlet’s western shore. Events like Spring Tide to clean the inlet, May’s Blessing of the Inlet and the July 4th Regatta Parade bring hundreds annually to the MarshWalk and promote a sense of community. The new Veteran’s Pier and a bicycle bridge connecting the marsh to Hunting on Beach State Park will open in 2008. Beyond the inlet, tasteful private homes and low-rise construction promote a feeling of quaintness for this prosperous and popular area.

Business and Bypass 17 merge just south of Murrells Inlet to lead travelers past Huntington Beach State Park on the east and Brookgreen Gardens on the west. This heavily wooded area gives a sense of traveling back in time as you enter Litchfield Beach. Once known as Magnolia Beach, Litchfield takes its name from a former rice plantation located on the Waccamaw River. Quaint shops and superb restaurants are interspersed with various accommodations in this newer part of the Strand. The beaches are exceptional but most of the property is private.

Although Pawleys Island is a 2-mile barrier island, it is one of the oldest resorts along the Carolinas coast. As early as the 1800s it was a summer retreat for wealthy plantation owners and many of those cottages still remain, giving the area its “arrogantly shabby” moniker. Islanders seeking to protect their low-key lifestyle incorporated in 1984 and set strict local building codes that prohibit high-rise construction. If you aren’t a guest in a private home, you can enjoy one of the bed and breakfast establishments.

Georgetown

The southernmost Grand Strand town, Georgetown is the third oldest city in South Carolina, preceded by Charleston and Beaufort. Laid out in 1729 on Winyah Bay, Georgetown became an official port of entry in 1732 leading to both mercantile and governmental development. The five rivers that spill into its Bay supported large-scale agriculture, first indigo and then rice, and allowed the town to develop a wealthy plantation culture. Today, the small town of 9,000 celebrates its port history with a Harborwalk boardwalk, art museums, antique shops, specialty stores, and exceptional restaurants. Tourists and locals alike enjoy historical tours at the Rice Museum and Kaminski House or boat tours past the Bay and its rivers, plantation mansions and long-abandoned rice fields.

» Contact Information

The Hoffman Group
2200 Premier Resorts Boulevard
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
Phone: 1-877-671-5024

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