Most golfers do their best to stay off the sand. But on the Atlantic coast, the 60-mile strip of beaches known as the Grand Strand is considered one of the best golf destinations anywhere on earth. Even Greater: No matter how many bunkers you may hit on the trail, there are endless ways to enjoy your time on and off the sand at Myrtle Beach.
The jewel of the South Carolina coast, Myrtle Beach has nearly 90 world-class golf courses all located around one of the most stunning beaches in America and is a must-visit for any serious golfer. And even if you can’t tell a putter from a wedge, there’s something for every type of sports fan in Myrtle Beach. Here’s how to plan the ultimate visit to your new favorite place.
There’s a reason Myrtle Beach is known for golf: With nearly 90 courses all within driving (or driver’s) distance of downtown, even the most dedicated driver can play a different course every day for three months without a repeat. It’s not just about quantity, but quality – there are nearly 50 championship-level courses around MB, many designed by some of the most famous course architects and legendary golfers of all time. While many of the historic courses were founded as private clubs, the building boom over the past few decades ensures there is a tee time and somewhere for every type of golfer and budget.
Between the gorgeous scenery, perfect weather, and iconic terrain, golf in Myrtle Beach is a whole different game. Professionals have played through the TPC of Myrtle Beach in some of the most prestigious tournaments, but many of the courses offer challenging 18-hole courses that test golfers’ skills. However, public courses such as the world-renowned Tidewater are fun no matter your skill level – and always exciting when the water hazards include the Lowcountry swamps and the Atlantic Ocean itself. If you end up with the ball in the drink, you might want to follow through, making a post-travel trip to the beach the perfect next step.
Locals call Myrtle Beach “The Beach,” but it’s a bit of a misnomer given the many beaches that make up the 60-mile-long Grand Strand. The actual Myrtle Beach is known for its boardwalk and giant SkyWheel that looks out over the ocean. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is a 1.2-mile promenade lined with shops and restaurants and hosts many festivals and events throughout the year.
Keep the ocean on your right-hand side and head to North Myrtle Beach, with its four smaller beach communities – Cherry Grove, Windy Hill, Ocean Drive, and Crescent Beach – where you’ll find plenty of great restaurants and live music venues. The vibe in NMB is definitely high energy, with plenty of dance clubs and performance venues like the Alabama Playhouse that have been a local tradition for decades.
For a change of pace, Atlantic Beach is a small but vibrant beach community full of a culture of its own. Historically home to West Africans and Gela Jieche people, and a destination for some of the greatest black musical artists of the last century, Atlantic Beach is undergoing a revitalization process designed to preserve the history and culture of the Jela Jiechee people.
Every beach along the Grand Strand is an ideal place for fun in the sun and surfing, with unique activities in each community. Speaking of surfing – the best place for surfers to catch waves is Garden City, while those looking to get their feet wet for the first time can head to Kokopelli Surf Camp in North Myrtle Beach. The waters at Murrells Inlet are particularly calm, making them ideal for water sports, fishing and crabbing – although those who don’t feel like putting their own food down can enjoy the catch of the day straight from the source at the dozens of seafood restaurants up and down the coast.
For those with an adventurous spirit, Huntington Beach State Park is perfect for hiking through saltwater marshes, as well as getting to the ocean that’s a little further off the beaten track. And while on this trail, keep your eyes open, because both Huntington Beach and Myrtle Beach State Park are home to some of the best birdwatching on the East Coast. There are more than 300 different species of birds that fly through the MB region, and taking a boat tour along the coast offers a chance to spot some truly amazing and rare animals.
If all the surfing, fishing and birdwatching gets you tired, Litchfield Beach is known to be quieter than some of the other areas along the coast. Sit down and read your favorite book, take a bike ride on the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway, or pack up and explore Pawleys Island, the southern part of the Grand Strand known for its historic homes and handcrafted hammocks – not a bad way to wrap up a day at the beach.
If golf, surfing and cycling still aren’t enough to satisfy your sporting base, there are plenty of games to be found around town. Between old-school arcades and amusement parks, Myrtle Beach is a bit of a throwback, but there are several brand-new sports facilities offering everything from pickleball to field hockey.
Depending on the time of year, you may be able to catch a college game at nearby Coastal Carolina University – a school that has burst onto the national scene in both football and baseball, and is well worth the trip for a big game. And if you want more golf and beach, but on a smaller scale, try Treasure Island Mini Golf and The Myrtle Waves Water Park.
If you’re a golfer, sports fan, or looking to unwind in one of America’s most amazing seaside locations, look no further than Myrtle Beach. Once you arrive, take the time to explore each unique town and community up and down the coast. Quality food, breweries, and plenty of live music options help make it the perfect getaway. They may call it the beach, but there are a variety of sandy spots – and golf courses – to ensure that every trip you take to Myrtle Beach is an experience in itself.