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Who's Myrtle? Interesting Facts about Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach is a major tourist destination along the South Atlantic seaboard of the United States, widely known for its wide beaches, large selection of challenging golf links, excellent seafood restaurants, and outlet-style shopping activities. It is set at the center of a 60-mile long chain of tranquil, sandy beaches known as the "Grand Strand", and is only a couple hours' drive from such historical day-trip destinations as Charleston, SC and Wilmington, NC.

Myrtle Beach City Info:

  • Land Area: 16.8 miles
  • Elevation: 33 feet
  • Parks: 5 (Chapman Memorial Park, Myrtle Beach State Park, Midway Park, Grand Park and Valor Memorial Park)
  • Golf Courses: 120
  • Transportation: Myrtle Beach International Airport

Myrtle Beach Weather and Climate:

  • Average daily temperature: 64° Fahrenheit
  • Average water temperature: 66° Fahrenheit
  • Average rainfall: 55 inches

Distances to other Metropolitan Areas from Myrtle Beach (in miles):

Atlanta, GA 318 Montreal, Quebec, CN 1,040
Boston, MA 735 Nashville, TN 594
Branson, MO 834 New Orleans, LA 828
Charlotte, NC 152 New York, NY 558
Chicago, IL 739 Orlando, FL 376
Dallas, TX 1,033 Philadelphia, PA 584
Jacksonville, FL 283 Richmond, VA 276
Las Vegas, NV 2,050 Salt Lake City, UT 1,867
Los Angeles, CA 2,246 San Diego, CA 2,200
Knoxville, TN 327 San Francisco, CA 2,236
Memphis, TN 638 Seattle, WA 2,434
Miami, FL 554 Washington, DC 375

Safety Phone # and Major Hospitals:

  • Police/Fire/Ambulance: 911
  • Hospital: Grand Strand Regional, 809 82nd Parkway, 843-497-2128

Famous Landmarks & Historic Places:

Hopsewee Plantation

Notable Moments in Myrtle Beach History:

  • Kings Highway (US 17 Business) began as an Indian trail long before Europeans settled along the Grand Strand. Later, this trail became known as "The Kings Highway" - the route from the northern states to Charleston and Savannah.
  • The area's first inhabitants were the Waccamaw and Winyah Indians, who named the region Chicora meaning "the land."
  • Early attempts by European explorers to settle the Grand Strand were disastrous. Spaniard Lucas Vasques de Allyon founded the first colony in North America here in 1526, but the settlement was ravaged by disease, and the inhabitants perished within a year.
  • English colonists formed Prince George Parish and laid out plans for Georgetown, the state's third oldest city, in 1730. Surrounded by rivers and marshlands, Georgetown became the center of America's colonial rice empire.
  • Before the Civil War, plantation owners turned Pawleys Island into one of the first summer resorts on the Atlantic coast. Historic beach cottages and other landmarks still stand.
  • Until the 1900s, the beaches of Horry County were virtually uninhabited due to the county's geographical inaccessibility and poor economy.
  • Near the turn of the century a timber/turpentine firm with extensive beachfront holdings, began developing the resort potential of the Strand. In 1901, the company built the beach's first hotel, the Seaside Inn. At that time, oceanfront lots sold for $25, and buyers received an extra lot if they built a house valued at $500 or more. The beach community was called New Town until the Horry Herald newspaper held a contest to name the area. Mrs. F.E. Burroughs won with the name Myrtle Beach, which she chose for the many wax myrtle trees growing wild along the shore.
  • In the 1920s, a group of businessmen began building an upscale resort called Arcady at the north end of the community. Arcady featured the present Pine Lakes International Country Club (home of the Strand's first golf club and birthplace of Sports Illustrated) and the legendary Ocean Forest Hotel.
  • In 1936, the Intracoastal Waterway was opened to pleasure boats and commercial shipping. During the 1940s, the Air Force Base was established and used for training and coastal patrols during World War II. The base was closed in 1993 and redeveloped in 2007/2008 as Withers Preserve and The Market Common, the Southeasts' premier "green" community and the worlds first GE Ecomagination Concept Community.
  • Myrtle Beach was incorporated in 1938 and became a city in 1957.
  • Hurricane Hazel demolished buildings and trees along the Strand in 1954, clearing the way for new hotels and homes. During the rebuilding phase of the 1960s, a golf boom began, with new courses being built each year. The number of golf courses along the Grand Strand now totals around 120.
  • In the 1970s and '80s, construction of attractions, homes, retail shops, and other amenities increased steadily, paving the way for another boom in the early '90s. The Myrtle Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area is the 13th fastest growing area in the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released in April 2001. The area grew 36.5 percent over the past decade.

Interesting Facts About Myrtle Beach:

  • Birth place of Wheel of Fortune hostess, Vanna White.
  • Received its name after the Sweet Myrtle tree native to the area.
  • The "Grand Strand" was coined by newspaper columnist Claude Dunnagan on 12/3/49.
  • Intra-coastal waterway was originally built in order to be used as a secret passageway during WWII.
  • The dance called, 'The Shag" was thought to have originated on Ocean Drive in the 40's. It began as an attempt to do the Jitterbug but the Jitterbuggers had drank too much so the slowed-down version of this became know as "The Shag".
  • Oceanfront lots in Myrtle Beach were $25 in 1905. If you built a property for at least $500 you received a second lot for free.
  • The first people to arrive in Myrtle Beach were a group of Spaniards from Hispaniola in 1526 who established the first European settlement 30 miles south of the beach town called San Miguel de Cauldape; however it was abandoned one year later when the settlers returned to their homeland.
  • Listed among the top five golf values in the United States in the November 2002 edition of Money magazine.
  • Is the second most popular beach in the United States.
  • Restaurant Business magazine ranks the area No. 1 in the U.S. for growth potential.
  • One of the 100 Best Retirement Towns in America according to "Where to Retire" magazine.
  • Myrtle Beach's many titles include, "The Seaside Golf Capital of the World," "Branson by the Sea," "The Campground Capital of the World," and "The Miniature Golf Capital of the World."

Myrtle Beach Population and Demographics:

  • City of Myrtle Beach Population: 29,971 (increases to over 350,000 in summer)
  • Racial Demographic:
    White — 81%
    African-American — 13%
    Hispanic/Latino — 6%
    Asian — 1%
    Less than 1% — Native American, Pacific Islander, and other races
  • Age Demographic:
    Population 18 and under — 18%
    65 and over — 15%
    Median age — 37 years
  • Average family size: 2.79
  • Median family income: $39,224

Colleges and Universities:

Coastal Carolina University (10 miles outside of town)

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Myrtle Beach Administrative Office:
1000 Second Avenue South, Suite 110
North Myrtle Beach, SC 29582
Toll Free:
Local: 843.238.1614


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