Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
How to Get Here...
The popularity of the Grand Strand has soared, with an estimated 12 million visitors pouring in every year. It is easy to avoid traffic snarls if you travel at the right times of day and night. Plan your trip so that you will be driving U.S. Highway 501 into Myrtle Beach before 7 AM or after 7 PM Monday through Thursday, or in the middle of the day. Another rule of thumb is to stay off beach exit roads right after hotel checkout time on Saturdays and Sundays. You will be much better off to check out of your room, put the bags in the car and plan to spend time in town or on the beach until late afternoon.
An excellent highway system has recently been completed providing easy access from all directions and within the area.
If you're coming to the Grand Strand from eastern North Carolina, try Interstate 40 east or U.S. Highway 17 south to Wilmington, North Carolina. At Wilmington, head southbound on U.S. 17. Avoid rush hours.
From Charleston, take U.S. 17 north. It could be crowded at peak traffic times.
If you're traveling north on Interstate 95, take Exit 170 (clearly marked "Myrtle Beach"), near Florence. Take U.S. Highway 76 to U.S. 501 and follow it the rest of the way. Vacationers heading to North Strand beaches -- Little River, Crescent Beach, Ocean Drive, Atlantic Beach and Windy Hill -- should veer to the left at Marion, cross two lanes of U.S. 501 and continue on U.S. 76. At Nichols, take a right onto S.C. Highway 9.
If you're traveling Interstate 20, follow the signs toward Florence. The road will merge into I-95 north and bypass Florence. Then take Exit 170, same as if you'd come the whole way on I-95.
If you're traveling south on I-95, take Exit 193 at Dillon. Head toward Latta, then take U.S. 501. If you're going to North Myrtle Beach, you can take S.C. 9 all the way from Dillon.
In addition to services offered at the Myrtle Beach International and Grand Strand airports private planes and corporate jets can access the Conway-Horry County Airport, off U.S. Highway 378, outside Conway, (843) 397-9111. The airport is home of the North American Institute of Aviation, an international pilot training school.
Myrtle Beach International Airport
Between U.S. Hwy. 17 Bus. and U.S. Hwy. 17 Bypass, Myrtle Beach
An $18-million renovation project expanded Myrtle Beach International Airport from 50,000 square feet to 120,000, and added an upper-level concourse. Two jetways now connect the planes to the terminal. Present plans are for Horry County to double the size of the existing airport, making it a regional terminal and adding a second runway.
Grand Strand Airport
33rd Ave. S. and Terminal Ave., North Myrtle Beach
Horry County operates the Grand Strand Airport, where private aircraft and corporate jets can land. It's open 24 hours a day. You don't have to notify anyone that you're coming, but be aware that all services close for business at 10 PM.
You can leave your craft for several days while you enjoy the beach. The airport is about one block west of U.S. 17, pretty much in the heart of North Myrtle Beach.
Fixed-base operators at Grand Strand Airport are Shell Aviation and Ramp 66. Both services offer overnight tie-down for $5 per night. Fuel is also available.
You should be able to get to Myrtle Beach on a Greyhound bus from just about any point in the United States. You'll find it easier during the summer when more buses are scheduled. The station, Oak Street and Seventh Avenue N., Myrtle Beach, is open from 8 AM to 1 PM and 3 to 7 PM. Call (843) 448-2471 or (800) 231-2222 for details.
Florence and Dillon are the two closest places Amtrak serves. The problem is you can't get to the Grand Strand from either of those cities unless you arrange for a vehicle or have friends who'll pick you up. If you decide to take the train to Florence or Dillon and then rent a car, there are two outlets that, with advance notice, can arrange for a vehicle to be at the station when you arrive
Greyhound bus service from Florence to Myrtle Beach has been discontinued.
The most scenic and perhaps most peaceful way to get to the Grand Strand is by boat. The Intracoastal Waterway generally parallels the Atlantic Ocean for 1,200 miles from Boston to Key West, Florida.
In 1932, the Army Corps of Engineers dug a 20-mile canal, connecting Little River to the Waccamaw River. This portion goes right through the Grand Strand.
Boaters can tie up at Barefoot Landing for a day of shopping and dining and an evening of country music at the Alabama Theatre. There are numerous marinas along the waterway and the Waccamaw River where boaters can spend the night, eat in a nice restaurant, buy groceries or have their motors tuned up