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Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach: 5 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach: 5 Best Areas & Neighborhoods

Wondering where to stay in Myrtle Beach for a family vacation, romantic getaway, business trip, or golfing excursion? The Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina offers 60 miles of coastline jam-packed with amazing restaurants, shopping, shows, and family-friendly attractions, making it a top destination for travelers of all interests.

Along with Myrtle Beach’s beachfront and entertainment options, you’ll find coastal communities and neighborhoods along the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), and inland. Areas such as North and Central Myrtle Beach to South Myrtle Beach, and Surfside Beach are some of the best places to stay in Myrtle Beach.

We’ve got the lowdown on all the best areas to stay in Myrtle Beach to anchor your Myrtle Beach vacation. Whether you like to be in the heart of entertainment, shopping, and watersports or prefer a more laid-back locale, our list includes a variety of vacation rentals, the best luxury hotels, and mid-range Myrtle Beach hotels. Let’s get started!

Myrtle Beach Motown Tribute Show Motor City Musical
1. Myrtle Beach: Motown Tribute Show - Motor City Musical Top Recommendation

The music of Motown is so deeply ingrained into the fabric of America that it’s hard to imagine a time before “Dancing in the Street,” or “Respect.” The Motown Tribute Show transports you back to the Summer of ‘63 and gives you a glimpse into what life was like when this soulful sound first hit the airwaves. Description: Myrtle Beach has been blessed with some of the most legendary musical artists of all time, and now you can experience them in one show!

Polynesian Fire Luau and Dinner Show Ticket in Myrtle Beach
2. Polynesian Fire Luau and Dinner Show Ticket in Myrtle Beach

The Polynesian Fire Show is a seasonal event that runs from May to September. It is one of the top events in Myrtle Beach and one of the best ways to experience Polynesian culture in the state. Enjoy buffet dinner before watching an hour-long fire and dance performance by singers, acrobats, and fire knife champions who travel from various Polynesian isles to Myrtle Beach for the show. This seasonal show is only available during the summer. Bring a taste of Polynesian culture to South Carolina with a dance, music, and fire show

Waccamaw River Nature and Wildlife Tour
3. Waccamaw River Nature and Wildlife Tour

The Waccamaw River Nature and Wildlife Tour takes you on a guided boat tour near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Be on the lookout for birds and other wildlife that inhabit these southern waters that run along the refuge. The boat docks are located within Waccatee Zoo. Venture beyond the beach with this guided tour. Spot osprey, heron, egrets, cormorants, and more.

TLDR; Our Favorite Accommodation in Myrtle Beach

Best Areas to Stay in Myrtle Beach

Fun areas to stay in Myrtle Beach include North, Central, and South Myrtle Beach. All of them offer some of the best accommodations for families, honeymooners, and groups.

  • Best area for first-timers/tourists: Central Myrtle Beach
  • Best area for budget travelers: Surfside Beach
  • Best area for luxury travelers: Pawleys Island
  • Best area for safety: North Myrtle Beach
  • Best area for families: South Myrtle Beach

Where to Stay in Myrtle Beach

1. Central Myrtle Beach – Best Area for First-Timers

Central Myrtle Beach

Central Myrtle Beach is defined as the area south of Highway 17 (where it divides into the Bypass and Business routes). It runs from approximately 34th to 52nd street. This is the Myrtle Beach area to be in for loads of entertainment, attractions, and fun-filled things to do.

The Golden Mile section of town has residential homes and oceanfront resorts. It’s a more peaceful area of town for those who aren’t into nightlife. Areas of town and attractions in Central Myrtle Beach include Broadway at the Beach, downtown Myrtle Beach, the SkyWheel Myrtle Beach, and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

Business travelers and first-time visitors to Myrtle Beach will like this area because it has beach access and is close to all the attractions, shopping, and dining as well as the beachfront. Here are some of the best things to do in Central Myrtle Beach:

  • Check out the boardwalk scene, which is filled with midway games, rides, fun food vendors, and amusement attractions such as the 187-foot Myrtle Beach Skywheel. The boardwalk opened in 2010 and extends 1.2 miles along the beachfront (from the 2nd Avenue Pier to the 14th Avenue Pier).
  • Broadway at the Beach is a popular shopping, dining, and entertainment complex. Ron Jon Surf Shop, the Paula Deen Store, and Earthbound Trading are just a few of the stores found there. Not into shopping? Sit back with a drink and eats at Margaritaville Myrtle Beach, the Hard Rock Café, Joe’s Crab Shack, or Senor Frog’s.
  • Commune with sea creatures at Ripley’s Aquarium. Located at Broadway at the Beach, it offers tropical rainforest, Amazon, and coral reef habitats. Peek into the life of lionfish, piranhas, penguins, and rays. The coolest feature of all is a 340-foot tunnel (there’s a moving walkway) that takes you beneath a 750,000-gallon tank filled with sharks, rays, and many more ocean creatures.
  • Pose with Clint Eastwood or Dale Earnhardt at the Hollywood Wax Museum. Also located at Broadway at the Beach, this fun Myrtle Beach attraction features celebrities from movies, sports, and more.
  • When you’re done with the movie stars, check out the merits of names like Joe Montana, Dick Butkus, and Joe Namath at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Myrtle Beach. Exhibits include vintage uniforms, helmets, footballs, photos, documents, and the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy.
  • Spend an evening with celebrity impersonators at the state-of-the-art Legends in Concert Theater Myrtle Beach. This popular and award-winning tribute show features look and sound-alikes performing the hits of Elvis, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Celine Dion, Cher, and many others.
  • Practice your line dancing skills at The Bowery. Or just listen to live music and enjoy the sight of others line dancing. The famed club and restaurant has been open since 1944 and boasts a former house band (from 1973 to 1980) by the name of Alabama.
  • The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is home to Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Haunted Adventure as well as the classic attraction with its shrunken heads, vampire hunting tools, and intricate art on feathers, rice, and bread.

Best Accommodations in Central Myrtle Beach

  • Best Budget Hotel: La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Myrtle Beach – If you’re in town for sporting events, this hotel is an excellent choice. It’s near Pelicans Ballpark (also known as TicketReturn.com Field), which is the home base of minor league baseball’s Myrtle Beach Pelicans (an affiliate of the Chicago Cubs). Ripley’s Aquarium, the state park, and Myrtle Waves Water Park are nearby.
  • Best Mid-Range Hotel: Dunes Village Resort – The hotel features a 30,000-square-foot indoor waterpark with slides and a tubing pool. Enjoy the conveniences of an on-site restaurant, a coffee shop, a tiki bar, and a workout room. Nearby attractions include the Myrtlewood Golf Course, Ripley’s Aquarium, Pavilion Park, and the Gardens by the Sea park as well as the Sheraton Myrtle Beach hotel.
  • Best Luxury Hotel: Homewood Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront – The hotel offers a water park with slides and a splash pad as well as an on-site restaurant, a bar, an ice cream shop, a fitness room, an oceanfront pool, and a game room with foosball, ping pong, and pool tables. It’s centrally located next to the boardwalk and is one of the best locations to enjoy all the fun activities and attraction Myrtle Beach has to offer.

See Related: Outer Banks vs Myrtle Beach: What’s Better?

2. Surfside Beach – Best Area for Budget Travelers

Surfside Beach - Best Area for Budget Travelers
Image by Kari used under CC BY 2.0

The area is a favorite among families for safety, accessibility, the best hotels, and a laid-back budget-friendly attitude. There are a variety of public parks where you can play tennis, shuffleboard, and bocce ball. Here are some of the best things to do in Surfside Beach:

  • Brookgreen Gardens features 9,000 acres of botanical gardens, sculptures, flowers, fountains, reflecting pools, and live oak trees from the 1700s. The former rice plantation has the largest sculpture garden in the country (more than 2,000 from leading artists). Visit marshes and the butterfly garden or participate in educational programs.
  • The Lowcountry Zoo, located within Brookgreen Gardens, has a plethora of furry, feathered, and ferocious creatures, such as gators, deer, ducks, foxes, and more.
  • Mini golf courses can be found throughout the Myrtle Beach area. While in Surfside, head to Runaway Bay Miniature Golf, Adventure Falls Golf, or Gilligan’s Island Funland.
  • For a full-size golf game, Tupelo Bay Golf Center is an 18-hole executive golf center and a 9-hole par-3 course. There’s also a driving range, disc golf, a full-service clubhouse, a putting green, and a snack bar.
  • Check out the local piers for a day of fishing, relaxing, and family-friendly fun. The Pier at Garden City has a tackle shop, an arcade, and a café as well as live music, karaoke, and bars. It’s free to walk on the pier. Originally built in 1953, the Surfside Pier has been rebuilt three times. Businesses at the pier include Surf Diner, Licks Ice Cream, and Pier Outfitters, a tackle shop offering rods, reels, bait, and tackle.
  • Found in a historic fishing village (and supposed pirate treasure-stashing spot), Murrells Inlet MarshWalk is a half-mile boardwalk destination for shopping, dining, and live music. Enjoy sunset views of the saltwater estuary. Dining includes Wicked Tuna, Mojo’s Marina Bar and Grille, The Claw House, and Bovine’sWood-Fired Specialties.
  • Spend the day zipping around the go-kart track and splashing about in wave pools, rushing down water slides, and lounging along the lazy river at Wild Water & Wheels Family Fun Park.

Best Accommodations in Surfside Beach

  • Best Budget Hotel: Quality Inn Surfside Beach Myrtle Beach – The hotel has an outdoor pool, a business center, and a daily hot breakfast. Guest rooms offer free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and a coffee maker. It’s located near Adventure Falls Golf, Dogwood Lake, and Ocean Lakes Family Campground.
  • Best Mid-Range Hotel: Surfside Beach Oceanfront Hotel – Located on the beach, the hotel offers a beachfront pool, a convenience shop, and Scotty’s Beach Bar. Rooms have free Wi-Fi, cable TV, and a mini-fridge Brush up on your karaoke skills every Thursday night. This Myrtle Beach hotel is within convenient access to the Wild Water & Wheels Family Fun Park and the Garden City Pier.
  • Best Luxury Hotel: Holiday Inn Oceanfront at Surfside Beach – The hotel features a beachfront pool, a hot tub, a fitness center, event space, and an on-site restaurant. Enjoy cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and a work desk in spacious rooms at this Myrtle Beach hotel.

3. Pawleys Island – Best Area for Luxury Travelers

Atalaya castle
Image by Colette EshlemanCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located south of Surfside and Murrells Inlet, the seaside town of Pawleys Island offers golf courses, natural settings, and the dining and shopping of the Harborwalk.

The area, known as the Hammock Coast, became a summer resort for rice plantation owners in the 1700s. It’s one of the oldest summer resort towns on the East Coast and offers a small town secluded ambiance for luxury, business, or group travelers. Some of the top things to see and do include:

  • The South Carolina Maritime Museum is home to artifacts, photos, documents, and lighthouse antiques covering a vast array of maritime history. The museum is in Georgetown, the second largest port in the state, and opened in 2011. Take part in educational programs and youth sailing camps.
  • Built-in 1832, the Rice Museum is housed in a classic revival building with a stunning clock tower. Peruse local art, paintings, maps, and other artifacts. Georgetown was once the center for rice production in Carolina. The presence of five major rivers allowed for rice production via the tidal flow method. Check out Lafayette park and the Rice Museum’s herb garden while you’re there.
  • Enjoy views of boats, sunsets, and Georgetown Harbor at the Harborwalk. The four-block wooden walkway was built in the 1980s and features dining, shopping, art galleries, charter boat tours, and the nearby Harborwalk Marina. A popular wooden boat show is held in October.
  • Go swimming, fishing, and kayaking at Huntington Beach State Park. There’s a three-mile-long beach and a boardwalk and an observation tower for bird and nature watching. Additional activities include geocaching, hiking, biking, and camping. If you’re towing a boat, there’s a boat ramp at Oyster Landing.
  • Visit the stunning Moorish-style Atalaya Castle at Huntington Beach State Park. It was the home of 20th-century sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and is a National Historic Landmark. An annual art festival is held there.
  • Practice your swing at one of many golf courses. Wachesaw Plantation Club, the International Club of Myrtle Beach, Indigo Creek Golf Club, and TPC Myrtle Beach (designed by architect Tom Fazio) offer landscaped greens accented with pine trees, lakes, and ocean views. Courses have golfing schools, clubhouses, and pro shops.
  • Take a guided tour, forest walk, birdwatching experience, property history, or photography tour at the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center. The center focuses on the field research of alligators, birds, botany, and sea turtles.
  • Discover the history of Gullah (or Creole) at the Gullah Museum. Language and culture were a part of Colonial African American life. the museum highlights the history and culture of the Gullah people, the English, and the West African language through textiles, art, pottery, tools, and baskets.
  • Visit the 160,000-acre wildlife refuge and preserve at Hobcaw Barony. The 13,000-square-foot mansion was the winter home of presidential advisor Bernard M. Baruch. It’s open for tours. You can also visit the stables and grounds of Bellefield Plantation, a marsh boardwalk, and a church. There’s a small nature center at the visitor center with a saltwater touch tank, alligators, and other exhibits.
  • Tour Sandy Island. Only accessible by boat, it’s located between the Great Pee Dee River and the Waccamaw River. While undeveloped, there are residents who live there. On this tour, you’ll go to the Sandy Island Schoolhouse, the Mt. Rena Cemetery, Pyatt’s General Store, and the fire department while learning about local history.

Best Accommodations in Pawleys Island

  • Best Budget Hotel: The Oceanfront Litchfield Inn – The hotel has two oceanfront pools, a cabana beach bar and café, an elegant on-site restaurant, complimentary breakfast, and free Wi-Fi with views of the ocean, dunes, or pool. There are also lodge rooms that can accommodate four guests.
  • Best Mid-Range Hotel: Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort – Offers a resort-style ambiance within a natural setting. There are indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant. Some rooms offer a full kitchen, washers and dryers, and extra seating areas.
  • Best Luxury Hotel: Baxter’s Brewhouse Inn Bed and Breakfast – Three bedrooms share two bathrooms for a European-style set-up. Enjoy hardwood floors, pops of color, and cozy quilts make this one of the best places to stay in Myrtle Beach. Located near the Kaminski House Museum and the Harborwalk, it offers outdoor seating areas just steps from Front street. They also make their own craft beer (hence the name Brewhouse).

See Related: Best Things to Do in South Carolina

4. North Myrtle Beach – Best Area for Safety

North Myrtle Beach

While you’ll feel secure in all areas of Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach is a quieter section of town. You’ll be able to enjoy long stretches of sand as well as great restaurants, attractions, and that beautiful Atlantic Ocean. The four communities of Crescent Beach, Cherry Grove, Ocean Drive, and Windy Hill were combined to form North Myrtle Beach in 1968.

This area is north of Highway 22 (from about 53rd Street and beyond). Part of Horry County, it’s the best area to stay in Myrtle Beach if you like a laid-back beach vibe.

North Myrtle Beach is where you’ll find Tanger Outlets, the Alabama Theatre, Duplin Winery, the Barefoot Landing dining and entertainment complex, and Restaurant Row. Some of the best activities and things to do include:

  • Sip and sample local wine at Carolina Vineyards Winery or Duplin Winery. You can tour the facility or just buy a bottle (or two or three) for later.
  • Alligator Adventure is the place to go to learn all about gators. If you prefer less toothy animals, visit flamingos, parrots, snakes, and frogs.
  • Take a walking tour of a wildlife preserve at the T.I.G.E.R.S. Preservation Station. Proceeds benefit the Rare Species Fund (RSF), a conservation program that provides funding to help conserve lions, tigers, elephants, gorillas, and more.
  • For shopping, dining, and entertainment, head to Barefoot Landing. Check out the Christmas Mouse, Crabby Jack’s General Store, or Ron Jon Surf Shop. Sit back with a drink and a bite to eat at Lucy Buffett’s Lulu’s, Greg Norman Australian Grille, Café de Paris, or many others.
  • The House of Blues Myrtle Beach is a terrific spot to catch live music and BBQ. It’s open for brunch on Sundays and features a gospel show.
  • Enjoy an evening of musical theater, celebrity impersonations, comedy shows, and holiday extravaganzas at the Alabama Theatre, the Carolina Opry, the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, or Gilmore Entertainment.
  • Hike through marshes and forests at Heritage Shores Nature Preserve. Bring binoculars to peek at native plants and birds such as egrets, herons, cormorants, hawks, and ibis. Other activities include fishing and kayaking.

Best Accommodations in North Myrtle Beach

  • Best Budget Hotel: Best Western Plus Myrtle Beach at Intracoastal – The pet-friendly hotel offers a business center, a pool, a fitness center, and a terrace. One of the best hotels in Myrtle Beach, the hotel’s rooms have a mini-fridge, a microwave, free Wi-Fi, a desk, and extra seating. Nearby attractions include the Barefoot Resort Norman Golf Course, the Alabama Theater, and the Carolina Opry.
  • Best Mid-Range Hotel: Beach Cove Resort – This North Myrtle Beach hotel offers the best of both worlds with an indoor and outdoor pool. Yay, winter visits! There are actually three outdoor swimming pools as well as a children’s pool, a lazy river, and a hot tub.
  • Best Luxury Hotel: Marina Inn at Grande Dunes – Beautifully located on the Intracoastal Waterway, this hotel is the best luxury hotel on our list. It’s a terrific choice for boaters, golfers, and anyone else who loves an elegant setting. There are indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, an on-site restaurant, a marina, and free Wi-Fi.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Rock Hill, South Carolina

5. South Myrtle Beach – Best Area for Families

South Myrtle Beach
Image by Fk714CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

South Myrtle Beach extends south from Highway 501 (from about 33rd Street and heading south). Surfside Beach and Garden City Beach are sometimes included in this area as well as the Market Common mixed-use residential area, the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, the convention center, and the Myrtle Beach State Park.

This is one of the best areas to stay in Myrtle Beach for families, as it offers great restaurants, some of the best hotels in Myrtle Beach SC, and attractions like the Coastal Grand Mall. Here are some ideas of the best things to see and do in South Myrtle Beach:

  • Head to Myrtle Beach State Park for hiking, biking, swimming, picnicking, nature watching, and relaxing on the beach. Walk through a maritime forest filled with magnolias, myrtles, hollies, and poplars. There’s also an equestrian trail. There are campsites for tents and RVs and cabins for those less inclined to roughing it.
  • Spend the day splashing about in gentle waves at Surfside Beach. This is an excellent area for young kids and those who don’t enjoy getting knocked down by large waves.
  • Rent a jet ski or go parasailing above the Grand Strand. Activities more on the serene side include sunset kayak and SUP tours.
  • Gather your whole crew and spend the day, or evening, at Family Kingdom Amusement Park. The park has an arcade, midway games, and rides for the whole family, including roller coasters, bumper cars, log flumes, drop rides, and kiddie rides. There’s also a go-kart track. Don’t forget cotton candy, funnel cakes, and other treats.
  • The Market Common offers shopping, dining, and activities such as a movie theater, bowling, and bike rentals. The mixed-use residential area is lined with palm trees for a resort-style look.
  • Located in the Market Common, EdVenture Myrtle Beach is a fun spot for kids to play the day away. Pretend-play at a recreated grocery store, space station, performance stage, a dentist’s office, an auto shop, and more.
  • The Myrtle Beach Convention Center is the place to be for concerts, conventions, festivals, and sporting events. The building’s exterior has a mural of dolphins, turtles, and whales by international artist Robert Wyland.

Best Accommodations in South Myrtle Beach

  • Best Budget Hotel: Landmark Resort – On the south end of Myrtle Beach, this resort is practically its own destination. As if being beachfront wasn’t enough, it has its own waterpark! Additional fun amenities include a mini golf course, an indoor pool, a lazy river ride, and five hot tubs.
  • Best Mid-Range Hotel: Residence Inn by Marriott Myrtle Beach Oceanfront – This is one of the best hotels in Myrtle Beach. It offers free parking, a continental breakfast, one swimming pool, a fitness center, a restaurant, a bar, banquet facilities, a business center, and free Wi-Fi. You’ll find the Marriott Myrtle Beach resort within convenient access to Market Common, the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, and the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk,
  • Best Luxury Hotel: DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront – The luxury resort hotel features a winding river pool, outdoor seating areas, banquet facilities, an on-site restaurant, a bar, and an 18-hole mini golf course. The hotel is beside the wooden 1,600-foot Springmaid Pier. It’s the longest pier in Myrtle Beach and offers exceptional space for fishing, walking, and nature viewing.

See Related: Best Day Trips from Charleston, South Carolina

FAQ

Where is a good place to stay that’s near the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk?

The Homewood Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront, the Holiday Inn at the Pavilion, the Bay View Resort Myrtle Beach, and the Diplomat Hotel are all situated along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. The Coral Beach Resort is technically in South Myrtle Beach, but it’s not too far from the boardwalk.

What is the best area to stay in Myrtle Beach?

If you’re looking for easy access to lots of attractions and activities, Central Myrtle Beach is the place to be. The Dunes Village Resort is a short bit further north, but it’s out of the hustle and bustle of the main Myrtle Beach area while still being near the top spots. If you just want peace, quiet, and relaxation on a soft sandy beach, head to North or South Myrtle Beach.

What are the best neighborhoods to stay in Myrtle Beach?

Families enjoy Surfside Beach for its laid-back attitude and Central Myrtle Beach for its activities and attractions. Honeymooners would probably prefer the secluded ambiance of North Myrtle Beach or even further south at Pawleys Island.

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