Most golfers do their best to stay out of 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 grander: no matter how many bunkers you may hit on the course, there are endless ways to enjoy yourself in and out of the sand in Myrtle Beach.
The jewel of the South Carolina coast, Myrtle Beach boasts nearly 90 world-class golf courses all situated around one of the most gorgeous beaches in America and is considered a must-visit for any serious golfer. And even if you can’t tell a putter from a pitching wedge, there’s something for every kind 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) distance from the center of town, even the most dedicated duffer could play a different course every day for three months without repeating. It’s not just the quantity, of course, but the quality—there are close to 50 championship-level courses around MB, many of which were designed by some of the most famous course architects and legendary golfers ever. While many of the more historic courses were founded as private clubs, a boom in building over the past few decades ensures there is a tee time somewhere for every type of golfer and budget.
Between the gorgeous scenery, ideal weather, and distinctive terrain, golfing in Myrtle Beach is a whole different game. The pros have played through TPC of Myrtle Beach in some prestigious tournaments, but many of the courses offer an 18-hole challenge that will test the skills of scratch golfers. However, public courses like the world-renowned Tidewater are fun no matter your skill level—and it’s always a thrill when the water hazards comprise Lowcountry marshes and the raging Atlantic Ocean itself. If your ball does end up in the drink, you may want to follow it, which makes a post-round trip to the beach the perfect next step.
Locals call Myrtle Beach “The Beach,” but it’s a bit of a misnomer given that there are multiple beaches that make up the 60-mile Grand Strand. The actual Myrtle Beach is best known for the Boardwalk and giant SkyWheel that overlooks the ocean. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is a 1.2 mile promenade lined with shops and restaurants and hosts numerous festivals and events thoughout the year.
Keep the ocean on your right hand side and head up 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 spots. The vibe in NMB is definitely high energy, with lots of dance clubs and performance venues like the Alabama Theatre that have been local traditions for decades.
For a change of pace, Atlantic Beach is a tiny but vibrant beach community infused with a culture all its own. Historically the home for people of West African and Gullah Geechee descent, Atlantic Beach has been a destination for some of the greatest Black musical artists of the last century, and it is undergoing a revitalization designed to preserve the history and culture of the Gullah Geechee people.
Every beach along the Grand Strand is perfect for fun in the sun and surf, with unique activities in every community. Speaking of surf—the best place for surfers to catch a wave 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 water in Murrells Inlet is particularly calm, which makes it ideal for watersports, fishing, and crabbing—although those who don’t feel like hooking their food themselves can enjoy the catch of the day straight from the source at the dozens of seafood restaurants up and down the coastline.
For those with an adventurous spirit, Huntington Beach State Park is perfect for long walks through the saltwater marshes, plus access to the ocean that’s a little more off the beaten path. And while you walk that path, keep your eyes up and 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 area, and taking a boat tour along the coast offers the opportunity to spot some truly gorgeous and rare animals.
If all the surfing, fishing, and bird-watching tires you out, Litchfield Beach is known for being a little quieter than some of the other areas along the coast. Sit and read your favorite book, cycle the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway, or pack up and explore Pawleys Island, the southernmost section of the Grand Strand known for historic homes and handmade hammocks—not a bad way to wrap up a beach day.
If golf, surfing, and cycling still isn’t enough to satisfy your sports fandom, there’s plenty of gaming to be found around town. Between the old school arcades and amusement parks, Myrtle Beach is a bit of throwback, but there are several brand-new sports facilities that offer everything from pickle ball to roller 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 exploded onto the national scene in both football and baseball, and is well worth the trip for a big matchup. And if you want more golf and beach, but smaller, try Treasure Island Mini Golf and The Myrtle Waves Water Park.
If you’re a golfer, a sports fan, or looking to unwind at one of the most gorgeous seaside spots in America, look no further than Myrtle Beach. Once you arrive, however, take the time to explore every unique town and community up and down the coast. Quality cuisine, breweries, and loads of live music options help make it an ideal getaway. They may call it “The Beach,” but there’s a wide variety of sandy spots—and golf courses—to ensure every trip you take to Myrtle Beach is an experience unto itself.
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