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  • Grand Strand and Myrtle Beach

    Grand Strand and Myrtle Beach travel guide

    Overview

    The Grand Strand stretches 60 miles (97km) along the South Carolina coastline, from Little River to Georgetown. Myrtle Beach lies at its core, a mega entertainment centre replete with beach resorts, seaside communities, and a glitzy collection of uninterrupted commercial development.

    The population at Myrtle Beach swells during summer, with vacationers flocking to the funfairs, waterslides, arcades, and shops at its amusement park. When the bright lights and relentless entertainment wear thin, Myrtle Beach State Park offers nature trails, camping, fishing, and swimming.

    At the southern end of the Grand Strand lies Georgetown. It's a picturesque historic district and a restored waterfront that buzzes with activity. During colonial times, it boasted a successful plantation culture and was the centre of America's rice empire. A number of estates can still be visited in the area.

    A visit to the collection of islands sprinkled about the coast is a popular excursion. Named the Sea Islands, they make up more than half of the South Carolina coastline and are separated from the mainland by estuaries and marshes.

    The Sea Islands are traditionally home to black communities called Gullah people, descended from slaves brought to the Carolinas during the 18th century. When freed by the Union army in 1865, the slaves were granted the lands.

    They have preserved much of their culture as well as their dialect, a speech heavily influenced by several African languages. During the labour-driven height of the rice culture, slaves from West African rice kingdoms were in high demand so they could teach colonists how to plant and grow rice.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Myrtle Beach has a humid subtropical climate, with hot summers tempered by ocean breezes and winters that stay cool and comfortable. The influence of the warm currents of the Gulf Stream just offshore ensures that this holiday strip is warm enough for fun in the sun most of the year.

    Summers (June to August) are hot and humid, and experience frequent thunderstorms. Average highs during the summer hover around 86°F (30°C). Winters are mild, with highs averaging around 57°F (14°C) and lows dropping to 37°F (3°C).

    As the city's climate is pleasant all year, any time of the year is a good time to visit Myrtle Beach. Although for travellers wanting to avoid the crowds, travel outside of the summer season is a good idea.

    Tropical cyclones can sometimes affect Myrtle Beach but major storms are not common. It does rain suddenly, and heavily, particularly during summer. But the sandy soil allows for quick drainage and even the emerald green golf courses are ready for action again as soon as the showers let up.

    Myrtle Beach International Airport
    Location: The airport is situated three miles (5km) southwest of downtown Myrtle Beach.
    Time: GMT -5 (GMT -4 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
    Getting to the city: Coast RTA provides public bus service to and from the airport every day. There are hotel shuttles that run to and from the airport, as well as taxis and rental cars.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies located at the airport include Avis, Alamo, Thrifty, Budget, Hertz, National, Thrifty, and Enterprise.
    Airport Taxis: There are a number of taxi companies operating from outside the baggage claim section of the airport. Passengers are urged to take the first taxi waiting in line.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include a variety of restaurants and snack bars, a newsagent, information booths, and ATMs.
    Parking Short-term parking is free for 15 minutes and $3 for the first 30 minutes, with each additional 15 minutes costing $1. There is a daily maximum of $21. Long-term parking is $12 per day. Credit card parking costs $10 a day.

    Useful Contacts:

    Hiring a car in Myrtle Beach is generally the most convenient way to see the city, with a number of car hire companies operating in the area. It's worth remembering that roads can be quite congested, especially during the busy tourist season.

    There are a number of taxi companies in Myrtle Beach. Taxis are often found congregated around popular tourist spots and at the airport. They can also be arranged via the telephone. While taxis are convenient, they can be quite expensive relative to other transport options in the city.

    Public transport in Myrtle Beach takes the form of a bus network, managed by The Coast RTA. Buses run regular routes within Myrtle Beach as well as to other towns and cities along the Atlantic Coast. Exact change is required when paying for a ticket on the bus, as drivers do not have change. Bus passes are available for frequent travellers.

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    No direct flights from Heathrow to this Destination