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 can hit on the course, there are endless ways to enjoy yourself in and out of the sand at Myrtle Beach.
The jewel of the South Carolina coast, Myrtle Beach boasts nearly 90 world-class golf courses, all located around one of America’s most beautiful beaches and considered a must-visit for every serious golfer. And even if you can’t tell a player from the wedge, there’s something for every kind of sports fan in Myrtle Beach. See 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 driving) distance of downtown, even the most dedicated duffer could play a different course every day for three months without repeats it. It’s not just the quantity, of course, but the quality—there are nearly 50 championship-level courses around MB, many of which were designed by some of the most famous course architects and legendary golfers. While many of the most historic courses were established as private clubs, the building boom over the past few decades ensures that there is a me time somewhere for every type of golfer and every budget.
Between the beautiful scenery, ideal weather and distinctive terrain, golfing in Myrtle Beach is a whole different game. Professionals have played through TPC Myrtle Beach in a number of prestigious tournaments, but many of the courses offer a challenging 18 holes that will test the skills of scratch golfers. But public courses like the world-famous Tidewater are fun no matter your skill level—and it’s always exciting when water hazards include Lowcountry marshes and the raging Atlantic Ocean itself. If your ball does end up in the drink, you might want to follow suit, which makes a post-round trip to the beach the perfect next step.
Locals call Myrtle Beach “The Beach,” but that’s a bit of a misnomer since there are many beaches that make up the 60-mile Grand Strand. The real Myrtle Beach is best known for the Boardwalk and the giant SkyWheel that overlooks the ocean. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is a 1.2-mile boardwalk lined with shops and restaurants and hosts many festivals and events throughout the year.
Keep the ocean to your right and head 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 atmosphere at NMB is definitely high-energy, with many dance clubs and performance venues like the Alabama Theater that have been local traditions for decades.
For a change of pace, Atlantic Beach is a tiny but vibrant beach community steeped in a culture of its own. Historically home to people of West African and Gullah Geechee descent, Atlantic Beach has been a destination for some of the greatest Black musical artists of the past century and is undergoing a revitalization designed to preserve the people’s history and culture Gullah Geechee.
Every beach along the Grand Strand is perfect for fun in the sun and surfing, with unique activities in each community. Speaking of surfing—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, making it ideal for water sports, fishing and crabbing – although those who don’t want to stick their food can enjoy the day’s catch straight from the source at the dozens of seafood restaurants up and down down on the coastline.
For the adventurous, Huntington Beach State Park is perfect for long walks in the saltwater marshes, as well as ocean access that’s a little off the beaten path. And while you’re walking this trail, 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 in the MB area and a boat tour along the coast offers the opportunity to spot some truly beautiful and rare animals.
If all the surfing, fishing, and bird watching gets you tired, Litchfield Beach is known for being a bit quieter than some of the other areas along the coast. Sit back and read your favorite book, ride a bike on the Waccamaw Neck Bikeway, or pack up and explore Pawleys Island, the southernmost stretch of the Grand Strand known for its historic homes and handcrafted hammocks—not a bad way to end a day in beach.
If golf, surfing and cycling still aren’t enough to satisfy sports enthusiasts, there are plenty of games to be found in the city. Between the old-school arcades and amusement parks, Myrtle Beach is a bit retro, but there are several brand new sports facilities that offer everything from pickleball to rink 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 worth the trip for a big game. And if you want more golf and beach, but smaller, try Treasure Island Mini Golf and Myrtle Waves Water Park.
If you’re a golfer, sports enthusiast, or looking to relax on one of America’s most beautiful seaside spots, look no further than Myrtle Beach. Once you arrive, however, take the time to explore each unique town and community up and down the coast. Quality cuisine, breweries and plenty of live music options 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 that every trip you take to Myrtle Beach is an experience in itself.