The Redneck Riviera earns it’s nick name honestly and in my opinion it’s the Carolina Redneck’s that make this fabulous beach town so great. Having lived in South Florida for 12 years and only visited Myrtle Beach a couple of times, mostly just a drive-by kind of thing, I was under the impression that the people and the place would be more like Ft. Lauderdale, which can be described as a sunny place filled with shady people, but alas I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the two beach towns have very few similarities.
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Being a Canadian that adores America, I’ve seen more of the USA than most of it’s citizen’s, always being attracted to the warmer climes and all the places where you can find boats and beaches. Myrtle Beach doesn’t disappoint, with a massive beach that faces the open Atlantic and features the warm current from the Caribbean, drawn north by the Gulf Stream. By August it’s normal to find water temperatures in the 80’s but even in May it’s very pleasant to swim in water that’s 74 degrees and the beach very busy with tourists and locals.
The population of the area is about 299,000, in the area of the “Grand Strand” as it’s known, which encompasses at least a dozen smaller communities that stretch along the beach, between the Atlantic Intracoastal and the Atlantic Ocean. On a few occasions I was able to borrow a nice ski-boat and tour the waterway all the way to the inlet and was very impressed with what I saw and learned about the region. Only a small percentage of the waterway is developed, so much of what can be seen is the natural South Carolina landscape, although there are sections of residential development with multi-million dollar homes built along the edge of the waterway.
Locals boast that Myrtle Beach is the Golf Capital of the world, with more courses that anywhere on earth, attracting more visitors to South Carolina than anything else, plus creating fabulous golf resort/residential developments, like the Grande Dunes. I often stayed at an award winning luxury hotel called the Marina Inn, which is located along the shore of the Atlantic Intracoastal waterway and features a large marina, several excellent cafes, bars and restaurants, awesome pools, tennis courts and naturally, golf courses, plus access (by shuttle) to an incredible beach club, directly on the Atlantic Ocean. The entire area surrounding Myrtle Beach is remarkably clean, well organized, modern and sophisticated and with dozens and dozens of excellent places to eat and party.
Ultimately it’s the people of the Carolina’s that make it so special for me but it was the partying aspect of the Redneck Riviera that surprised me the most. I was lucky to get in with a good bunch of folks that befriended me and opened many doors that normally an outsider would not even know existed. In all my years of travel and the dozen years of living in South Florida, I never before had the good fortune to make friends with individuals, whom I believe, will be my good friends for life. I love Myrtle Beach.
To learn more about Mytle Beach, see the following: