Local Guide to Surfside Beach, Garden City Beach & Murrells Inlet
If you’re going to live here, you might as well LIVE here.
Don’t worry – there’s no secret to it. It’s as easy as wiggling your toes in the sand.
The Beach – it’s more than a place, it’s a state of mind. It’s watching the sunrise over the ocean in a burst of rosy-golden light, while you dig your toes in the sand and sip your morning coffee. It’s saying to yourself, “I think I’ll grab a sandwich and sit on the beach on my lunch hour and breathe the salt-sea air.” It’s knowing that every wave that crashes onshore is new and that no one else but you will ever see it.
The beaches of the South Strand are unique, quiet and family-friendly, with ancient dunes and wide expanses of golden sand that is perfect for building sand castles and burying your toes. Surfside Beach, Garden City and the quaint fishing village of Murrells Inlet, known as the Seafood Capital of South Carolina, all offer a relaxed way of life that is unparalleled yet they are just minutes away from the attractions of Myrtle Beach.
We also have a rich and vibrant past. European explorers came to these shores in the 16th Century and the area has been playing host to visitors since ancient times. Our history is long and colorful and includes Revolutionary War heroes, pirates, world renowned artists, movie stars, and even a ghost or two.
Over the years, this stretch of paradise has grown, offering a variety of shopping, restaurants, attractions, sports, entertainment, nightlife, golf, and family activities, but we’ve still managed to retain our small town roots and our Southern hospitality. Don’t be surprised when you bump into people you know at the grocery store or the movies and they say “hey, y’all.” We’re just that kind of place.
When you decided to make your move to the beach, you pledged to give up your snow shovel and traded in your snow boots for flip flops. More sunshine means more time to spend with family, making new friends, enjoying all the great opportunities for outdoor living, and doing the things you like to do.
With so much happening on the Grand Strand, you might be tempted to fill your days with activities, but be sure and leave yourself some beach time. After all, that’s why you moved here.
Shopping & Dining
Retail therapy and great food just seem to go together and we have some of the best of both worlds. From bargain outlet shopping to darling upscale boutiques, and fresh seafood seasoned with funky wine bars, we have it all.
One of the great things about being a local shopper is you can always go back again and again for great sales and new merchandise. From the South Strand, it’s only a short drive to Tanger Outlets which features over 200 brand name stores and two locations, one in Myrtle Beach and one in Carolina Forest. You’ll also find a variety of shops at Barefoot Landing and Broadway at the Beach offering everything from housewares to clothing and accessories. Head south to the Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island for some truly unique shopping and dining set among the live oaks, and don’t miss the historic riverfront shops in Georgetown.
The area has just about every national brand store available and then some. Hobby stores, home improvement stores, imported housewares, food, furniture, you name it, and when it’s time to take a break from shopping, we have that covered too.
Like the beach, dining is a way of life here. Whatever your heart desires and your taste buds crave, you can get it. Want fresh seafood? Of course you do, and the best thing is you can eat it any time of the year with a waterfront view. The quaint fishing village of Murrells Inlet, known as the Seafood Capital of South Carolina, is home to a dozen or more restaurants that overlook the inlet and feature fresh, local seafood on their menus. A few miles south in Georgetown you can browse the shops, museums and historic buildings along the Harbor Walk, and enjoy riverfront dining while watching the boats go.
We also have some great steak and chops restaurants and New York-style delis, but there’s also vegan, ethnic, Italian, French, and don’t forget our own Carolina barbecue. To quench your thirst we have coffee houses, tea rooms, pubs, wine bars, martini bars, craft beer breweries, and wineries. Fudge shops, ice cream shops, frozen yogurt, Italian ices, and bakeries will satisfy your sweet tooth, or you can purchase locally grown vegetables and fruits from local vegetable stands and the farmers market to take home to make your own healthy meal.
While you’re at it, try something new like shrimp and grits, hoppin’ john, or she-crab soup, all Low Country specialties. Before long you’ll have your own list of favorite eats and places to enjoy them.
Sports & Entertainment
Last night you were at a Pelicans (the Chicago Cubs’ local single A baseball team) game cheering on your favorite pitcher and tonight you’re laughing it up at the Improv. That’s how is at the Beach. From professional sports action to live entertainment, there’s always something happening.
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll also want to cheer on the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers. They offer NCAA football, basketball, baseball, and other men’s and women’s sports in the Big South Conference.
Perhaps fishing floats your boat. Professional fishing guides, charter boats and party boats in Murrells Inlet and Georgetown will take you to some of the best off-shore fishing in the Southeast. There’s also inshore fishing in our pristine inlets, creeks and bays, and you can stake your claim on the beach for some surf fishing. Both the Surfside Beach Pier and the Pier at Garden City offer outstanding fishing spots, tackle, bait and a place to clean your catch. Throughout the year there are numerous fishing tournaments to test your skills against other anglers.
You can rent a jet ski, go boating, parasailing, or splash around in one of our waterparks for the day, or enjoy a picnic at Huntington Beach State Park. Visit Brookgreen Gardens and marvel at the works of one of the country’s most renowned sculptors, revel in the beauty of the gardens and laugh at the antics of the otters in the Lowcountry Zoo.
If the live action you prefer involves singing, dancing and professional stage talent, may we present The Shows! Enjoy musical theater at Calvin Gilmore’s Carolina Opry, relive great moments with Sinatra, Elvis, the Beatles and others at the Legends Theater, and see the stars at the Palace Theatre, Alabama Theatre, and the House of Blues. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament and Pirates Voyage Fun, Feast & Adventure both allow you to be entertained with a meal.
For afterhours, head for the comedy clubs. Comedians, hypnotists, magicians and improvisation pros will keep you laughing and mesmerized while you enjoy your favorite adult beverages and snack on sandwiches and wings. Other venues like Crocodile Rocks with its dueling pianos, and The Bowery, country music mecca and original home of the legendary group Alabama, put you front and center with the performers. Then put on your dancing shoes because there are also numerous nightclubs where you can dance the night away.
If you can’t get enough of the royal and ancient game of golf, you’ve come to the right place. Myrtle Beach golf is legendary and the number and variety of links is mind boggling. You could play every week of the year and still not play every course on the Grand Strand.
Pity the poor visitors. They rush in, play 36 holes a day for a week, go home exhausted, and they haven’t even scratched the surface. The great thing about being a local is you don’t have to do it all at once. Take it slowly, enjoy the views, take time over that putt, there’s no rush.
Summer, of course, is great for golf, but it’s a bit hot and make sure you slather on sunscreen. Winter and shoulder seasons are perfect golf weather, and as a local, you can cash in on the great deals many courses offer. For less than the price of a single round of golf, you can play 18 holes, with cart, beverage breakfast and lunch at many of the area’s top courses.
There are about 85 golf courses on the Grand Strand plus driving ranges and par three courses to work on your short game. The South Strand offers over a dozen courses, with such legendary names as Caledonia, The Tradition, Litchfield Country Club, Pawleys Plantation, True Blue, the Heritage Club, and The TPC. There are also excellent golf schools and workshops run by top golf professionals to help you get your game in shape and lots of golf retailers that offer the equipment and accessories you need.
So, whether you’re a 6 handicap or a still trying to figure out the difference between a wedge and 5 wood, you’ll find great golf for all levels of play as well as year-round deals. Now, make your tee time and go.