Myrtle Beach might be called the “northernmost city in Florida.” The wide, white, sandy beaches lined with high rise hotels and residences look just like a beach resort city in Florida. The area attracts some 15 million tourists per year. Serving this market are vast developments of chain restaurants, amusement parks, miniature golf courses, and a variety of local events.
Other amenities include over 100 golf courses and some country-and-western themed museums and entertainment, making Myrtle Beach an emerging Branson. People also come to the area to shop, and a large new mall and outlet mall anchor a diverse shopping scene. The springtime Canadian-American Days festival (or “Can-Am”) draws thousands from north of the U.S. border. The vast majority of employment is tied to the tourist, entertainment and retail industries.
Conway is a more family-oriented small town with a nice historic district and the small public Carolina Coastal University some 12 miles inland, while North Myrtle Beach is a family-oriented beach town 10 miles north at the North Carolina border. For Myrtle Beach itself, much of it is overbuilt and unattractive with a gaudy, commercial feel and an exceptionally high crime rate.
The city sits on a sandy barrier island in extreme northeastern South Carolina. Areas of level plain and low sand hills and pine trees cover the island and inland sections. The climate is warm, humid subtropical. Summer days are warm and humid but moderated along the coast by sea breezes. Due to the warm marine influence and the Gulf Stream, winters are very mild (although temperatures do drop below freezing). Skies are sunny every 2 in 3 days, but plenty of rain falls year-round. The area is vulnerable to Atlantic hurricanes, although it’s slightly north of the main hazard area.