Myrtle Beach Umbrella, Tent & Canopy Rules

Myrtle Beach Umbrella, Tent & Canopy Rules


Review the Myrtle Beach umbrella rules to know which tents, shades, and canopies are allowed on the local beaches before you head out for fun in the sun. When you’re ready to hit the beach, knowing where and when you can use certain shades and beach canopies can save you a lot of hassle and even help you avoid fines for violations. 

Ordinances passed in 2014 for shading device policies in the Grand Strand limited the use of umbrellas in an effort to improve emergency personnel and lifeguards’ visibility of the water’s edge (beachgoers benefit with better views, too). Most of the earliest guidelines have been amended and adjusted in the years since to better balance visitors’ needs and safety concerns but now most Myrtle Beach rules have been set since 2021.

Being aware of the restrictions before lugging gear down to the sand will make sure your beach day isn’t a bust and keep you out of trouble from using the wrong shade style. If you don’t have equipment that meets the city or county specs, local umbrella and chair rentals can simplify your beach setup and provide the approved gear right at your oceanfront hotel.

These convenient guidelines address the use of beach cabanas, canopies, and tents in Horry County and within the city limits of Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Sunset Beach. No need to lose out on time in the sun because you’re sorting through ordinances and regulations—we’ve done the legwork for you:

Horry County Beach Umbrella Rules

Beachgoers visiting Horry County beaches are allowed to use umbrellas as long as they fit within the size and style requirements determined by the county. Beach umbrellas in Horry County must be equal to or smaller than 7 feet 6 inches in diameter and must match the description of an umbrella (a collapsible circular shade consisting of a natural or synthetic fabric stretched over hinged ribs radiating from a central pole). 

While other beaches have flexible rules that relax in the off-season, Horry County’s regulations remain constant year-round. Canopies, tents, or shade structures that are not traditional beach umbrellas, including Sport-Brellas and Shibumi Shades, are not allowed on any Horry County beach at any time. The only exceptions to the umbrella rules are small pop-up or blow-up cabanas that do not exceed 4 feet by 3 feet by 3 feet, to use for infants and very small children. 

The placement and use of beach umbrellas must also adhere to these beach rules:

  • Umbrellas must not impede the lifeguard’s view at any time.
  • Shade devices may not be set up within 10 feet of the established umbrella line.
  • Umbrellas must be secured but cannot be tied, bound, or connected to other shade structures.
  • All beach items must be removed between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., including beach tents and umbrellas.

If you’re thinking about having a beach wedding with a party tent or canopy, you will need to obtain a Special Events Permit from Horry County. Approval for beach canopies for family reunions or other occasions may also be granted, but you will need to contact the Horry County Police Beach Patrol for more information. Any beach umbrellas in use for these approved occasions still need to follow rules for placement, hours of use, and other guidelines.

Myrtle Beach Umbrella & Tent Rules

The beach rules within the city limits of Myrtle Beach are similar to Horry County’s rules, with a few exceptions. The Myrtle Beach umbrella rules are seasonal, so there are times when non-umbrella shades and larger canopies may be used. The off-season begins the day after Labor Day and ends on Memorial Day.

During summer months, umbrellas are the only shade items allowed for adult use and they must be confined to 7 feet 6 inches in diameter. Infant tents are also permitted year-round but must be smaller than 4 feet wide by 3 feet deep by 3 feet high. 

Are Shibumi Shades and Canopies Allowed In Myrtle Beach?

If you arrive in the off-season you’ll notice much more lenient umbrella rules in Myrtle Beach. Canopies, shades, and tents, including various Sport-Brellas and Shibumi Shades, are permitted on the beaches of Myrtle Beach during the 9 non-summer months as long as the structures are not larger than 12 feet by 12 feet. 

All umbrellas and canopies, regardless of the season, must still adhere to these placement guidelines:

  • All cabanas and canopies (when allowed) must be placed 10 feet behind the umbrella line. 
  • Umbrellas must be set up in line with or behind the established umbrella line.
  • No shade structures may block emergency personnel or lifeguards’ access to or visibility of the water’s edge. 
  • Umbrellas, tents, and personal items may be set up only after 8:00 a.m. and must be removed by 7:00 p.m.

North Myrtle Beach Tent Rules

Vacationers in North Myrtle Beach will need to follow the beach rules when setting up an umbrella, canopy, or other shade structure. North Myrtle Beach tent rules are seasonal yet slightly different than the rules in Myrtle Beach, so it is important to know which municipality you’re in when setting up your beach equipment. Large tarps, canopies, and other non-umbrella devices, including Sport-Brellas and Shibumi Shades, are prohibited from use on North Myrtle Beach public beaches between May 15 and September 15. 

During summer months from mid-May to mid-September, umbrellas are the only approved shade beachgoers may use (aside from approved infant shades) in North Myrtle Beach. These umbrellas must not be larger than 7 feet 6 inches and the circular shade diameter cannot exceed 9 feet. An umbrella, as defined by the city, is a collapsible circular shade composed of fabric stretched over hinged ribs that radiate from a central pole. Baby tents are the only exception to umbrellas and they’re allowed year-round as long as they are used by persons 18 months or younger and they’re not larger than 36 inches high by 36 inches wide by 36 inches deep.

Any shades or umbrellas in use in North Myrtle Beach must follow these placement guidelines:

  • Shades should not be set up within 10 feet of the lifeguard stand.
  • Umbrellas and other structures (when allowed) should be located 20 to 25 feet seaward of the dune line and parallel to the shoreline which will be marked by city trash cans, pylons, or flags.
  • Beach equipment and shade devices must not remain on the beach between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m.

Surfside Beach Rules for Beach Umbrellas & Canopies

Beach canopies, tents, and umbrellas are allowed on the beaches of Surfside Beach, but they must adhere to size restrictions. Umbrellas must be no greater than 7 feet 6 inches in height and have a circular shade no larger than 9 feet in diameter. Other non-umbrella shades, including tarps, canopies, Shibumi Shades, and Sport-Brellas are permitted but must not exceed 10 feet by 10 feet. All shade structures must have straight tie-downs. Baby tents are also allowed year-round.

All persons using shade structures must adhere to these tent rules:

  • No gear, windbreakers, personal belongings, or other obstructions may be placed between beach umbrellas.
  • Tents must be placed 10 feet apart from one another.
  • All umbrellas, shades, and baby tents must be placed behind the lifeguard stand, so the lifeguard’s view of the beach and ocean is not obstructed. 
  • All setups must be placed in accordance with the town’s beach emergency lane rules.
  • Umbrellas, canopies, and other beach equipment must be removed between the hours of 7:30 p.m. and 9:00 a.m.
  • Shades must not interfere with or be connected to sand fencing near the dunes.

Myrtle Beach Hotel Deals & Specials

Myrtle Beach Hotel Deals & Specials