Three Locals’ Tips for Getting Around Myrtle Beach

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Finding your way around Myrtle Beach can be an ocean breeze if you know where (and where not) to go. Here are three locals' tips to help you navigate the crowds; just don't tell anyone:

1. Understanding traffic patterns in Myrtle Beach is a lot like the old saying about real estate: location, location, location. The “location” on the Grand Strand is, of course, the beach, where oceanfront hotels and other hot spots like the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk tend to generate the bulk of the traffic. Generally speaking, the further you drive from the coast the less traffic you will encounter, especially with the recent additions of Highways 31 and 22.

Highway 31 (or the Carolina Bays Parkway) runs parallel to the coast from Highway 9 in Little River to Highway 544 in Socastee. Anyone wishing to drive between the North and South Strand can save serious time on 31. Highway 22 (or the Conway Bypass) is great for those departing and arriving on the Strand, cutting serious time off the more congested Highway 501.

2. If you can count, you can find your way around Myrtle Beach. There are three major thoroughfares that run north/south – Ocean Boulevard, Kings Highway (or Highway 17 Business) and Highway 17 Bypass. Most streets (or “avenues”) that run east/west are numbered in ascending order in either direction of First Avenue in downtown Myrtle Beach. 

So if you are looking for an address such as 4800 North Kings Highway, the cross straight is 48th Avenue North. If it's 1700 South Ocean Boulevard, the cross straight is 17th Avenue South.

3. Ever spend hours driving down Ocean Boulevard looking for a good place to park and walk to the beach? Fortunately for you, there are plenty of free public parking spaces in Myrtle Beach.

Consider that every hotel you see is filled with people, most of whom came by car. Trying to find convenient parking in an area that is concentrated with high-rise hotels can be futile, so shop for parking in areas with fewer and smaller hotels.

In fact, there's a stretch of Ocean Boulevard known as the Golden Mile (from 30th to 50th Avenue North) where there are no oceanfront hotels, and virtually every block has a free public lot with direct beach access. The outside lanes of Ocean Boulevard also allow parallel parking.

So what's your best tip for getting around Myrtle Beach?

(posted 3/12/14)