Myrtle Beach

Located on the Southern Carolina coast, the ever-popular coastal city of Myrtle Beach is a bustling tourist destination known for its great golfing, warm beaches, and overall charming appeal. The term "Grand Strand" often refers to the 60-mile stretch of coastline from Georgetown to the North Carolina border, but more commonly, the term refers to the area from Murrells Inlet north to Little River. The centerpiece of this vacation wonderland is Myrtle Beach, named for the once-ubiquitous trees long since replaced by palm-flanked beachfront resorts.

Elsewhere along the Carolina coast, Myrtle Beach suffers from its reputation. Since Myrtle Beach is such a popular tourist destination, the typical touristy aspects of the area can often be overwhelming with its abundance of chain restaurants, overly themed miniature golf courses and amusement parks, and copious tacky t-shirt joints. This is the reputation, and it's one real, wince-or-wink side of the truth. But the Grand Strand didn't become the state's top destination by accident.

The local white-sand beaches are gorgeous, Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach, and Market Commons do provide memorable shopping experiences, and the combination of the Carolina Opry, Alabama Theatre, and House of Blues do help justify promoters' claims that Myrtle Beach has become the Nashville—or at least the Branson—of the Deep South. And for golfers, Myrtle Beach is nothing short of Valhalla. If you wanted to tee-off at a different course every day of your vacation, you could stay here for a full four months before you had to repeat a course.

The Strand is The Strand. Yes, Myrtle Beach's primary function is as a vacation town. But perhaps providing relaxation and family memories is a noble-enough function for any community.