Travel through Time on the North Myrtle Beach History Trail

Waccamaw Indian
Waccamaw Indian - Credit USFWS
Few places on the Atlantic Coast of the "land of the free, home of the brave" are richer in meaningful history than South Carolina and the North Myrtle Beach area. I invite you to join me for a dive into the local history of the North Myrtle Beach area. Let’s travel through time to meet the brave people whose deeds, resilience and persistence against all odds made this place the great vacation destination and wonderful place to live it is today.

North Myrtle Beach lies on an area the Winyah and Waccamaw Indians used to call "the Land", or "Chicora" in their native language. Chicora was one of several Carolina Siouan territories subject to their king, Datha of Duahe.  Long before the European settlements, North Myrtle Beach has been part of the Indian trail, the route from the northern states to Charleston and Savannah.

The Spaniards from Hispaniola, led by Lucas Vasques de Ayllón, founded the first colony in North America somewhere in the area in 1526. Among the settlers were two Dominican friars, Fr. Antonio de Montesinos and Fr. Anthony de Cervantes, who led the very first Catholic mass in what today is the United States of America. The settlement lasted only three months of winter before being abandoned in early 1527 due to scarcity of supplies, hunger, disease, and troubles with the local natives. Ayllón himself gave his last breath in the arms of one of the Dominican friars. The 150 survivors left on two vessels to return to Hispaniola, but one sunk on the way; the other made it back.

North Myrtle Beach experienced better times after English settlers established in the area. By 1705, large scale rice cultivation formed the foundation of the Carolina lowland economy. Blessed with long growing seasons, the indigo plantations in the Cherry Grove beach area were more economically viable than cotton or rice plantations in the 18th Century. The goods traded across the ocean soon became an attractive target for scores of pirates, of which Blackbeard was the most daring, crafty and frightful. Edward Teach (Blackbeard’s real name) got his nickname because of his coal-black beard which he twisted and tied into tails. Teach captured a French merchant vessel, renamed her, equipped her with 40 guns and adopted his fearful pirate name.

Blackbeard
Blackbeard
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Blackbeard and his 40-guns ship Queen Anne's Revenge, one of the most formidable pirate ships ever, terrified the Atlantic between the years of 1716 and 1718, a period known as the "Golden Age of Piracy." Blackbeard emphasized the importance of image and made sure he looked like a devil who had stepped right out of hell. He used to put slow burning fuses in his hair and beard and strap a few pistols on his chest. Most of the ships he attacked surrendered without even putting up a fight. After a daring blockade of the entire port of Charleston, Blackbeard was eventually hunted down and killed on Nov. 22, 1718, in a glorious fight.

George Washington's Goodwill Tour Schedule
The Goodwill Tour Schedule written by George Washington himself
Copyright: www.mountvernon.org
He was engaged by two ships sent to find him and since most of his crew was on shore, he fought with just a handful of people along his side. He died bravely--killed by 5 gunshots and 20 sword cuts. Since 1997, archaeologists have been excavating the Queen Anne's Revenge, run aground on a sandbar in 1718 near Beaufort, NC. Blackbeard's sword is among their latest finds, presented here by National Geographic.

George Washington’s goodwill tour of 1791 passed through the North Myrtle Beach area. At that time, the Waccamaw Neck was a long, inaccessible area without a major port. It was the last part of the road between Boston and Savannah to be served by stagecoach. On April 27 at 12:30 p.m., Washington entered the state crossing the northern border of South Carolina near Little River, riding his overhauled, handsome white coach decorated with designs of the four seasons and bearing the Washington coat of arms. The old road was lined with forests of tall, stately trees, spreads of pine needles mixed with a low ground cover and patches of sand.  He followed the King’s Highway to near the ocean at Myrtle Beach from which point he traveled along the Grand Strand south to Surfside Beach.

Until the 1900s, when the railroad connected inland towns to the ocean, the beaches of Horry County were virtually uninhabited due to the county's geographical inaccessibility and poor economy. The Intracoastal Waterway opened the area further in 1936.

Cherry Grove Fishing Pier
I caught mine at the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier
Cherry Grove Pier is a popular landmark of Cherry Grove Beach. It was built early in the 1950s. Hurricane Hugo destroyed the pier in 1989, but the ambitious reconstruction plans added a two-story observation deck. Ten years later, the pier was damaged again by Hurricane Floyd and yet again the observation deck has been rebuilt, to last to this very day. The new pier brought good luck to many fishermen who cast their lines from the wooden deck into the generous waters washing the pillars. It became a tradition for people to take a picture with their catch in front of the "I caught mine at the Cherry Grove Fishing Pier" sign.

Walter Maxwell's world record tiger shark
Walter Maxwell's world record tiger shark
On June 15, 1964, Walter Maxwell caught a 1,780-pound, world record tiger shark. The Guinness Book record lasted for 40 years, until a bigger shark was caught off the coast of Australia, which was only 5- pounds, 11-ounces heavier. You can read more about Walter Maxwell's amazing perseverance and the three days it took him to catch the shark on Grand Strand Magazine's website, and you can see pictures of other people's catch on the Cherry Grove Pier's website.

In 1968, Cherry Grove Beach merged with Windy Hill Beach, Ocean Drive Beach, and Crescent Beach to form the city of North Myrtle Beach, ready to build its own unique identity and path toward future!

Shag Dance in North Myrtle Beach
Shag Dance in North Myrtle Beach
Many believe North Myrtle Beach to be the birth place of Shag, adopted as the official state dance of South Carolina in 1984. The roots of shag can be found in the '40s in the unconditional adoption of the R&B music by the vivacious white teenagers dancing frantically in the clubs around the Myrtle Beach area. The youngsters played the music on jukeboxes and danced on the rhythms of the black music banned from being aired by the mainstream radio stations of the '40s South. Soon, they started dancing on the beach; thus, molding the Shag, a dance meant for people holding a beer in one hand and their darling in the other.

Barefoot Landing is a true North Myrtle Beach landmark, a large shopping complex consisting of several divided sections of stores and attractions located on filled land over top of Louis Lake, next to the Intracoastal Waterway. The shopping complex, started originally in 1972 as The Village of Barefoot Traders, consisted of only 15 stores. The Barefoot Landing as we know it today opened in 1988, soon becoming one of South Carolina's most impressive tourist destinations. Currently, Barefoot Landing includes more than 100 stores, restaurants and attractions. On March 1, 2013, Burroughs & Chapin bought Barefoot Landing, paying $43 million for the 64-acre complex, according to the Register of Deeds office of Horry County. The complex has since witnessed a facelift and improvements, including the replacement of some of the aging boards in the wooden walkways. The Barefoot Landing area of North Myrtle Beach also hosts the House of Blues, the Alabama Theatre, the Alligator Adventure, and a golf resort.

North Myrtle Beach Historical Museum
If you are looking for more information to immerse even deeper in local history, stop by the North Myrtle Beach Area Historical Museum located at 799 2nd Avenue North, North Myrtle Beach or visit their website. As mentioned on the website, "the Museum promotes a strong sense of community pride and fosters an appreciation for our place in the region's rich history."

The city has witnessed great development and sustained growth over the last few years, with numerous facilities built for its growing number of residents, like the modern Aquatic and Fitness Center and the newly built public library. Today, North Myrtle Beach is a popular family tourist attraction for vacationers from around the country and Canada. A state-of-the-art 145-acre park and sports complex has recently opened to encourage sports-tourism, featuring 6 ball fields, 8 regulation soccer/lacrosse fields, 3 playgrounds, walking trails, concession stands, picnic shelters, a 25-acre lake for water-related activities, and a 2,000-seat amphitheater. North Myrtle Beach is poised for continued growth, with many available commercial and residential sites across the waterway. The future looks bright for North Myrtle Beach!
North Myrtle Beach today
North Myrtle Beach today

A Visit to Historical Georgetown, South Carolina

While on vacation in North Myrtle Beach, I broke routine and took my family to Georgetown on a quick escape from the bustle foot traffic and craziness of a crowded weekend. There's no denying, tradition and tumultuous history is at the heart of Georgetown, a small time-honored town at the southern end of the Grand Strand. Located only 38 miles south of Myrtle Beach, Georgetown is a special historical landmark, the third oldest city and the second largest seaport of South Carolina which some call mini Charleston.
Georgetown - Street Restaurants

My family and I enjoyed the laid-back delights of the walkable historic part of Georgetown. The district is a place where art galleries, antique boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, and mom-and-pop stores still make it a go-to destination for those who savor village charm. Locals are friendly,  and each of them extol the joys of living in Georgetown.
Georgetown - Store front

Georgetown - street chairs

I am truly impressed by how the community has rallied with invigorated energy to revive and preserve Georgetown's history and its landmarks. A mere few years ago, the historical downtown looked deserted, with old buildings looking run down, a dusted grey spot on the parchment of time. The area is now colorful, elegant, filled with welcoming people greeting visitors with large smiles and renewed hopes. Historical downtown Georgetown is not about business anymore, it is about tradition, rich history and proud preservation.
Georgetown - Restaurant

The area dynamics are incredible, considering its population of only 9,000 people stretched over only 7.2 square miles. Georgetown has experienced many ups and downs that triggered economic diversity, dwindling away from the rice culture of the past to lumber export, to the world's largest Kraft paper mill in 1942, to commercial fishing and tourism.
Georgetown - boats

Georgetown - tourism and boats

In its long and colorful history, the city has seen many changes. Georgetown is the probable site of the first European settlement in North America in 1526. The city was officially founded in 1729 and bears the name of King George II of Great Britain. According to the city's official website: "Georgetown played an active role in the American Revolution by sending Thomas Lynch, Sr. and Thomas Lynch, Jr. to the Continental Congress where the younger was a signer of the Declaration of Independence."
Georgetown - the tower

If you decide to enjoy your summer vacation on the Grand Strand, book your oceanfront condo with Thomas Beach Vacations and take your family to Georgetown's historical downtown and  travel back to glorious times of courageous beginnings, endurance, and victorious come-backs.
Georgetown - historical site

Meet Your Movie Legends and Feel Star Struck at the Hollywood Wax Museum of Myrtle Beach

Have you ever dreamed of meeting face-to-face the star of your favorite movie? I have nurtured this desire for years, always wondering how tall he or she really is; what it really was like to be next to him or her in one of the most memorable movie scenes Hollywood impressed me with. My dream came (almost) true during my latest trip to Myrtle Beach! Oh, don't let me get ahead of myself, so let's start from the beginning...

It was a bright, hot summer day, on Hwy 17 in Myrtle Beach. I stopped at a traffic light next to the Myrtle Waves water park when my son spotted it. "Daaad, look! It's huge!" My son's face lit up, with his wide eyes glued to an almost natural replica of the all-mighty Kink Kong hanging on a side of the Empire State Building. My heart almost stopped! The giant ape was truly enormous, strong and mad, its paws tightly gripped on the building, looking for the blonde, Ann.
King-Kong-Wax-Museum-of-Myrtle-Beach

With almost automated moves, I turned the car into the parking lot, which triggered loud cheers from both my son and wife. I got out of the car and there it was, the Hollywood Wax Museum of Myrtle Beach, a refreshing view after a few hours on the road. I had read about this landmark before I hit the road for my annual family beach vacation. In a short time, it has become a Myrtle Beach landmark and highlight of Broadway at the Beach. We bought the tickets and started our journey in a world of glamour and talent, beauty, entertainment, and show business. We stepped into the Hollywood Wax Museum of Myrtle Beach.

The first steps inside the museum took us back in space and time. A few exhibits down the way, I felt my heart beating faster when I found myself in a variation replica of the famous Java Dreams painting, by Chris Consani. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Humphrey Bogart were waiting patiently, while Elvis Presley served from behind the bar. "Sweet tea for me, maestro," I felt like shouting.
Marilyn-Monroe-Wax-Museum-of-Myrtle-Beach

Clint Eastwood gave me chills. "You see, in this world there's two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig." I shared the Man with No Name's quote from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" with my son, impressed by how natural and alive his wax statue is.
Clint-Eastwood-Wax-Museum-of-Myrtle-Beach

I never thought I would question the gifts I give my wife, but I had to glance at her earrings after we run into Audrey Hepburn sitting quietly at a table in a beautiful and elegant scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Looking at her, I remembered her famous quote:  " You could always tell what kind of a person a man thinks you are by the earrings he gives you." I have never been cheap with the gifts I made to my sweetheart so I felt good about it!
Audrey-Hepburn-Wax-Museum-of-Myrtle-Beach

Right around the corner, I run into John Wayne! Marion Mitchell Morrison by his real name, John Wayne's figure was impressive to say the least. The wax statue perfectly reflects the enduring American icon's rugged masculinity and demeanor. I truly felt honored to sit next to the statue of the actor named 13th among the Greatest Male Screen Legends of All Time by the American Film Institute.
John-Wayne-Wax-Museum-of-Myrtle-Beach

One of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age, Elizabeth Taylor is charmingly represented in a colorful Egyptian scene from Cleopatra. My wife and I are still endlessly fascinated by the glamour and beauty of the woman who embodied the idea of feminine beauty in America.
Elizabeth-Taylor-Wax-Museum-of-Myrtle-Beach

We ended our tour with a "Roar," when we run into the charming Katy Perry's wax statue. Vibrant and lively, Katy invited us onto the dance floor to enjoy the music and the sparkling mirror reflections of a concert-like ambiance. We spent a few minutes dancing, jumping and laughing before we said good bye to Katy, who stared at us goodbye with her beautiful smile.
Katy-Perry-Wax-Museum-of-Myrtle-Beach

There is so much more to see and admire at the Wax Museum of Myrtle Beach. I did not want to disclose all the wonderful surprises you can enjoy while visiting the museum. If you spend your vacation in the Myrtle Beach area, we invite you to visit the Wax Museum of Myrtle Beach and spend time face-to-face with icons of the silver screen, recreated so faithfully that you'd swear they were alive.

Enjoy the Games and Fun at the New North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex

It was early June, the beginning of a promisingly beautiful summer. I drove the car carefully on Robert Edge Parkway in North Myrtle Beach, with Queen's “We Will Rock You” playing on the radio when my boys in the back seats asked me to crank it up louder. We were all shouting from the top of our lungs "we will, we will rock you" when the electronic board popped up on the left-hand side of the crossroad, pointing us to take a left at the traffic light to get to the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex, the destination of our trip.



I turned left, drove half a mile on the Champions Boulevard and turned left on Citizens Circle, the primary inner loop road leading us directly into the heart of the sports complex. We were all left speechless, as the song faded out on the radio and the view opened in front of our eyes. ...

Citizens Circle and Champions Blvd - North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex

Stretching inland, off Hwy 31, the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex expands over 145 acres of city-owned land, a wonderful combination of sports fields, natural habitat, and recreational space. Just a few miles from the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and its white-sand beaches, the North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports Complex is the perfect place for pro and amateur athletes, coaches and fans, featuring over 100 events year round. The fields oftentimes accommodate amateur events, but the park is nothing short of being a pro sports complex!


The smartly-designed complex offers six ball fields, eight regulation soccer/lacrosse fields, eight batting tunnels, seven covered picnic shelters, three playgrounds, three miles of walking trails, concession stands, picnic shelters  and restrooms, a 10-acre meadow, a 25-acre lake for water-related activities, and a 2,000-seat amphitheater. Click here to get driving directions from Google Maps.

 - North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex

Concession stands - North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex

softball game - North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex
Softball practice at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex
Amphitheater
The Amphitheater
Playground at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex

The park also has been designed with two dog parks – one for large dogs and one for small dogs, providing fitness, relaxation, and socializing opportunities for both people and dogs. I took my wife for a walk around the beautiful lakeside to stretch our legs while our two kids excitedly rode their bikes on the 3-mile bike trail.

Dogs park - North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex
Dog Park

nature trail - North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex
Nature trail at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex

Little have I thought of having a chance to experience the sensation of flying and weightlessness while in the sports complex! Jetpack Adventures made it possible though, with its ground-breaking new system that shatters the limitations of every flying machine before it. The flight begun as the 200-horse power marine engine pumped water up a 33-foot hose at over 1,000 gallons per minute. The water was then directed through two nozzles on a jetlev I held on my back, helping me fly up in the air. Aiming the nozzles created smooth, stable turns. The safety elements incorporated in the jetpack kept me in optimal flying position. The whole pack was surprisingly quiet and easy to use. After experiencing the jetlev, the ultimate block-buster toy at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex, my summers will never be the same!

Jetpack Adventures North Myrtle Beach
Jetpack Adventures North Myrtle Beach

To hold your sporting event at North Myrtle Beach Park and Sports complex, contact Matt Gibbons CPRP, Superintendent of Sports Tourism / Athletics for the City of North Myrtle Beach at (843) 280-5574. Book your stay now at Thomas Beach Vacation oceanfront condos or beach homes in North Myrtle Beach so you can be near the new park and sports complex.

Enjoy the Summer Thrill and Cotton Candy at the O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach

It was 1976. For the first time in my life, I stepped slowly beyond the brightly colored gates of a small town amusement park, a scared little boy holding my dad's hand as tightly as I could. I felt like I was entering a new world, strange yet fascinating--with squeaky merry-go-rounds, wooden roller coasters, vintage bumper cars, cotton candy, and hot dogs. It was long before giant theme parks, computer-controlled thrill rides, and non-fat mayonnaise. I loved breathing in the air filled with the aroma of grilled onions and delicious smoked barbecue; watching everything from the tall shoulders of my father.

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 7 - Thomas Beach Vacations

Fast forward to 2014. The O.D. Pavilion, like a true time machine, has recreated many of the former amazing rides in the heart of North Myrtle Beach at Ocean Boulevard. It’s all there—at the same location so many families have already learned to associate with cotton candy and family fun. What gets people to this amusement park on hot summer days? It may be the wind rushing by on cool spinning rides or the trusty hydraulics that make those great coasters go -- or maybe it's the people themselves.

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 2 - Thomas Beach Vacations

The time I have spent with my entire family at O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park always has been astounding. We all appreciate silly thrills, cheery laughs and good times. There may be no better place to watch the blue ocean and the city landscape than from the Ferris wheel moving at snail pace. My girls are always attracted to the spinning cups and the flying dragon carousel for which the ride never lasts long enough. The boys love getting butterflies in their stomachs in the Kamikaze ride. The double-arm Ranger is a little too much for me, I admit. I prefer the rush of the roller coaster ride.

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 3 - Thomas Beach Vacations

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 4 - Thomas Beach Vacations

The food always tastes so much better after experiencing the exhilaration of spinning forward and backward, turning upside down and down side up. When it comes to food in the amusement park, there is one established rule: There are no rules! The amusement park is a magic land where calories and fibers fade out of existence and taste is the king. I love seeing my kids wondering around with ice-cream dripping off their fingers and traces of cotton candy around their mouths while my sweetheart and I enjoy our hot dogs amongst the screams and laughter.

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 5 - Thomas Beach Vacations

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 6 - Thomas Beach Vacations

Bring the whole family to the O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach and let the children live the special moments that we experienced as youngsters. They will be on top of the world, but, actually simply atop the Ferris wheel. It may be just a small beach town to grown-ups, but to children, it is the whole universe! Fun, great food, games and rides, who could ask for more?

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 1 - Thomas Beach Vacations

O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach 8 - Thomas Beach Vacations

Have a wonderful beach vacation, choose one of our oceanfront vacation rentals from a large selection here and enjoy the O.D. Pavilion Amusement Park in North Myrtle Beach.

Experience Underwater Adventures at Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach

One place you cannot miss while on vacation on the Grand Strand is Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach. Once you enter, you will start an unforgettable adventure into the world of sharks, eels, colorful fish and poisonous predators. Let your children be amazed at the rare opportunity to touch sharks and stingrays.

Ripley's Aquarium Myrtle Beach

If you want to impress your family, offer them an utterly captivating experience by taking the moving 340-foot long glidepath through the huge acrylic tunnel. You will feel like Cousteau diving off Calypso into the clear waters of the world's oceans, meeting face to face with snappers, tarpons, grunts, squirrelfish, sawfish, and large sharks. I will never forget the expression on my son's face when he first traveled through the tunnel. Two huge sharks came across from both sides, meeting right above his head. He was fascinated, showing no signs of fear. Then, he turned and told me with excitement in his voice: "Did you see that? He winked at me!” I will never be sure as to whether that shark was winking at my son.  It was a life-time memory triggered by a spark of imagination, and I wasn't going to spoil that!

glidepath through the huge acrylic tunnel

If you want to take photos, make sure you disable your on-camera flash–it’s rarely flattering and will likely kill the ambiance, hit a surface, and, depending on which exhibit you’re in, create a reflection in your photo. It is hard to take decent pictures with a mobile device, but not impossible. Play with silhouettes, explore different angles, and compose your shot with people beside or under large sea creatures to provide a sense of scale.

Aquarium silhouette

There is more to the Ripley's Aquarium than just fish. With thousands of creatures of hundreds of species, the aquarium creates an environment that allows you to truly experience life “under the sea.” Every Wednesday in the summer, children can stay the night at the Aquarium. They will enjoy plenty of music, dancing, karaoke, scavenger hunts, pizza and more to keep the fun going. When time to retire for the evening, the children set up camp in the tunnel and “Sleep with the Sharks.” You don't have many chances in life to drift off to sleep counting sharks instead of sheep.

Colorful fish at Ripley's Aquarium

In 2011, Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach presented some of the most magical creatures in the world - the mermaids! Visitors were mesmerized by the five-foot-long, blue, green and aquamarine mermaids with flowing blond hair doing rhythmic flips, somersaults and underwater dances. Here is a short video of the dazzling show.


If you already feel excited and anxious after reading this blog post, and you can hardly wait to experience the marvels of the underwater world, take a virtual tour of the aquarium and explore the Rio Amazon, Rainbow Rock, Systems Controls, Dangerous Reef, Living Gallery, Ray Bay, and Friendship Flats. For a perfect beach vacation, choose one of our oceanfront vacation rentals from our large selection here and enjoy the Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach.

Safety Tips for Beachgoers

If you're reading this blog post you're probably ready to pack your swim suit, flip-flops, a beach chair, sunscreen and a good magazine and head for the beach. Nothing is better than a great family vacation at the beach, where you can set the daily worries aside, get some sand between your toes and work on your tan to become the envy of the team when you get back at the office.

While enjoying blissful hours on the beach, you should still pay attention to a few important things related to the safety and well being of yourself and your family.

Kids in the water

Swimming safety tips

  • Swimming in the ocean takes different skills that swimming in the pool, so before you get your feet wet, it’s best to learn how to swim in the surf.
  • Swim only at a lifeguard-protected beach, within the designated swimming area. Follow all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • While you’re enjoying the water, keep alert and check the local weather conditions. Make sure you swim sober and that you never swim alone.
  • Never venture too far. Even if you’re confident in your swimming skills, make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.

Lifeguard flag warning system

The United States Lifesaving Association, in conjunction with the International Lifesaving Federation, has developed a flag warning system that has been adopted by all coastal communities to notify vacationers of potential water hazards. Understanding and heeding these colored flags keeps you safe in the water and helps you enjoy your vacation at the beach.
  • Green flag - the treat of danger is low and you are safe to swim. Exercise caution in the ocean, though, and always keep an eye on children.
  • Yellow flag - lifeguard on duty. The ocean conditions are rough but not life threatening. Exercise extreme caution due to the potentially high surf or dangerous currents and undertows. If you're not a strong swimmer you may want to wear a life jacket while venturing out. Some beaches have a permanent yellow flag because of rocks, a sudden drop-off or a high population of bait fish that attracts predators.
  • Red Flag - no swimming allowed. The surf is high, there are dangerous currents, or both. A red flag also means there might be other hazardous things in the water so don't make assumptions and check with the lifeguard.
  • Blue or purple flag - raised when potentially dangerous ocean animals like sharks, jellyfish, and other dangerous marine life have been spotted. Exercise extreme cautions and look out for dangerous marine life if the water is not closed for swimming.
Lifeguard in action

Generic beach safety tips

  • Have young children or inexperienced swimmers use approved flotation devices while in the water. Ask before you purchase such devices from the local stores near the beach. Chances are the merchandise in the stores is safe but it never hurts to double-check.
  • Don’t dive headfirst. Check for depth and obstructions before diving, and go in feet first the first time.
  • Keep alert for local weather conditions. Patches of dark clouds moving fast across the sky are common in the summer. Lightning can strike as far as 10 miles from where it's raining. As soon as you hear thunder, leave the beach and take shelter in an enclosed vehicle or building. Stay off the beach for 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder.
  • Wear water shoes to protect your feet from sand burn, glass or other sharp objects.

Sun protection tips

  • Limit exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15. Don't forget to reapply sunscreen often. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or toweling off.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water regularly, even if you are not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
  • Protect the eyes against the UV radiation  by wearing sunglasses. 
  • Wearing a hat. Wide  brim hat provides the best sun protection possible.
Sun Protection

Surfing safety tips

Following these tips will get you ready for some awesome times on the water:
  • Surf with a buddy. You never know when something may happen. A surfing buddy can also help you with your technique.
  • Don't fight the current and signal for help if you get in trouble. Always aid to fellow surfers or swimmers if they encounter troubles in the water.
  • Get certified in CPR and Basic First Aid. These skills might save a life.
  • Leash your surfboard. This will allow you to keep it from becoming a hazard to other surfers.
  • Follow the local rules regarding surf zones, surfing near jetties and piers, etc. Check with the lifeguard for details before you enter the water.
  • Never surf in conditions above your ability level. If you are uncomfortable your increase the risk of injury.
Surfer

Rip currents safety tips

Any beach with breaking waves may have rip currents. Be aware of the danger of rip currents and remember the following:
  • If you get caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim toward shore. If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until free of the rip current and then head toward shore. 
  • Stay at least 100 feet away from piers and jetties. Permanent rip currents often exist near these structures.
  • If you feel you can’t make it to the shore, draw attention to yourself by waving and calling for help.
  • If someone is in trouble in the water, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1.Throw the victim something that floats – a lifejacket, cooler, inflatable ball and yell instructions on how to escape the current.

Rip tide educational video:


Follow the golden rule while at the beach: "always ask a lifeguard about ocean water conditions before heading for the waves." With a few safety precautions you and your family will be able to enjoy your vacation and build wonderful lifetime memories. We invite you to give North Myrtle Beach a try. Choose the perfect oceanfront vacation home from our large selection here, enjoy the white sands and the waves and most of all, have a safe wonderful summer at the beach!