Whether a permanent, year-round resident or a first-time visitor, nothing beats the panoramic views of the Grand Strand’s umbrella-lined beaches like the perspective found at the end of one of the many public piers found along the area’s beaches.
On the weekend of October 8, 2016, the South Carolina coast was hit by Hurricane Matthew, the first category 5 Atlantic hurricane since 2007. Matthew was down to a category 2 by the time it hit the coast but despite the downgrade in strength, Matthew hit hard. The Springmaid Pier was completely destroyed. The Surfside Beach pier suffered extensive damage, losing over 50 percent of its length and scattering debris from Ocean Lakes to Garden city. It was a devastating blow.
Though the Springmaid Pier and the Surfside Beach Pier are not open, nine public piers are still intact. Some large and some small, some jutting out into the Atlantic and others offering access to quiet creeks and marshes, the scenic variety found on the Grand Strand’s piers make this the perfect time of year to experience the magic of pier hopping for yourself.
If you’re tempted to think a pier is a pier is a pier, you’d be wrong. Each offers its own history, flavor, and views. Many, but not all, have restaurants and serve cocktails for casual lunches or late-night parties. While most piers may charge a dollar or two to walk out to the end and a little more to use it as a fishing platform, it’s worth every penny to stroll out over the ocean.
The Myrtle Beach-area piers from 14th Avenue North to the Second Avenue Pier offer unparalleled nighttime views of the Vegas-like resort skyline that is the Myrtle Beach oceanfront. The Myrtle Beach State Park pier is quieter with nary a high-rise in sight. The pier at the end of the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk creates a unique mood set apart from the larger and more heavily visited piers. Most all of the piers give fishermen easy access to some impressive potential catches. You can use your own gear or rent theirs, and if you pay to fish you don’t need a license.
Whether you’re an avid sportsman, a birder, a dolphin watcher, photographer or just a casual pier-walker, consider spending an afternoon or weekend of pier-combing. Here are the best piers to check out in Myrtle Beach and along the Grand Strand:
3500 N. Ocean Blvd., North Myrtle Beach, 843.249.1625, cherrygrovepier.com
The quieter community of Cherry Grove is in many ways a throwback to what all of the Grand Strand beach communities, even Myrtle Beach, once looked like – few tall buildings, lots of mom and pop cottages on the oceanfront, and sandy roads with light traffic, especially in the off-season. Built in the 1950s, the pier was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and rebuilt. In 1964 a 1,800-pound record-setting tiger shark was caught from the pier. An observation deck sets this pier apart from others.
9700 Kings Road at Lake Arrowhead Road, Myrtle Beach, 843.497.6486, apachefamilycampground.com
At 1,206 feet, this is perhaps the longest pier on the East Coast. While several other piers from New Jersey to Florida, claim this title, Apache seems to have the legitimate length to back up its declaration. Croakers at the Pier (the restaurant, not the fish) offers beer and wine, as well as a food menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the fall, closing around Thanksgiving. The fishing pier is open 365 days per year, and church services are also held year round on Sundays. Primarily for campground guests, the pier is open to anyone for a small charge. Fishing rentals are also available.
1306 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, at 14th Avenue North, 843.448.4314, pier14.com
Among the busiest of the Grand Strand piers, Pier 14 was first built in 1926 but has been destroyed and rebuilt at least twice since then, most recently just after 1989’s Hurricane Hugo. It reopened in 1990. The pier is known for its popular Pier 14 Restaurant and close proximity to the downtown Myrtle Beach oceanfront district. This pier benefited greatly from its location as an end cap of the 1.2-mile Boardwalk & Promenade completed in May 2010. It offers gift, bait and tackle shop, fishing rentals and year-round access.
CLICK HERE to check out the pier’s beach-cam.
110 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach, at Second Avenue North, 843.445.7437, secondavenuepier.com
Also benefiting from the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk & Promenade, the Pier House Restaurant and the pier’s fishing business has helped 2nd Avenue Pier become one of the most popular in the lineup. Major renovations and a third-story, open-air modern bar offer million-dollar views and easy access with an ample public parking area. The large, enclosed restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows, wood beam interiors, and is a favorite oceanfront dining establishment. Fishermen delight in the catches of flounder in the fall and trout in the winter. Fishing rental packages are available.
4401 S. Kings Hwy., Myrtle Beach, 843.238.5325, myrtlebeachsp.com
Myrtle Beach State Park is uncrowded even in the peak of the season (except perhaps for Bike Week in early October.) The park affords day-trippers and weekenders plenty of outdoor activities, including camping, cabin rentals, beaches free from high-rise condominiums, and a fishing and sightseeing pier known as one of the area’s best since it opened in 1992. Admission is free with a paid park admission, and fishing rentals are available, along with snacks and a gift shop.
11 N. Ocean Blvd., Surfside Beach, 843.238.0121, surfsidepier.com
First opened in 1953, Surfside Pier has been rebuilt three times, most recently in 1993. While Hurricane Matthew destroyed more than half of the pier, a small portion is open and when reconstruction begins, it will become a great place to see how an ocean pier is built. The Surf Diner (http://www.surfdiner.com/) is located on the pier and is still open for breakfast, and lunch, and dinner. The tackle shop, gift shop, and Lick’s Ice Cream is open from 6:00 AM until midnight, June through September.
110 S. Waccamaw Drive, Garden City Beach, 843.651.9700, pieratgardencity.com
A first-place winner in the “Best Fishing Pier” category for six years running in a local reader’s poll, this pier is also a lively, rollicking nightspot all summer long, quieting down after Labor Day. The pier has an arcade and a snack bar and stays open and active for fishermen and sightseers through the end of December, closing for January and February. In season, two bands perform nightly at opposite ends of the pier with dance floors. Like most of our area piers, Hurricane Hugo destroyed it in 1989. It was rebuilt in 1992.
Pine Avenue at Elizabeth Street, Garden City Beach
The Creek Walk at Garden City is one of the area’s best-kept secrets. This public city park offers free parking and a clean, well-maintained playground. There are swings, an outdoor barbecue stand, tables, and a gazebo. Just past the playground is a pier that extends out over the marsh. There’s a shelter at the end of the pier. From time-to-time, people are seen crabbing from the shelter. The place is peaceful and undiscovered and a wonderful place for a picnic. It’s a little surprising that it’s still undiscovered.
Waterfront, Marsh Walk, Murrells Inlet, 843.651.3676
Along the waterfront of picturesque Murrells Inlet, the Marsh Walk is well- known as the boardwalk connecting area bars and restaurants. At the south end of the Marsh Walk, The Veterans Pier, dedicated in 2005, stretches out into the estuaries and creeks, affording beautiful views. Connecting Captain Dick’s, Crazy Sister Marina and the Wicked Tuna Restaurant with the rest of the Marsh Walk, the pier is a popular spot for shutterbugs, birders, and fishermen. Admission is free, but if you plan to fish you’ll need a fishing license and your own gear.
The Veterans Pier is well known as one of the best places in Georgetown and Horry Counties to watch fireworks, especially on the Fourth of July. Fireworks can be seen over the water from Murrells Inlet, Garden City Beach, and Surfside Beach.
Piers offer us easy opportunities to get out over the water without getting into a boat. They sway gently with the breezes and ocean currents. Take time to enjoy these piers as a bit of the best living the Grand Strand has to offer. If you love visiting the Grand Strand, why not become a permanent resident with a retirement home or a second home away from the cold, northern winters? A sales executive from The Trembley Group Real Estate can help.
Whether an avid sportsman, birder, whale and dolphin watcher, photographer or casual pier-walker, beachcombing – pier-style – is a great way to spend an afternoon or weekend.
Need help? Call The Trembley Group at 843.945.1880 ext. 100 and we’ll help you look for the perfect listing or buyers agent!
At The Trembley Group, we pride ourselves on being the experts at more than just selling real estate. We are local residents, some of us have been here for a lifetime. The rest of us will be here until the end of time. We love living, working, and playing in the diverse backyard of Coastal Carolina, and look forward to helping you live and love your dreams soon too. Please reach out to us by phone or email for personalized service and one-on-one advice.