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    Myrtle Beach State Park – A Hidden Gem in the Middle of Everything

    A Keller Williams The Trembley Group Real Estate professional is not the typical Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand resident. They’re high-energy folks. When they’re not studying Grand Strand and Myrtle Beach real estate for sale, they’re enjoying all that the Grand Strand and Myrtle Beach has to offer with their families. But as a rule, the Keller Williams and The Trembley Group Realtors forgo the water parks and miniature golf courses for off the beaten path experiences. Instead of a chain restaurant, they’d rather eat at a hole-in-the-wall, family-owned cafe. Rather than push their way through crowds, they prefer to discover the local spots and secret destinations. 

    Discover the Hidden Gems of Myrtle Beach – Beyond the Boardwalk

    Myrtle Beach offers luxurious resorts, gorgeous beaches, fun amusements, fine dining, and exciting outdoor adventures. And there’s a lot to get excited about finding the perfect Myrtle Beach home for sale. But beneath the surface of the most obvious pleasures of the South Carolina coast are a host of lesser-known but equally worthwhile things to appreciate and enjoy. These hidden gems are just waiting to be discovered by Myrtle Beach homeowners willing to mine all the resources of the South Carolina coast and uncover a wealth of rich, surprising experiences just a little off the beaten Grand Strand path.

    For those folks who prefer these sorts of discoveries, here’s one of the Keller Williams The Trembley Group’s favorites.

     Please Note: As of 5/20/2020 the Myrtle Beach State Park has restrictions due to COVID-19. Please visit their website for more information. 

    Myrtle Beach State Park

    All the Keller Williams The Trembley Group Realtors love all of South Carolina’s beaches. It’s one of the reasons they live here, and it’s one of the Grand Strand’s greatest draws and selling points. However, the consensus says the most beautiful beaches are those that have less development along the shoreline. Development-free beaches are most accessible in South Carolina’s four state parks located right on the beach. Myrtle Beach State Park is almost within walking distance of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and famous Farris wheel. But it is far enough removed from the downtown area with all its tourist attractions of miniature golf, arcades, and gift shops to give a low-key sense of refuge from all the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand excitement.

    “It amazes me when I talk to Grand Strand residents who tell me they’ve lived here ten years yet have never visited Myrtle Beach State Park,” says Steve Alston, a Keller Williams The Trembley Group Real Estate Professional. “The park is more of a hidden gem than I ever dreamed it was. Those who’ve never visited the park don’t know what they’re missing!” The park features a long, wooden pier and a mile of undeveloped oceanfront real estate. Compared to the Boardwalk and the Myrtle Beach Strip, the Myrtle Beach State Park offers a more low-key atmosphere that many beach enthusiasts prefer over the livelier, busier, and more crowded beaches along the Myrtle Beach strip.

    Myrtle Beach State Park was the first state park to open in South Carolina. It was a property donated to the state in 1934, and it officially opened as Myrtle Beach State Park in 1936. Many of the park’s structures, its facilities, cottages, and cabins have been maintained true to their original historic construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Many of the park’s structures have withstood several hurricanes during the past 50+ years.

    The Myrtle Beach State Park pier is perfectly situated for hours of gazing up at the underbelly — or better yet, hours of fun on TOP of the pier fishing, crabbing, and enjoying the ocean breeze. There is also a gift shop on the pier. Access to the pier is always free once you’ve paid admission into the park. The best sunrises anywhere! It’s true. No sunrise anywhere is any better than the ones you’ll see at Myrtle Beach State Park!

    In all, the park has 312 acres of undeveloped beachfront real estate.

    The Natural Dunes

    The Myrtle Beach State Park dunes play a vital role in protecting park structures and the natural habitat behind them from the high tides and hurricanes and strong storms surges. The dunes also provide habitat for nesting sea turtles, ghost crabs, shorebirds, and other wildlife. Visitors are discouraged to stay off the dunes and use the boardwalks. In addition to being beautiful, the sea oats and grasses help protect the dunes. They are what hold the dunes together. Because of the vital role they play in the ecology and preservation of the dunes, there are substantial fines for destroying the sea oats.

    A Natural Maritime Forest 

    Myrtle Beach State Park is one of few places left in Horry County, where visitors can see a natural maritime forest. This forest stays green year-round, and it is sculptured from the ocean spray. Inside the maritime forest, visitors can find birds like warblers, tanagers, vireos, buntings, and other beautiful tropical migrants. It’s the only way to get a sense of what of Myrtle Beach looked like before development when it was occupied by native Americans.

     Myrtle Beach State Park participates in the Discover Carolina program for schools. The program teaches students about sea turtles, the dunes, and some of the other natural coastal habitats.

    Camping and Cabins

    The campground is large – 350 campsites – but pleasant. It is surrounded by a maritime forest. The towering pines offer plenty of shade. There are tent, RV, and large RV campsites. Reservations are recommended for the busy summer season, but the park does hold some sites back to be rented on a first-come-first-served basis.

    There are cabins for rent, which are located in a separate area from the campground, and two apartment-style lodging facilities available.

    On weekends when he’s not on call, a Georgetown physician is known to pitch a small tent on one of the campsites so he can photograph the sunrise and the early morning bird activity. 

    Beach

    The beach is what you would expect for the Grand Strand. It is wide, with clean, white sand. There’s room to spread out since, and there’s usually less of a crowd than areas where the beach is lined with hotels. The park pier splits the park’s beachfront in two. On both sides of the pier, there are parking areas at the back of the beach dunes. The park also makes it easy to enjoy a day at the beach, with easy to access restrooms and some open-air showers at the end of the paths that cross the dunes and connect the parking areas with the beach.

    Swimming is permitted everywhere along the mile-long beach, but the designated swimming area located north of the pier has the benefit of lifeguards on duty mid-May through mid-September.

    Bird watching and wildflower viewing are other popular pastimes. The park’s website provides a handy, print-at-home checklist of more than 200 species of birds that might be spotted at the beach.

    Hiking

    But there’s a lot more to do at this Grand Strand attraction than tickle your toes in the sand. The 312-acre park preserves one of the last stands of maritime forests in South Carolina. A couple of short, easy trails traverse the woodlands, thick with oaks, wax myrtles, hollies, poplars, and magnolias. When you combine the parking areas and the beachfront boardwalk, a hiker could easily cover a few miles and see a lot of what the park has to offer: the beach, some relatively rare maritime forest, and even some freshwater ponds.

    Two short trails, both rated easy, afford the opportunity to spend a little time in the shade. Along the half-mile Sculptured Oak Nature Trail, hikers pass through the maritime forest – a vestige of how the Grand Strand woodlands once looked, with oaks, magnolias, poplars and wax myrtles. Many species of birds, amphibians, and reptiles make their home in this small woodland, which has been named a Heritage Trust Site. The 0.4-mile Yaupon Nature Trail branches off from the Sculptured Oak Trail and runs slightly farther to the south. Both walks ultimately lead to the beach.

    Fishing

    The fishing pier is one of the centerpieces of the park. The pier is long and has a funky oversized chair for pictures. The view from the end of the pier is gorgeous, with a 360-degree vista. There were no hotels in the background, just greenery, and ocean!!

    A South Carolina fishing license is not required when fishing from the pier, but there is a small fee ($5 or less, depending on age) to fish. Walking is free. Fishing rods are available for rent from the pier’s gift shop for $20 a day with a $25 deposit. Rod rental comes with one fishing pass.

    If fishing from the shore, a saltwater fishing license is required. A fishing license costs $5 to $11 and are available at bait stores and major retailers or online through the S.C. Department of Natural Resources. The park offers great surf fishing for flounder, king mackerel, whiting, trout, spots, Spanish mackerel, drum, and blues.

    THE FISHING PIER IS CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR REPAIRS

    Picnicking

    There are both group facilities, available for rent, and individual grilles with picnic tables. Many of the park’s picnic facilities are north of the pier, either along the road coming into the main beach area or in the areas that are behind the beach parking areas.

    Family Gatherings

     Myrtle Beach State Park is an ideal place for a family reunion. The park offers shelters that can be reserved near nice playgrounds. There is nearby parking, and many of the shelters have attached bathrooms attached which are kept clean and well maintained.

    Nature Programs

    The park offers talks and interactive presentations that discuss a range of topics. Most programs are family-oriented, so they can be fun for adults too!

    Nature Education Center

    A small nature center has displays that include live animals and hands-on displays. There is an emphasis on local organisms, especially to stress the importance of the park’s habitats. It is typically open from Tuesday through Saturdays. When the center is not open, it can be fun to visit the outdoor wildlife habitat display that is in front of the building. 

    Playgrounds

    There are two playgrounds in Myrtle Beach State Park. One is located behind the north side beach parking lot. The other is found near the activity center, which is not far from the main park office.

    Horseback Riding

    There are riding trails throughout the park. Beach access is from the third Saturday of November through the last day of February. A permit is required for the horse and is $25 per horse; daily park admission still applies for the rider. Along with the permit, the rider much have current Negative Coggins paper for each horse that is brought in the park. Any horse brought into the park is not allowed to stay overnight.

    The beach is open for horseback riding from the third Saturday in November through the last day of February. In addition to per person park entry fees, each horse is charged $25 for entering the park and must have current Negative Coggins papers. Horses are not allowed to remain in the park overnight.

    Pets

    Pets are allowed in Myrtle Beach State Park, with some stipulations. Pets are allowed in the campgrounds. Dogs that bark excessively or that threaten other guests will not be tolerated.

    Dogs must be kept on a six-foot leash and must be under the owner’s control at all times. There are also a few places where dogs are never allowed.

    Per a Horry County ordinance for all local beaches: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from May 1 through Labor Day during the hours of 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

    While it is right out in the open, Myrtle Beach State Park is certainly one of the gems of South Carolina, offering one of very few remaining natural maritime forests with its indigenous fauna in this part of the state. And even though it’s right in the center of the Grand Strand – some would say it’s a hidden gem.

     Please Note: As of 5/20/2020 the Myrtle Beach State Park has restrictions due to COVID-19. Please visit their website for more information. 

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