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With its 60 miles of soft, cascading sand; 90 quality golf courses; and several hair-raising theme park rides, Myrtle Beach looks like a perfect travel destination. And true to its name and fame, the Grand Strand ranks among South Carolina’s most popular beaches. This picturesque city— that hugs the Atlantic Ocean on the east— plays host to about 19 million visitors every year.

Yet while Myrtle Beach is undoubtedly a sweep-off-the-feet travel destination, the experience may amount to an anticlimax. Strangely, its fame is its undoing. This is because hordes of tourists flock to her beaches from all over the country, usually all at once. As a result, there’s likely to be no elbow room, especially in summer. That’s the reason one should consider close alternatives.

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And that’s where North Myrtle Beach comes in.

Why North Myrtle Beach May Be Better Than Myrtle Beach

It starts with overcrowding, even though it doesn’t end there. Due to the throngs of travelers especially in the peak summer seasons, Myrtle Beach can get insanely overcrowded. Of course, the crowds do not diminish the beach’s attractiveness—or take away its shine and sheen. However, it’s hard to enjoy the beach while being careful not to step on other people’s toes—literally. It’s true that one can still find less crowded places within Myrtle Beach. The area outside the boardwalk and the boulevard can be a little roomier. But to many, this will push them outside the circle of attractions, restaurants, and beach stores. In contrast, North Myrtle Beach is usually far less overcrowded.

Aside from the overcrowding, Myrtle Beach is also noisier. Of course, with crowds, one would naturally expect some increased level of noise. The truth is: Myrtle Beach is usually action-packed. The area around the boardwalk and the promenade is particularly a bee hive. This is the whole region that extends from 14th Avenue to 2nd Avenue Piers. This area has amusement parks which add to the carnival vibe and party mood —usually incompatible with quietude. It also features several nightclubs and bars. Naturally, there’ll be more clatter and chatter as is wont to take place in such environments. On the flip side, North Myrtle Beach doesn’t have such an active nightlife. Although North Myrtle Beach also has resorts, they are calmer and a tad more restful—than the Myrtle Beach resorts and pubs. In addition, North Myrtle Beach boasts more restrictive noise ordinance laws.

Related: The Myrtle Beach Travel Park Is Easy To Find & Has Everything You Need For An Easy Vacay

Planning To Stay At North Myrtle Beach? Here’s What You Need To Know.

For vacation rentals and hotels, North Myrtle Beach tends to have more exclusive and quiet facilities, if a little pricey. From census statistics, people who stay in North Myrtle Beach are older than those who stay in Myrtle Beach. Naturally, this demographic prefers a quieter environment than their younger counterparts. As proof, the median age of North Myrtle Beach is 58.3 years while that of Myrtle Beach is 45.2 years.

Looking at the prices for lodging, an average solo traveler who’s staying at North Myrtle Beach will spend anywhere between $95 and $111 per night—for a 2 or 3-star hotel. On the other hand, the same traveler would spend between $77 to $89 for the same class of hotel in Myrtle Beach. Of course, budget travelers can get slightly cheaper rates. But there’ll be some trade-off with respect to convenience and comfort. For families with small children, North Myrtle Beach is definitely more convenient. Also, the age-old wisdom of booking earlier still applies. Both the Myrtle Beach area and North Myrtle Beach are touristy destinations whose hotels can get filled up pretty quickly. A good rule is to book accommodation at least 40 days prior. A decent number of the condos and seaside hotels will be on the Main Street or the Ocean Boulevard.

Related: This Is How To Plan An Entire Day On The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk

What To Do While Staying At North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach is only about 10-15 miles to Myrtle Beach—depending on where one is staying. As a result, it’s a perfect hideaway from which to tour both the surrounding areas and the Myrtle Beach proper. In the surrounding areas around North Myrtle Beach, the House of Blues and the Alabama Theater—both in Barefoot Landing—are incredibly famous entertainment havens. One can also interact eyeball to eyeball with alligators, one of the world’s most dangerous reptiles, at the Alligator Adventure along Highway 17 South.

Other favorites include boating, golfing, fishing, live music (on Main Street), picnicking (at McLean Park), shopping, and of course, seafood dining. Also, for those who love switchbacks and other thrilling biking turns, North Myrtle Beach has more space and trails for biking than Myrtle Beach. Even for beaches, North Myrtle Beach has more expansive shorelines and beaches than the narrower beaches at Surfside or Myrtle Beach. Recently, summer has seen North Myrtle Beach unusually crowded—and almost just as compact as Myrtle Beach. This is especially true of Ocean Drive and Crescent Beach. However, the beaches in Cherry Grove are still less crowded.

Whether one wants to tour North Myrtle Beach or indulge in the many thrilling Myrtle Beach activities, North Myrtle Beach is a quiet and exclusive location—from which to explore the whole of Horry County—in South Carolina’s travel and entertainment hub.