Myrtle Beach fans may be surprised to learn that this shoreline has a quiet side, but visitors who want to soak up a natural coastal South Carolina landscape will find plenty of pristine and undeveloped room to roam at the Myrtle Beach State Park. Located along the oceanfront, just south of the Grand Strand's famed Ocean Blvd, and just north of the town limits of Surfside Beach, this surprisingly large parcel of maritime forest and quiet ocean beaches is a rare treat and a gem of a find for outdoor lovers who simply want to relax and soak up Myrtle Beaches' definitely quieter natural scene.

Welcome sign at Myrtle Beach State Park

Despite its quiet setting, the Myrtle Beach State Park is surprisingly easy to find, located just off of South Kings Highway, also known as Business US Highway 17. The 312 acre site has just a main road that winds through the heart of the park, and is sprinkled with small cabins, visitor resources, and public amenities, until it reaches an expansive parking area and a series of sandy boardwalks and paths which stretch all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Hours of operation at Myrtle Beach State Park

This is where the Myrtle Beach State Park really shines, as the park features a full mile of undeveloped shoreline in the heart of the developed Grand Strand, anchored by a long wooden fishing pier which is ideal for angling and sightseeing alike.

Directional sign at Myrtle Beach State Park

The park may not be the most outrageous or flashy local attraction, but it's arguably one of Myrtle Beaches' oldest, and has a long history of appealing to the Grand Strand's nature lovers. In fact, the Myrtle Beach State Park was first opened in 1936, making it the oldest state park in South Carolina, and was one of 16 parks in the state that were built by the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps.

A playground at Myrtle Beach State Park

Since opening to the public, the park has enthralled visitors with its acres of maritime forest, which feature wide swaths of live oaks and southern magnolias, and was even named a Heritage Trust Site, marking it as an important natural component of the coastal beach scene. Bird watchers will find plenty of maritime feathered residents, including least terns, a wide range of neo-tropical migrant birds, and even bald eagles, while the uniquely quiet landscape also attracts deep sea visitors of all species, including and especially nesting loggerhead turtles, who make summertime trips to this beach to lay their eggs on the shoreline.

The Activity Center at Myrtle Beach State Park

The scenic nature trails and acres of undisturbed beaches are certainly reason enough to visit this acclaimed site, however park-goers will find ample ways to have fun under the sun within the Myrtle Beach State Park. The park has a total of three playgrounds which are open to the public, seven picnic shelters for large group gatherings, and acres of nature trails which wind across wooden boardwalks and shaded paths through the heart of the maritime forest.

A picnic shelter at Myrtle Beach State Park

The biggest attractions within the park, however, are easily the Visitors' Center and the Fishing Pier, which are both filled with exceptional options for enjoying this unique piece of shoreline. The Visitors' Center, referred to as the Nature Center, features plenty of special guided tours, educational programs, and local exhibits that are open for exploration, and is a great first stop for visitors who want to learn more about the unique shoreline environment.(Visitors who are interested in learning about the many programs offered at the Myrtle Beach State Park can check out their online schedule of events at

A gift shop at Myrtle Beach State Park's Fishing Pier

Meanwhile, the Atlantic ocean-facing pier is a perfect launching point for a crabbing or fishing adventure, and features a seasonal gift shop and snack shop, (perfect for beachfront ice cream cones), for patrons who want to relax, enjoy a cold treat, and soak up the views. Fishing rods can be rented at the pier house gift shop for a nominal daily fee, and pier fishing passes can be purchased for around $5 for adults ages 16 and older, $3.25 for seniors 65 and older, and $2.50 children ages 6-15.

A gift shop at Myrtle Beach State Park

Other activities within the park include swimming along the gorgeous and seasonally lifeguarded beaches, beachcombing and shelling, biking, seasonal horseback riding, (generally in the winter months), and all around enjoying the laid back landscape.

Myrtle Beach State Park fishing pier rules

Visitors can access the Myrtle Beach State Park for a full day of natural fun, or can even stay at the park for a slightly rustic vacation that's yards away from the oceanfront. Myrtle Beach State Park features 204 total campsites, including 66 with full water, electricity and sewer hook-ups for RVs, and 20 seasonal tent sites that are secluded retreats. There are also 6 coastal cabins, located just 200 yards away from the beach, which are comfortable accommodations with a world of surrounding peace and quiet as their strongest selling point.

Shelling on the beach at Myrtle Beach State Park

Campsites, and especially cabins, can book up quickly in the popular summer months, but visitors can plan and reserve a stay well in advance by searching for sites and making their reservation online at With plenty of terrain to explore, and the bigger, more opulent Myrtle Beach landmarks located an easy 5-10 minute drive away, rustic vacationers will find that the Myrtle Beach State Park is an ideal spot to get away from it all, but still remain close to the fast-paced action that the Grand Strand is known for.

Myrtle Beach State Park fishing pier

The park is open daily for visitors, generally from 6:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. from March through November, and 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. in the winter months. There is an admission fee to access the park, which is dependent on the patron's age, and ranges from $3.00 to $5.00. A complete list of hours, fees, and other information can be found online at

A view of Myrtle Beach from Myrtle Beach State Park

Myrtle Beach State Park is a bit out of place along the otherwise heavily developed Grand Strand, but longtime fans and visitors wouldn't have it any other way. As a well-preserved slice of South Carolina shoreline, and a postcard-perfect look into how the Myrtle Beach beaches used to be, visitors will find that a day or a full stay at Myrtle Beach State Park is truly a breath of fresh air.

Palm-lined walkways along the oceanfront at Myrtle Beach State Park

Restroom facilities at Myrtle Beach State Park

Special needs beach access at Myrtle Beach State Park

A covered picnic shelter at Myrtle Beach State Park

Picnic and playground facilities at Myrtle Beach State Park