Each year approximately 14 million people visit South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach and the surrounding areas. The Myrtle Beach area is an ideal place for a family vacation. Most families choose to visit during the summer months—June through August—in order to take full advantage of the area’s many fine beach areas.

What is Myrtle Beach?

U.S. News & World Report has ranked Myrtle Beach as the third-best spot for “family beach vacations in the USA.” The City of Myrtle Beach itself features more than 60 miles of continuous Atlantic Ocean beaches. Myrtle Beach forms the base of what is called the “Grand Strand,” a cluster of beaches spanning from Little River on the North Carolina border to Georgetown, South Carolina’s third-largest city, which sits on the Winyah Bay.

Many families choose to stay right on the beach in an oceanview hotel or even a full-service resort. Keep in mind that many of the beach areas in Myrtle Beach can be quite noisy at night—i.e., due to teenagers and college students partying—so they may not be the best choice if you are traveling with younger children. But staying on the beach also provides access to a wide variety of family friendly activities, including swimming, surfing, boating, and windsurfing. And if you want to get away from the beach, Myrtle Beach’s boardwalk and promenade area offers an amusement park, museums, and even an aquarium.

Surfside Beach

Surfside Beach is a small town of about 3,800 people located 8 miles to the south of Myrtle Beach. Since the 1960s Surfside Beach has marketed itself as “The Family Beach.” Visitors can access the beach from one of 36 access points in the town. There are specially designated areas for launching watercraft. The town also restricts operation of boats and jet skis near the beach itself.

Garden City Beach

Garden City is an unincorporated area of Horry County also located about 8 miles from Myrtle Beach. Garden City is perhaps best known for its Kingfisher Pier, which was destroyed and rebuilt after Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The nearly 700-foot-long is a popular spot for fishing and includes a family friendly indoor arcade.

Murrells Inlet

If you are looking for a somewhat more laid-back family vacation, away from the bustling acitivity and noisy nightlife of Myrtle Beach, you might consider visiting Murrells Inlet. Known as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” Murrells Inlet is a historic fishing village to the south of Myrtle Beach in Georgetown County. In addition to its own beaches and boardwalk, Murrells Inlet advertises itself as a “place sought out by fisherman and naturalists, whispered about by antique collectors, and revered by art lovers and horticulturists.”

North Myrtle Beach

North Myrtle Beach is an independent city located to the north of Myrtle Beach. North Myrtle Beach’s neighborhoods include a number of family friendly beach areas such as Cherry Grove Beach. Cherry Grove Pier is another popular fishing spot. And as in Myrtle Beach, there are a number of oceanside accommodations available for families looking to maximize their vacation beach time.

Understanding the Risks When Visiting the Beach

No matter where you stay when you visit the Myrtle Beach area, it is important to recognize any potential safety hazards that may injure your family. Obviously, any time young children or in and around water, there is a risk of accidental drowning or near-drowning. Drowning can occur not only on the beach, but at a hotel or resort pool, or even a water park.

If you are on the beach, it is important to observe any posted warning signs. Many beaches used colored flags to indicate hazards (e.g., do not swim anywhere there is a red flag posted). You should also take note of whether the beach, hotel, or water park you are visiting have sufficient lifeguards on duty in the event of an accidental drowning or near-drowning accident.

If your family chooses to participate in boating activities while visiting the Grand Strand, it is even more important to observe all local safety rules. And even if you are careful and operate your boat within the law, be aware that others may not. In addition to boaters who simply ignore safe boating practices, boating while intoxicated is a major problem on South Carolina’s waterways. And just as with someone who drinks and gets behind the wheel of a car, an intoxicated boater can potentially injure or kill several people.

In general, you should also be aware of the same safety risks while on vacation as you might observe at home. For example a hotel, like any place of business open to the public, has a duty under South Carolina law to maintain safe premises. If you are injured in a slip-and-fall or any similar accident due to the improper maintenance, the hotel owner may owe you compensation. The same is true if your children are injured while visiting a Myrtle Beach area amusement park. In 2016 alone there have been numerous reports from throughout the country of children who have been seriously injured on amusement rides.

Contact a  South Carolina Personal Injury Attorney

Of course, you should not let safety concerns prevent you and your family from having a wonderful vacation in the Myrtle Beach area. Whether you stay in an oceanfront resort in Myrtle Beach or seek a quieter vacation in smaller towns like Murrells Inlet, the Grand Strand has something to offer for everyone. But if something does go wrong and you or a member of your family are seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence, you should also not hesitate to stand up for your rights. Nor should you stand alone. An experienced Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, personal injury lawyer can assist you with any type of claim arising from third-party negligence. If you live in, or were injured in, the Beaufort, Charleston, Clinton, Columbia, Conway, Florence, Horry County, Laurens County, Lexington County, Mount Pleasant, Myrtle Beach, North Charleston, Orangeburg, Richland County, Summerville or Walterboro areas, please contact the Joye Law Firm right away.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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