The cool days of fall had arrived, but migrating south from Maine to Florida felt like jumping into a furnace. As two native west coasters and newbie RVers, the busy highways and fast-paced lifestyle of the East Coast left our heads spinning. Going beach camping in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, during the off-season was exactly what we needed to feel grounded again.
Finding Fun on the Grand Strand
What a relief to get away from the frantic drivers barreling down Interstate 95. The moment we cruised down Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach, we knew this South Carolina tourist town was going to be a treat. It was and still is. Despite the pandemic, the Grand Strand that runs along the coast is open for visitors — although precautions are observed.
Still, there are scores of golf courses for every ability, entertaining museums to toss in a bit of education and festive seaside restaurants on every corner. In this family-friendly town, where having fun is the law of the land, Myrtle Beach is a sandy playground for everyone — even pets. Coastal living doesn’t get any better than this, especially since you can bring your home with you.
Making History on the Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach has always provided respite from the road for weary travelers. According to local historians, the Kings Highway, spanning the length of the town, began as a rugged dirt trail used by Waccamaw Indians. Later, when Europeans arrived, the path evolved into an important byway connecting Boston to Charleston and Savannah. When pavement was laid in 1940, tourists quickly followed. Myrtle Beach immediately grew into a destination for Northerners wanting a break from winter, but the 1954 Hurricane Hazel brought it to a screeching halt. Flattened and destroyed, the community looked doomed. But resilient town leaders saw the stripped-down landscape as an opportunity to build a perfect getaway town. They did, and today the Kings Highway welcomes travelers from all over the globe in search of sunshine, fun, and flip-flops on the Atlantic Coast.
How to Have Fun Along the Grand Strand
The heartbeat of Myrtle Beach is on the Grand Strand, a 60-mile stretch of South Carolina oceanfront sprinkled with hotels, campgrounds and fun, quirky things to do on your getaway. Life revolves around the sea and sand, which sets the stage for everything from pirate ship treasure hunt cruises for the kids to fast-paced parasailing, paddle boat and scuba diving excursions. Back on dry land, animal-themed activities bring kids and adults closer to nature with attractions like dolphin watching tours and safari theme parks.
Where to Go Camping in Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is a great RV destination for any kind of camper. The town’s astonishing selection of RV parks makes it hard to pick a place to stay. We arrived without reservations on a busy weekend and still had a wide choice of places to stay. We found campgrounds ranging from no hookups to full-service RV resorts with hotel-style amenities. Discover Good Sam Parks like Briarcliffe RV Resort, located right on the King’s Highway (see below for more details). For beach fun, visitors can book a stay at Lakewood Camping Resort, spread over 200 oceanfront acres with a host of family-friendly amenities. Since our goal was to get closer to nature and play in the ocean with our dog, we chose Myrtle Beach State Park.
The park is just south of town and its shady coastal campground is practically on the beach, but you’ll need to walk, bike or take a golf cart out about a mile to get on the shore. If driving your car is easier, large parking lots put you closer to the sand. Since we arrived outside of the high season (May 1 through Labor Day), our dog was allowed to play on the shore with us. Otherwise, Myrtle Beach only allows pets on the beach before 10 a.m and after 5 p.m. One of the nicest parts about staying here is that admission also gets you into the neighboring Hunting Beach State Park at no extra charge. Food and shopping are just a few minutes away.
Beach camping in Myrtle Beach helped us achieve our goal to get closer to nature. Strolling on the beach and watching our dog splash in the warm Atlantic Ocean water was such a treat. We had a ball spending that Thanksgiving weekend with other state park campers, but next time we will consider going upscale at an RV park like Briarcliffe RV Resort.
This Good Sam park is a glamping getaway. With the Intercoastal Waterway as a backdrop, campers are treated to high-end, hotel-style amenities like a fitness center, outdoor Olympic-sized swimming pool, airy clubhouse and weekly guest gatherings like cookouts and line dancing. There’s even a small chapel for worshippers. The park isn’t on the beach, but it’s just a 15-minute drive to get there. The family-friendly shopping, dining, and entertainment complex known as Barefoot Landing is next door and connected by a private gate for campers.
Our Myrtle Beach beach camping experience was exactly what we hoped for after exiting I-95. Refreshed and recharged, we felt ready to tackle the rest of the East Coast. Since our visit we’ve seen many great RV destinations that aren’t for everybody. Myrtle Beach is the exception. It’s one East Coast RV destination with such a huge variety of things to do and places to stay for RVers of every kind, you can’t go wrong if you decide to stay for a while.