Dani is a writer and actress who loves to learn and share tips and information to help others. She lives in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is one of the best places to take your summer vacation. It's beautiful and there is a lot to do. However, as a tourist, a lot of businesses bank on you not knowing certain things. Here are five of those mysteries that will help you save both time and money while you're here.
1. Nothing Over $5.99 Stores
You'll see these at almost all the beachwear stores. In giant letters, the sign will say, "Nothing Over $5.99." These signs will get you all excited at the thought of shopping in a gigantic beachwear store with everything less than six dollars. As you pull in, you fail to read the extremely small fine print—section or large selection.
Many tourists have been fooled by these signs and, honestly, I'm not sure how these stores are still getting away with this. The beachwear stores have plenty over $5.99. In fact, the majority of the products in the store are twice this much. They'll have just two or three racks in the store of products priced at $5.99. They know if you're driving, you don't have time to read the fine print. They're hoping to just get you to stop by enticing you with that big, incomplete message.
There is, however, one beachwear store in Myrtle Beach that has most products for five dollars or less. It's called Five Dollar Emporium. It's right on Kings Hwy in the heart of everything, a few blocks up from the Skywheel.
I will warn you—their products aren't the best quality. You get what you pay for. I love that they sell plus-size swimsuits. I've gotten swimsuits from there before when I decided on an unexpected afternoon on the beach and was unprepared. However, don't expect the products to last year after year. They won't.
There is another shop in south Myrtle Beach called Five Emporium. It's not the same store, though the same concept. I've never been to this one, but I would imagine the products are about the same.
2. Navigating the Beach is Hard
I've heard so many tourists say they're lost and they need directions to get to a place. It amazes me because navigating Myrtle Beach is as easy as knowing the alphabet. I say this because Myrtle Beach is essentially a letter T. I've provided the diagram above you can refer to.
There are two main highways that will get you to any place you want to go in Myrtle Beach. The first one is Highway 501. This is the road you'll take to get to the beach. About 75% of tourists come to the beach this way. It's awful because it makes traffic almost unbearable.
This highway goes straight to the beach—literally. If you keep driving straight, you will eventually hit the water. Well, hopefully, you'll stop before you run over the tourists in the walkway, but you get the point.
Once you get into the heart of Myrtle Beach, you'll get to Highway 17 Business, more commonly called Kings Highway. Don't get this confused with Highway 17. You'll get to Highway 17 first, and if you happen to exit to it, there is no problem. Highway 17 runs parallel to Highway 17 Business, so all you'd have to do is exit somewhere and you'll be on your way to the business side of things.
There are a lot of attractions on Highway 17, so chances are you'll find yourself there quite often. At least you'll know you are only a few blocks away from the main road at any given point.
If you use Highway 501 as your anchor point, all you have to do is drive up and down Highway 17 Business to get to almost any destination. If you go a few blocks over towards the ocean, you'll hit Ocean Boulevard which is where all the "happening" stuff is. It runs parallel to Highway 17 Business as well.
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In the other direction, you'll run into Oak Street, Robert Grissom Highway, and a few others. These blocks are generally residential neighborhoods. As a tourist, you'll probably rarely need to go over to these areas. However, you may find banks or little places to shop if you're so inclined.
Highway 17 Business runs north all the way to North Carolina and south all the way to Georgia. If you've been following along, you should understand by now that Myrtle Beach is a letter, T.
3. Getting Food Anytime You Want
Myrtle Beach is a tourist destination and there are a lot of fun things to do . . . during the daytime. Myrtle Beach is not a nighttime place. There is little to no nightlife here and about 80% of the businesses close by 10 p.m.
Unfortunately, this includes restaurants as well. Besides a couple of local bars (a number you can probably count on one hand), there are less than a handful of restaurants where you can get food late at night. After 10 p.m., you can forget about any "good" food. You'll be stuck with basically four fast food restaurants: McDonald's, Wendy's, Taco Bell, and Cookout. If you want to sit and eat, you can go to the Waffle House. At midnight, McDonald's drops out of that list. Taco Bell closes at 1 a.m., and after 2 a.m. all that's left is Waffle House.
That's it for the entire beach. There are some 24-hour convenience stores scattered up and down Kings Highway with some terrible microwave sandwiches and overpriced snacks, but that's all that will be available from about 2 to 6 a.m.
4. Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach
Many people are surprised to find out that Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach are two different cities. They think North Myrtle Beach is the northern part of Myrtle Beach, but this isn't so. In fact, they don't even border each other. Atlantic Beach is actually in between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach.
Myrtle Beach is the place that most tourists go to. It's much different from North Myrtle Beach. You could say that all the "busy entertainment," such as theme parks and major shows, are in Myrtle Beach while more laid-back entertainment is in North Myrtle Beach. These are generalizations—you can find both types of attractions in both areas. But in general, North Myrtle Beach is the calmer beach of the two.
5. Plenty of Car Rental Options
If you're planning to rent a car when you get here, make your reservations weeks or even months in advance. It will be a miracle if there are any cars available for rent when you get here.
There are several car rental companies and they all have lots of cars. It's just the number of people visiting here when the season is in full swing far outweighs the number of available rentals. Don't be one of those people that finds this out the hard way.
In the event you find yourself lucky enough to obtain a last-minute rental, you're going to spend as much on the rental as your hotel room, possibly more. The average car rental during the season is $300 to $400 per day, and that doesn't even include insurance. If you have that kind of money, great. However, it's a waste of money considering you could save money by using rideshare services or taxis.
If you can't get through your vacation without driving yourself, book your car far in advance of when you need it. Otherwise, just plan alternative transportation.
Avoid These Tricks for the Best Vacation
The tricks above aren't anything that will ruin your vacation. However, knowing and avoiding them can make your trip a little smoother. Anticipating them will help you plan accordingly. You'll save time and money, giving you even more wiggle room for your vacation.
Once you're familiar with these tricks, you may want to check out some hotels and motels to avoid to ensure your trip is the best it can be. You can check them out here.
© 2022 Dani Alicia