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Myrtle Beach in Winter: 6 Good Reasons to Go

Updated on April 24, 2017
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Scott Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely along the East Coast including Virginia, Florida and the Carolinas.

The most common activity on the beach during winter is long walks. Some people even lay out on lounges or towels. © Scott Bateman
The most common activity on the beach during winter is long walks. Some people even lay out on lounges or towels. © Scott Bateman

Some people might wonder why anyone would want to go to a beach in winter. Beaches are good for sun, swimming and hot days.

Myrtle Beach in winter offers plenty of reasons to go, even if visitors won’t get much of a tan while they stay there.

Vacations in winter are popular with people who want to get away from snows and cold temperatures up north.

Others get cooped up being at the office all day and want a chance for a break from the routine.

Anyone with enough money can take a Caribbean cruise or fly over to Hawaii. But not everyone has the money or the time to take such a trip.

6 Reasons to Visit in Winter

Myrtle Beach is an option for people without the time or the money for six reasons:

  1. It is cheaper than a cruise or a flight to a far-off island. Discounts are common.
  2. Plenty of major attractions are still open.
  3. The crowds are sparse for shopping, dining and even spending time on the beach.
  4. The weather is warmer and drier than the northern states and Canada.
  5. It’s quiet and peaceful.
  6. Visitors can't go swimming or lie on the beach in a bathing suit. But many of them walk, ride bikes or just sit on the beach and relax.

Myrtle Beach in winter is quiet but offers discounts, moderate temperatures and plenty of things to do. Crowds are sparse in the mornings and get heavier later in the day.
Myrtle Beach in winter is quiet but offers discounts, moderate temperatures and plenty of things to do. Crowds are sparse in the mornings and get heavier later in the day. | Source

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The Beach on a Budget

Myrtle Beach's high season runs from May to August while the low season is December through February with parts of March.

September through November are warmer months than winter, but they also are the peak months of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Because the winter months are part of the low season, hotel prices are lower and discounts more common.

A hotel search on a major travel portal found that the average per-night price for two people staying the last full week of the month (Sunday through Saturday) showed the following average prices:

  • January - $141
  • February - $178
  • March - $166
  • April - $235
  • May - $309
  • June - $333

Discounts don't end with the hotels. Myrtle Beach has one of the largest concentration of golf courses in the U.S. with nearly 100 in the area, the Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau says. Rates at those courses decline during the winter as well.

Myrtle Beach has one of the largest concentration of golf courses in the U.S. with nearly 100 in the area.

Brookgreen Gardens is one of the top public gardens in the U.S. It is especially known for its sculptures. Copyright Scott Bateman
Brookgreen Gardens is one of the top public gardens in the U.S. It is especially known for its sculptures. Copyright Scott Bateman

Best Things to Do

Cooler weather doesn't stop many people from taking long walks along the beach all day long. During hot weather, walkers often limit themselves to early mornings and late afternoons to avoid the hot sun. During the winter, dog walkers are more common than usual.

"From the day after Labor Day to April 30 each year, dogs are allowed on the beach at any time of day," the city government website says.

Frolicking in the waves is not appealing in the winter, but Myrtle Beach has plenty of other things to do.

Among other attractions, Myrtle Beach is well-known for the 200-foot-high Skywheel, nearly 100 golf courses, nearly 50 putt-putt courses and several major shopping centers or malls.

Brookgreen Gardens lays claim to being the best public sculpture garden in the U.S. The former rice plantation consists of 9,100 acres including the garden area and a small zoo. Visitors also can take a pontoon boat ride through the old rice paddies.

Other attractions include the Myrtle Beach Speedway, Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Hollywood Wax Museum, Adrenaline Adventures (zip lining), Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Pirate Adventures, Ripley's Aquarium, Soar + Explore, WonderWorks and the Children's Museum of South Carolina.

Three water parks are not open during the winter.

Barefoot Landing is a shopping center divided by a lake with a bridge.
Barefoot Landing is a shopping center divided by a lake with a bridge. | Source

Shopping

Major shopping centers and malls include Barefoot Landing, Broadway at the Beach, Coastal Grand Mall, Inlet Square Mall, Market Common and Tanger Outlet Center.

Barefoot Landing is an open-air shopping center with a footbridge across a large pond that connects two rustic-looking developments. On some days, a few ducks will occupy the bridge and walk up to within a few feet of visitors looking for food.

Myrtle Beach has numerous cafes that offer, well, really big onion rings.
Myrtle Beach has numerous cafes that offer, well, really big onion rings. | Source

Restaurants

Most of the 1,500 restaurants in the area stay open except for a few high-end or specialty places.

Reservations are rarely needed because of the drop in tourism.

Stay alert for publications that carry many coupons for discounts at local restaurants.

Events in Winter

Myrtle Beach stays busy with special events in winter. It also has a few major annual events.

The largest event venue is the Myrtle Beach Convention and Center. Another popular one is the Carolina Opry, which features stage shows and entertainers throughout the year.

Both venues have Web sites with updated event calendars. Some of the annual events include:

December

Brookgreen Gardens holds Nights of a Thousand Candles on various dates in December. The event feature more than 5,500 hand-lit candles along with carolers and an 80-foot-tall holiday tree with 60,000 lights. Ticket prices range from $8 to $18.

The annual Holiday Winter Arts & Crafts Festival takes place at Springmaid Beach Resort, 3200 South Ocean Boulevard. The event has more than 200 specialty vendors. Parking and admission are free.

Beach Ball Classic is a 16-team national high school girls basketball championship. The tournament, which begin in 1981, is held during the last week of December at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, 2101 North Oak Street.

January

The Grand Strand Boat show also has attracted boat enthusiasts to the Convention Center for more than 30 years during three days in early January.

February

Hobbyists attend the Myrtle Beach Stamp and Postcard Show in early February at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 101 Fantasy Harbor Boulevard. The show has been an annual even for more than 20 years.

Weather in the Winter

The average air temperature is 60 degrees Fahrenheit in December, 56 degrees in January, 60 degrees in February and 68 degrees in March, according to the South Carolina State Climatology Department.

Water temperatures are about five to 10 degrees cooler.

The average precipitation is four inches a month for December through February. It is made up of about one inch of snow and three inches of rain.

The average winter month has 15 sunny days and the average summer month has 18.

Restaurants along the boardwalk maintain outdoor seating even in winter.
Restaurants along the boardwalk maintain outdoor seating even in winter. | Source

Quiet and Peaceful

Golf is one of the big draws to the beach during the winter. But for some people the reason for visiting Myrtle Beach in winter is enjoying a place without crowds, driveways to shovel or cold winter temperatures.

That is why it is one of the most popular beach destinations on the East Coast.

Myrtle Beach Shopping Center Map

show route and directions
A markerBarefoot Landing -
Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach, SC, USA
get directions

B markerBroadway at the Beach -
Broadway at the Beach, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, USA
get directions

C markerCoastal Grand Mall -
Coastal Grande Mall, Coastal Grand Mall, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, USA
get directions

D markerInlet Square Mall -
Inlet Square Mall, Garden City, SC 29576, USA
get directions

E markerThe Market Common -
4017 Deville Street, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577, USA
get directions

F markerTanger Outlet Center -
Tanger Factory Outlet Center, Factory Stores Boulevard, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579, USA
get directions

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    • promisem profile image
      Author

      Scott Bateman 14 months ago

      Credence, my sun worshipping wife would agree with you about not liking the cool weather. But she loves the low prices. Myrtle Beach in winter probably has more appeal to semi northerners like us than people from the southern states.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 14 months ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      The missus and I have contemeplated a return to Myrtle Beach, having visited at the height of the tourist season some ten years ago. The difference in the cost between tourist season and 'off season' is so stark that it might be worth the risk of braving an environment that may be a bit cooler than we would like. There was this one seafood smorgasbord restaurant in town to die for and I can't remember the name, but lines were all around the building and it played to raving reviews........

    • promisem profile image
      Author

      Scott Bateman 23 months ago

      I never would have thought that going to a beach in the winter would be fun, but it turns out we like the quiet and casual atmosphere a lot. Thanks for the comment, Rawspirit.

    • the rawspirit profile image

      Robert Morgan 23 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Myrtle Beach, SC - Scottsdale AZ

      OK, this is too cool. We are spending our first winter in Myrtle Beach.

      Staying at Crescent Beach at the Bluewater Key Resort. We live on Hutchinson Island in South Florida, and have spent the last 4 winters and summers here on the Island and in Key West. This year we decided to go north for the winter... A little backwards, but less expensive for those of us who love to live in corner units right on the beach. Thanks for the great article, it has really confirmed, we have made a good decision. Blessings.

    • promisem profile image
      Author

      Scott Bateman 23 months ago

      Thanks, Lex123. A lot of people think of the beach as a place to go only during the summer, but it can be a nice getaway other times of the year. You just won't get much of a suntan!

    • lex123 profile image

      lex123 23 months ago

      Interesting hub with stunning photos, and it reminds me of my visit to Myrtle Beach. During my visit to USA, my daughter and SIL took me there for a long weekend and I enjoyed my visit. A beautiful place.

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