We finally made it to the east coast. Destination: Myrtle Beach State Park in South Carolina. We stopped along the way to take campsite photos at Carolina Beach State Park in North Carolina. Below are pictures of the intercoastal waterway that borders the park, the marina, and a typical campsite:
With a marina providing access to some of North Carolina's best fishing spots, a secluded camping area beneath towering trees, and miles of hiking trails that traverse a variety of distinct habitats--not to mention the presence of the Venus flytrap, one of the world's most unique carnivorous plants--it's no wonder Carolina Beach State Park is a popular coastal attraction. Located in an area steeped in both history and natural diversity, the park includes a visitor's center with exhibits depicting the wonders of its environment.
80 miles further south found us rolling down US17 and entering Myrtle Beach. We arrived Tuesday afternoon and set up camp. Early Wednesday morning I took a short stroll down to the beach to capture some sunrise photos. Below is our campsite, the beach, and the pier:
This changed my mind about having pancakes for breakfast:
I walked out on the pier to see what all the fisherman were catching. They were small fish called "Spots", which resembled perch. Looking north from the pier you can see some of the hotels that line the beach in an area known as The Grand Strand:
A wide open beach, fishing pier full of anglers and stories, campgrounds in the oceanfront woods, all in the middle of it all in Myrtle Beach. Since 1935, a trip to the beach has meant a stay at Myrtle Beach State Park each year for hundreds of thousands of families from across the United States and Canada. Located in the heart of the bustling Grand Strand, one of America's most popular and diverse vacation destinations, Myrtle Beach State Park also is a natural retreat, home to one of South Carolina's last stands of easily accessible, oceanfront maritime forest.
Thursday we headed to the heart of The Grand Strand and checked out the boardwalk area. This is a quintessential summer beach town. Tourist shops are everywhere and there are countless seafood restaurants. Crabs seem to be the main theme. Here are some photos:
Another view of the hotels along The Grand Strand. They seem to go on forever:
Envisioning a year-round golfing resort on 65,000 acres of undeveloped oceanfront property, John T. Woodside built a luxury hotel and had a Scottish golf course architect build the area's first course in 1927. The Depression waylaid Woodside's plans for further development, and he eventually sold out. The venerable golf club, later renamed Pine Lakes, is now the centerpiece of Myrtle Beach golfing.
More courses were added over the years, and by the late 1970's The Grand Strand had become a premiere golfing destination. Simultaneously, the beaches emerged as a favorite East Coast summer getaway. Today, the area attracts vacationers from all over the country and annually courts thousands of returning Canadian visitors with it's signature Canadian American Days Festival in March. Pretty neat, eh?
There are now over 100 golf courses in the area, along with more than 50 miniature ones. Yep, driving along US17 you pass by a putt putt course every few hundred yards.
We will be getting the canoe wet when we hit Edisto State Park, our next stop about 125 miles south. We will be there for two nights starting Saturday. The Edisto River is supposed to be a great spot to dip a paddle. Maybe we will get lucky and spot a gator or two.
Regards, Park Ranger