Myrtle Beach is a place we all know and love. It’s easy to see how much we love Myrtle Beach, judging by the influx of visitors year after year. Some come for weekend getaways or entire weeks of vacation. Many are repeat visitors, and some even multi-generational. There’s something for everyone in Myrtle Beach, and who isn’t into a little fun in the sun?
But how well do you know your favorite coastal destination? Take this Myrtle Beach history quiz and find out!
Early beach visitors
- Spanish settlers were the first visitors to the area. Explorer Lucas Vasques de Allyon led them here. They founded the first colony, south of the Cape Fear River. Two indigenous tribes already lived here when Allyon arrived. Who were they?
- Waccamaw and Winyah
- Nez Perce and Potawatomi
- Pawnee and Sioux
Answer: a) Waccamaw and Winyah. They were seminomadic, river-dwelling tribes. Their hunting territory extended from the Neuse River to Lower Cape Fear.
- This country music Hall of Fame group debuted as the house band at a downtown Myrtle Beach bar in 1973. They got their name from a backdrop stage at The Bowery, which is still open today. What was the name of this group, winners of eight Grammys?
- The Judds
- The Oak Ridge Boys
Answer: b) Alabama. Once called Wildcountry, Alabama earned tips singing Lynyrd Skynryd and Merle Haggard covers. They played six nights a week at The Bowery.
Myrtle Beach buccaneers
- Long Bay is a crescent-shaped coast from the Cape Fear River to Georgetown. Pirates hid out in its inlets and ambushed ships for their treasures in the early 1700s. Pirate Edward Teach met his demise in Cape Fear. What’s the famous nickname he’s better known as?
- Captain Kidd
- Calico Jack
Answer: b) Blackbeard. After he terrorized the port of Charleston with his 40-gun ship Queen Anne’s Revenge, he died in battle against the British Army.
Grand Stand on the Silver Screen
- Myrtle Beach has been the backdrop for movies and TV shows. Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken, Chaser, and Swimming all were shot on location on the Grand Strand. TV shows Dawson’s Creek and East Bound & Down are also set here. Who were the 3 stars in Shag?
- Sean Young, Ally Sheedy, and Steve Gutenburg
- Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, and Scott Coffey
- Sigourney Weaver, Molly Ringwald, and Chevy Chase
Answer: b) Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, and Scott Coffey. Fun fact: When Carson and Melania arrive in Myrtle Beach, they drive past a steel looping roller coaster. The movie is set in 1963, but such coasters didn’t exist until 1976.
What’s in a name?
- The local newspaper held a contest to name Myrtle Beach. Mrs. F.E. Burroughs won with the name she chose for the many wax myrtle trees growing on the coast – not crepe myrtle, as is popularly believed. What was Myrtle Beach previously known as?
- New Town
- Bankbrooksau Point
Answer: b) New Town. Before that, Native Americans referred to it as Chicora, which means “the land.” The moniker “The Grand Strand” emerged in 1945 from a local newspaper columnist.
First room with a view
- Myrtle Beach’s first hotel was built in 1901, at the bargain price of $3,800. It was rather spartan, with no electricity or indoor plumbing. A $2 charge got you an overnight stay and three square meals, plus easy beach access. What was the first hotel here called?
- Serene Cottage Resort
- Seaside Inn
- Glorious Shore Motel
Answer: a) Seaside Inn. Oceanfront lots at that time sold for $25. If buyers built a house on those lots worth $500 or more, they’d be awarded an extra lot.
- Recognizable faces in media and movies were born in Myrtle Beach. They include Golf Channel reporter Kelly Tilghman, actors Anthony James and Christopher Jones, and actresses Madison Iseman and Melissa Wyler are from here. What famous game show host is, too?
- Meredith Viera
- Vanna White
- Alex Trebek
Answer: b) Vanna White, of Wheel of Fortune. She was also a contestant in the Miss Georgia USA 1978 pageant and made her debut on The Price is Right as a contestant in 1980.
Racing roots at the beach
- The tract of land along Kings Highway and Oak Street was once a harness-racing horse track. It featured a 5,200-seat grandstand and a 1 ½-mile course later became a NASCAR track, golf course and driving range, and the old Myrtle Beach Mall. What was it called?
- Washington Park
- Silver Rock Garden
- Grandview Plaza
Answer: a) Washington Park. It opened in 1938, between 21st and 27th avenues north. The track stopped hosting horse races after South Carolina banned on-track gambling in 1947.
The first edition
- Founded at Pine Lakes International Golf Club in 1954, this national publication began when Time Inc. executives visited Myrtle Beach. They came by the old train line out of Conway and finalized their plan at Myrtle Beach’s first golf course. What magazine is it?
- Sports Illustrated
- National Geographic
Answer: a) Sports Illustrated. Publisher Henry Luce wasn’t even a sports fan. He brought together 67 writers and editors to create a weekly sports magazine he could sell.
Collecting trophies here
- Myrtle Beach has racked up some impressive accolades over the years. That’s why more than 14 million visitors come to the Grand Strand annually. Among the honors: America’s No. 1 summer destination (TripAdvisor, 2014), No. 1 Hot Spot for Winter Meetings (Conventional South Magazine), and Best Restaurant Cities (Huffington Post).
What top designation has the Grand Strand also earned?
- Best Place to Improve Your Golf Score
- Top 10 Places to Retire in South Carolina
- No. 1 Spot to Get Lost at a Calabash Seafood Buffet
Answer: b) Top 10 Places to Retire in South Carolina. What better reward for a full career than to escape to wide-open beaches, challenging golf links, and plentiful seafood buffets?
How’d you do?
1-3 correct: Grand Strand beginner. Clearly, you need some more fun in the sun.
4-6 correct: Myrtle Beach novice: You know your way from North Myrtle to Myrtle.
7-9 correct: Tour guide trainee: You’ve probably gotten the Myrtle Beach trifecta – an outstanding outlet deal, a sharks tooth while combing the shore, AND a ride on either the Big Eli or the SkyWheel – possibly both!
10 correct: Horry County Historian: You know how to shag, have been here for graduation, AND brought your kids to your old stomping grounds!
(Sources: City of Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce)