Five Ways to Find Shade on the Beach Despite Tent Regulations

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By now you have probably heard that Myrtle Beach and surrounding municipalities banned large tents on the beach in 2014. Both Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach passed ordinances requiring tents to have a center pole no taller than 7 feet, 6 inches with a cover no greater than 9 feet in diameter. Unincorporated Horry County has similar rules.

After one year, the ordinance that was designed to provide easier access for emergency vehicles and improve sight lines for lifeguards is still drawing mixed reviews. Many visitors weren't happy about losing the valuable shade, while others have gotten creative to find new ways of escaping the Myrtle Beach sun while also complying with the regulations. Here are five ways to have it made in the shade without worrying about the beach patrol:

Beach umbrellas: A decent beach umbrella can cast a big shadow, especially if you invest in one with the adjustable top that allows you to tilt the cover. In the early morning and late afternoon hours a compliant beach umbrella can easily cover a family of four. It's important to buy one sturdy enough to withstand the ocean breeze and position it according to the wind direction. Be sure to bury your pool in the deep sand above the high tide line so you don't have to reposition throughout the day. And just in case of rain, you will be ready.

Indoor pools: When the midday sun is too hot and bright and shade and shadows are at their smallest, simply dip into the Paradise Resort's indoor water facilities for a break from the heat of the day. Relax with a ride down the lazy river or chill out in the giant Jacuzzi while watching the little ones splash around and play basketball in the pool. Plan your day so that you take a midday break for lunch, rest and some time at the indoor pools to keep cool during the summer sun.

Rentals: If you don't feel like investing a lot of money in a beach tent to use for only one week, or if you don't want to deal with carrying another bulky contraption back and forth from the beach, the local lifeguard services offer an alternative. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent by the day at the lifeguard stand closest to the resort. The lifeguard will even set it up and take it down for you as part of the rental fee. The umbrellas and chairs are only available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., but shade isn't really necessary outside of those hours.

Shadehouses: In an effort to build a better mousetrap, the development of new shadehouses provide an ideal and legal way to make some shade. Similar to a camping tent without side panels, the shadehouse uses flexible cross polls to create a canopy that provides shade in all directions. Stakes allow for a stable base and the set up is easy enough for one person with a little practice. Tear down is also simple, and shadehouses break down into a small pouch that's lightweight and easy to tote.

Skyline shadows: The last resort is for late afternoon use only by taking advantage of the high-rise hotels around Paradise Resort.  About 5 p.m. in the summertime, the sun dips deep enough in the western sky to cast a shadow on the hotels that stretches to the beach. This creates a bit of shuffling among beachgoers – the ones who want more rays relocating to the sunny sides, the ones who prefer shade moving into the long shadows.


(Posted: 7/20/15)