For the majority of the continental United States, winter is “Why Do I Live Here?” season. However, not in Myrtle Beach, where the fair weather and infrequent snowfalls make it a delight to reside in year round.
With that said, we locals adore autumn and recommend it over winter for visitors looking to escape the encroaching cold. Here’s why.
1) Weather: Fall is a joy in Myrtle Beach, with average September highs in the 80s and October’s at the near ideal mid-70s mark. Even November, rounding the corner toward winter, tops out in the mid-60s, making those cozy sweaters useful, but not essential. Sort of perfect, right? Also of note: bye bye, bugs.
2) Lingering Summer: For the beach bums, fall still affords lots of sandy fun. While lifeguards are no longer on duty in Horry County and swimmers enter the ocean at their own risk, average water temperatures in late September are in the high-70s — that is, bath-water warm.
3) Lowcountry leaf peeping: No, we’re not New England, but our ecologically rich back country makes for splendid autumnal colors on not only deciduous trees, but on flowers and shrubbery too. Huntington Beach State Park and its two-mile Sandpiper Pond Trail is a nice, nearby way to get your fix, as is beautiful Brookgreen Gardens. Another option is the paved, 42-mile Swamp Fox Trail south of Myrtle Beach off Route 17. It’s mostly wetlands and pine forests, but keep an eye out for wild turkey, which seems an appropriate animal to spy as Thanksgiving draws near.
4) Birding: Speaking of fowl, fall is a fabulous time to do some bird watching. While winter is actually preferred by serious birders, casual enthusiasts will appreciate seeing the swelling numbers and species in fairer temperatures. Head back over to Brookgreen Gardens or nearby Huntington and keep your eyes peeled for waterfowl, osprey, and the most regal bald eagles.
5) Shelling: Are you ready to get conched-out? Ahem, anyway. Seashell collecting is almost a competitive sport in Myrtle Beach, so summertime offerings are usually picked over. However, the best time to find beautiful shells is early in the morning after a storm. Statistically, you're more likely to get a storm in fall than in winter, and fall has fewer visitors than summer, so ipso facto, you better get moving.
6) Festivals: Fall is the last hurrah before the great hibernation of winter (even if it is a short, mild one down here) and Grand Stranders know how to make the most of it. Arts, music, food and family fun seem to pop up every weekend.
7) Packing ease: The heavy coats, sturdy boots and winter accessories stay at home in favor of sundresses, shorts, sandals and t-shirts. That’s enough of a reason for us.
8) Traveling ease: While you’re not likely to encounter many travel snags here in Myrtle Beach in the winter, you most definitely will hit them along the way. Airport delays, interstate bottle necks, road closures and stoppages are headaches in the making —headaches you won’t have in fall.
9) A hurricane break: Peak hurricane activity on the Atlantic Coast starts June 1 and goes through the end of November, although by mid-September the risk drops off significantly, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Actually, now that we think about it, that’s more an advantage of fall and winter over summer. Oh well, it’s still useful info.
10) Calm before the holiday storm: November and December are reliably nuts for most people, January, we’ve sworn off anything that doesn't shed pounds or save money, and by February we’re all planning our spring and summer vacations. Before you scratch your head and say, “Where the heck did this year go?” book your fall trip. The fresh memories will light up even the darkest winter days.
Why do you choose to vacation in Myrtle Beach in the fall? Let us know!