Myrtle Beach is famous for having more public beach access and parking than any other major vacation destination, and new roads have made it easier than ever to get around the Grand Strand by vehicle. But there are less populated spots in the area that can only be accessed on foot or bicycle, and they provide great places to get away from it all and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Although there are more than enough attractions, shops and restaurants in Myrtle Beach to keep you busy throughout your vacation, why not take a day to get away from the neon lights and high-rise hotels to check out the scenic coastal landscape with a nice hike or bike ride. For folks who love the great outdoors or just like to explore, here are the top five nature trails in the Grand Strand:
The Hulk: If you are punching this into your GPS, the official name is the Horry County Bike and Run Park. But ask any cyclist around town and you’d better ask about “The Hulk,” the more fitting and commonly used nickname for the brutal, single-track mountain bike trail. Located west of the Intracoastal Waterway across from Myrtle Beach, The Hulk is situated just off River Oaks Drive in the Carolina Forest neighborhood. The Hulk opens with a 30-foot hill climb and a rapid descent through dirt pathways. The trail is rated difficult and was designed for experienced dirt bikers, so hiking and bringing the little ones along is not recommended. But for thrill-seekers who like to get down and dirty, The Hulk provides the perfect setting.
Huntington Beach State Park: See the South Carolina Lowcountry from a perspective you can only get on foot or by bike. This paved pathway stretches 26 miles from Sandy Island Road in Murrells Inlet, through the state park and south to Litchfield Beach. Trailblazers get an up-close look at the diverse terrain, from the swamp and maritime forest to the beautiful beachfront. The trail also passes some manmade wonders of former rice plantations and Atalaya Castle. Complete your ride by cooling off with a dip in the ocean.
North Myrtle Beach Sports & Recreation Park: This 350-acre complex opened in 2014 and brought three sorely needed hiking and biking trails to the North Strand. Pack a picnic and enjoy a relaxing spin down the short but scenic trails that are perfect for all ages. Stretching along a 25-acre lake and a 10-acre meadow, the Carolina Bay Trail, the Meadow Trail, and the Lake Side Trail are all approximately a half-mile in distance, so pick one for a quick walk or workout, or cover all three for a full sightseeing tour.
Ocean Forest Trail: This hiking/workout trail that runs along Ocean Boulevard is short but offers one of the sweetest views on the Strand. Stretching from 53rd to 60th Avenues North in the Ocean Forest section of Myrtle Beach, this unique hiking trail features 10 workout stations to use during your walk. Most of the exercises are simple but include signs with instructions, so you can get in a complete workout while also overlooking one of the prettiest stretches of undeveloped beaches in the area.
Perron Trail: This hiking and biking thoroughfare is part of the East Coast Greenway, a 3,000-mile bike trail that will run along the East Coast all the way from Canada to Key West once it is completed. Myrtle Beach recently did its part to make the connection, adding a 2-mile stretch that leaves the roadside and cuts through a scenic path known as the Perron Trail. Surrounded by dense brush on all sides, riders and walkers get good relief from the shade as the trail waves from Grissom Parkway, along the back of the Pines Lakes International Country Club and crosses Highway 17 Bypass to the Grand Strand YMCA.