We’re about to let you in on a little secret.
The best time to come to the Grand Strand may very well be… autumn.
Yes, the beach is typically a summer thing, and folks with kids tend to have more vacation flexibility in the warmest months, but fall? It’s a truly fabulous time to visit if you can.
1) Smaller crowds: The summer months can and will pack the beaches, making parking nearby a challenge, as well as finding an unoccupied patch of sand on which to set up shop. But after Labor Day, the vacation population thins considerably and visitors have their pick of where to sun, surf, eat, play and shop. Do note that beaches will not have life guards on duty, but the weather stays plenty warm well into October, so a day frolicking or reading on the sand will be perfectly delightful. And animal lovers, take note: starting on Labor Day, you may now walk leashed dogs on the shore at any time and, starting October 31, horseback riding is allowed in Horry County (surrounding municipalities have their own rules, so be sure to check before saddling up). While yes, most water attractions close by early September, Myrtle Waves is open on select dates until mid-month. Traffic lightens up, restaurant waits are cut in half, and access to shows and attractions is much easier as well.
2) Better deals: While area hotels generally run very good promotions year-round, autumn travel all but guarantees a bargain. The Driftwood, for example, is running its “60 Miles in 60 Days” deal that offers ocean-front rooms for as low as $60 a night. In addition to savings, visitors are much more likely to book their first choice accommodation and unit type in the off-season.
3) Festivals: The Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Arts. The Aynor Harvest Hoe-Down. Surfside Beach Family Festival. Little River Shrimp Fest. The 35th Annual Loris Bog-Off Week and Festival. It appears there’s some new event every fall weekend. This is a great opportunity to get familiar with local culture and residents without the swaths of other visitors. Strike up a conversation with a resident, get the scoop on the very best “undiscovered”restaurant or activity, and just revel in the opportunity to party in relative peace.
4) Cooler weather, fewer bugs: The appeal of the immediate shoreline is it’s usually a break from the southern heat and bugs, but in the fall, we get that reprieve region-wide. The average temperature in Myrtle Beach in July is 87 degrees (with humidity) whereas it dips to a downright delightful 74 in October, with nippy nighttime temps that call for breaking out your new fall wardrobe. And when the heat abates, so do those pesky mosquitos. Now we can exercise outside, kayaks on inlet marshes, explore local wilderness and even do some leaf peeping without fear of being an insect feast.
5) College football: On the off-chance you didn’t notice, South Carolina is a pigskin hotbed. You’re either a Gamecock or a Tiger, and you better pick a side or prepare for battle. While neither University of South Carolina nor Clemson are in the area, Coastal Carolina University is. With a handful of home games this fall (including October 25’s Homecoming), you can cheer the Chanticleers like a local. And don’t let the bigger state teams fool you; this Conway club has and continues to produce NFL-bound players. Go Chants!
Hey autumnal Grand Strand-ers: What’s your favorite part about visiting Myrtle Beach in the fall?