Your Essential Guide to Living in Myrtle Beach in 2024

Myrtle Beach South Carolina

by Dawn M. Smith Posted on March 29, 2024

Beach living has always been a common, if not far-fetched, dream for plenty of Americans, but work, life, and unaffordability usually put the brakes on packing up and moving to the coast. Recently, however, thousands of inlanders starred in their own reality show and moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In fact, the city has emerged as one of the best seaside communities in the U.S. (and not just for retirees), and now everyone is talking about living in Myrtle Beach.

Planning a move to Myrtle Beach? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Of course, near-perfect beach weather and low cost of living is always bound to draw newcomers, but Myrtle Beach has plenty more to offer — especially if you’re down with the tourism economy. But before you pack the SPF and learn to boogie board, take a peek at what everyday life in the area really looks like, and see what else you can expect to find with this essential guide to living in Myrtle Beach. 

1. Before You Go, There Are a Few Stats You May Want to Know.

If wanderlust has you thinking about living in Myrtle Beach, SC, you’ll join a large group of newcomers, including young professionals, families, and retirees. The word is definitely out: Myrtle Beach is one of the nation's fastest-growing and most desirable beach communities. But to give you the best idea of what you’re walking into, here’s a snapshot of the specifics:

  • Myrtle Beach is home to about 41,000 people, but the larger metropolitan area — locally known as the Grand Strand — includes around 325,000 residents along 60 miles of gorgeous shoreline.
  • South Carolina’s state capital, Columbia, is about a three-hour drive away and is the largest city near Myrtle Beach. Florence, SC, and Wilmington, NC, are each about an hour and a half away.
  • Tourism and hospitality are the economic lifelines of Myrtle Beach. There are approximately 425 hotels and nearly 180,000 total accommodations in the Myrtle Beach area, including resorts, motels, and B&Bs.
  • A whopping 17 million tourists visited Myrtle Beach in 2022, a year that also saw $16 billion in local sales. That’s a lot of airbrushed t-shirts and fried shrimp baskets!
  • Expansive apartment complexes and high-rise communities house about half of the more than 15,000 total households in Myrtle Beach.
  • Myrtle Beach has a thriving retirement community, thanks to easy access to healthcare and the fact that South Carolina doesn’t tax Social Security benefits. The state also offers a significant retirement income deduction.
  • Seniors qualify for a homestead exemption, and state taxes are based on 4 to 6 percent of the home’s market value.

Insider Tip: Curious where Myrtle Beach ranks among other popular cities? Check out our 2023 moving trends on the PODS Blog. (Spoiler alert: Myrtle Beach ranks #1 on our list of cities with the most growth.)

2. Myrtle Beach Is One of the Best Places To Plant Your Roots.

The best way to show this? By answering a few frequently asked questions. Take a look:

Q: Is Myrtle Beach, SC, a good place to live?

A: Is Myrtle Beach a nice place to live? Well, more than 40,000 current residents think so. And it’s hard to argue with them. In fact, U.S. News & World Report recently gave Myrtle Beach the following rankings:

Number one in best places to live in South Carolina? Pretty nice indeed.

Q: What is the best part of Myrtle Beach to live in?

A: If you’re wondering “Is Myrtle Beach nice?” according to Best Neighborhood, the northeast parts of the city tend to be the most desirable, but homes in the central regions are usually more affordable. As always, it depends on your preference.

Q: What is it like to live in Myrtle Beach year-round?

A: Myrtle Beach is the quintessential beach vacation destination. As a resident, you’ll become part of a community that welcomes over 17 million visitors annually. You’ll have all the entertainment and dining experiences you could hope for, including national retail chains and homegrown small businesses, plus access to enviable beaches, parks, and amenable weather most days of the year.

Tourism is a lucrative way of life in Myrtle Beach, and locals learn to adjust to the headaches stemming from mega conventions, family reunions, wedding parties, and a list of rowdy behavior from tourists who come to play hard. And easy access to the coastal lifestyle could easily outweigh the inconveniences of vacationers, especially during the slower tourist months.

Q: Does Myrtle Beach have good schools?

A: Public School Review reports that for the 2024 school year, there are 27 public schools serving about 23,500 students in Myrtle Beach. They claim that the public schools have an average ranking of 10/10, which is in the top 10 percent of South Carolina public schools! An additional nine private schools educate around 1,300 more students.


Compared to similar beach city metros, the cost of living in Myrtle Beach is lower than average.

Q: Is Myrtle Beach an expensive place to live?

A: Okay, so is it expensive to live in Myrtle Beach? Compared to similar beach city metros, the cost of living in Myrtle Beach is lower than average. However, Myrtle Beach remains a prime destination for newly mobile out-of-towners thanks to remote work. The draw for the oceanside lifestyle now costs renters on average around $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with just over 1,000 square feet.

And if you’re hoping to buy a house, your budget will feel the effects of deep-pocketed vacation home buyers in addition to the competition from primary residence house hunters. Both groups have changed Myrtle Beach’s housing affordability — Zillow reported a 1.4 percent increase over the year between February 2023 and February 2024. Buyers are now looking at an average home value of around $301,200.

If you want an overall picture of Myrtle Beach’s cost of living, Niche grades it as a B–. But it’s no surprise that daily costs reflect the typical lifestyle of a year-round tourist epicenter. Residents pay higher prices on everything from gas to dining out. Niche also ranks Myrtle Beach’s job market as C+, partly due to the median household income of about $50,500 — lower than the national average.

Q: Why are people moving to Myrtle Beach?

A: Well, when it comes to living the beach life, the affordable cost of living has a lot to do with it. If you’re retiring or simply seeking warmer pastures, you’ll pay a lot less to live in this South Carolina hub than other East Coast beach towns. The cost of living in Virginia Beach, for instance, is more than 14 percent higher than in Myrtle Beach; Miami, meanwhile, is nearly 30 percent more expensive. On top of that, the decent public schools, gorgeous weather, and beaches aplenty give people many reasons to move to Myrtle Beach.

Q: What is Myrtle Beach’s weather like?

A: Myrtle Beach’s weather is one of the best perks of moving to the area. The sunshine is plentiful, snow is rare, and the temperatures are mild most of the year — think mid-70s in the spring and fall. The temps peak in the summer, of course, when the days are sizzling and humid, with a threat of thunderstorms each afternoon. However, ocean breezes keep the highs lower than in nearby inland cities. Tropical storms and hurricanes are possible, so you’ll need to learn how to prepare and protect your home and navigate local evacuation routes.

Insider Tip: Before moving to South Carolina, it’s best to accept early on that you’ll see the unofficial state insect, the Palmetto Bug, occasionally scurrying across your floors and everywhere outside. Southerners gave this cockroach a charming name to make it less gross, but they’re ubiquitous in the area, and residents make their peace with their existence.
 

3. There Are Many Wonderful Neighborhoods in Myrtle Beach.

Ask a resident from each part of the city, and they’ll likely tell you that their area is the best location. But of course, it’s all about how much you want to spend on housing and why you’re moving to Myrtle Beach to begin with. Starting a family? Retiring? Single professional? You’ll want to pick a neighborhood according to your season of life.

When you start your house hunt, you should know that master-planned communities and densely populated apartment complexes dominate the real estate landscape in Myrtle Beach. If you’re looking for a property with “personality,” give yourself extra time because you’ll find plenty of similar coastal architecture and design in newer Myrtle Beach housing. Incoming residents often prefer these master-planned communities and complexes because they have a mix of housing options, amenities, and coastal landscaping, including the palm tree’s cousin, the Palmetto tree. And most neighborhoods have room for every type of family, from newlyweds and young families to empty nesters.

Here are a few of the top neighborhoods in Myrtle Beach:

The Market Common

The Market Common is a master-planned community converted from the closed Air Force base. The community has a charming dining and shopping district, and you’ll find active neighbors and a wide range of price points for townhouses, condos, executive homes, and homes with coastal vibes.

Carolina Forest

You’re bound to find your dream home among one of the many neighborhoods that make up the master-planned community of Carolina Forest. You won’t be the only one on a house hunt, however. This community is one of the most sought after, thanks to a variety of upscale amenities like a dedicated post office and school. Home shoppers also like that there are home prices to suit most incomes.

Grand Dunes and Dunes Club:

If you're searching for luxury digs, you’ll want to tour the Grand Dunes and Dunes Club communities. The median sale price for a home in Grand Dunes as of February 2024 is just under $1.3 million. Three of the communities in particular are for active residents who are 55 or older, and the amenities available for retirees are unmatched.


South Carolinians know Myrtle Beach is a one-of-a-kind gem and refer to spending time there as going to “The Beach.” 

4. “The Beach” Culture Abounds in Myrtle Beach…

If you’re curious about the area and want to dive into the Myrtle Beach way of life, give yourself some time to play tourist. It’s the fastest way to become a local.

South Carolinians — especially those vacationing from nearby Columbia or Florence — know Myrtle Beach is a one-of-a-kind gem and refer to spending time there as going to “The Beach.” There’s no need for more descriptors — Myrtle Beach and The Beach are one and the same. Generations of faithful Myrtle Beach goers know exactly what The Beach means. It means delicious seafood, Calabash-style, hours playing on golden beaches and in the warm surf, family amusement parks, and a bit of local shopping and golf.

Another part of Myrtle Beach’s beach culture is local beach music and the creation of the iconic state dance, the Shag. It dates back to the 1940s, and the graceful, fun, and Jitterbug-like Shag dance has been handed down from family to family through weddings, nights on the boardwalk, and most definitely through annual Shag contests. It's the thing to do in North Myrtle Beach. Stop by Fat Harold’s Beach Club or Duck’s Night Life for a free lesson.

5. … And So Does Beach Traffic.

There’s a Myrtle Beach phenomenon known as beach traffic. During the high tourist season, guests from up and down the East Coast use I-95 and I-20 to reach routes US 501, US 378, SC 22, and SC 544. Beach traffic accounts for the extra time you’ll spend navigating the area, usually starting where I-95 and I-20 hit the central Myrtle Beach arteries. Locals learn to adjust their timing and use cut-throughs and connectors to avoid heavy tourist traffic.


If you want any easy way to spend the whole day in Myrtle Beach with kids, go to the family-friendly and walkable Broadway at the Beach for an all-inclusive destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment. 

6. There Are Plenty of Things To Do in Myrtle Beach With Kids.

You know that the beachside activities are some of the top things to do in Myrtle Beach for families, large and small. So don’t hesitate to spend your precious family time swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, wakeboarding, boating, parasailing, and deep-sea fishing. If your family loves to camp, take advantage of nearby Myrtle Beach State Park or Huntington Beach State Park as well.

And once you’ve reached your capacity for sun-drenched beach fun, you can turn to one of the many nearby attractions to recover from your sunburn. Here are some of the most popular things to do with the kids:

Need an easy one-and-done destination that everyone will love? Choose the family-friendly and walkable Broadway at the Beach for an all-inclusive destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment. And if you can, time your visit to stay late to catch the seasonal firework show!

7. And There Are Equally As Many Things To Do in Myrtle Beach for Couples.

It's easy to let Myrtle Beach’s hustle and bustle vibe take over (there’s so much to do!) but if you and your better half need quality time to take it slow and enjoy each other’s company, there are plenty of one-of-a-kind opportunities in Myrtle Beach.

If you can’t decide, start with a sunset cruise and enjoy cocktails and dinner under a multi-colored evening sky that you can only find off the coast of South Carolina. And later, try one of these activities to reconnect:


If you’re looking for a road trip from Myrtle Beach, hop in the car and head to Charleston, a charming city that’s only two and a half hours away. 

8. You Can Easily Take Day Trips to Nearby Hotspots.

One of Myrtle Beach’s best features is its proximity to several other coastal destinations, all close enough to drive in early and spend the day. Charleston is a two-hour drive and well worth your time. You’ll step back in time and enjoy genuine southern hospitality. But if you want to stay closer, you should check out the rest of the Grand Strand and nearby coastal towns including:

  • Little River, SC
  • Murrells Inlet, SC
  • Calabash, NC
  • Carolina Beach, NC
  • Pawleys Island, SC
  • Georgetown, SC
  • Wilmington, NC

Pro Tip: South Carolina is a popular relocation destination as well, for many reasons, including affordability and access to the coast. Here’s what you need to know about moving to Myrtle Beach’s neighbors, Columbia and Charleston.

9. Myrtle Beach Has Its Own Slew of Annual Events.

If the annual Shag contests aren’t your thing, several well-known events call Myrtle Beach home. If one (or more) piques your interest, you’ll need to plan early. Each event draws thousands of people yearly.

10. Yes, There Are Pros and Cons of Living in Myrtle Beach, SC.

To wrap up, Myrtle Beach is a hugely popular destination for dozens of good reasons, but before deciding to make the Grand Strand your new home, it's wise to know all about the living in Myrtle Beach pros and cons. Here are a few of the main traits to note when answering the question “Is Myrtle Beach a good place to live?” for yourself.

Pros of Living in Myrtle Beach, SC

  • Myrtle Beach is more affordable than most East Coast beach towns.
  • You can look forward to beautiful weather most days of the year.
  • There’s always something to do on the Grand Strand.
  • Public services like transportation and hospitals are plentiful.
  • The city has a small-town feel with big-city amenities.

Cons of Living in Myrtle Beach, SC

  • Millions of tourists visit each year, all year long.
  • Local job opportunities are mostly limited to tourism, hospitality, and healthcare.
  • The increase of remote workers and vacation home buyers has inflated home prices.
  • You’ll have to consider flood insurance and stay vigilant during hurricane season if you buy a beach house.

11. Moving to Myrtle Beach Is Easy With PODS.

By now, hopefully, you’re well on your way to your very own answer to the query “Is Myrtle Beach a good place to live?” If the Palmetto Bugs haven’t scared you off and you're ready to Shag (ahem, Myrtle Beach style), consider using a PODS portable moving container for a flexible move that works with your schedule. PODS will deliver a container to your driveway, and you can pack and load at your own pace.

When you’re ready, PODS will pick it up and deliver it to your new home with coastal flair in Myrtle Beach. If something comes up and you need more time to make the move, you can keep your container at a secure PODS Storage Center for as long as you need. PODS will deliver it when you’re ready. Yes, it’s that flexible!

 

Dawn M. Smith writes about most home topics including relocation, real estate, and home improvement. As a military spouse, she knows all too well the ups and downs of creating a new home after each move. From scouting the best neighborhoods and packing last-minute to choosing the perfect paint color, she gets it all done (usually in a hurry) with her family and Golden Retriever in tow. Dawn shares her lessons learned with the PODS Blog and other outlets like Angi, HomeAdvisor, and MilitaryByOwner.

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