When people think of Myrtle Beach, the often picture the boardwalk, the Skywheel, and the high-rise hotels lining Ocean Avenue and looking out over the warm Atlantic waves. And while the beautiful beaches and fun activities draw millions of tourists to the Grand Strand area each season, Myrtle Beach is also home to thousands of permanent residents, and their numbers are growing.
To the south of downtown Myrtle Beach are the towns of Surfside Beach and Garden City—both oceanfront areas with plenty to offer beachgoers as well as home to many locals. Fishing is available from both the Surfside Pier and the Garden City Pier, and both beaches are ideal for those seeking a slower, less commercial vacation. Even farther south are the fishing and beach communities of Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, and Litchfield by the Sea, with historic Georgetown and its waterfront a short drive away.
To the north are the residential neighborhoods of Forestbrook, Socastee, and Carolina Forest, which are primarily home to locals and local businesses. These neighborhoods represent a wide range of housing styles and economic situations. The area north of Myrtle Beach is seeing a construction boom as retirees from the northeast move to the area and build their dream homes. A little beyond these neighborhoods is the small city of Conway, best known as the home of Coastal Carolina University. North Myrtle Beach boasts the luxury communities of the Grand Dunes and Living Dunes, featuring some palatial residences that are the most expensive in the area.