Myrtle Beach is one of the most beautiful places in South Carolina, hosting an astounding 19 million visitors each year. There’s a reason why generations of families call Myrtle Beach their summertime home away from home; it’s an idyllic little piece of paradise right in the continental United States.
Is Myrtle Beach safe? As impressive as Myrtle Beach is, it can also be somewhat dangerous, especially if you don’t know what to look out for.
Depending on what area of Myrtle Beach you’re in, you might run into some issues with petty crime or even harassment. Make the most of your trip to Myrtle Beach by observing some basic safety guidelines and rules.
Then, you’ll remember your beach vacation for surfing, swimming, and having a great time rather than anything terrible or nefarious.
Is Myrtle Beach Safe to Visit in 2023?
Like a lot of tourist-centric beach towns, Myrtle Beach is safe to visit, but there are some essential things that you have to keep in mind when you go.
Myrtle Beach has its fair share of crime and harassment, and there is the threat of natural disasters, specifically hurricanes.
Myrtle Beach is in a hurricane zone, and if you travel there during hurricane season, you may have to contend with some major storms. Hurricane season kicks off on June 1 and lasts through the end of November, encompassing the region’s entire summer and shoulder season.
Myrtle Beach is also uniquely vulnerable to hurricanes; even people staying in the metro area could experience some less-than-desirable weather from time to time.
Recent rough storms included Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Florence, and Hurricane Floyd. In addition, 1989’s Hurricane Hugo was a big deal for Myrtle Beach, wrecking tons of havoc across the entire region.
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll have to deal with Hurricane Hugo’s intensity, there is still a decent chance that you could run into a storm while in Myrtle Beach.
So take the following precautions to shield yourself against the brunt of any hurricane:
- Check the weather well in advance to see if any storms are coming.
- Stay away from the windows during a hurricane.
- Have a flashlight or candles in case there’s a storm.
- Make sure that the place you’re staying has a backup generator and water.
Hurricanes are part of the landscape in the southern states, but they don’t have to put too much of a damper on your vacation if you’re relatively prepared.
Crime in Myrtle Beach
Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of crime in Myrtle Beach. Since Myrtle Beach tends to be a party town, you can expect petty theft and other types of crime.
However, most of the crime in Myrtle Beach tends to be crimes of opportunity, so if you make yourself a hard target, you can avoid many of them.There are a few ways that you can protect yourself against these sorts of opportunistic crimes.
First, if you get a taxi in Myrtle Beach, ensure it’s licensed. That way, you can rest a little easier than the cab isn’t trying to pull a fast one on you by not using the meter or driving in circles.
It’s also helpful to download a map on your phone to see where the taxi is taking you. Pickpockets are a problem in Myrtle Beach. So never put your wallet or cash in your back pocket.
Instead, keep any valuables on the front of your body, where it’s much harder for people to grab them in crowded streets or on public transportation. Leaving valuables in your hotel room is a good idea rather than taking them with you.
If you need to go out with valuables on you, make them as inconspicuous as possible. Ensure all your bags are zipped up and carry them in front of your body in busy streets and public transportation.
Although muggings aren’t as prevalent as pickpocketing, they are alarmingly common.
Although this doesn’t mean that you should avoid Myrtle Beach altogether, it does mean that you should be careful while you’re there and try to be a hard target. Stick to tourist areas, especially after dark, and be vigilant on the streets.
Traveling as a Woman
Unfortunately, Myrtle Beach is a party town; it’s a little more dangerous for women than it is for men. Women could experience street harassment, catcalling, or even people following them down the road.
If you experience this, head to your nearest bar or restaurant and ask for help.
Local places do not want people harassing potential patrons and will more than likely come to your aid. Women should also avoid going to the beach alone at night as it can be deserted and not very well policed.
Avoiding Bad Neighborhoods
While the more tourist-friendly parts of Myrtle Beach can be rowdy but okay, there are certain areas of Myrtle Beach that you should avoid if you want to stay safe on your vacation.
South Myrtle Beach
South Myrtle Beach is generally not as safe as North Myrtle Beach and is the most dangerous area of the beach. So stick to North Myrtle Beach when you visit. You’ll find plenty of things to do there, and you won’t miss South Myrtle Beach at all.
Socastee has some petty theft, including vehicular break-ins. So although it’s not as infamous for violent crime, you might still get into trouble there. To avoid issues in these areas, stick to the tourist areas in Myrtle Beach.
Things to Consider
As with any other place in the country, there are certain things that you should consider when visiting Myrtle Beach. Keeping these things in mind will help you have a better time at the beach, maximize your safety, and still do and see everything you want.
As we discussed earlier, understanding that Myrtle Beach is in a hurricane zone can help you stay safe during your visit. Generally, there will be some kind of warning that the storm is coming.
Be sure to keep your ears peeled for a siren and stay inside until the storm passes. Never visit the beach during a hurricane.
Consider Different Types of Accommodations
One of the best ways to make your vacation at Myrtle Beach as memorable as possible is to consider different accommodations. Instead of simply going for a hotel, look into Airbnbs or even hostels. You could be surprised.
Also, think about what kind of vacation you want to have. For example, if you’re looking for a laid-back, family-friendly vibe, don’t stay in a party hostel or a busy district.
Visit During the Fall
Although the summer months get all the love in Myrtle Beach, as far as tourists go, the fall is a great time to visit. You won’t have the summer crowds, the temperature will be a little lower, and you could score some good deals on hotels or flights.
Since Myrtle Beach is still reasonably far south, you’ll get the best of all worlds if you wait a few months. Considering these things will help you have the most fun possible in Myrtle Beach while still staying safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s natural to have some questions before you go on vacation. These frequently asked questions and answers about visiting Myrtle Beach will help you make the most of your trip, stay safe, and have fun.
What kind of wildlife can I see?
You’re bound to see plenty of land and marine wildlife when visiting Myrtle Beach. In addition to a wide variety of smaller birds, expect to see pelicans, deer, dolphins, and turtles.
Although the vast majority of this wildlife is not dangerous to humans, there are still some creatures you should avoid at all costs. As a general rule, you shouldn’t go anywhere near anything in the water or lurking on the beaches that you’re not entirely sure is safe.
Myrtle Beach is known to have Man-o-War jellyfish from time to time, so be diligent. Shark attacks are pretty rare. Although sharks are the boogeymen of the sea, the most dangerous wildlife in Myrtle Beach is probably jellyfish.
Also, you’re more likely to run across an errant rip tide than a great white. Exercise caution while swimming and avoid swimming on unfamiliar beaches at night to be on the safe side.
Are there beach wheelchairs available?
There are beach wheelchairs readily available throughout much of Myrtle Beach. Visit the lifeguard station to locate one near you. You can also visit North Myrtle Beach’s Recreation Center to reserve your beach wheelchair.
If you’re visiting during the super busy summer months, you might want to see if you can reserve your beach wheelchair well in advance.
Then, during the shoulder or off-season, you probably have a better chance of getting one. Since Myrtle Beach prides itself on being a very accessible beach, those with mobility issues have many options.
How can I get to Myrtle Beach?
Most major airlines fly directly into Myrtle Beach, including Delta, American Airlines, Porter, United, Spirit, and Frontier. The airport is also very close to Myrtle Beach; you can get there in about half an hour.
Always make sure to take a designated airport taxi to avoid getting ripped off. Your cab should also use the meter. It’s a good idea to download a map of Myrtle Beach or have Google Maps open on your phone once you get into the taxi.
That way, you can ensure that the driver is going in the right direction. Other tips and tricks to follow for airport safety are as follows.
- Try to arrive during the day, especially if you’re unfamiliar with Myrtle Beach.
- Take airport-sanctioned taxis and always use the meter.
- Make sure you have both online and offline directions to your hotel in case you lose signal.
Since the airport is relatively close to the beach, you can be partying on the sand within a matter of a few hours.
Are the beaches dog-friendly?
Some specific beaches are dog-friendly at different times of the year, so you’ll want to check if you’re planning on bringing your furry friend to Myrtle Beach.
The main beach of Myrtle Beach, in the city itself, allows dogs during the evening and early morning during the summertime; however, it’s the free season for dogs on the beach during the rest of the year.
There are a few caveats, no matter what time of day or year it is. The dog must be well-behaved and leashed the whole time you have it on the beach. You also have to pick up after your dog.
Not doing so can result in a fine and almost certainly come with some dirty looks. Failing to keep your dog under control may result in penalties or even beach bans. On North Myrtle Beach, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach during the day in the summertime.
However, you can bring your dog before 9 a.m. or after 5 p.m. After September 15 or before May 15 (so, fall, winter, and spring), you can bring dogs to the beach anytime.
There are also some serious leash laws in North Myrtle Beach, and leashes less than seven feet are a no-no. Dogs can kiss summertime frolicking goodbye at Surfside Beach. No dogs are allowed at Surfside Beach anytime from mid-May to mid-September.
These rules can fluctuate, so make sure you check the regulations in advance. Bringing your dog to a non-sanctioned beach can lead to trouble, even if you’re a tourist.
Should I bring my beach umbrella?
Just as with the dog question, the answer to this one depends on the season and the beach. If you’re visiting Myrtle Beach during the end of spring or summer, tents and giant umbrellas are not allowed, although you might be able to bring one.
These rules have less to do with the umbrella itself than the size. Since the beaches get super crowded during this time of year, putting up a big umbrella or tent is akin to hogging the beach.
If you’re traveling to Myrtle Beach during the fall or winter, you’ll face far fewer restrictions when it comes to tents and umbrellas. Hopefully, these frequently asked questions and answers will help you have a wonderful time at Myrtle Beach this year.
Simply remember to follow the rules, be a hard target, and stick to the tourist hot spots, and you should have no problem enjoying yourself to the maximum at the beach this year.
So, Is Myrtle Beach Safe to Visit?
Although Myrtle Beach has a relatively high crime rate, it can be safe as long as you take proper precautions. Unfortunately, like virtually any party town, Myrtle Beach can get pretty rowdy, and there are a lot of people there who want to take advantage of intoxicated or confused tourists.
Lock up your valuables, stay away from deserted areas at night, and learn to recognize signs of trouble, and you should be completely fine enjoying the best that Myrtle Beach has to offer.
It’s also a good idea to send a copy of your itinerary to someone back home, especially if you are a woman traveling by yourself to Myrtle Beach. Happy travels!