Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is one of the best family beach destinations in the United States. It draws millions of visitors annually, as well as new relocating residents. It’s big and brash and busy — and everyone is on vacation.
Although the beach is the number one attraction, you’ll also find diverse family attractions, professional entertainment, championship golf courses, and superb dining and shopping.
Friendly southern hospitality abounds, and an easy-going lifestyle flavors all visits.
Myrtle Beach is not just a single beach. The 60-mile coastal strip features beaches in separate towns and cities. Locals sometimes refer to it as the Grand Strand (although you won’t find that named on a map), stretching from the North Carolina border to Georgetown, South Carolina.
Myrtle Beach itself has 9 1/2 miles of beach, always open and enjoyable year-round. While it’s too cool for wintertime swimming, it’s great for other water sports, beach walking, shell collecting and bird watching year-round.
The beach is free, wide, clean, safe and easily accessible from dozens of oceanfront hotels. Public access (some with free albeit limited parking) is located at regular intervals throughout the main section of town.
Gentle waves, warm sun, cooling breezes, a temperate climate, and rich and varied amenities highlight all visits. It’s no wonder the Travel Channel recently named Myrtle Beach America’s second best beach.
Families from northern American cities and international destinations flock to the beach (especially during summer months).
Spring breakers from nearby states think it’s the place to party, although Spring is sometimes too chilly for swimming.
Hundreds of motorcyclists choose Myrtle Beach once or twice annually for festivals. Marathon runners come for a major annual event.
Businesses schedule regular wintertime meetings and conventions here.
Seniors and retirees appreciate Myrtle Beach in the spring and fall for its moderate temperatures and reasonable crowds. Snowbirds escaping cold northern winters spend a few months in beach condos.
First-timers appreciate some differentiation between towns and areas. Where you book accommodations will depend on your primary focus: golf, shopping, entertainment, nightlife or kids’ activities. Without proper planning, it can be quite a drive from one area to another, especially during heavy summer traffic.
Don’t forget to click on the yellow bar above for Myrtle Beach details about when to go, what it costs, transportation, informative background (on history, culture, cuisine, recommended reading, art, music), other valuable websites and more details.
Myrtle Beach Family Summer Vacation … Good for multi-generational travel too
Three Days of Golf … Where to play, stay and dine for spectacular, year-round golf trips
Day Trips Off the Beach … Drive north or south for history and more
Fine Dining in Myrtle Beach … Best local choices especially for dinner
Winter Holiday Weekend … A long weekend
Shopping Trip to Myrtle Beach … Budget-conscious outlets, malls and more
The Myrtle Beach area is a year-round destination, always open and with slight seasonal temperature changes to please different interests of visitors. June, July and August are the high season with the largest crowds of visitors including families with children. Hot beach weather is conducive to family beach time, and all entertainment and attractions are open for long hours daily.
Seniors traveling with groups, for reunions, or without small children, prefer September and October for ideal beach weather without the crowds and then November and December for live musical holiday entertainment offered each year in theaters.
Snowbirds are the retirees who escape harsh cold winters in Canada or northeastern United States and arrive during fall and winter often staying in their winter destination until March.
Golfers prefer April and October for the peak season when courses are at their best; however, this is also the most crowded and most expensive time to golf. December, January and July are ideal for golfers who don’t object to less ideal temperatures and who love to find a discount tee time.
During the summer (high season) many hotels or other accommodations require a full week of booking beginning on Saturday. During other times of year, a weekend can be a good get-away.
Many accommodations offer special monthly rates for Snowbirds who often visit for three months or longer beginning in December.
June, July and August are high season when families with children vacation at the beach.
Spring and fall are considered shoulder seasons, and winter is considered off season.
Restaurants and shopping venues remain open all year, sometimes with shortened schedules, and visitors wishing to avoid traffic or crowded venues often choose the slower seasons for relaxing visits.
Attractions and entertainment, excluding water sports and beach activities, are open all year, although some with shorter schedules.
Golfers prefer April and October for the ideal temperatures and course conditions, although courses remain open and playable year-round with rates being most favorable during winter and summer.
Sunny days total an annual average of 215 with weather that is always amazing!
July is almost always the hottest month with temperatures averaging in the 90s (degrees Farenheit).
January and February are cold with temperatures averaging in the 50s but occasionally dropping into the teens or 20s for a few days. It does frost for as many as 42 days during an average year.
Major festivals and events are the best time to visit. Follow Myrtle Beach’s Best for more details, frequent updates and announcements of new events.
National Holidays include:
January (1st): New Year’s Day
January (third Monday): Martin Luther King Jr. Day
February (third Monday): Presidents Day
May (last Monday): Memorial Day
July (4th): Independence Day
September (first Monday): Labor Day
October (second Monday): Columbus Day
November (11th): Veterans Day
November (fourth Thursday): Thanksgiving Day
December (25th): Christmas
Myrtle Beach is located in the Eastern time zone.
To check the local time in Myrtle Beach, click here World Time Server.
Daylight Savings Time (DST) happens in the spring (on the second Sunday morning of March at 2 a.m.). It’s when clocks are advanced one hour so there is more daylight later into the evening. In the fall (on the first Sunday morning in November at 2 a.m.), clocks shift back one hour to standard time. The entire U.S. (except Hawaii and most of Arizona) participates in this ritual of “springing forward” and “falling back.”
Everything is casual with shorts, slacks, jeans and sport shirts suitable almost any time. Pack flip flops or buy them immediately on arrival.
Dressy attire is preferred for many night spots and a few restaurants, although nothing formal.
Collared shirts are required on golf courses.
Jackets or sweaters are needed during many winter days.
Golf, attraction and entertainment discounts are offered by many of the major hotels which promote packages for almost any interest. Inquire when booking accommodations.
Free coupon booklets are available in racks in many grocery store entrance areas. These include discounts on attractions and at some of the major family restaurants. More discounts are offered by restaurants during the off season such as January and February.
Tickets for the major entertainment venues are available at small discount by many of the major hotels or can be booked online.
Prices often fluctuate dynamically depending on capacity, seasonality and deals. We don’t want to lead you astray by quoting exact prices that quickly become wrong. To give you a rough idea for budgetary planning purposes, though, we have indicated general price ranges for all points of interest.
Price ranges are quoted in $US.
See & Do
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person
$ => Rooms less than $150 for a double
$$ => Rooms $150-$300 for a double
$$$ => Rooms $300 for a double
$ => Up to $15 for average main at dinner (or lunch/breakfast if no dinner is served)
$$ => $16-22 for average main at dinner (or lunch/breakfast if no dinner is served)
$$$ => $23 for average main at dinner (or lunch/breakfast if no dinner is served)
N/A => Not applicable
$ => Tickets less than $10 per person
$$ => Tickets $11-25 per person
$$$ => Tickets $26 per person
Fly the Friendly Skies
Airfares are a fickle thing. When you need it to be low, it’s high. And when prices dip, what happens? You can’t get off work to travel. Sigh.
But you can get notifications from companies like Kayak, which will email you when airfares drop. Type your destination and the dates you are watching and boom, when there’s a deal, you’ll hear about it immediately via your inbox.
Sites like Momondo also display prices for multiple airlines, so you can compare rates without visiting individual airline sites.
That said, there is an advantage to visiting an individual airlines site. Why? Because some of their really great deals don’t show up on the aggregator airfare sites. Most airlines share limited-time, super-specials via their Facebook pages or email blasts. So it pays to be their friend or subscribe to their e-mailings.
Have Car, Will Travel
Like airlines, car rental rates are all over the map. Companies like Expedia and Hotwire offer comparison price shopping.
There are also name-your-own-price sites, like Priceline, where you decide what you want to pay and they hook you up with a car rental company who can fit the bill. There are some great deals here, if you are not too picky about the make and model of your rental.
Ride-sharing companies, Uber and Lyft, are also ubiquitous in major cities and available here. Through a smart phone app, you can line up rides all over town. It’s convenient because no money changes hands (payment is made through the app) and it’s usually cheaper than a taxi. Another bonus? After requesting a ride, you can see where the driver is on a map, so you know that they are on their way and how long it will be. Try that with a cab.
Money Saving Tip: Costco, because of its behemoth size and price negotiating power, offers great low prices for most major car rental companies. Yes, you need to purchase an annual Costco membership first, but it more than pays for itself with what you’ll save with a typical week’s car rental (i.e. searches turn up a mid-size car through Costco for $225 and a comparable car through another aggregator for $325.)
Did You Know: Budget Car Rental offers drivers residing at the same address (i.e. unmarried partners or BFFs) complimentary extra driver coverage. Other car rental companies charge upwards of $10/day.
Hopefully, your trip to (or within) the U.S. goes without a glitch. But what if an unexpected situation arises? Will you lose the money you invested in the trip? Will you need quick cash to cover sudden costs?
Travel insurance policies are meant to cover these unexpected costs and assist you when problems arise. The fee is typically based on the cost of the trip and the age of the traveler.
Most travel insurance providers offer comprehensive coverage that usually includes protection for the following common events:
Trip Cancellation: About 40 percent of all claims fall in this category.
Medical: Health services in the U.S. are expensive for the uninsured. This is a major reason to consider purchasing insurance. Whether you break a leg or need a blood transfusion, you will likely incur costs far higher than you might pay in other nations. And what if you have an accident that requires transport to a major medical center? Air ambulances alone could set you back $15,000 to $30,000.
Trip Interruption: For example, if you become ill during your trip or if someone at home gets sick, and you have to get off the cruise ship or abandon a tour. The insurer will often pay up to 150% of the cost of your trip to get you home.
Travel Delay: Insurance usually covers incidentals like meals and overnight lodging while you wait to travel home.
Baggage: Insurance will typically cover lost and mishandled baggage.
Some insurance companies allow you to purchase a policy that allows you to cancel for any reason. This may cost more (often 10% or more), but it is worthwhile for certain travelers.
Do I need travel insurance?
If your trip costs $4,000 to $6,000 (or more), it’s probably a good idea. Your age and health are important factors. So is your destination. If you’re traveling to a hurricane-prone area during hurricane season, for example, you’ll probably want some coverage just in case no matter what.
Your English language skills are also an important factor. Insurance policies often include concierge services with 24-hour hotlines that can connect you quickly with someone who speaks your language.
How do I choose an insurance provider?
Do your homework and check around.
The largest insurers in the U.S. include Travel Guard, Allianz and CSA Travel Protection. Smaller reputable companies include Berkley, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Travel Insured International and Travelex. You may also find deals through aggregates like Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip.
Many airlines and travel companies also offer travel insurance when you book your flight (often contracted with the above major players).
If you have pre-existing health conditions: Many policies have exclusion policies if you have a pre-existing medical condition. But companies also offer waivers that overwrite the exclusion if you purchase the policy within a certain time frame of paying for your trip (e.g., within 24 hours of buying your cruise package). Again, it’s best to check the fine print.
Credit card insurance: If you buy your airfare or trip with a credit card, you may be partially covered by the credit cards issuing bank. Check directly with the company to find out exactly what’s covered, as many have stripped down coverage and restrictions.
The travel insurance business is expanding and evolving rapidly. As shared space lodging options like VRBO, Airbnb and Homeaway become more popular in the travel and leisure market, so does the need for insurance for both property owners and travelers.
For more information, visit the US Travel Insurance Association.
U.S. dollars come in $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. They are all the same size and color, so non-Americans have an understandably tricky time telling them apart. The $2 bill is in circulation but rarely seen.
Coins in wide circulation include the penny (one cent), nickel (five cents), dime (ten cents) and quarter (25 cents). The 50-cent and one-dollar coins are seen occasionally.
Smaller businesses may not accept $50 or $100 bills, so have twenties or smaller bills in hand. ATMs usually dispense $20 bills.
If you get money from an ATM machine, you may incur charges (often $2 or $3 per transaction). Check with your bank before you leave home to find out which, if any, U.S. banks will allow you to get cash without an extra charge. Many grocery stores, gas stations and major retail outlets let you get a limited amount of cash back when paying for your goods this is an easy way to get cash while on the go.
Credit and debit cards are accepted widely throughout the U.S.
Don’t forget to call your debit and/or credit card company before you travel to inform them of your planned itinerary. This goes for U.S. residents traveling out of state. If you don’t do this in advance, you risk having your card denied/declined when you try to use it in a destination far from home. You should also call your company immediately to report loss or theft. The numbers to call are usually on the back of the card which doesn’t make sense if it is lost or stolen. So make a note of them and store them where you’ll have easy access.
Recently, companies have been issuing cards with embedded chips that prevent counterfeit fraud. Banks and merchants that don’t offer the chip-and-PIN technology are beginning to be held liable for fraud. Check with your bank and credit card company for details on your specific cards.
Tipping is a cost you must build into the budget for any U.S. travel experience, whether urban or rural. Tipping is most relevant to dining out and hotel stays, but other costs should also be taken in to consideration. General guidelines include:
For excellent service, plan to tip 20% on the total bill, before taxes. For less-than-stellar service, 10-15% is customary, as an imperfect experience is often not solely the responsibility of the server. In many states, servers work for below minimum wage and live mostly on tips, so consider the ramifications of your tipping decisions.
To complicate matters, many restaurants in major metropolitan areas are moving to a no-tipping model in which service is included. The verdict isn’t yet in on whether this new model will stick, so be sure you understand the tipping policy at each restaurant you visit.
Oh, and one more complication: Sometimes a tip is automatically included,usually for groups of six or more people. But at least it will be itemized in plain sight on the bill, if you look closely for it.
Most bell staff receive $1 to $2 per bag they assist with; if someone carts all of your bags up to your room, expect to tip $5 to $10.
Tips for housekeeping are also good form. The rule of thumb is $2 to $3 per day and about $5 per day in higher-end properties.
At properties with concierge services, consider tipping concierge staff who assist you in planning activities, making reservations or acquiring tickets, around $10 to $20 per day. Concierge staff do not normally expect a tip for simply orienting you with driving directions or public transportation info. Car valet staff expect $2 when returning your car. Spa employees (massage therapists, aestheticians, etc.) usually see 20% tips on their services, whether performed at the spa or in your room.
Invariably, there are incidental costs associated with being on the road. Make sure to budget between $10 and $40 per day for batteries, lost phone chargers, bug repellent, headache medicine, sunburn relief and other personal items you might have forgotten. If you’re traveling with kids, consider the snack budget. Local grocery and drug stores will be cheaper than tourist shops for all of the above.
Sales Taxes, Lodging Taxes & Resort Fees
In South Carolina, the combined total for state and local taxes on all retail goods and services varies from 4% to 10%, depending on where you are. In general, cities have higher taxes than rural areas do. Taxes are not usually included in display prices, unless otherwise stated.
Lodging tax (which might include hospitality tax or sales tax plus state, local and other fees) also varies by location in South Carolina, ranging from 8% to 13%. This tax applies whether you are staying at a private vacation rental, a bed-and-breakfast, or a full-fledged hotel. Taxes are not usually stated up front in the advertised room rate. Neither are the mandatory nightly resort fees being charged by an increasing number of hotels. Sometimes this fee covers internet access, parking, and a few incidentals, while at other times it’s merely a surcharge for amenities that should be free. Beware that third-party booking agents, especially online, often don’t include resort fees in their reservation charges, so you may be unhappily surprised by the final bill when you check out.
Myrtle Beach is best accessed by car, especially for family vacations or golf trips, as the attractions are stretched throughout the 60-mile beach area plus small towns and events inland. Public transportation is limited.
Business travelers who fly into Myrtle Beach (MYR) for a single brief event will find it convenient to take a taxi from the airport to the convention center and adjoining Sheraton hotel, and the beach plus a few restaurants are within walking distance.
Getting to the Myrtle Beach area is easy by car or plane. Most visitors drive because its easy to get here and important to have a car on arrival.
Although the area is not directly on an Interstate highway, I-95 which runs north-south throughout the United States is less than an hour from Myrtle Beach.
Also, I-40 which runs east-west across the United States, bypasses Wilmington, NC and offers an easy connection to U.S. 17 leading directly south to Myrtle Beach. U.S. 17 runs north-south roughly parallel to the east coast of the United States. Although it is a slow route traveling through many small towns, it offers direct access into Myrtle Beach from Georgia and Florida to the south and from North Carolina, Virginia and other states to the northeast.
New highways were built around Myrtle Beach during the early 2000s, so that visitors will find good choices for driving in from the west and for moving directly between north and south. U.S. 22 is also called Veterans Highway, and it bypasses Conway to arrive directly into Myrtle Beach from the west. U.S. 31 runs north-south from Little River to Socastee and crosses U.S. 22 for access to Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Surfside.
The Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) is in the city, three miles south of the major business district. Major airlines are Delta, Allegiant, United, Westjet, Spirit and US Airways with daily flights which vary seasonally and connections via Atlanta, New York and Charlotte providing convenient international links. Also Porter Airlines flies nonstop to Toronto twice weekly.
If flying into Myrtle Beach, advance car rental is recommended. Car rentals, primarily on the airport property, are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz and National.
A limited number of taxis are usually onsite for pick up at the airport. Shuttles from many major accommodations may be arranged for airport transfers. Confirming the pick-up schedule with the accommodation is suggested before arrival. Public transportation within the area is limited and car rental will be advisable unless a quick business trip is contained entirely within one property.
Its easy to get around by car, as long as patience is maintained during the busy summer tourist season when heavy traffic should be anticipated on the main routes. While the city of Myrtle Beach is actually quite small, the entire Grand Strand area includes a 60-mile strip of coast which is all considered the vacation destination and all described in this guide.
One important thing to understand is that Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach are two separate neighboring cities. Some of the east-west streets have the same names or numbers and can be quite confusing if a new visitor does not know which city is referenced. In both cities, the cross streets (east-west) are numbered beginning in the center of the city and extending both north and south. An example: 10th could refer to 10th Ave. N. or 10th Ave. S. in Myrtle Beach or to 10th Ave. N or 10th Ave. S. in North Myrtle Beach. Similar street numbering also is used in Garden City, Conway and the other small towns in the area. It is confusing without a grasp of which locality is referenced; then it becomes apparent that it’s logical and easy to follow.
The U.S. 17 which runs north-south through the entire Grand Strand is locally dubbed the Bypass for five miles around Myrtle Beach. This is one of the most confusing locations for a first-time visitor. No sign actually denotes Bypass, although verbal directions and sometimes published business addresses use the term. The so-called Bypass is an alternate to U.S. Business 17 which is parallel, and they join at both the north and south ends.
Traffic congestion is to be expected during the summer peak season.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is often recognized as one of the favorite family beach destinations in the United States. The beach is the biggest attraction drawing millions of visitors annually and new residents relocating to the Myrtle Beach area.
It’s not just a single beach. The 60-mile strip along the coast features beach area in separate towns, cities or county in a 60-mile strip which stretches from the North Carolina border south to Georgetown, South Carolina.
The Myrtle Beach area was first an Indian trail with the Winyah and Waccamaw Indian inhabitants who called it Chicora.
Then Spanish explorers sailed from Hispaniola with Lucas Vacquez de Allyon in the 1500s. The first European settlement, San Miguel de Guadalupe, in the United States was 30 miles south of the present Myrtle Beach. It lasted less than a year with settlers dying from hardship and disease.
President George Washington’s travel through the area was documented in his diary of April 1791 while he was touring the southern states.
As history goes, the Myrtle Beach area can claim little. The Myrtle Beach area first became a resort destination when wealthy families sent their women and children to escape the inland heat and humidity to summer at the coast.
Franklin Burroughs returned here from the Civil War and began a timber and turpentine company with his friend Benjamin Collins.
A 65-acre historic district, located along north Ocean Boulevard, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and distinguished by private homes built from the 1920s through the 1940s.
A railroad was built which spurred farmers and additional industry to develop. The Myrtle Beach Train Depot, also listed on the National Register, was built in 1936 and restored in 2004.
Myrtle Beach was given its name in 1938 in a contest when Burroughs’ wife suggested the name to represent the wax myrtle trees which were prolific. Myrtle Beach became a city in 1957, and celebrated its 75th birthday in 2013.
North Myrtle Beach is a separate city featuring nine miles of beach. The railroad created the connection to what is now the city of North Myrtle Beach. North Myrtle Beach was created in 1968 from joining the beach communities of Windy Hill, Crescent Beach, Ocean Drive and Cherry Grove.
The culture of Myrtle Beach is totally Southern and proud of it. It’s a bit different from the Deep South, but it’s based loosely on the farming communities which pre-dated the beach development as a tourist destination.
Southern manners are expected, and it’s common that strangers greet each other or strike up friendly conversations anywhere.
Some laws related to the beach are important to note.
Beaches in South Carolina are public property and free to visit; free public access to the beach is plentiful throughout the Myrtle Beach area, although a few private neighborhoods and resorts have restricted access which should be noted.
Remember to treat the beach with respect. Whether it’s a public access beach or accessed via a privately owned resort property, it may have different rules or restrictions, but a few tips should be remembered as common courtesies.
Dunes: nature’s plan for protecting the shore is washing sand up to create dunes. Whether signs are posted as reminders or not, dunes are damaged by walkers, sunbathers or pets. Law prohibits walking on the dunes, by humans or pets.
Sea oats: sometimes planted or appearing naturally, the lovely grass holds the sand in place along the dunes, and it should not be disturbed.
Space: an American custom, more than in many other countries, is to allow personal space. Park your chair, umbrella, kids or stuff a reasonable distance away from others. It’s nice manners to allow privacy for conversation and to keep your own music or phone calls to yourself.
Dogs: if allowed on some beaches, often with leashes required, dogs sometimes annoy non-owners, and pet waste must be collected and disposed properly. Otherwise, it’s a serious health hazard, and fines may be imposed for owners leaving it on the beach.
Golf carts: these are plentiful on public streets in resort communities. Only licensed drivers can legally operate a golf cart, and only during daylight hours. Regular laws applying to other vehicles also must be observed, such as stopping for stop signs and signaling for turns.
Lifeguards are only provided during daytime hours during the summer season within the central sections of the main beaches in Myrtle and North Myrtle. They are trained to advise of any known hazards such as dangerous rip currents or storm warnings.
Swimming near fishing piers is not advisable, as sharks are known to be attracted to waters where bait is plentiful.
Cuisine is predominantly simple Southern style with emphasis on seafood which is available fresh locally year-round. Almost all restaurants offer some basic proteins and some varieties of seafood along with vegetables which may be locally produced and side dishes such as the ever-popular macaroni and cheese.
Most dining recommended here is locally owned or small southern chains rather than franchises. Plenty of fast food and a few different ethnic choices also can be found.
Dining is usually an important part of a visit to Myrtle Beach, and visitors typically appreciate large portions at reasonable prices if compared to larger cities or metropolitan areas.
Protestant religion is strong throughout the south, also known as part of the Bible Belt. Churches are easy to locate in all of the major sections and visitors are warmly welcomed.
English is the only native language, although Spanish translation can be found and possibly a few others.
Most recently Magic Mike XXL, featuring Channing Tatum as a retiring male stripper, was filmed in Myrtle Beach in 2015. Dennis Hopper’s film Chasers was filmed in Myrtle Beach and other South Carolina locations in 1994.
The most famous film which is representative of a significant historical era was Shag: The Movie which was filmed by MGM in North Myrtle Beach in 1989.
Screenwriter Lanier Laney, from Spartanburg, SC, said the movie was a retelling of his summers growing up at Pawleys Island watching his older brother going across the street to the Pawleys Pavilion to listen to the African American beach music bands and dance the Shag, a dance which had originated in the black clubs next to Ocean Drive in North Myrtle Beach.
The movie was set in pre-integration South Carolina, and it was white kids from upper class families who first starting going to hear black bands at the beach pavilions of South Carolina. In upcountry towns like Greenville, Spartanburg and Charlotte, the only way the kids could hear the music was by tuning into powerful radio stations broadcasting from Nashville and buying records. The music was dubbed “race music” by their segregationist parents, and many white children were forbidden to listen to the music at the time. But that did not stop it from becoming THE music and dance of several generations of South Carolina beachgoers.
Laney and his partner Terry Sweeney, remembered for his Nancy Reagan role on “Saturday Night Live,” wrote the movie at the Tip Top Inn on Pawleys.
Shag was named the State Dance of South Carolina in 1990, and the dance remains an integral part of the North Myrtle Beach party scene.
International Show & Tell features Myrtle Beach’s Best with frequent updates posting art and festival events.
Creatures You Might Encounter
These are not pets and are best enjoyed for photos from a distance.
Pelicans seldom strut the beach with people, but on the rare occasion that one waddles up to you, BEWARE. They are not pets.
Sea gulls: don’t feed them, please. Research has shown that their feathers and their droppings may carry disease. If they are fed, they will fly closer and will not discriminate where their droppings may land.
Shore birds such as egrets and blue herons are most plentiful during spring and fall seasons and when few humans are bothering their feeding areas.
Alligators are dangerous and should not be fed or approached. They may be seen on golf courses or in marshy areas, or on occasion in the street or residential lawns. Yes, really!
Other wildlife, such as deer, raccoons, opossums, coyote or even black bears, is sometimes found in residential areas and should be avoided. Wildlife is known to carry disease and the possibility of rabies.
Loggerhead turtles are in danger of extinction. They nest in the edge of the sand dunes and deposit eggs which remain for 60 to 80 days before tiny hatchlings emerge and try to find the route to a home in the ocean. State law prohibits disturbing the dunes, and the protection of wildlife is one of the important reasons for staying away from the restricted areas. Federal law prohibits interaction with turtles, their nests or eggs.
Little creatures live in some of the shells which wash up on the beach. Be careful that you don’t take home a shell with something alive which will be a big smelly surprise crawling out and dying in your beach bag:)