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Why Is Myrtle Beach Called Dirty Myrtle?

Are you looking for a beach vacation? Myrtle Beach may be right for you. But, first, you’ll want to know why it’s also known as Dirty Myrtle. We get into that and much more in this article. 

Keep reading to learn more about Myrtle Beach and why so many people flock there yearly. We also share the top things to do in the oceanside city. And we reveal the four best campgrounds in the area with fun activities for all ages.

Let’s dig in! 

Where Is Myrtle Beach?

Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean by the northeastern tip of South Carolina. It’s less than three hours north of Charleston, South Carolina, and an hour and a half south of Wilmington, North Carolina. Dirty Myrtle sits on approximately 60 miles of shoreline. It has a population of almost 34,000. 

Myrtle Beach is known for its beaches, golf courses, and souvenir shops. You’ll first notice the souvenir shops lining the streets when driving into the seaside city. You can get T-shirts for $5, bathing suits, towels, shells, kites, and more. From practical to weird, the souvenir shops have something for everyone and have been a staple in Dirty Myrtle for decades.

Golf is another reason for Dirty Myrtle’s popularity, as professional golfers and celebrities frequent the city’s many golf courses. The year-round mild weather and beautiful South Carolina landscape make the city a golfer’s paradise.  

Finally, the beaches are the biggest attraction for tourists. A vast sandy shoreline draws people from all over the country to sunbathe and get a glimpse at dolphins, fishing, and watersports. Hotels and campgrounds line the beaches of Myrtle Beach, so it’s relatively easy to find lodging on the water.

Pro Tip: Spend the night at one of these 7 Amazing Myrtle Beach Campgrounds while visiting Dirty Myrtle.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA city skyline.
The waters of Myrtle Beach are murky, which give it its name Dirty Myrtle.

Where Did the Name Dirty Myrtle Come From?

No one seems clear on where the name Dirty Myrtle originated. It may have been due to an old popular beer called Dirty Myrtle. Some think it could be due to the water quality and that the ocean often looks brown on this stretch of the Atlantic Coast versus its blue color in Florida. Or it could have been a nickname from the ’90s when Myrtle Beach was known for its nightclubs and strip joints.

But one clear thing is that residents don’t like the name and wish it would go away. Can you blame them?

Is Myrtle Beach Really Dirty?

The city of Myrtle Beach is clean. However, the ocean water is a different story. While standing on the beach, you’ll see the water looking murky most of the year. It’s simply not as clear as the Atlantic to the north or south.

And swim advisories sometimes go into effect due to bacteria such as fecal coliform, caused by storm runoff from city streets.

Straight down aerial view of beach and ocean waves in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
There is lots to see and do in Dirty Myrtle.

Pro Tip: We took a closer look at Is There Free Camping on the East Coast to help you decide what beach to relax on.

Things To Do in Dirty Myrtle

There are plenty of things to do in Dirty Myrtle. From shopping to amusement and water parks, you won’t run short on activities to keep the whole family happy during a visit.

Go Shopping at Broadway at the Beach

Broadway at the Beach is a shopping complex in Myrtle Beach. It has shops, entertainment, and food. It’s a great place to go on a rainy day during your vacation or for souvenirs. Be sure to stock up on T-shirts with beach-themed logos and more.

Take a Ride on the SkyWheel

The SkyWheel is an observation wheel that goes nearly 200 feet into the air. It’s a great way to get a bird’s-eye view of Dirty Myrtle’s boardwalk and promenade. And it costs under $15 per person for a ride, or you can get a VIP pass.

Spend an Afternoon at Family Kingdom Amusement Park

Family Kingdom Amusement Park is the perfect entertainment for all ages. The park has fun around every corner, from roller coasters to classic kiddie rides. You can sign up on their website to get deals on entrance fees. 

Spend a Day at Myrtle Waves Water Park

Myrtle Waves Water Park has waterslides, tube rides, pools, and play areas for kids to splash in the water. The park is ideal for visiting Myrtle Beach on a hot summer day. Tickets are under $40, and there are plenty of discounted options.

Get Tickets to the Legends in Concert Show

The Legends in Concert Show is on Broadway at the Beach. You can catch Elvis, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson impersonators, and many more in the show. It’s the perfect entertainment after dinner in one of Broadway at the Beach’s restaurants.

Enjoy the Miles of Beaches

One of the best things to do in Dirty Myrtle is to enjoy the 60 miles of beach. The sandy beaches are memorable whether you’re sunbathing, taking a stroll, or taking a dip in the water. And you might just get the opportunity to see a dolphin swim by in the surf.

Camping in Dirty Myrtle is a popular way to stay and enjoy activities in the area. Here are four of the best campgrounds in Myrtle Beach.

Ocean Lakes Family Campground

Address: 6001 South Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575

About: Ocean Lakes Family Campground is a highly rated campground on the beach and the largest on the east coast. It has full hookup sites, and many are pull-through. The campground also has bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a camp store, and private beach access. 

Best Features: The campground has everything you need for a short or long stay. The camp store supplies food and gear, there’s a restaurant on-site, and there are pools, a water park, and a mini-golf course. 

Myrtle Beach Travel Park

Address: 10108 Kings Road, Myrtle Beach, SC 29572

About: Myrtle Beach Travel Park sits directly on the Atlantic Ocean’s shore in Dirty Myrtle. With mostly pull-through sites, you can reserve a full hookup or water- and electricity-only site. It also has bathrooms, showers, and laundry facilities.

Best Features: Myrtle Beach Travel Park has private beach access, an indoor and outdoor pool, a lazy river, a snack bar, an arcade, a general store, and kayak rentals. 

PirateLand Family Camping Resort

Address: 5401 S Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575

About: PirateLand Family Camping Resort is a family-friendly beachside campground with full hookup sites. They offer discounted rates for monthly and extended stays. The resort has bathhouses, WiFi, laundry facilities, and a camp store.

Best Features: The resort has half a mile of beachfront within walking distance from any campsite. You’ll also love the Olympic-sized pool, water park, and various other family activities. 

Lakewood Camping Resort

Address: 5901 South Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach, SC 29575

About: Lakewood Camping Resort offers oceanside camping and fun for all ages. The resort has full hookup sites and some water- and electricity-only sites, WiFi, and daily on-site trash removal. It also has bathhouses, laundry facilities, a store, propane refills, and a coffee house.

Best Features: Lakewood has golf cart rentals for getting around the resort. It also features an indoor and outdoor pool, a water park, a lazy river, a splash pad, and various outdoor activities.

Is Visiting Myrtle Beach Worth it? 

Visiting Dirty Myrtle is worth it. From beautiful beaches to family-friendly campgrounds, it’s an excellent destination between the spring and fall. Remember that summers are jam-packed in Myrtle Beach, so if crowds aren’t your thing, you might want to check it out in the shoulder seasons. 

Have you ever been to Myrtle Beach? Tell us your favorite things to do in the comments!

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