Nicknamed "The Black Pearl,” the historical roots of this culturally rich town stems back the Gullah/Geechee people, who were descendants of slaves who lived for more than three centuries years on the Sea Islands from Wilmington, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida.
Today the city remains the only Black-owned beach in the nation and is a remote tourist resort area that has grown by leaps and bounds throughout the decades. It’s nestled nicely between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, and continues to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists each summer, especially African American families who were once forbidden to enter the beaches in town.
Culturally rich and full of history, there are tons of activities to partake in such as the Craftsmen's Summer Classic Art & Craft Festival, a Southeastern Tourism Society "Top 20 Event" that features original work from over 250 talented artists and crafts people. All exhibited work is handmade and wholly original, making it a superb opportunity see the creative process in action, as artisans demonstrate their crafts live in various booths. The festival was even name by Sunshine Artist Magazine as a "100 Best Classic & Contemporary Arts & Crafts Festival" winner! Make sure also to trek on down to Homebrewer's Pantry for supplies and equipment to make homemade beer, wine, cider, soda, and spirits. The specialty shop even carries locally made items like candles, soap, and beef jerky that you can take home with you to remember Atlantic Beach by.
For those with little ones, there’s Ripley's Aquarium— the 1999 SC Governor's Cup winner continues to entertain guests of all ages with some of the world's most beautiful, fascinating, and dangerous aquatic life with its 87,000-square-foot facility. Witness thousands of colorful fish traveling through a 750,000-gallon Dangerous Reef tunnel on a moving glide path and be surrounded on all sides by sharks up to 10 feet long! The Discovery Center-- an interactive area with a horseshoe crab touch tank—as well as Ray Bay and Friendship Flats, which is inhabited by a variety of stingrays, small sharks, and Rainbow Roc are also a must see. Literally stand amidst a stunning display of brilliant tropical Indo-Pacific fish as educational presentations and dive shows surround you all throughout the day.
For an unforgettable daytrip, try nearby Indian Beach, Salter Path, or Pine Knoll Shores in North Carolina, where the sun, the beach, and loads of water activities await. From surfing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and boogie boarding, to flying a kite, deep sea fishing, or just relaxing on smooth sandy beaches, you’ll be relishing a day of sun-filled bliss before opting for an evening cruise with dinner come nightfall.
Be sure to take a trip to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and to visit the historic Fort Macon museum and grounds as well. And, of course, don’t forget to treat yourself to some fresh seafood at any one of the outstanding restaurants in the area after a long day of sunning. No one knows how to prepare seafood cuisine like locals who have lived near the ocean for decades!
South Carolina accommodations are famous for their beauty and Southern charm. Try out Fairfield Inn Marriott Broadway At The Beach or Sea Horn Motel, an oceanfront location near a fishing pier and area amusements. There’s also Sands Beach Club Resort or Cherry Grove Beach Houses, which is located across the street from the ocean on the north end of North Myrtle Beach.
Area transportation includes traveling by plane, train, and automobile. Getting to South Carolina has never been easier, as visitors can arrive at the Grand Strand themselves via one of the many new local highways.
The Myrtle Beach International Airport serves as the commercial airport for jetters and also offers service for private companies, while local bus service is available through The Coast RTA. It’s an affordable and convenient public transportation system along major thoroughfares to and from the Grand Strand. Para Transit service is also offered along with the nine fixed routes servicing the Waccamaw Region, including Georgetown, Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach, and Conway. Schedules are available at all Myrtle Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau offices.
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