Myrtle Beach vs. Outer Banks

Myrtle Beach and Outer Banks are two of the most exciting places on the Southeastern Atlantic coasts of the US. While they may both be seaside wonders, they offer different flavors for all types of travelers.
Myrtle Beach vs. Outer Banks

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Myrtle Beach is an entertainment capital, big on fun and excitement. You can have miles of beaches filled to the brim with cool experiences. And Outer Banks gives you the best water sports experiences with a side of nature and history lessons.

Myrtle Beach

Despite its relative fame, this southeastern charm is an underrated vacation destination. Full of high-caliber draws, Myrtle Beach provides quite an array of experiences. From parties, and golfing, to the best dining scene, it can offer you everything you’ll ever look for. And, its wine scene is amazing as well.

The South Carolina gem offers plenty of delights that are the perfect definition of a jam-packed holiday. You can have a long golden beach, golf courses, to a dramatic roster of dining options. If you want to steer clear of bigger southern touristy cities like Miami or New Orleans, this is the place.

What Makes Myrtle Beach Unique?

A Golfing Capital

You’re sure to visit yet another golfing capital on this side of South Carolina. Thanks to the state’s abundance of sprawling expanses of green grass. Plus, one obvious advantage is South Carolina’s weather conditions. It enjoys lesser rain and consistent sunshine, and many of its cities have the nicest greens. The state’s long list of the top golfing cities now includes Myrtle Beach.

You can have around 90 top-notch golf courses in Myrtle Beach. Many of which were created by legends and have hosted national competitions. But unlike many golfing cities in the state, Myrtle Beach’s mantle is self-titled. But when you try a hand in its many putts, you’d know why. It has produced a golfing paradise all on its own, thanks to the selection of top-notch areas it provides.

Along with some of the most gorgeous shoreline courses in the Southeast, the interiors are a wonder as well. Take a short trip inland for a different view of the maritime woodlands and forested marshes. If you’re on a budget and just playing for experience, there are cheaper courses available as well. The majority of hotels offer special golf packages that include discounted rates on both golf and accommodation.

Here are some of the best courses:

Tidewater Golf Club

Several various landscapes can be seen in this 500-acre (200 ha) course. You can play around Lowcountry forests, saltwater marshes, and coastal bluffs. The Tidewater region gives players quite the added allure to the game. It has a genius blend of historical value, natural beauty, and Southern charm. And for a more local authentic flair, Ken Tomlinson, a South Carolina local designed the course.

Caledonia Golf & Fish Club

The Caledonia course is quite unique thanks to its interesting setting. The sloping course is surrounded by pine and hardwood trees. It is built around a grand clubhouse reminiscent of the antebellum era in all its accents. The genius of the course presents a challenge to everyone, even the best professional golfers.

It was once a rice plantation but is currently a well-known public golf course. Renowned architect Mike Strantz designed this course. It was lauded for its visual appeal and gameplay, appearing on many ranking lists.

Dune Golf & Beach Club

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club is one of the most well-known golf courses in the Myrtle Beach area. And perhaps even all across the greater Southeast of the state. In the heart of Myrtle Beach, there is a conventional golf course called The Dunes Golf and Beach Club.

This Myrtle Beach classic was designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr., a well-known golf course architect. It was built in 1948 and is one of the oldest courses in the city. It offers premium membership and a long history of hosting elite professional golf.

The Grand Strand

One of the longest coastal fronts in the US mainland stretches just in front of Myrtle Beach. The city’s sandy expanse is incredibly long and can be seen from the cities and beaches around. It can even be an access point to different cities nearby.

It is frequently referred to as “The Beach” and has 60 miles (97 km) of breathtaking coastline and 14 equally interesting communities. You can easily explore vast, sandy beaches and their lush natural features. Enjoy the sunrise the horizon offers, on top of the vast possibilities for new experiences.

The iconic Grand Strand stretches from Cherry Grove, North Myrtle Beach, and Atlantic Beach on the northern edge. In the south, it extends to Surfside Beach, Garden City Beach, Litchfield Beach, and Pawleys Island. With such a scope, they offer endless opportunities for enjoyment and adventure.

If you’re looking for the best that the beach has to offer, the Grand Strand is your treasure trove. No matter where you decide to stop along the Grand Strand’s 60 miles of sand, a short drive will get you anywhere.

You can do quite an ensemble of activities all across the golden sands. Deep-sea fishing in salt water or parasailing over the seas is perfect for adventurous spirits. The cosmopolitan can go shopping for a day. You may find high-end shops, local boutiques, and various restaurants.

You may also play a round of golf in the afternoon on some of the best courses in the South. Amazing casual and fine cuisine, water park fun, and live entertainment in the Vegas flair are all available for your enjoyment. Alternately, you might simply enjoy a morning while sipping something cold and watching the tide come in.

The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel

The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel stands like a beacon of fun and excitement overlooking the city’s coast. The local icon stands 187 feet (57 meters) tall, it serves as both a local landmark and an engineering marvel.

With its sheer height, it even dwarfs several of the city’s skyscrapers and is the largest on the East Coast. Since its construction in 2011, it has stood out as a distinctive structure on the Myrtle Beach skyline further adding to the Grand Strand’s allure. The Myrtle Beach SkyWheel is the highlight and most breathtaking feature of the 1.2-mile (1.9 km) Boardwalk.

If you conquer your fear and brave the SkyWheel’s height, expect to be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the skyline of Myrtle Beach. It boasts 42 climate-controlled, enclosed “gondolas” that can hold up to 6 passengers each. You can enjoy expansive views of the city and the ocean in a 20-minute ride on one of the gondolas.

The SkyWheel’s view of the horizon and the ocean are perfect for obligatory selfies and aerial photos in Myrtle Beach. The gondolas have innovative nonreflective glass on top of them, making vacation shots even better. The climate control and enclosure of the gondolas allow you to travel in comfort year-round, in either sunshine or rain.

If you’re planning to visit the city, book in advance online to avoid the wait. You can also buy tickets in person at the door.

Wine and Dine Scene

Aside from all the entertainment it provides, Myrtle Beach also has the best food scene. To make the city more interesting, the city also takes pride in its wine scene. Thanks to the wide variety of eateries spread out around the city, you won’t ever get hungry when visiting Myrtle Beach.

With an extensive roster of about 1,800 restaurants, you can imagine the challenge of conquering them all. You could visit every restaurant in the Myrtle Beach region for around five years if you ate out at least once each day.

Everything is available, including buffets with limitless portions of sushi, shellfish, and spaghetti. If you’re the type to have an adventurous palate, then this can be paradise.

Myrtle Beach also has quite a selection of wineries, you can perfectly pair the city’s wines with its dining experience. The La Belle Amie Vineyard is conceivably among its most well-known locations. There are some superb wines available for tasting at this old tobacco farm, which has been a vineyard for 200 years.

Outer Banks

If you’re a big Netflix junkie, you’d know what the Outer Banks is. With surfing, rich history, and exciting towns, this string of islands is a gem in North Carolina. And yes, the Netflix show did it justice.

Activities for adventure and relaxation can be found on the Outer Banks. The area’s greatest draw is its serene beaches. But it is more than simply sandy beaches that are suitable for surfing; it is also a living record of the founding of US history.

What Makes Outer Banks Unique?

A Line of Barrier Islands

If you’re thinking of visiting the famous Outer Banks in North Carolina, bear in mind that it is not a single resort town or city. The area is actually a line of barrier islands made up of several towns facing the North Atlantic Ocean. The string of peninsulas starts at the barrier between Southeast Virginia and North Carolina, lining most of the coast of the latter.

If you’re planning to traverse the entire string, it is best to head to the biggest islands first. They are Bodie Island, Pea Island, Hatteras Island, Ocracoke Islands, Portsmouth Island, and the Core Banks. The exact number of islands in the area changed over time due to multiple violent storms breaching the island and creating new inlets.

Consisting of a series of islands and inlets, Outer Banks doesn’t only have one main town. It is composed of several interesting and unique towns as well. From north to south, you’ll visit towns that feel like a resort, some can even make you feel at home, and some are even packed with so much history. There is even one wrapped with so much mystery and spooks, that urban legends came out of it.

Water Sports Galore

With the peninsular location of its many towns, you can expect to find quite the repertoire of water sports and activities. It is home to hundreds of miles of beaches where opportunities for activities are near endless. From surfing to kayaking, you’ll surely have quite an unforgettable experience in any of the barrier islands.

Surfing

One of the top surfing spots on the East Coast is the Outer Banks. Given the abundance of surfing opportunities at numerous local beaches, this spectacular water sport is a must-do if you’re in the area. Fantastic locations to catch waves include Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills.

Kiteboarding

At several of the Outer Banks beaches, you’ll see a ton of kiteboarding fanatics flying up and down the coast. If you are an experienced kiteboarder, you can rent equipment from Kitty Hawk Kites. Or, one of the many water sports businesses in the vicinity. But if you are just getting started, you may enroll in a lesson at Kitty Hawk Kite’s kiteboarding school.

Jet Skiing

For Jet Skiing, the best waves to slice through are around Roanoke Sound. You rent a single or double unit from the many rental shops around. But the most recommended is Kitty Hawk Watersports for the best equipment.

Parasailing

Both morning and afternoon parasailing adventures are available for children and adults of all ages. You can soar above the ocean while participating in this Outer Banks water activity. It offers fantastic vistas of the entire coast for kilometers.

Kayaking

Kayaking is one of the most well-liked water sports in the Outer Banks. This enjoyable pastime lets people of all ages explore the sounds, inlets, creeks, and streams that line North Carolina’s coast. Kayak rentals are widely available in Nags Head and on Manteo.

Historically Rich

Covering so much land fronting the Atlantic, the towns and beaches in the Outer Banks area received the first wave of colonialism in the US. The shores had borne witness to the unfolding of 400 years worth of history. As much as the waves and surf of the Atlantic love the Outer Banks, so is history. The area hosts quite a plethora of historical moments and even mysteries.

First off, the controversial disappearance of the first English colony in America. The first settlers of Roanoke Island one day just disappeared three years after the colony’s establishment. No one knew how they disappeared and the mystery still remains today. Today, the Roanoke colony is dubbed the Lost Colony because of its lingering mystery.

The more iconic one is the first flight of the revolutionary Wright Brothers in December 1903. They have chosen the town of Kill Devil Hills for their attempt to fly, which, as well all know, was met with success. The brother chose the area because of two main things: steady winds and hospitable people. Now, you can visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in the same town and relive the historical event.

This string of islands may seem unassuming at first, but it is also ridden with other odd pieces of history over the years. The Titanic’s first distress call was received at the Hatteras Weather Station on Hatteras Island. And perhaps the most interesting, the demise of Queen Anne’s revenge, Blackbeard’s ship, met its end around the waters nearby the Outer Banks.

If you want more historical bites in the Outer Banks, you can include the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site in your itinerary. The 355-acre (136 ha) national park honors the site of the early English colonial settlement in America in the late 1500s. It is a beautiful location to visit and offers a wonderful chance to learn more about American history.

The Beaches

With more than a hundred miles of swimmable white-sand coast, you can expect to have a long roster of beaches in the Outer Banks. On top of its many towns, the beaches each have their characteristics and quirks. No matter what your preference is, you’ll surely find something for everyone.

These beautiful white-sand strips are known for their cleanliness and family-friendly atmosphere. And that’s just on top of their obvious beauty. From Corolla Island to Ocracoke Island, this North Carolina gem has no shortage of beautiful beaches.

Nags Head

One of the go-to beaches in the Outer Banks, Nags Head is famous for its unspoiled beach and shoreline as well as its wealth of other features. You’ll surely enjoy a little piece of everything that the beach has to offer. It has the iconic Bodie Lighthouse, great wildlife, and nature trails.

Nags Head is also located right next to the Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Thanks to its interesting landscape, the park has sand dunes perfect for adrenaline junkies. It even has go-kart tracks and a mini golf course. And for a relaxing post-beach time, you’ll also have restaurants and ice cream shops.

Rodanthe Beach

Known for its calmer waves and tranquil atmosphere, it is perfect for those looking for true relaxation. But perhaps Rodanthe Beach’s best feature is its historical value. A British tanker once appeared on the shores heavily damaged. Some local men at that time saved 47 passengers on board.

Thanks to its amazing past, Rodanthe Beach can feel like a refuge for the weary in body and mind. Complemented by its tranquility, it is best to visit Rodanthe Beach with nothing to do in mind. It has small campgrounds for vacationers for those looking to stay overnight by the beach.

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk may be the exact opposite of Rodanthe Beach with all its dynamic draws and energetic scenes. The beach is long and wide full of people, especially as it has 12 boardwalks, each as quirky as the next. Kitty Hawk has a characteristic summer vibe with a lot of activities and games available for everyone.

One of the best places to visit close to the beach for nature walks and wildlife viewing is the Kitty Hawk Woods Coastal Reserve. There are numerous beaches and fishing areas nearby, including Kitty Hawk Pier, Sandy Run Park, and Avalon Fishing Pier.

Which Is Better – Outer Banks or Myrtle Beach?

When it comes to diverse experiences and never-ending excitement, Outer Banks wins this one. Especially as it has a rich history to offer, one where you can see how the US started. Lined with quirky islands, towns, and beaches, Outer Banks undoubtedly encompasses more than Myrtle Beach can.

Myrtle Beach, on the other hand, is dynamic and high-caliber, and it’s more about entertainment with flashy nightlife. Outer Banks on the other hand may lack the nightlife, but it encourages adventures and awareness of history and nature. It’s a more enriching holiday experience if it offers more than just sheer good fun. Plus, Outer Banks is way cheaper.

FAQ

Is Outer Banks Cheaper Than Myrtle Beach?

Myrtle Beach with all its highs and entertainment is a more expensive place to travel to. In Outer Banks, you can get by with around 120 USD budget a day per person, while you’ll need 20 USD more in Outer Banks.

This is because of its more tourist-driven scene. It boasts entertainment culture and popping nightlife. Demand tends to be higher in Outer Myrtle, hence the higher prices.

Which Beach Is Better – Outer Banks or Myrtle Beach?

While Myrtle Beach has access to a golden 60-mile (97 km) beach, it doesn’t offer much variety. It is surely beautiful and dynamic, but it is just that. Outer Banks on the other hand is a string of islands replete with diverse beaches.

There is always something for everyone on the Outer Banks. Plus, the beaches of the Outer Banks are more geared toward water sports, compared to Myrtle Beach.

Are Outer Banks and Myrtle Beach the Same?

Myrtle Beach is a resort city on the coast of South Carolina. Outer Banks is a bit different. It is a chain of islands located along the coast of North Carolina.

How Far Away Is Myrtle Beach and Outer Banks?

The distance between Myrtle Beach and Outer Banks is approximately 234 miles or 376 kilometers, directly.

Myrtle Beach to Outer Banks

You can get to Outer Banks from Myrtle Beach in one of three ways. You can drive or take a ferry, which can usually take more time but tends to be cheaper. Flying in between is also a common option, which is usually more expensive but saves time.

Ferry From Outer Banks to Myrtle Beach

You can get to a ferry from the Outer Banks to Myrtle Beach but it can be a bit complicated. You have to take a ferry first to Cedar Island before sailing to Myrtle Beach. If you’re on Hatteras Island, you have to get a ferry to Ocracoke, and then another one to Cedar Island.

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