Whether you are a first-time guest or a longtime visitor to the Grand Strand, you haven't really seen Myrtle Beach until you have experienced Myrtle Beach State Park — one of the area's best-kept secrets for folks who love the great outdoors.
Located only a short distance from Paradise Resort, Myrtle Beach State Park features more than 300 acres of pristine wetlands and woodlands, as well as a one-mile stretch of undeveloped beach and coast. Offering everything from hiking and fishing to beachcombing and picnicking, South Carolina's first state park is a real piece of paradise for Paradise Resort guests.
So why pack up and leave the perfectly good beach at the resort to check out another at Myrtle Beach State Park? One reason is to escape the crowds, which are far smaller at the park due to the absence of houses and hotels in the area. The relative tranquility provides the perfect environment for enjoying all the things Myrtle Beach State Park has to offer.
Paradise Resort guests can head a couple of miles south on Kings Highway and turn left into the main entrance, where a winding road leads you to the ranger station to pay the nominal admission fee ($5 for adults, $3.25 for seniors, $3 for children ages 6-15, and free for ages 5 and under). You will receive a parking pass and a map to lead you on your journey.
The first stop is the Nature Center, where native species of animals are on display to teach visitors about the park's habitat. Featuring sea creatures like sharks and crabs to land animals like exotic birds, turtles and snakes, the exhibits give guests a good idea about the ecosystems of the South Carolina coast and the animals that thrive in them.
Just across the street from the Nature Center is the trailhead for the Sculptured Oak Trail, one of many flat paths that will lead you to rare glimpses of Myrtle Beach's wild side. Hike through maritime forests and past freshwater ponds and diverse plant life on your way to the end of the trail, which leads to the beach accesses on the south end of the park.
Unlike many areas of the Grand Strand, the beaches at Myrtle Beach State Park have been left untouched by human encroachment over the years. The tall dunes and sea oats that blow in the ocean breeze provide a tranquil place to relax and enjoy the beach, and the oceanfront picnic shelters give visiting families and groups a great place to enjoy lunch.
Located in the middle of the one-mile stretch of beach is the hub of human activity — the Myrtle Beach State Park Fishing Pier. Featuring a tackle shop with all the bait, licenses and equipment you’ll need for a successful day of angling, the pier is manned by personnel who can provide detailed information about how to catch a big one, such as which species are running and the bait they like.
Park rangers also use the pier for a wide range of educational programs that give visitors hands-on experiences with nature. Rotating programs teach guests how to catch crabs and shrimp, how to use a cast net to catch bait and other animals, and how to identify different species of sea life, such as sharks, stingrays and sea turtles.
Other notable activities at Myrtle Beach State Park include camping, horseback riding and beachcombing, which promises a wider selection of shells and shark teeth due to the lower competition for keepers. You can take your shells to the Nature Center on the way out to identify your finds. Visit Myrtle Beach State Park during your Paradise Resort stay, and take home a piece of the Grand Strand, as well as some great vacation photos and memories!