Driving in a new city can be difficult, especially a place like Myrtle Beach, where so many people on the road are also from out of town, but that’s no reason to spend your vacation sitting in traffic. To beat the summer rush, follow a few of these tips for getting around the Grand Strand:
Do the math: If you can count to 100, you can find your way around Myrtle Beach. The city uses a numbering system for its east-west avenues, with First Avenue downtown serving as the dividing line between north and south. That means the street addresses for locations along Ocean Boulevard, Kings Highway and Highway 17 Bypass provide a good indication of where to find them. For instance, if a business is located at 3801 North Kings Highway, you can find it at the corner of 38th Avenue North and Kings Highway.
Meet Bob, Joe and Leroy: There are two relatively new major thoroughfares for getting around Myrtle Beach – Robert Grissom Parkway and Mr. Joe White Avenue. “The Bob,” as it is called by locals, cuts a convenient north-south path through central Myrtle Beach, while “The Joe” is the fastest east-west route through downtown without using the more congested Highway 501. Another new entry (let's call it “The Leroy) is Harrelson Parkway, which connects with The Bob on the south end to provide a fast route to Myrtle Beach Airport and the Market Common area. If you are going to drive around Myrtle Beach, get to know these guys.
Moving on the Strand: Myrtle Beach is the largest major vacation destination without direct access to an interstate, but two interstate-style highways were recently added to provide rapid movement to and from, as well as up and down, the Strand. Highway, also known as the Carolina Bays Parkway, runs from Highway 9 in Little River to Highway 544 in Surfside Beach, with exit access to Highway 501, Bob Grissom Parkway, Robert Edge Parkway and Highway 22, aka the Conway Bypass, which runs from Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach all the way to UCLA (Upper Conway, Lower Aynor). Although not exactly helpful for short trips, these two highways will help you cover a lot of ground in a short period of time with a 65-mph speed limit.
Road less traveled: With more than half-million visitors in town during any given week of the summer, traffic can get pretty thick on the main roads. Because so many of the cars on the road are driven by folks unfamiliar with the back roads, they provide the perfect short cuts to get out of the bumper to bumper jams. For instance, if you are in Myrtle Beach stuck on traffic on Kings Highway, simply turn off and go one block east or west to find a less busy street, such as Oak, Yaupon, or Porcher. Instead of Highway 501, try Joe White Avenue or Harrelson Boulevard. These alternate roads should save you time and at least let you skip ahead of the log jams.
Take the trolley: Prefer to play it safe and leave the driving to a pro? Coast RTA offers regular trolley routes that run along Ocean Boulevard and carry passengers to Broadway at the Beach, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and other popular attractions in the Myrtle Beach area. Simply find one of the many signs and wait for the next trolley to stop. Fare prices vary depending on the route, but an all-day access pass is available for $5. Multiple routes are available by visiting www.coastrta.com.