Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and Sky Wheel

Myrtle Beach is one of the major centers of tourism in South Carolina and the United States because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches, attracting almost 15 million visitors each year.  As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 27,109,  and in 2016 the estimated population was 32,240. The Myrtle Beach metropolitan area had an estimated population in 2016 of 449,495.

Around the start of the 20th century, Franklin Burroughs envisioned turning what was then known as “New Town” into a tourist destination rivaling the Florida and northeastern beaches. Burroughs died in 1897, but his sons completed the railroad’s expansion to the beach and opened the Seaside Inn in 1901. A post office named “Withers” was established to serve the site of the old Swash in 1888.

Around 1900, a contest was held to name the area, and Burroughs’ wife suggested honoring the locally abundant shrub, the southern wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera). The Withers post office changed its name to “Myrtle Beach” soon afterward. It incorporated as a town in 1938 and as a city in 1957.

The coastal location of Myrtle Beach mitigates summer heat somewhat compared to inland areas of South Carolina: Thus, while nearby Florence averages 65 days annually with high temperatures of 90 °F or higher – Myrtle Beach averages only 21. The warm Atlantic Ocean reaches 80 °F or higher in the summer months off Myrtle Beach, making for warm and sultry summer nights.

Myrtle Beach has mostly mild winters of short duration: Average daytime highs range from 57 to 61 °F and nighttime lows are in the 36 to 38 °F from December through February. Winter temperatures vary more than summer temperatures in Myrtle Beach: Some winters can see several cold days with highs only in the upper 40s F, while other winter days can see highs in the upper 60s and low 70s F. Myrtle Beach averages 33 days annually with frost, though in some years less than 15 days will see frost. Snowfall is very rare in Myrtle Beach, however a few times every 15 or 20 years a trace of snow might fall. In February 2010, a rare 2.8 inches of snow fell in Myrtle Beach. The spring (March, April and May) and fall (September, October and November) months are normally mild and sunny in Myrtle Beach, with high temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The beach season in Myrtle Beach normally runs from late April through late October. SST (Sea Surface Temperatures) are often in the lower 80’s  off South Carolina in summer and early fall.

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