Downtown Myrtle Beach remains free of large beach tents and canopies due to regulations passed by the city in 2014.
The Beach

Your guide to Myrtle Beach tent rules & regulations for the 2017 season

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By MyrtleBeach.com
March 18, 2017

Over the past several years, the regulations regarding what types of beach tents, umbrellas, and canopies are allowed on Grand Strand beaches have become a hot-button topic for Myrtle Beach visitors, locals and lawmakers alike.

In 2014, both Horry County and the area’s two largest municipalities — Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach — passed ordinances limiting beach cover to those with a center pole no greater than 7’6″ in height and a circular shade no greater than 9 feet in diameter.

However, exactly one year after the original ordinance was signed into law, Horry County has moved to amend its law with exceptions for families with small children and for certain special events.

These regulations apply to all county-run beaches which account for about 14 miles of oceanfront property (see list of county-run beaches). The new rules do not apply to municipalities such as Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach, which each have their own rules regarding beach tents. 

Here’s a closer look at all the area’s beach tent laws, as they currently stand:

Horry County

For Families & Senior Citizens

Families who need to keep an elderly family member out of the sun or who simply prefer shade at the beach are allowed to use beach umbrellas covering no wider than 7’6″ feet in diameter. Four-cornered canopies are still not allowed for general use.

For Kids & Small Children

For families with babies or children, the amended ordinance now allows for small pop-up tents and blow-up cabanas for small children.

For Beach Weddings

Couples getting married on the beach may now incorporate a beach canopy (like the ones mentioned above) as part of their ceremony as long they have a county special events permit. More info

For Special Events

If you’re planning a family reunion, gathering or another special event on the beach and would like to use a canopy or larger tent, the county will now allow for this in certain cases. Your request will need to be submitted as part of special events permit. More info

Myrtle Beach

The city of Myrtle Beach has banned the use of large beach canopies between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with relaxed regulations after Labor Day and throughout the offseason. From the city’s Beach Tents Page

“During summer months, umbrellas up to seven-and-a-half feet in diameter are allowed in line with or behind the established umbrella line, but no other shading devices are permitted.  Tents up to 12-by-12 feet square and less than nine feet tall may be used from the day after Labor Day until Memorial Day, behind the umbrella line and 10 feet apart.”

North Myrtle Beach

The city of North Myrtle Beach restricts the use of beach tents and canopies from May 15 to Sept. 15. From the city’s Beach Laws Page

“Only UMBRELLAS with a center pole no greater than 7 feet 6 inches in height and a circular shade no greater than 9 feet in diameter are allowed on the beach May 15-September 15. No tents, tarps, cabanas, pavilions, sports-brellas or similar devices, or any material mounted on supports allowed on the beach May 15-September 15.”

Surfside Beach

There are currently no regulations restricting use of canopies and beach tents in Surfside Beach. The only laws regarding cover in this area are that beach umbrellas and other beach paraphernalia must be placed at least 10 feet to the rear of the lifeguard stands and in a line generally parallel with the ocean strand. From the Town of Surfside Beach website:

“The town governs the beach within its corporate limits, so any ordinance that Horry County adopts will not affect the town. At this time, there is no intention of banning tents or umbrellas on the beach.”

COMMENTS

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  • 1 comments - First-timer

    Traveling with a 4 month infant, your beach regulations making infant shelter prohibited has now turned our week long stay compromised, since it is unsafe to be on the beach in full sun with the baby. Certainly not a family friendly beach, making a 3 ‘x 3 ‘ pop up , open shelter banned from use. We can here with our grandchildren looking for possible family real estate to purchase for future family get to getters . Great political decision city council, destroy your city over such a ridiculous ban. Meanwhile, there are underage drinkers with bottled achoholics all around and we were the subject of enforcement.

  • 1 comments - First-timer

    Our family of 6 has made an annual trip down to Myrtle Beach for more than a decade. This law which prohibits even draping a towel in a “tent-like” mannar to shade a napping infant is just ridiculous. I just was forced to leave the beach because my 1 yr old son was napping under our draped towel and the life guard insisted that we take it down. Since I did not want my son to be napping in direct sun I had to leave. We will be making other vacation plans in the future. We will also advise our friends of the family unfriendly beach laws so they can make informed choices.

  • 1 comments - First-timer

    Came to Myrtle Beach for final family vacation. Set up my canopy tent to enjoy the beach with my family and not worry about my parent in laws or kids over heating and was told that the city ordinance says you can’t have a tent between Labor Day and Memorial Day when it’s the hottest outside. Of course you can rent one of their small umbrellas for $40 and try to sit six people under it . Thanks for using a bs policy to make a quick buck. Don’t have to worry about me or my family ever returning to Myrtle Beach again.