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

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.”