Top 10 Historical Attractions Near Myrtle Beach
Discover the best historical sites near Myrtle Beach during your visit, including Civil War landmarks, historic Georgetown, SC, and other historical places. Your hotel or resort at Myrtle Beach also situates you about an hour’s drive north of historic Georgetown, South Carolina, home to Gullah Geechee culture as well as historical sites dating to America’s Colonial era. You and your family will find a bounty of historical things to do while you’re in Myrtle Beach:
- Atalaya Castle
- Brookgreen Gardens
- Hobcaw Barony
- Hopsewee Plantation
- The Gullah Museum
- Horry County Museum
- Pawleys Island Historic District
- Peaches Corner
- Warbird Park
What is the Myrtle Beach Downtown Historic District?
The Myrtle Beach Downtown Historic District consists of 24 buildings associated with the successful commercial development of Myrtle Beach from 1927 to 1975. The district features the original Myrtle Beach downtown core, and the boundaries extend along Eighth Avenue North, Ninth Avenue North, Main Street, Broadway Street, North Oak Street, and North Kings Highway. The Myrtle Beach Downtown Historic District is now the Arts & Innovation District.
What fort is near Myrtle Beach?
Three significant Civil War forts are within a two-hour drive from Myrtle Beach. Forts Sumter and Moultrie in Charleston, SC, are the historical sites of the first battle of the Civil War, when Confederate rebels at Fort Moultrie instigated the war by firing on American soldiers at Fort Sumter. Fort Fisher, in North Carolina at the southern tip of New Hanover County, fell to American Union forces in January 1865, a fatal blow to the Confederate rebellion. Today, Fort Fisher is a recreation park and ecological reserve as well as a historic site.
What are some historical facts about Myrtle Beach?
Named for the abundant wax myrtle shrubs found in the area, Myrtle Beach was first inhabited by the Waccamaw and Winyah peoples, who called their land “Chicora.” Kings Highway, today known as the trafficky main thoroughfare of the Grand Strand, began as a trade route for the Waccamaw and Winyah. Later, this trade route was used by European settlers to form a connection between the northern states and Charleston. Spanish colonizers made an unsuccessful attempt to settle in the area, but the English made it work, eventually building a thriving British colony by the 1700s. The seas were full of cargo ships and the pirates who looted them, including Edward Teach, a.k.a., Blackbeard. The area barely developed over the next two hundred years because of its remote location, although nearby rice plantations thrived from slave labor and trade. In the 1900s, a timber and turpentine company began developing their beachfront holdings in the area and billing it as a seaside resort dubbed “Myrtle Beach.” From the 1920s–1940s, Myrtle Beach grew quickly as a vacation destination, solidifying its reputation as a premier beach resort town for fun in the sun by the 1970s.
Historical Sites Near Myrtle Beach
Historically known as Atalaya, this attraction is located in Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet. It was designed by Archer Huntington and built from 1931 to 1933. Atalaya served as a winter home for Archer and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington, who was a sculptor. Her sculptures can be seen throughout the botanical gardens across the street at Brookgreen Gardens. Atalaya Castle was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Guests can visit Atalaya Castle by purchasing admission to Huntington Beach State Park. The castle is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. (5 p.m. during Daylight Savings) unless there is a special event.
1931 Brookgreen Drive, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Brookgreen Gardens is a sprawling botanical/sculpture garden located in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. It was founded in 1931 by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, but before its life as a public sculpture garden, the land served as a working plantation. Nowadays, locals and visitors to the Grand Strand travel to Brookgreen Gardens to see art, nature, and to learn about history with guided tours. Brookgreen is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Georgetown, an hour’s drive south of Myrtle Beach, is rich with history, as it is the third oldest city in South Carolina! Here, visitors find a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as historical and cultural museums including the Georgetown County Museum, the Kaminski House, the Rice Museum, and the South Carolina Maritime Museum. Those visiting Georgetown will also see plenty of beautiful old Southern-style homes. For history buffs, it’s worth noting that Georgetown is home to Francis Marion, “The Swamp Fox,” who led raids against the British during the Revolutionary War, toppling their control of the area.
22 Hobcaw Rd, Georgetown, SC 29440
Located in Georgetown, Hobcaw Barony is a 16,000-acre area purchased by business tycoon Bernard M. Baruch between 1905 and 1907 as a winter hunting retreat. His daughter, Belle W. Baruch, began purchasing pieces of the property from her father in 1936, and by 1956 she owned all of the land. When Belle died, the land was transferred to the Belle W. Baruch Foundation to preserve it for natural and historical purposes. Today, visitors can visit the property and take a guided tour to learn all about the unique history of Hobcaw Barony.
494 Hop Sewee Rd, Georgetown, SC 29440
Hopsewee Plantation was built as a plantation house in 1735 near Georgetown. It is famous for being the birthplace of Thomas Lynch, Jr., who signed the Declaration of Independence. Hopsewee was a rice plantation until the Civil War and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971. Today, the house is a private residence, but it is open for public tours.
The Gullah Museum
Located in Georgetown, The Gullah Museum was founded by Gullah elder Vermelle “Bunny” Smith Rodrigues and her husband Andrew, also Gullah and a noted historian. This intimate space includes Gullah artifacts, sweetgrass dolls, and a wealth of information about the Gullah language, agricultural practices, food, and Gullah Geechee heritage. The museum also offers sweetgrass basket-making classes and children’s storytimes.
Horry County Museum (Conway)
805 Main Street, Conway, SC 29526
The Horry County Museum opened in 1981 in Conway, SC. In 2014, the museum moved into the renovated Burroughs School from 1905, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum houses exhibits that focus on the history, prehistory, and natural history of Horry County. The museum opened the L.W. Paul Living History Farm in 2009. The farm allows visitors to see what life was like on a one-horse family farm from 1900–1955. The museum is free and open to the public.
Pawleys Island Historic District
The Pawleys Island Historic District is located on Pawleys Island and is comprised of 12 buildings dating from around 1780 to after World War I. Those driving through Pawleys Island will see these homes marked with plaques; they represent coastal architectural ingenuity and feature maximum ventilation, large porches, brick foundations, large chimneys, fireplaces, breezeways, servants’ quarters, and more to help make these homes into summer retreats. This area of Pawleys Island was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
900 North Ocean Blvd, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
If you’ve ever been to Myrtle Beach, then chances are you’ve seen Peaches Corner down on Ocean Boulevard. Peaches Corner opened in 1937 and has been serving delicious food to visitors ever since. The restaurant is still family owned and operated and has become a Myrtle Beach landmark over the years. When you’re in town, grab a burger or hot dog at Peaches Corner and become a part of Myrtle Beach history yourself! Take a look at these vintage Myrtle Beach postcards to see Peaches Corner and other historic Myrtle Beach landmarks from back in the day.
Located at the Market Common, Warbird Park is a public area with monuments dedicated to the history of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. This attraction features plaques, monuments, and authentic military aircraft.