| Myrtle Beach was incorporated as a town in 1938 and became a city in 1957. Its name comes from the wax myrtle, a shrub that grows abundantly in the area. Our 23,000 permanent residents welcome millions of visitors to this full-service resort community. Guests come to enjoy the wide beaches, the Atlantic Ocean, and an incredible range of activities, entertainment, golf, shopping and dining.
History records that the first tourists here were a party of Spaniards from Hispaniola, who landed about 50 miles north of present-day Myrtle Beach in 1526 and eventually established the first European settlement in the U.S. about 30 miles to the south. That settlement, San Miguel de Cauldape, was abandoned the following year, though, and the group returned to Hispaniola.
In the next three centuries, the region's population grew, but slowly. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, people began to "vacation" here, although it was quite rustic. Houses and camps were sparse, and there were only a few permanent residents at the turn of the century. But, drawn by the ocean, sand and trees, people began to call Myrtle Beach "home" as the 1900s progressed. Today, Myrtle Beach is a well known destination for vacationers from around the country, Canada and abroad. According to the 2000 Census, the city is at the heart of the 13th fastest growing metropolitan area in the U.S.