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Myrtle Beach State Park, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach State Park, in South Carolina's Grand Strand, is South Carolina’s oldest state park and was founded in 1936. "Strand" is the German word for "beach," and grand it is. This park is great for a day or a week with a wide, mile-long beach and a fishing pier dividing the north and south sides.

Myrtle Beach State Park is located about seven miles south on Business 17 from the intersection with Highway 501 in Myrtle Beach. The address is 4401 South Kings Highway; situated conveniently close to the hotels on Ocean Boulevard.

Heading south on Business 17/Kings Highway, turn left at the guard house. The park is open from 6 am to 10 pm. The fee is $5 per adult and $3 per youth ages 6-15.

This state park is handicap accessible, and the boardwalk leads to the snack shack pictured here. The snack shack has all kinds of fishing equipment, t-shirts, and snacks of course. The amenities, which are clean and modern, are located by the picnic tables shown here.

The elevation at this precise spot here in Horry County is only one foot. Walking or biking along this boardwalk will provide a nice view of the South Carolina dunes and sky.

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015, is a great day to head to the beach. A rainy Monday gave way to this beautiful day, which was mostly sunny at 67 degrees, just one degree shy of the historical average.

Beach-goers are slowly setting up near the fishing pier around 11 am. The crowd here at MBSP is pretty sedate and there are beach-goers of all ages here, with a mix of locals and out-of-towners.

To get to the Myrtle Beach State Park fishing pier, head to the snack shack and go through the doors in the back. This is the best spot for surf fishing . . . with a tremendous view.

As this is still March, hours for the fishing pier are 10 am-5 pm. No fishing license is required to fish from the pier. According to a chart for this state park online, sea bass, speckled trout, and stripers might be in the area today.

Looking due east out into the Atlantic Ocean from the fishing pier at 11:30 in the morning, the wind and waves are gentle with many admirers.

The fishing pier, where this image was taken, divides MBSP into the northern and southern halves. This is the southern half, which is much less developed than the northern half. Huntington Beach State Park is to the south of this view.

This is the much more developed, northern end of Myrtle Beach State Park as seen from the MBSP fishing pier. The Springmaid fishing pier is seen here, as are the hotels along South Ocean Boulevard beyond it.

It’s about 2 pm, and the beach is about as crowded as it’s going to get. Unfortunately, there are no lifeguards here at this beach. However, the nature center sends out a staff member to display the types of wildlife in this area and set up a kiosk at the snack shack.

Just a few people, mostly youngsters, ventured out into the glistening water, which was incredibly cold. Due to the good sun, the shells sparkled in the sun all day long.

This is a view of the dunes on the northern half of Myrtle Beach State Park, as seen from the water.

The morning is perhaps the best time of day to find shells, but the light is best around the time known as solar noon, which is about 1:20 pm. Many websites ask that “shellers” not take live, brown sand dollars but that taking the white ones is just fine. Also fun-to-find are lettered olives and whelks.

The tide is coming back in as it’s about 4 pm. The light isn’t as good as it was a couple of hours ago, but this sheller doesn’t seem to mind at all.

Alone or in groups, beach-goers are calling it a day. A few will be trickling in, however, ready to unwind after work. The snack shack is open until 7 pm for those wanting a bite to eat.

At a quarter after 5, the sun is going down, the tide is coming in, and the temps are dropping. It’s time for one last look at the beach. Just to the right of this photo, beach-goers can wash off their sandy feet in the footbath before heading home.

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