Summer may be hot (July has average temperatures in the 90s), and it may be a bit crowded as Myrtle Beach grows from 26,000 off-season residents to 400,000 in peak season, but it is without a doubt the best time to visit if you want to see the city at its most spectacular. A few festivals punctuate the season: MayFest kicks off summer with a month of outdoor concerts, and the Sun Fun Festival attracts 35,000 visitors in June for the world’s largest convertible show, the National Jet Ski Championships, and a boiled-peanut-eating contest. The Beach, Boogie, and BBQ Festival kisses summer goodbye on Labor Day weekend with live music and South Carolina’s official barbecue competition. But every summer night plays out like a festival in Myrtle Beach, thanks to Hot Summer Nights, a series of planned nightly events along the boardwalk that vary from a kid-friendly carnival on Mondays to strolling bagpipers on Thursdays.
If you’re looking for a quieter—and perhaps more authentic—coastal experience, consider fall, when the temps drop into the 70s and the vacationers return home for daily school routines. The season is also characterized by smaller, food-based celebrations with a strong southern vibe. In October, the Loris Bog-Off celebrates a local delicacy, the “chicken bog,” a spicy blend of rice, chicken sausage, onions, and black peppers. Also in October is the Little River Shrimp and Jazz Festival, which combines two of the South’s favorite things. The Murrells Inlet Oyster Festival, in November, is a one-day event highlighted by all-you-can-eat steamed local oysters.
The town generally sleeps through winter (November to February), as temps hover in the 50s and few consider hitting the beach much farther north than Daytona.