Myrtle Beach Vs Outer Banks: Which Is Better For Vacation?

outer banks

The Carolinas are well-known as a place to go on vacation because of their pleasant, warm weather and quaint beach towns. The Outer Banks in North Carolina and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina are two of the most well-known beaches on the East Coast. Which is a better vacation destination: Myrtle Beach or the Outer Banks?

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are a better vacation destination for history buffs looking for a calmer and more relaxed beach experience. However, for those seeking more variety and excitement, Myrtle Beach is a well-liked and easily accessible vacation spot.

We will contrast Myrtle Beach and Outer Banks in this article. To choose which one to visit for your vacation, please continue reading.

Outer Banks

The Outer Banks, a chain of 175-mile-long barrier islands (also known as the U.S. OBX or “Nags Head”) snakes along sand dunes and long swatches of seashore from Currituck and Southern Shores travel to Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, and Hatteras before coming to an end at the water. From there, you can take a ferry to the isolated Ocracoke Island, which is the next point of land.

The Alligator River and the Currituck, Croatan, and Pamlico Sounds border the west side of the chain.

Virginia Beach is located approximately two hours to the north. In close proximity to Virginia Beach, Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and Norfolk International Airport (ORF) are the closest airports.

Summertime, when temperatures reach above 80 F, is the ideal time to visit the Outer Banks. The best time to visit if you want to avoid crowds and pay less for lodging is from March to May. While public access to each beach varies, almost all allow visitors looking for an adrenaline rush to participate in activities like jet skiing. Kitesurfing, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving are additional water sports available in the Outer Banks.

Myrtle Beach

Due to well-liked locations like Ripley’s Aquarium, The Broadway at the Beach, and The Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Myrtle Beach has accumulated a wealth of tourist attractions over time.

This destination attracts about 19 million tourists who come to have a great time because there is so much to do both inland and on the beach. The 60-mile stretch of white sand beaches that make up Myrtle Beach, also known as the Hub of the Grand Strand, run from Little River to Georgetown.

There is no shortage of outdoor entertainment in this well-liked spring break destination for college students. Myrtle Beach is the place to go for fun, as it has more than 90 championship golf courses, as well as a ton of shopping centers, nightclubs, and amusement parks. At one point, Myrtle Beach was home to over 100 golf courses, making it “the center of golf in the world.”

Myrtle Beach’s crystal-clear Atlantic waters are its main draw. It’s understandable that visitors keep returning each summer given the allure of the water sports and the breathtaking views. Deep sea fishing, scuba diving, jet skiing, and relaxing in the sun on the beach are all enjoyable things to do in Myrtle Beach.

Difference Between Myrtle Beach And Outer Banks

Cost Of Stay

A weeklong trip to the Outer Banks should not be expected to cost more than $834 per person. Hotel rooms typically cost $100 per night, with prices ranging from $64 on the low end to $200+ on the high end. There are numerous other vacation rental options, from small seaside homes to large beachside estates with 6 bedrooms. The cheapest time to go is from March to May.

Myrtle Beach is a little more expensive than OBX, costing, on average, $971 per person for one week of travel. The average nightly cost of an Airbnb is $123, where you can find luxury condos, seaside apartments, and some tiny homes for rent. The cost of lodging for one person is approximately $70/per night and $144/per night for a couple. Early to mid-September is the least expensive period to travel.

Things To See & Do

Famous pirates once pillaged the beaches in OBX, and a whole colony once vanished without a trace. Nicknamed “the Graveyard of the Atlantic” on account of the many shipwrecks that took place on its shores, it’s also the site of the first successful flight by the Wright Brothers.

Go to Jockey Ridge State Park and hang glide over the tallest sand dunes in the Eastern US. Then, see the Wright Brothers Monument that is close by.

outer banks

Visit the Elizabethan Gardens and the Shipwreck Museum to get a sense of the islands’ earliest colonial beginnings, or go on a tour to see the wild horses that still roam the Outer Banks in their natural habitat. The Bodie Island Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in the US, is one of the numerous lighthouses that line the islands’ coastlines.

There are plenty of activities in Myrtle Beach, which receives over 20 million visitors a year. The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk is nationally recognized, with both National Geographic and Travel + Leisure hailing it as one of the country’s best boardwalks. The largest shopping district in the Southeast of the United States is Myrtle Beach, which has a large number of malls and shops.

Visit Pier 14 for delectable food, drinks, and fishing, and take a ride on the Myrtle Beach Skywheel for stunning ocean views. Arcades, aquariums, and amusement parks are just a few of the fantastic entertainment choices available on the Boardwalk, which offer plenty of family-friendly fun.

Outdoors Recreation

In addition to shipwreck snorkeling and scuba diving, the Outer Banks offer standup paddleboarding, surfing, and fishing for the whole family to enjoy. Due to the island’s remote location, you might even be able to see the Milky Way. At night, there are bioluminescent kayaking tours and ghost crab hunting.

Check out Myrtle Beach State Park and its lovely maritime forest in addition to having fun at Myrtle Beach. Golf enthusiasts will find plenty of golf courses nearby, and windsurfing, fishing, kayaking, and other water sports are also popular in this region.

Eating And Drinking

Being so close to the ocean, OBX is well-known for its fantastic seafood. Here’s a list of local eateries recommended by travel bloggers Caroline and Craig Makepeace:

  • Fishhead’s Bar & Grill – offers great beer and live music at cheap prices, When it comes to happy hour specials, Fishhead’s stands out particularly well. These are offered daily from 4-6 and include 15-cent shrimp.
  • Miller’s Waterfront Restaurant for great food and sunset views.
  • Mulligan’s Tiki Bar – every beach town needs a tiki bar, and this one offers majestic ocean views.
  • Freshfit Café – a great breakfast spot with beautiful views over the Roanoke Sound.

In Myrtle Beach, a city on the coast, seafood is the main attraction, but Southern soul food is still well-liked. However, Myrtle Beach offers a wide variety of food and drink options, so you can find just about any type of cuisine you’d like there.



The Outer Banks’ shoulder season, from March to May, when lodging costs are still reasonable and the weather is just beginning to warm up, is the best time to visit the area in terms of weather. The worst times to travel are in September and October because many local businesses close in anticipation of hurricane season.

With an average of over 117 sunny days per year, Myrtle Beach has plenty of sunshine all year long. The ideal months to go are June through August if you’re hoping for picture-perfect beach weather.


Driving is the best method of transportation on the Outer Banks, whether you have your own car or rent one at the airport. This is because many of the area’s attractions are dispersed over a wide area, and heavy traffic can occur during the summer months. It is best to make reservations in advance if you intend to travel around the islands by ferry because they frequently sell out during the busiest travel seasons.

If you want to travel by plane, the two closest international airports are Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to the west and Norfolk International Airport (ORF) to the north. A 2-hour, 15-minute drive from ORF will get you there, while a 3-hour, 40-minute drive from RDU will get you there.

The best way to navigate Myrtle Beach, like the Outer Banks, is by car. Bike, moped, scooter, and even golf cart rentals are available in the city along with a variety of other modes of transportation. Utilize the shuttle, which runs from the downtown area and loops up to the northern end of the strip while making numerous stops at interesting local landmarks. In addition to Uber and Lyft, there are numerous traditional cabs and buses that run throughout the city.

Only three miles separate the downtown area from the well-connected Myrtle Beach International Airport, which attracts both domestic and foreign tourists. The airport has car rentals available, or you might ask the front desk of your hotel if they have an airport shuttle service.

Which Is The Better Option?

These beaches on the east coast offer both good water and sand quality. When deciding between the two towns, it simply comes down to personal preference.

Outer Banks

Consider your love of live entertainment and whether you’re a nature enthusiast when deciding between a trip to the Outer Banks or Myrtle Beach.

The OBX will appeal to you because of its less commercialized atmosphere, wild horses, and more natural attractions. You can observe ocean sunrises and sound sunsets from your cottage if you’re staying near the Hatteras Island National Seashore.

You can rent kayaks, SUPs, surfboards, and other watercraft to have a more independent, self-sufficient vacation that focuses only on the sun, sand, and water.

Myrtle Beach

You can find comedy, concerts, well-known attractions, and celebrity-themed restaurants in the south if you’re looking for nonstop entertainment options to go with your seaside views.

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