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On Location: Atlantic Beach, South Carolina

  By  Katie Hunter
Aerial view of Atlantic Beach and skyline

Atlantic Beach may be small – only 4 blocks to be exact – but it still has a mighty history in the story of Myrtle Beach. In the early 1930s, Atlantic Beach was formed as a vacation spot for black families to visit and black-owned businesses to thrive. Many of the current residents are descendants of the Gullah Geechee people, who were former slaves from the West Coast of Africa. Atlantic Beach is between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach and has always been named the “Black Pearl.” Today, the town is working hard to preserve its history and culture. 

Atlantic Beach is where “beach music” as we know it evolved. Atlantic Beach was a popular performance location for black musicians and would host events after hours that all people, regardless of race, would draw to, including shows from many famous musicians such as Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Fats Domino, The Spinners, The Drifters and Chubby Checker. The popular dance, the Shag, was popularized and perfected, and later named the “state dance” of South Carolina.

One of the best things about Atlantic Beach is the unobstructed view of the ocean! It is bittersweet, however, as much of the infrastructure was wiped out during Hurricane Hazel in 1954. Now, this stretch of beach is popular for weddings and other events.

In 2023, the town of Atlantic Beach began the Annual Gullah Geechee festival held in June to celebrate the Gullah Geechee culture and history of the area. This community event featured local and national speakers, vendors with crafts and food, and music over a 3-day festival. 

Craft Vendor at the Gullah Geechee Festival in Atlantic Beach

In 2017, the town developed a revitalization plan that would allow for growth in local restaurants, housing options, updated roadways, etc. that would help preserve the history and culture of the Gullah Geechee people.

Learn more information, places to stay, and things to do. We can't wait for you to visit the Grand Strand! 

Atlantic Beach Videos

Beyond The Beach: Explore Atlantic Beach, SC

Atlantic Beach is a small oceanfront community nestled within North Myrtle Beach. They have a rich history and a great vision for the future!

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Katie Hunter

Katie Hunter recently relocated to Myrtle Beach, SC, but she is a true South Carolinian at heart. Growing up in Charleston, SC and living in the SC Upstate, Katie cherishes the rhythm of southern hospitality and a refreshing sea breeze. Katie has written stories for her friends and family to enjoy ever since she was little and is excited to uncover everything that makes Myrtle Beach, The Beach. Katie loves baking, the beach, and her Clemson Tigers. She can often be found walking her black labrador retriever or checking out a new restaurant in the Grand Strand with her husband.