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 un-obstructed 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 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.