Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Southeast. Growing up in North Carolina, I saw many people go there as their annual (or more) getaway.
The distance from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach is 175 miles. It makes for a great road trip, and in this post we’ll be looking at how to get there and where to stop during your trip.
Finally, be sure to check out our post on hotels in the area so you can find the right place for you.
- Driving from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach
- Other ways to get there
- What's the cheapest way to get there?
- What's the fastest way to get there?
- What's the safest way to get there?
- What's the most environmentally friendly way to get there?
- Where to stay in Charlotte
- Where to stay in Myrtle Beach
- Things to do in Myrtle Beach
- Things to Do Along the Way
- The Bottom Line
Driving from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach
In a car, it will take just under 4 hours of drive time to get there. Keep in mind, though, traffic in Charlotte, especially around the airport and during commute times, can be heavy.
There are a few different routes you can take. But we’ll look at three of the most popular routes.
The first puts you on 601 and then gets on 151. It goes through several small, charming towns, including the town of Darlington, SC.
If you take this route, be sure to stop in Darlington to fill up on gas, use the restroom, etc. After you pass Darlington, it will be a little while before there will be other places to stop.
You can also take Highway 74 to Highway 9. This route also goes through multiple small towns, including Bennettsville, SC.
Be careful with speed limits around Bennettsville, though. There are a few places where the speed limit is deceiving, and actually when I was 19 I got a speeding ticket here, partially because it looked like a road that would have a much higher speed limit than it actually did.
Lastly, you can take mostly highways. This route would go from I-77 to I-20 to I-95.
For many people, this is their preferred route because it feels like the most straightforward. In this case, though, the highways don’t necessarily save time. Because they are less of a straight shot, the overall drive time is about the same.
Other ways to get there
In addition to driving, you can also fly there, take a bus, or take a train. Let’s look a little more closely at these options.
There are also direct flights between Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR). The total flight time is around 1 hour. The flight distance, or “as the crow flies,” is around 157 miles, just a little shorter than the driving distance.
American Airlines runs a nonstop flight between Charlotte and Myrtle Beach. The earliest flight is 7:25AM, and the last flight leaves at 6:27PM.
Other airlines fly there, including Spirit Airlines and United Airlines, but they require a layover, which adds a lot of time to the flight.
This might be a good option if you are coming from another part of the country and plan on flying into Charlotte. Rather than renting a car from CLT, you can fly direct to Myrtle Beach and then rent a car at your destination. That will save you hours of driving so you can enjoy more of your vacation.
Greyhound has bus routes going between the locations too. They run around $70-100 one-way, depending on your trvael dates. However, Greyhound is going to take a lot longer and you’ll most likely need a car once you get to Myrtle Beach.
One great advantage of Greyhound is their onboard entertainment. You can now watch movies or shows or access WiFi that is included in your ticket price, so you can some work done and leave the driving to someone else.
You might see on the internet that there are Amtrak routes between Charlotte and Myrtle Beach. But this isn’t really true. Amtrak does have routes going to the area, but the closest stop is in either Kingstree or Dillon. Both are a long way away from Myrtle Beach and there’s nowhere to rent a car in either area.
What’s the cheapest way to get there?
The cheapest way to get there depends on a number of things, including the driving distance, the price of gas, the fuel efficiency of your car, and more.
Typically the costs will be lowest with Greyhound or Amtrak and highest with flying. Let’s look a little more closely at these options.
Costs of driving
Charlotte to Myrtle Beach is only around 175 miles, so most cars would be able to get there on just one tank of gas. Driving allows you to carry plenty of luggage, too, without having to pay extra fees for oversized or extra bags.
The total cost of fuel, round trip, would probably add up to less than two tanks of fuel, and depending on your car you may be able to get there and back for just one tank.
But there’s a lot more to owning a car than gas. You also need to factor in the costs of purchasing it, maintaining it, insurance, and registration.
According to the American Automobile Association’s 2022 report on driving costs, the average cost to own and operate a new car in 2022 was over $10,000. The cheapest car to own was a small sedan, coming in at around 54 cents per mile.
Charlotte to Myrtle Beach is 350 miles round trip, so based on these numbers the estimated round trip cost of driving would be $189.
I tend to think of the costs as a little lower than that, though, because no matter how many miles you drive you’ll need to pay for insurance and registration. Your trip to Myrtle Beach doesn’t change that amount.
So in this case, driving is a very convenient, cost-effective option.
Costs of flying
You’ll need to buy a separate plane ticket for each passenger. A single plane ticket may be cheaper than driving, but it gets more and more expensive the larger your travel group gets. But if you’re traveling solo, depending on when you’re going I’ve seen tickets for as low as around $120.
Add in the cost of getting to and from airports, fees at the airport parking lot, and car rentals or taxis at your destination, flying can add up. If you’re traveling solo, it may be a good option, but like the bus and train, it will get expensive fast if you’re traveling in groups.
Costs of taking a bus
Greyhound is a cheap option if you’re traveling alone, although tickets were surprisingly a little higher than flying. The current best price for tickets between the Charlotte Bus Station and the Myrtle Beach Bus station is around $86 one way. Round trip, you can get tickets for around $160 total.
But you’ll likely need a rental car once you get to your destination, which can add to the costs of either one. You may also need to pay for parking at the bus station during your trip, so that’s something to keep in mind.
A cheap, excellent alternative to a rental car is to use Myrtle Beach’s public bus system. They have an extensive system with over 20 different routes connecting the city, so you’re sure to be able to get where you need to go. It might be a good idea to check their maps or download their app in advance, though, so you can get to where you’re going faster once you’re there.
Costs of taking a train
The best ticket price for Amtrak between Charlotte and the nearest station to Myrtle Beach is about $100 on way, making the cost of this trip $200.
That also puts you in Kingstree, which is still over 50 miles, or 1 and a half hours, from Myrtle Beach. From there, you’ll need to rent a car and drive the rest of the way.
That not only costs more but uses up time you could have been on vacation, so if you want to use public transit then Greyhound bus is a better idea.
So what’s the cheapest?
If you’re traveling alone, you may find that flying is about the same price as driving, even after taking into account the extra costs of flying, like parking at the airport. If you’re traveling even in small groups, or just with one other person, then driving is surely the cheapest.
Amtrak is not only more expensive, but because there is no Myrtle Beach bus station and you have to rent a car is very inconvenient.
Greyhound is cheaper than Amtrak, but still more expensive than flying or driving your own car.
What’s the fastest way to get there?
You can fly there in about an hour, but by the time you get to the airport and out of the airport in Myrtle Beach you don’t save much time over driving. Plus you won’t have a car when you get there.
But if you prefer to fly, American Airlines flies from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach. It can be a great option for short, extended-weekend trips or if you want to avoid the hassle of driving.
The quickest Greyhound route takes around 7 hours and 45 minutes, so it is definitely longer than driving. But it’s also easier not having to drive, and you can spend your time reading, catching up on some sleep, or getting some work done.
What’s the safest way to get there?
According to the National Safety Council, driving is far riskier than flying. The tight regulation and rigorous training of pilots and other aviation professionals make flying among the safest modes of transportation anywhere.
Driving is also riskier than taking a bus or train. These same statistics found that the passenger death rate per 100,000 miles for driving was more than 20 times higher than buses, 17 times higher than passenger trains, and 595 times higher than flying. That makes flying the safest option, by far.
And keep in mind these are averages – Charlotte has notoriously bad traffic and a lot of accidents. In fact, Charlotte ranks #27 for the riskiest cities for driving, according to the US News and World Report.
What’s the most environmentally friendly way to get there?
While cost is a significant factor in deciding between flying and driving, you may also be wondering what the best way to travel is for the planet.
When it comes to your carbon footprint, driving usually beats out flying, especially if you’ve got several people in the car. Planes also emit carbon dioxide directly into the upper atmosphere, where it’s more harmful than with cars.
That may be harder to say definitively if you’re traveling solo. Planes can be efficient if they are completely full, especially compared to a car carrying only one person.
It will also of course depend on what vehicle you have. Electric vehicles and vehicles that get a lot of miles to the gallon are better for the environment and usually better for your wallet. But even if you drive an average vehicle, driving is still probably more sustainable than flying.
Greyhound and Amtrak are usually the greenest, although with Amtrak putting you in Kingston, rather than Myrtle Beach, you’ll still need a car rental to get to Myrtle Beach.
Overall, then Greyhound is the most sustainable, especially if you also use public transit in Myrtle Beach.
Where to stay in Charlotte
If you’re reading this post, it’s probably because you’re traveling from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach, rather than the other way around. Still, many readers may be going the opposite direction, so I want to include information on places to stay in Charlotte too.
Remember, Charlotte has a plethora of accommodation options, so it’s a good idea to research places near your intended hangout spots. Consider aspects like pet policies, complimentary breakfast, and customer reviews when choosing a hotel.
Luxury option: The Ritz Carlton
If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, The Ritz-Carlton could be a perfect choice with its lavish beddings and breathtaking cityscape.
The hotel provides various facilities like a spa, a swimming pool, complimentary breakfast, and free WiFi.
Boutique Options: The Ivey’s Hotel or the Dunhill Hotel
For those who enjoy the charm of boutique hotels, The Ivey’s Hotel, situated in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, will captivate you with its distinct aesthetic and top-notch service. Conveniently located near the Bank of America Stadium, they are also pet-friendly, making it an ideal choice if you’re traveling with your furry companion.
For history enthusiasts, The Dunhill Hotel, a historic gem in Uptown Charlotte, could be your perfect fit. Conveniently positioned within walking distance from the Bank of America Stadium, Spectrum Center, and the Charlotte Convention Center, it’s also a short 15-20 minute drive from Charlotte Douglas Airport.
Budget option: Hampton Inn and Suites
For those traveling on a budget, affordable yet quality options like the Hampton Inn and Suites, situated near the South Park neighborhood, might be worth considering.
Great Camp Spot: McDowell Nature Preserve
If camping is your thing, McDowell Nature Preserve is an awesome location. It provides campsites with picturesque views of the lake, hiking trails, and even opportunities for fishing.
Where to stay in Myrtle Beach
There are lots of places stay in Myrtle Beach. The Convention Center is a great central location to all the activities and many visitors choose to stay near there. So be sure to check out my post on the Best Hotels Near the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.
You may also be interested in my post on the Top Indoor Water Parks in Myrtle Beach. Many of these are located inside a hotel, and if you are staying at the hotel you get to use the water park at no additional cost.
That being said, here are a few of the highest-rated options to get you started.
2200 N Ocean Blvd
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Hilton Grand Vacations Club Ocean 22 is an oceanfront resort located on Myrtle Beach’s Grand Strand, just a short distance from popular attractions such as Broadway at the Beach. This 24-story beachfront resort offers a wide selection of family-friendly amenities, including 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom suites. Each suite comes with a full kitchen and an ocean-view balcony.
The resort also has both an outdoor and an indoor pool, along with lobby and poolside bars, access to water parks, and even a golf course. There are also several onsite restaurants.
This is a real luxury hotel, with a price tag to fit. Rates for a one bedroom can run over $500 per night, but if you’re looking to travel in style this may be for you.
Pets are not allowed at the Hilton.
2101 N Oak St
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
The Sheraton Myrtle Beach is a luxurious hotel located in a great location right next to the Convention Center. It is an elegant facility but much more affordable than the Hilton. You can get rooms here for a little under $200 per night, or less than half of the Hilton.
Still, the Sheraton doesn’t compromise on quality. Comfortable beds, an indoor pool, an onsite restaurant, and a cute little coffee shop onsite called Coffee and Cream mean you can get a comfortable stay at a great price.
Unfortunately, pets are not allowed here.
710 Frontage Road East
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Comfort Suites is the most budget friendly option among the 3, with rates under $150 per night. Comfort Suites is centrally located, right at the intersection of 17 and 501.
Myrtle Beach is easy to get around, so this relatively central location makes it easy enough to travel to all the attractions. Amenities include free WiFi, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool.
Comfort Suites is pet friendly, too, so you can bring your best friend!
Colette Eshleman, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Myrtle Beach State Park is a popular, highly rated park that also has campsites and RV sites for RVs up to 40 feet in length. Because it is so popular, though, you will need to have a reservation to stay here.
The park also has a fishing pier, a playground, swimming, biking, hiking, and more. Trails here include the Sculptured Oak Trail, at 0.5 miles, and the Yaupon Trail, a 0.4 mile trail, both of which make for an easygoing outdoor activity.
Things to do in Myrtle Beach
Myrtle beach has beautiful beaches and tons of things for the whole family to do, like jet skiing, fishing, and riverboat tours. Beyond the water, there are concerts, world-famous restaurants like the Hard Rock Cafe, and the Broadway Grand Prix. The Convention Center is a great area to stay, because it is centrally located to all Myrtle Beach has to offer.
Myrtle Beach is known for its beautiful beaches, lively boardwalk, and abundance of family-friendly attractions. You can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, shopping, and dining, or explore nearby natural wonders like state parks and wildlife reserves.
The winter time is low season and you can get some great deals on hotels. I’ve been in October, for example, and got rock-bottom rates. You likely won’t want to get in the ocean in the winter.
A lot of people love to come to Myrtle Beach for its numerous outstanding seafood buffets, which have everything from all you can lobster to oysters to shrimp and much, much, more.
Things to Do Along the Way
Lots of people know about Myrtle Beach, but not nearly as many people know about the great things the Bennettsville and Darlington areas have to offer. And they are also great places to stop along the way because they are about halfway between Charlotte and Myrtle Beach.
These are some great places to think about putting on your itinerary. It can be nice to take a pit stop, especially on a long road trip, to stretch your legs and get some food and drink.
This museum offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of Bennettsville and the surrounding area. Exhibits include artifacts from the Civil War, Native American artifacts, and displays showcasing the town’s history and culture.
This family-owned farm offers visitors the chance to pick fresh fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, peaches, and blackberries. There is also a farm market with homemade jams, jellies, and baked goods. The are located in McBee, SC, which is about a 30 minutes drive from the main route to Myrtle Beach.
This local winery produces a variety of wines, including muscadine, blackberry, and peach. Visitors can sample the wines in the tasting room and purchase bottles to take home. They are located about a half an hour from Darlington.
The Darlington Raceway is a NASCAR track that hosts races throughout the year, including the famous Southern 500. Visitors can take a tour of the track or go to a race.
This museum features exhibits on the history and culture of Florence County, which includes Darlington. It has a large collection of art, including works by regional artists.
Jimmor30, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
No matter which route you take, you’re likely to be pretty close to Cheraw State Park. It’s a little-known gem that you should definitely stop and see on your way to Myrtle Beach.
Many people go to Myrtle Beach for golf, but Cheraw is also home to an 18-hole championship golf course. In addition to that, there are camp sites right on Lake Juniper, cabins, a playground for the kids, hiking, and biking.
You can also enjoy the lake and do some fishing, swimming, or rent a fishing boat, kayak, or canoe.
The Bottom Line
Myrtle Beach is a very popular vacation destination for people from all over the country, but especially those living within driving distance.
If you’re traveling from Charlotte, driving is a cost-effective and convenient option that takes about 4 hours. If you’re flying in from a different part of the country to the Charlotte airport, you’re probably better off taking another flight to Myrtle Beach and renting a car when you get there.
Greyhound is another budget option to get there, while Amtrak is expensive and inconvenient.