Seashells aren’t the only thing you can scout along the seashore… shark’s teeth are a popular target for beach visitors of every age! The South Carolina coastline is a goldmine for shark tooth hunting, and you don’t need much to get in on the action; a keen eye and patience are the only supplies necessaryContinue reading “Guide To Finding Shark Teeth In North Myrtle Beach”
For many, it’s not a trip to North Myrtle without seeing sea turtles! The Grand Strand has been a popular nesting ground for sea turtles for well over a century. Now, certain species are endangered and protected—but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on seeing these majestic sea creatures during your stay.
Enjoy this quick guide to North Myrtle Beach sea turtles and learn how you can find a few turtles during your stay!
About Sea Turtles
The most common of the North Myrtle Beach sea turtles is the Loggerhead, which is the most abundant marine turtle species. Loggerheads are named for their large heads and powerful jaw muscles that are used to eat hard-shelled prey. These turtles have an average life span of 50 years, can grow to be more than 300 feet long, and weigh more than 220 pounds!
Unfortunately, this species is on the endangered species list due to the loss of nesting areas, food sources, and pollution levels rising in the ocean—though the numbers are finally starting to bounce back!
The loggerhead sea turtles are not as likely to be hunted for their meat or shells as other sea turtles. Instead, their declining numbers are due to being accidentally caught in fishing nets since their habitat coincides with the location of many fisheries.
Because of their current endangered status, certain regulations are in place in North Myrtle Beach and across the Grand Strand to protect the turtles.
North Myrtle Beach Advocacy Groups
Founded in 2010, the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol is a volunteer group that monitors and reports sea turtle activity along the beach. The group is registered with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and authorized to perform certain activities and events, including nest identification and marking, nest inventory, hatchling recovery, nest relocation, egg collection for genetic testing, and more.
The group is active between May 1st through mid-August, which is when sea turtle nesting season is most active, where they walk the beach each day to find and monitor nests.
Typically, turtle hatchlings will emerge 45-65 days after the female loggerhead lays her eggs. Four days after the hatchlings have emerged, the patrol is allowed to evaluate the nests. They are looking to see how many turtles hatched and how many eggs are left unhatched in a nest. The patrol is authorized by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to conduct their research and conservation activities in regards to the North Myrtle Beach sea turtles. The public is invited to come out and observe the process.
Check the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol Facebook page for more information on sea turtle sightings and events.
Recent Sea Turtle Hatches
As mentioned above, the sea turtle population across the globe are slowly but surely making a comeback, thanks to 20+ years of conservation efforts.
The numbers for the 2019 season are promising. There were ~65 nests on record for the 2018 season and there have already been over 60 nests spotted for far this year with more to come. These numbers reflect nests across the Grand Strand between North Myrtle Beach all the way down to Pawleys Island.
As exciting as it may be, you need to remember that it is unlawful to disturb the sea turtle nests and the hatchlings as they emerge from the nest. Hatchlings are very vulnerable while emerging from their nests and can become disoriented very quickly. Even taking a picture with a flash can cause them to veer off-course. It is good to remember that they are wild animals and as such are not used to interactions with people.
Sea Turtle Viewing & Safety Tips
If you’re lucky enough to catch one, here are a few tips to safely (and legally!) observe the sea turtle nesting or hatching.
- Do not sit or stand on the dunes since this is where the sea turtle hatchlings will be emerging from their nests.
- Give the sea turtle hatchlings plenty of space and do not approach them.
- Do not handle the sea turtle hatchlings or pick them up.
- Do not help to guide the sea turtle hatchlings to the ocean.
- Do not shine any lights on or around the sea turtle hatchlings, this can cause them to become disoriented and lose their way.
- Do not turn your cell phone on since it can make noise during the start up process and startle the sea turtle hatchlings.
- Do not take any pictures of the sea turtle hatchlings since flash photography can harm them.
Disturbing the sea turtle hatchlings is against the law and can result in causing them harm. Remember that you are here simply as an observer. It is important that the sea turtle hatchlings make the trek to the ocean on their own. They are learning survival skills that will be necessary for them while living in the ocean.
It is an extraordinary sight to watch sea turtles emerge from their nests and start their journey in life. North Myrtle Beach is a wonderful place to observe this event. Just remember that there are some simple rules to follow so that this great species can continue to exist and thrive in the wild.
North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle FAQs
Want to learn more about sea turtles in North Myrtle Beach? Check out our FAQs!
What kind of sea turtles come to North Myrtle Beach?
Loggerhead sea turtles are the most prevalent sea turtle species along the Grand Strand. Other species, like the leatherback sea turtle, Kemp’s Ridleys, and green sea turtles can be spotted on occasion but are generally more rare. You can see a video about South Carolina sea turtles here.
What time of year can we view sea turtles?
Female turtles nest during the summer. Your best chance of seeing a wild Loggerhead sea turtle is from May through August.
Can we watch eggs being laid or hatched?
Yes—but you must follow local laws and respect local conservation groups during the process.
Where can I find information on sea turtle events?
Sea turtle nesting is a natural event and can’t really be planned in advance. You might stumble upon a nesting turtle during an evening walk along the beach, which is a very special occasion! If you do find a sea turtle nesting, follow viewing best practices listed above.
Planned events, like turtle nest inventories, are coordinated by the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol. You can check their Facebook page for information on upcoming events.
Are sea turtles released in North Myrtle Beach?
There is not currently a sea turtle rehabilitation and release center in the Horry County or the immediate Myrtle Beach area. The closest rehabilitation center is located in Charleston, SC and coordinated through the South Carolina Aquarium.
Unofficial releases through the DNR happen occasionally but are not planned in advance and are coordinated through local authorities.
For more information on sea turtles in North Myrtle Beach, visit the SCUTE (South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts) page on seaturtle.org for updated sightings and reports across the region.
Few things are as fun as driving a high-speed jet ski on the sea. Whether it’s speeding over the waves, or using it to follow the whales, jet skiing is a great way to spend a sunny day at the beach. North Myrtle Beach is an excellent beach vacation spot that is best experienced when driving a high-octane watercraft, with the sun on your skin and the breeze blowing through your hair. There’s a lot of jet ski rentals available near the beach along the Grand Strand. Too many, in fact, for a newly-arrived tourist to know which to pick. That’s why we’ve done your homework for you and found the 3 best North Myrtle Beach jet ski rentals.
Action Water Sportz
Paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports in the world. It combines a great full body workout with fascinating sightseeing experience. People of all ages, fitness and skill levels can enjoy paddleboarding. You can even bring your children!
The Grand Strand is a great place to hone your paddleboarding skills. Even the pickiest fans of different water sports choose it to enjoy their favorite pastime. Besides stand up paddleboarding, North Myrtle Beach area offers fishing, jet skiing, and kayaking.
Take a look at the following North Myrtle Beach paddleboarding options:Continue reading “Paddleboarding In North Myrtle Beach: Tours, Guides & Local Spots”
With our sunny weather and extensive beaches, North Myrtle Beach is a favorite vacationing spot for our amazing guests and a great place to enjoy water sports. Combining the amazing views of the beach with the excitement of a high-speed flight, parasailing is one of the coolest activities you can practice in the area and one that the whole family will enjoy. Whether you use your bird’s eye view to spot the dolphins and visitors on the beach, or just enjoy the heart-pounding experience of speeding through the air, these North Myrtle Beach parasailing companies will make your trip one to remember.
Aloha WatersportsContinue reading “North Myrtle Beach Parasailing: Fun Above The Beach!”
If you’re here on vacation in North Myrtle Beach and want to hang out on the beach and have some great food and awesome drinks, check out these popular beachfront bars!
Coconuts Tiki Bar
Coconuts Tiki Bar is located right on the beach at the Maritime Hotel. If you want great service, great food and some amazing drinks right on the beach, then this is the place to go! The owner is a North Myrtle Beach local who also Owns Midtown Bistro in North Myrtle Beach, which is another amazing place to eat. The owner goes out and catches fresh fish to be offered at both of the restaurants. Coconuts has a great family friendly atmosphere to enjoy a drink, food and the sun all in one. They occasionally will have live music to enjoy also.
Visiting North Myrtle Beach means the usual for most of our guests — beach time, great food, relaxing and spending time with friends and family. However, the Myrtle Beach area has tons of shopping options that you can take advantage of as well! North Myrtle Beach shopping is a great rainy day activity or a great activity to do before you leave. Retailers in the Myrtle Beach area are often only found in much larger cities, so shopping here at the beach often gives you deals you can only find in a few other places.
Little River, South Carolina is home to the annual Blue Crab Festival that will be celebrating its 38th year this May. Located on the Historic Little River Waterfront, this festival hosts about 50,000 people every year and provides local seafood, live music, and fun for the entire family.
If you love to fish, you should know that the Myrtle Beach area is home to some of the best fishing along the East Coast. When you stay in our North Myrtle Beach vacation rentals you’ll be near one of the most abundant fishing sources in the region – the historical Cherry Grove Fishing Pier, a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike.