A Historical Guide to Crescent Beach, SC

Though many visitors tend to think of beaches and boardwalks when they hear the words Crescent Beach, the area is also closely associated with nostalgia and a rich history that dates back thousands of years.

This small neighborhood in the greater North Myrtle Beach area has always been one of the most visited places on the Eastern Seaboard. It is now known for its laid-back atmosphere, beautiful white sand beaches, and a large selection of restaurants, hotels, gift shops, and all other kinds of businesses geared towards tourism.

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Learning more about the past of Crescent Beach is a great way to enrich a stay at your vacation rental in this historic area! Let’s talk a walk back in time to see how this vibrant beach town came to be!

The Birth of Crescent Beach, South Carolina

Crescent Beach has a long and storied history dating back to the 18th century when it was inhabited by the Sewee Indians and later by the Waccamaw Indians.

It was named Rice Hope Plantation in the early 19th century and was greatly impacted by colonial encroachment. However, traces of these historic cultures still remain in modern-day Crescent Beach.

Important in Early America

After European contact, Crescent Beach was first settled by Scottish planters looking for fishing opportunities in the late 1700s.

The area eventually became a bustling trade port, with ships coming in and out of the Port of Georgetown. In the mid-1800s, a group of merchants bought land in the area, and Crescent Beach was officially incorporated in 1894.

At this time, Horry County was mainly populated by fishermen and farmers who made a living from local seafood and crops but would soon become known as a great destination for a beach vacation.

A 20th Century Boom Town

In the early to mid-1900s, the town experienced a major tourism boom as visitors flocked to the beach for its natural beauty and tranquil atmosphere.

Crescent Beach, and the North Myrtle Beach area in general, began to gain popularity in the 1920s as an ideal getaway spot along the Atlantic Ocean, especially for people from nearby cities like Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

It developed a strong reputation as a popular vacation spot for wealthy families, with luxury hotels and resorts being built as the town’s popularity increased.

Hurricane Hazel Sweeps In

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What goes up, must come down! Hurricane Hazel was an incredibly destructive storm that came through in 1954, causing an estimated $600 million dollars in damage and killing 15 people when it made landfall in Crescent Beach.

Wind speeds of over 125mph caused massive destruction, flooding nearby rivers and creeks up to 15 miles inland and pushing the bridges across the Intracoastal Waterway away from the shore. Despite this, the community was resilient and managed to quickly rebuild and recover.

The 1960s & 1970s Bring a Merger

The merge between Crescent Beach and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, dates back to the 1960s. It was a timeline of creative legislative moves. The city of North Myrtle Beach, which was already well-established, was seeking to expand its landmass in an effort to control more beachfront property and attract more tourists.

In anticipation of this, Crescent Beach proposed a merger with North Myrtle Beach. This created a more unified and cohesive beachfront. With Crescent Beach’s addition, North Myrtle Beach grew significantly and expanded its appeal to visitors.

This boom period saw a boost to the local economy and infrastructure, as well as the emergence of new attractions. The following decades saw Crescent Beach remain a popular destination for locals and tourists, contributing to its continuing prosperity.

Today the four key North Myrtle Beach neighborhoods, Ocean Drive, Cherry Grove, Windy Hill, and Crescent Beach, have become one of South Carolina’s most beloved beach destinations.

Modern-Day Crescent Beach

Photo Credit: Kevin Ruck

Modern times have seen this quaint beach town merge into North Myrtle Beach as one of its four recognized neighborhoods. Yet, even though Crescent Beach has been incorporated into the greater North Myrtle Beach area, it still has the same charm and beauty it has had for decades.

Pristine Beaches

Crescent Beach is known for its pristine white sand beaches, warm turquoise waters, and many recreational activities. Visitors who come to Crescent Beach can expect to find plenty of watersports, fishing, and beach attractions and activities to keep them entertained throughout their stay.

From swimming, fishing, boating, jet-skiing, and kayaking to beachfront shopping, dining, and entertainment, there is something for everyone.

World-Class Accommodations

Crescent Beach also features a variety of accommodation specials for travelers, complete with all the oceanview condo amenities you would imagine, like indoor pools, outdoor pools, hot tubs, and more.

With an array of condos, private beach rentals, and villas to choose from, visitors can enjoy a comfortable and luxurious stay while they explore all that this charming coastal town has to offer.

Mouth-Watering Food

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When it comes to food, Crescent Beach takes beach-style dining seriously! Famous for their “Low Country Boil,” a bespoke experience involving all of the best local ingredients, the eating here does not disappoint. Visitors can enjoy a variety of local seafood restaurants, serving up some of the freshest catches of the day.

North Myrtle Beach has no shortage of amazing wineries, breweries, and options for dinner shows. There is also an assortment of delectable bakeries, cafes, and restaurants for any and all dietary needs, and of course, no visit to Crescent Beach is complete without a visit to one of the local ice cream shops to cool off in the heat of the day.

Entertainment & Culture

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At night, Crescent Beach offers plenty of shopping and entertainment options. There are plenty of bars and pubs for those looking for a fun night out on the oceanfront, as well as live music venues and beachfront movie theaters.

Visitors can head to Barefoot Landing to shop till they drop and find a variety of art galleries, museums, and theaters, where they can experience the culture and history of the Grand Strand.

The Crescent Beach neighborhood is also just a six-minute drive from North Myrtle Beach’s vibrant Main Street.

Outdoor Fun

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When staying in Crescent Beach, it’s also important to explore the many outdoor activities available. Hiking, biking, and running trails are all located close by, as well as nature preserves and other outdoor adventures.

Visitors can also make their way to nearby golf courses, tennis courts, and marinas to participate in some exciting recreational activities. There are plenty of nearby beaches and neighborhoods to explore, like Cherry Grove Beach, Ocean Drive Beach, Windy Hill, and Atlantic Beach.

Make Your Own History in Crescent Beach

There is something for everyone in Crescent Beach, and it is all the more fun to take time and appreciate the beauty, culture, and history of the area.

With its stunning views of the coastline, lush green forests, and long, storied history, Crescent Beach, you and your group will surely be captivated by its unique history and charm.

Book a vacation rental in Crescent Beach and experience the history of this charming beach town for yourself!