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Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Which Beach Town is Better in 2022? Full Guide

We put together all the details you need to know about Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach now in 2022 so that you can decide which is the beach town for you.

This comparison guide between these two tourist magnets in South Carolina will help you understand the overall vibes in each place and which one will match your tastes (and budget).

We created this guide for both future residents and visitors who want an unbiased perspective of what life is like in Myrtle Beach vs Hilton Head currently.

So, we broke down our evaluation into 6 main categories, which are:

  1. Overview
  2. Location
  3. Reputation
  4. Things To Do
  5. Safety
  6. Cost of Living

For each category, we analyzed the most recent available data and we collected the opinions of residents and past visitors so that you can get an updated view of both beach towns.

Furthermore, we highlighted the main features and the differences and similarities between them so that you know exactly what to expect.

Thus, follow us on this journey throughout South Carolina to discover if you fit more in Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach in 2022.

1. Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Overview

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Both Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach are known for their miles and miles of sandy beaches, first class golf courses, and welcoming communities. They are also two of the biggest tourist spots in South Carolina.

They both even made our 2022 list of the best cities in South Carolina.

Number of Tourists per Year

Hilton Head Island receives about 2.5 million visitors per year, while Myrtle Beach welcomes almost 20 million travelers every year. 

Population

Hilton Head is an island town with approximately 40,000 residents, while Myrtle Beach has a slightly smaller full-time population, with about 38,000 residents.

Getting Around on Foot & Bike

According to Walkscore, the first important difference between the two towns is their walkability and bikeability.

Hilton Head is an extremely car-dependent town with few bike lanes and pedestrian walkways outside of its beach areas.

Its walk score is only 13 out of 100 and its bike score of 43 out of 100.

In contrast, Myrtle Beach offers more pedestrian and bike-friendly areas, with a walkability score of 43 out of 100 and a bike score of 53 out of 100.

Either way, you’re probably going to want to bring your car to Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head.

Climate and Weather

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Regarding the weather, there aren’t many significant differences between Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach.

When comparing the highest and lowest temperatures in Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach during the year, we find that Hilton Head is slightly hotter and windier than Myrtle Beach.

Average high temperatures in Hilton Head range from 59°F in the winter to 89°F in the summer. Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach experiences average highs of 56°F in the winter and 87°F during the summer.

However, their overall temperatures throughout the year are pretty close, and the same goes for their precipitation, humidity rates, and susceptibility to extreme weather phenomena.

2. Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Location

Hilton Head is located in the southernmost part of South Carolina while Myrtle Beach is further up the coast near the border with North Carolina.

Here is a link to Google Maps for the location of Hilton Head.

Here is a link to Google Maps for the location of Myrtle Beach.

When looking at Myrtle Beach vs Hilton Head directly, we see that they are 149 miles apart and would take about 3.5 hours to drive from one to the other.

So, you could actually visit both during one vacation.

Regarding their location within the state, Hilton Head is approximately 2 hours south of Charleston and 2.5 hours away from the capital city of Columbia by car.

Meanwhile, Myrtle Beach is located about 2 hours north of Charleston and 2.5 hours east of Columbia.

The closest big cities to Hilton Head are Jacksonville, FL (2.5 hour drive) and Atlanta, GA (4 hour drive), while Myrtle Beach is closer to Charlotte, NC (3.5 hour drive) and Raleigh, NC (3 hour drive).

3. Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Reputation

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Myrtle Beach

When comparing the reputation of Myrtle Beach vs Hilton Head, we found that both towns have a pretty similar vibe and culture.

Both are first-class tourist destinations that cater strongly to travelers, especially during the spring and summer.

Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach are also considerably less active during the winter time, with fewer full-time residents staying during the colder months as well.

Both towns offer a slower pace of life that is enjoyed by young adults, families, and retirees. Residents and visitors in each beach town experience a pretty relaxed lifestyle, which is fostered by a mild climate that allows them to spend a significant amount of time outdoors.

But, both suffer from congestion from travelers that may make them a bit off-putting during peak seasons.

When you compare the reputation of Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach head-to-head, most folks mention that Hilton Head is much quieter and more geared towards families, while Myrtle Beach is a bit more lively and known to attract more partying young professionals. But, Myrtle Beach offers more things to do for kids as well.

Hilton Head is also a bit more upscale and less commercialized, while Myrtle Beach can be more affordable, but may feel more “touristy.”

4. Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Things to Do

When it comes to attractions, amenities, and things to do, the comparison between Myrtle Beach vs Hilton Head results in a draw.

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Hilton Head

Hilton Head offers excellent beaches and numerous amenities scattered around town. For example, there are cultural points of interest like the Coastal Discovery Museum and art galleries like the Nash Gallery.

If outdoor activities are your favorites, then we recommend taking a stroll around the dozens of parks around the island. You can visit Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, a great natural reserve and wildlife refuge that is located between the island and the mainland, or book an excursion with a cruise or a kayak.

There are also over 250 restaurants located within Hilton Head, ranging from relaxed fast food joints to high-end fine dining.

In comparison, Myrtle Beach is located at the center of The Grand Strand and offers the opportunity to enjoy a great range of seaside amenities and activities, including a huge variety of gourmet restaurants, energetic bars, and cozy cafes.

You can also stroll around Myrtle Beach and discover something to do for everybody, including shopping at Broadway at the Beach, a fun day at the Family Kingdom Amusement Park, or a visit to the fun Ripley’s Aquarium.

5. Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Safety

When comparing the crime statistics in Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach, we find quite a difference between these two coastal towns.

Hilton Head is an extremely safe small town, with a total crime rate that is about 40% lower than the national average.

However, in Myrtle Beach, the total crime rate is roughly 330% higher than in the rest of the country.

Of course, just like any city, there are nice areas and some places to avoid in both Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head. In general, the touristy areas of both places are quite safe and you should not have to worry much if you stick to the main crowds and use common sense.

But, if you are thinking about relocating to a secure community and are choosing between Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head, then Hilton Head seems to be the superior option.

6. Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Cost of Living

Similarly, the comparison between the cost of living in Myrtle Beach vs Hilton Head results in two extremely different pictures.

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Hilton Head

In Hilton Head, the average cost of living is more expensive compared to the rest of South Carolina.

Overall costs are about 44% higher in Hilton Head than in the rest of South Carolina.

Most services and goods are more expensive on average, but what creates the biggest gap is its high housing costs.

The median home cost in Hilton Head is approximately $600,000 to $700,000, a number that is almost two times higher than the national average.

On the other hand, Myrtle Beach is a far cheaper town.

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Myrtle Beach

The cost of living in Myrtle Beach is just 6% higher than the rest of South Carolina

Meanwhile, the average home price in Myrtle Beach is a much more affordable $250,000 to $350,000.

When you compare the cost of living in Myrtle Beach vs Hilton Head directly, you will find that Hilton Head is essentially 40% more expensive than Myrtle Beach.

Thus, if you’re thinking about relocating to Hilton Head or Myrtle Beach and are on a budget, you will find that your money will stretch a lot further in Myrtle Beach.

Hilton Head vs Myrtle Beach – Summary

This comparison of Myrtle Beach vs Hilton Head reveals two beach towns that have a similar reputation and many similarities when it comes to their weather, population, and things to do.

But, there is a great disparity regarding their safety ratings and cost of living.

We hope that this guide has helped you understand which place is best for your next vacation or relocation.