The Dunes at Myrtle Beach! (part 1)


Amazing that we captured this picture of the sand dunes at between Myrtle Beach State Park and Springmaid Beach.

Amazing that we captured this picture of the sand dunes at Myrtle Beach State Park. We couldn’t find where we took this picture as these dunes are gone!

We’re in our sixth, or really seventh, stay in Myrtle Beach since we began RVing in 2013. What we love the most is the wide and flat beach – we can easily walk five miles! We’ve been mesmerized by the dunes and how much they protect not only the beach, but the campgrounds, houses and hotels that line the beach front. So of course, we were anxious to see the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in October, 2016.  I’ve tried to find old pictures for comparison, but after took pictures upon our arrival and subsequent beach walks.

Hurricane Matthew’s storm surge and waves overwashed about 15 percent of the sand dunes on Florida’s Atlantic coast, 30 percent along Georgia’s coastline, and 42 percent of dunes on South Carolina’s sandy beaches as the powerful storm brushed past the Southeastern states October 6-9, according to USGS experts’ preliminary review of USGS low-altitude before-and-after images along of the coast and NOAA photographs collected after the storm.” (www.usgs.gov)

Before we look at the dunes and beach pictures I’ve taken since 2013, here’s a brief summary of our stays in Myrtle Beach. There is a hyper-link where we wrote a blog post:

October 2013 Our second month as RVers, Bill couldn’t wait to camp on the beach! The first time to Myrtle Beach, we stayed in Ocean Lakes Campground, just above Surfside Beach. Initially, I was skeptical about camping “on the beach,” but easily fell in love with it! After all, the dunes actually protect our RVs. If you click on the October 2013 hyper-link, you will see our first actual walk way to the beach between the sea oats and beach grass covered dunes.

For perspective of our location

For perspective of our location. Technically, we are south of Myrtle Beach. We are between Springmaid Beach and Surfside Beach. We usually walk five miles between these beaches.

January 2014 We had to flee the cold of Virginia, but just had to return on our way back to Florida. This time we stayed in Pirateland Family Resort and decided we prefer it over Ocean Lakes. The cold caught up to us and the day we left, it was 16 degrees. As Bill unhooked the water, some dripped onto our concrete pad and froze! We didn’t do much while here, except bundle up and walk on the beach. We had researched things to do and didn’t see anything interesting in Myrtle Beach that suited us – but we just loved being on the beach no matter how cold!

Bill is showing how flat and wide this beach is! Great for long walks.

Occasionally, we have perfect weather! Bill is showing how flat and wide this beach is on such a day! Great for long walks. This was November 2015.

March 2014 We had so much fun in spite of the cold, we had to return on our way back up from Florida to back to Virginia (at the time, our travel route). But this time, we discovered there is much fabulous history in the area, we just had to expand our search outside of “Myrtle Beach.”  We visited historic Georgetown about 30 miles south, which is included in the below listed post “The Scoop on Myrtle Beach.”

October 2015 By now we’re in our motor home and had a hard time finding anyone who could hitch our car up to be flat towed. We discovered we could at the Myrtle Beach Camping World. We now come here for many of our RV needs.  We also bought and had installed our new washer and dryer. We have been very pleased with the  service department. 

November 2015 Our time in October continued into November and my writing became creative – it looks like I started a series: The Scoop on Myrtle BeachThe Horses on Myrtle Beach and The Wind on Myrtle Beach.

March 2016 The series continues, The Tides in Myrtle Beach! The first thing I do now when we come is get the tide schedules so we can plan our days, to be able to walk on the beach at low tide! We’ve also returned to Brookgreen Gardens, which is now a favorite place to go.

October – November 2016 It was our plan (we’ve learned to never really plan) to stay here for seven weeks, in between nearly two months with our daughter and family starting the end of July to mid-September and then we would return there to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas. But Hurricane Matthew intervened! So we are now back here after nearly a month in Fredericksburg. Sadly, this now means we will not be with them for Thanksgiving, but will be here. We had pre-paid our seven week stay and we needed to come back to recoup those funds!

I’ve tried to find the best pictures for comparison purposes from our previous times here. The GREAT news is that the dunes were not totally decimated and it looks like the rebuilding of the dunes has begun. But what will take time is the planting and growing of the all important sea oats and beach grass. Here’s a little bit of info about that process:

American Beachgrass – This strain is an excellent dune stabilizer that is easily transplanted. Beachgrass grows rapidly and can effectively trap sand by the middle of its first growing season. The Hatteras variety is especially hardy and is available commercially.
Beachgrass should be planted from November through April, with the earlier days preferred.

Sea Oats – A strong plant,  are drought and heat tolerant and relatively free of pests. Sea oats resemble American beachgrass but die back in the winter. Plant this grass from March to June …..
Sea oats are often difficult to find commercially, but mature oats can sometimes be transplanted. This plant is a slow grower, taking two full growing seasons before acting as a dune stabilizer. For this reason, sea oats should be interplanted with American beachgrass. from www.SCDHEC.gov pages 5-6)”

I usually try to take a picture the first time we hit the beach. I wanted “size” perspective in this one, so Bill was an unwilling participant in this pictures:

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Here is our walk to the beach in March 2016, walking thru the dunes walkway.

2013 It's hard to see the size of the dunes

2013 It’s hard to see the size of the dunes, but this shows how naturally the dunes blend into the beach.

2016 How shocking to see no dunes, just the "bare bones"

2016 This was taken the day we arrived. How shocking to see no dunes, just the “bare bones.” I nearly cried!

So once we hit the beach upon arrival, we headed south to see if we could cross over the drainage area. The past few times here, we couldn’t. This time, no problem!

Drainage

November 2016 This is the drainage ditch between Pirateland and Lakewood Camping Resort. This is generally as far south as we can walk and is usually our starting point for the 2.5 mile round trip. It is also the area where the Horses come out from Lakewood and then they go north. The horses don’t mind the “ditch” water but we heed the signs that warn it does contain some high levels of bacteria.

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November 2016 – You can see the sand has taken over the opening…the sand from the dunes.

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October 2015 – This is the mouth of the drainage ditch in full force! Now you can see why we don’t walk south! When we first started coming here, at low tide we could tip toe across. We do wear walking shoes for our 5 mile round trip walk

Since we haven’t really walked south much, on our first day here, we decided to go as far south as possible. You’ll see why we only went so far….

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This was as far south as we could go. It was great seeing all the bulldozers and “scoopers” as our oldest grandson calls them, rebuilding the sand dunes!

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This is looking north from the end of our walk. You can see the dunes are back in place….they just need the sea oats and beach grass!

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This is a favorite view for me! I have a picture of it from Ocean Lakes – looking out towards the ocean – when we stayed there. And I took it last time we walked south, but I can’t find that picture. That is a drain which is plugged up a bit. Water only flows out after high rain falls.

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This was still from our walk south and it shows how the dunes here need more work!

If you are on the east coast, what was your experience with Hurricane Matthew? We’ve been through a few. This was our first time we had to evacuate!

Up next, will be pictures from our walk up north to Springmaid Beach. The Springmaid pier was severely damaged….

Here’s a few resources that maybe helpful: 

Municipal Code regarding sand dunes and beach activities. It’s in the code to stay off the dunes.  And NO vehicles are allowed on the beach except municipal vehicles or contractors doing repairs or emptying the trash receptacles. We saw many golf carts now just because the barriers are gone to keep them out….

How to build a sand dune. This was pretty fascinating and I quoted from it above about the sea oats and beach grass.

And finally, on this election eve, this is my faith, my prayer to believe it – the picture was from our stay at Ocean Lakes in October 2013

isaiah4110

Photo taken in October 2013, Ocean Lakes Campground Resort

9 thoughts on “The Dunes at Myrtle Beach! (part 1)

  1. Great job sharing the comparison over the years and then after Matthew:) I can’t believe that one photo with no dunes, just flatness!! Wow! Good to see there isn’t any time wasted to rebuild the dunes:) That is quite a change in the drainage area!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. It wasn’t easy digging thru the pictures – a downside of my Mac computer. It erases the date of a photo when you “move” it. And we’re not in a good spot for wifi which further hampered it. I hope to do better with the next post!

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      • Debbie, you mentioned your bug infestation in one of your comments. Could they be stink bugs? They are really bad in PA, MD, and VA. We had almost all of them gone from PA til we stayed in VA. They were the worst we have ever seen anywhere. We are still finding them!!! But we are down to about two a day now. They get in everything! They smell terrible when you kill them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No, they’re not stink bugs. We’ve had a run in with them years ago in Virginia. These seem to like the sink areas.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love those pictures. Those beach scenes make me ponder the Footprints in the Sand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you Debbie, I enjoyed the Photos and your commentary, it’s like being there, as always it’s very expressive, do you take time to swim regularly on your travels ?

    Christian Love – Anne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for asking! I used to be a swimmer! I prefer to be able to see what I am swimming with, and sadly, this ocean is too murky. I won’t go in except up to my knees. My husband swims in it. He loves the Atlantic Ocean. I prefer the Gulf Coast and we will be there this winter. 🙂

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  4. […] mentioned in our last post, we will now look at the dunes as we walk north – which has been our walking beach route […]

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