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Myrtle Beach is a coastal resort city in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. It is the de facto hub of both the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area and the Grand Strand, a complex of beach towns and barrier islands stretching from Little River, South Carolina to Georgetown, South Carolina.
Arising from a getaway for lumber workers from Conway, South Carolina, Myrtle Beach has rapidly developed into a major tourist destination in the Southeastern United States in the late 20th century and 2000s. The estimated 2009 population for the city is 31,968. As of 2009, the metro area had an estimated population of 324,571. According to the 2000 census, the area was the 13th fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Long Bay area was inhabited by the native Waccamaw Tribe. The Waccamaw used the river for travel and fished along the shore around Little River. Waties Island, the primary barrier island along Long Bay, has evidence of burial and shell mounds, remains of the visiting Waccamaw.
The first European settler along Long Bay arrived in the late 18th Century, attempting to extend the plantation system outward towards the ocean. Records are sparse from this period, with most of the recorded history pieced together from old land grants documents.
These settlers were met with mixed results, producing unremarkable quantities of indigo and tobacco as the coast's soil was sandy and most of the crop yields were of an inferior quality.
Prior to the American Revolution, the area along the future Grand Strand was essentially uninhabited.