Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach are two East Coast beaches often compared. From student outings and family trips to those looking to retire, both beaches have distinct appeals as popular summer destinations.
Myrtle Beach is a popular spring break destination for students, and its beachfront offers a variety of accommodation and entertainment options. Virginia Beach is famous for its 3-mile boardwalk and plethora of attractions, including the Aquarium and First Landing State Park.
Deciding between the two comes down to personal preference. Virginia Beach may be better if you are looking for a relaxed vibe, excellent resorts, and great restaurants. Myrtle Beach is better if you prefer a more upbeat atmosphere, with plenty of pubs, shopping malls, and amusement parks.
This article highlights what both beaches offer, including activities and attractions that cater to your varied interests. We also compared costs like food and accommodations, plus the pros and cons of each beach.
Virginia Beach vs Myrtle Beach
Virginia Beach is famous for its three iconic spots:
- First Landing State Park
- Virginia Aquarium
- 3-mile boardwalk
It’s frequented by students looking for educational adventures and adults or families wanting to spend some days on the beach.
Preluded by a stretch of golden sand, Myrtle Beach is known as the hub of the Grand Strand, a 60-mile string of white powdery beaches hugging the South Carolina coast with azure blue Atlantic waters. Its beachfront boardwalk gives access to these popular spots:
- The Broadway at the Beach
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- The Family Kingdom Amusement Park
Which Is More Popular?
Based on the average number of visitors, Virginia Beach is slightly more popular than Myrtle Beach. About 3.7 million beachgoers visit Virginia Beach every year, while a crowd of about 3.5 million flock to Myrtle Beach.
If you’re a couple looking at a 7-day beach vacation, expect to spend around $2,000 in Myrtle Beach and $1,500 in Virginia Beach.
For accommodations, here’s how the two beaches compare on average cost per night:
|Accommodation||Myrtle Beach||Virginia Beach|
Both beaches offer various lodging options, from low-cost condos to luxurious suites. But as the Beach City on the East Coast, Myrtle Beach’s prices are slightly higher.
Interestingly, you have more accommodation options in Myrtle Beach, while Virginia Beach lacks budget-friendly condos away from the beach strip.
Here are other daily cost factors:
|Cost Factors||Myrtle Beach||Virginia Beach|
|Average Daily Cost (1 person)||$140||$100|
Virginia Beach or Myrtle Beach For Families
Sandbridge Beach is a popular spot for younger families in Virginia Beach. Holiday houses sit right on the beach strip near dunes and marshes. Sandpiper’s Beach (Little Island Park) is also among the top choices for a fun-filled family vacation. With plenty of parking spaces and a playground, it’s an ideal summer destination to spend with the kids.
In Myrtle Beach, Surfside Beach is popular among couples and families with children. It’s a family-friendly beach with nearly two miles of shoreline, mild water, and minimal waves. Lifeguards are also on duty 24 hours a day.
Virginia Beach’s average summer temperature is 80 degrees, while winter is around 50. The water leans toward the colder temperature during spring.
Summertime at Myrtle Beach is a bit ‘steamy’ at 85 degrees. Wintertime isn’t as chilly at 60. In the spring, the water is warmer.
If you’re looking for a beachside escape, a large public statue of King Neptune welcomes you to Virginia Beach. It has 28 miles of coastline and its famous 3-mile boardwalk. Similarly, this beach offers budding creative art and culinary scenes, with beaches including Chick’s Beach, North End Beach, and Sandbridge Beach.
If surfing along the Atlantic Ocean fires your spirit, Myrtle Beach will not disappoint. It has more than 60 miles of coastline to explore, with abundant options for entertainment, shopping, dining, and recreational activities. Its 14 beaches include Litchfield Beach, North Myrtle Beach, and Myrtle Beach State Park.
- Chick’s Beach
- Virginia Beach Oceanfront (home to a 3-mile boardwalk and pier)
- North End Beach
- First Landing State Park Beach (historic with 3,000 acres of coastline reserve and protected freshwater Cypress Swamps)
- Croatan Beach (surfer’s paradise)
- Little Island Park Beach (calmer ambiance and less crowd)
- Sandbridge Beach (laid-back charm)
- Litchfield Beach (with world-class golf courses)
- South Myrtle Beach (near budget hotels)
- Central Myrtle Beach (great nightlife)
- North Myrtle Beach (lesser crowd)
- Surfside Beach (ideal for families with children)
- Myrtle Beach State Park
With its fantastic boardwalk and nearby Busch Gardens, Virginia Beach encourages a relaxed beach mood.
Myrtle Beach offers an action-packed vibe. Think along the lines of boisterous and wild beach parties.
From May to September, Virginia Beach offers oceanside adventures in full swing. To avoid the crowd and spend less on accommodations, check in from March to early April.
Myrtle Beach is ideal between June and August to indulge in sunbathing and beach fun. For a more laid-back experience, visit from September to early November when there are fewer beachgoers and hotel costs are lower.
In Virginia Beach, public and private beaches are ideal for:
- Dolphin tours
- Whale watching
- Visiting the Military Aviation Museum
- Exploring maritime history
In Myrtle Beach, public beaches are perfect for:
- Waterpark exploration
- Private cruises
- Virginia Aquarium and Science Center
- Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge (kayaking)
- 3-mile Boardwalk (bike riding)
- Military Aviation Museum
- Virginia Beach of Contemporary Art
- Cape Henry Lighthouse
- Back Bay Brewery
- False Cape State Park
- Busch Gardens
- First Landing State Park (hiking)
- Broadway at the Beach
- Brookgreen Gardens
- Hollywood House of Wax
- The Market Common
- Jet Aircraft at Warbird Park
- Pirates Voyage Dinner and Show
- Myrtle Beach Ferris Wheel (biggest on the East Coast)
- Barefoot Landing (shopping)
- Myrtle Waves Water Park (water slides and disco)
- Ripley’s Aquarium
- Funplex (North America’s tallest ride)
Pros and Cons
Virginia Beach Pros
- Relaxed and close-to-nature beach destination
- Indoor pools and hot tubs in many beachside resorts
- 3-mile boardwalk frequented by the younger crowd
- Great restaurants
- Festivals and live music
- Reliable trolley service
- Cooler water
Virginia Beach Cons
- There aren’t many hotels that have outside pools
- Coarse brownish gray sand
- Crowded during summer months and school holidays
Myrtle Beach Pros
- Diverse shopping malls and clubs to explore
- Mini-golf capital of the world
- Better in springtime
- Excellent Seafood restaurants
- Gray/white sand
- Oceanfront hotels
Myrtle Beach Cons
- No boardwalk
- Harder to navigate the town
- More commercialized beaches
Conclusion: Virginia Beach vs Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s Grand Strand, and Virginia Beach, Virginia’s Resort City, are excellent destinations to quench your thirst for sun basking, beachcombing, and summer adventures.
Both beaches boast seaside bliss on the East Coast, with coastlines that disappear into the azure blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. However, while both are summer paradises with endless opportunities to indulge during summertime, each beach destination offers a unique experience.
This article looks closely into what makes each beach destination stand out. Based on what supports your adventurous spirit the more, choosing one over the other promises experiences worth reliving.