Myrtle Beach, SC - The Grand Strand - Vacation Travel Guide

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Myrtle Beach Area Features

Sea Turtles of the Grand Strand

The beautiful Grand Strand beaches attract thousands of visitors every summer, including the official state reptile of South Carolina – the loggerhead sea turtle.

From May through August, mature female loggerhead sea turtles crawl out of the ocean and up the beach to dig nests and lay their eggs. Each female spends less than two hours on land, then returns to the ocean and does not revisit the nest.

Each nest contains about 100 eggs, which hatch within 45 to 65 days after they are laid and usually at night. The young hatchlings, each about two inches long, immediately head for their ocean home. Only about one in 1,000 will survive to reach sexual maturity, which is around age 20-25.

Sea turtles never come on land for any other reason, unless they are sick or injured.
In 2010, the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol was formed to help protect local loggerhead sea turtles, especially during the nesting and hatching process.

Volunteers watch for turtles, tracks and other signs of nesting activity. When they discover a nest, they rope off the area to guard it from human interference and potential predators. If the nest is below the high tide line or in a dangerous spot, the patrol may relocate it.

If you spot a sea turtle or a nest on the beach, do not disturb it in any way.  Sea turtles are state and federally protected, and it is unlawful to harass or tamper with sea turtles or their nests.

Report any sea turtle activity to the North Myrtle Beach Sea Turtle Patrol at 843-213-9074. The patrol offers these tips for how you can help protect this endangered species:

  • Turn off beachfront lights after 10 pm. Never shine light on sea turtles or use flash photography. Bright lights, even from mobile phones, can intimidate or disorient the sea turtles.
  • If you dig in the sand, always fill your holes before leaving the beach. Holes can trap hatchlings trying to make their way to the ocean; large holes can trap the mature female sea turtles.
  • Don’t leave obstacles or trash on the beach. Items such as plastic bags can be mistaken for food and eaten by sea turtles, causing them to become sick or die.
  • If you see a female sea turtle coming on shore, keep your distance. If she feels threatened, she will return to the ocean and not lay her eggs.

For more information, call the North Myrtle Beach Sea Patrol at 843-213-9074 or visit

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