Going to Myrtle Beach by air? You have more options than you think.  (Lars Christensen/Dreamstime.com) If you're staying in the South Strand Lowcountry to play courses like Pawleys Plantation, consider flying into Charleston. (Tim McDonald/Golf Advisor )

To the Grand Strand by air: Golfers have more options than Myrtle Beach Airport

Making your Myrtle Beach travel plans? There ares numerous airports within reasonable drive to the Grand Strand. So, if you can't find the flight for your upcoming golf vacation, check out nearby options Charleston, Florence and Wilmington, N.C.

From a window seat, it's always great fun flying into Myrtle Beach, seeing the blue ocean and scores of golf courses scattered throughout the landscape below. It makes you want to break out your 7-iron from the cargo hold right there and start practice swinging in the aisle.

But depending on which city you are flying from, sometimes Myrtle Beach's airport can be expensive. It's a smaller airport that offers great deals from some cities and lousy fares from others. Fares also tend to go up in the summertime in Myrtle Beach, when it's the destination's true peak season (though golfers can rejoice in usually cheaper fall-thru-spring fares).

It took me about a year of living in Myrtle Beach to realize that my airport options extended beyond just Myrtle Beach Airport if I was willing to drive an hour or so to get there.

So, if you're planning to come to Myrtle Beach for your vacation by air, and your itinerary options are showing up expensive, don't load up the minivan quite yet. Plug in these nearby airport codes, and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Myrtle Beach-area airports

Myrtle Beach, MYR (heart of the Grand Strand): The Grand Strand is your oyster when you fly into MYR in the heart of town. Courses such as Prestwick Golf & Country Club and Arrowhead Country Club are just minutes away, while 100 others are well under an hour's drive north and south. If you're coming from northeastern hubs like Boston, New York and Niagara Falls, you should be in good shape flying direct here. Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., are also quick and usually inexpensive connections. Spirit also began offering direct service to Orlando, Fla, and Chicago in the last year.

Florence, FLO (60 miles northwest, 1 hour, 20 minutes by car to the heart of Myrtle Beach): This is a tiny, regional airport that if you're not very familiar with South Carolina, you probably don't even know it exists. But Delta and US Airways offer cheap connecting service to Atlanta and Charlotte, so be sure to take a look. If you're coming in from the west, there are some bargains out there (recent searches to San Diego and Austin, Texas, came in about $100 cheaper than MYR).

Wilmington, ILM (80 miles north, 1 hour, 20 minutes by car to the heart of Myrtle Beach): This is a good option if you plan on spending a lot of time in the North Strand, as you're under an hour to the North Carolina/South Carolina border and resorts like Sea Trail Golf Resort and Ocean Ridge Plantation. This airport has direct service to Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, Fla. Also, flights to Chicago through Charlotte on US Airways can be found for as little as $154 roundtrip.

Charleston, CHS (104 miles south, 2 hours by car to the heart of Myrtle Beach): Charleston is the furthest airport away from Myrtle Beach, and it's also the biggest. But if you have a hankering to check out one of the Southeast's wonderfully historic city centers, stay a night or two here to soak in some delicious seafood and bask in this old-style, Lowcountry port city before heading north along Hwy. 17 to Myrtle Beach.

You're also pretty close to south strand gems in Pawleys Island including Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, Pawleys Plantation and just about 1.5 hours from Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort.

Discount airline AirTran services Charleston among many others and offers good value to Midwestern destinations like Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh.

Jan 21, 2009

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Brandon Tucker

Managing Editor

Brandon Tucker is the Managing Editor for Golf Advisor. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and over 500 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at BrandonTuckerGC.