Is Murrells Inlet a Good Place to Live? Pros and Cons Explained

Nestled in the coastal beauty of South Carolina, Murrells Inlet beckons with its unique blend of natural wonders, a rich culinary scene, and a laid-back atmosphere.

Whether you're contemplating a move or just curious about this charming town, here's an in-depth exploration of the pros and cons, cost of living, and more to help you determine if Murrells Inlet would be a good place to live for you.

people who live in Murrells Inlet, demonstrating that it is a good place to live

Pros of Living in Murrells Inlet, SC

Ask any local, and they'll tell you that Murrells Inlet, SC, is more than just a coastal town – it's a way of life. Let's delve into the reasons why Murrells Inlet is considered a hidden gem on the South Carolina coast.

Cost of Living

Murrells Inlet stands out for its affordability. The overall cost of living is 6% lower than the national average, with housing costs a remarkable 28% below the norm. While it slightly less affordable than other parts of Horry County, transplants from other region of the country are still likely to find welcome relief in lower cost housing, essential goods, and healthcare.

Low Property Taxes

Residents enjoy the perks of a relatively low property tax rate, dropping as low as four percent for primary residences. This adds to the overall affordability of home ownership. The property tax reduction for permanent residents, plus other tax incentives, make Murrells Inlet and surrounding communities in Myrtle Beach a great place to retire (see our Retirement Guide for a full breakdown of the financial case for retirement in the Myrtle Beach area).

Strong Local Economy

In a time when economic stability is crucial, Murrells Inlet boasts a poverty rate of less than 8%, significantly below the national average of 11.4%. All of Horry County is experiencing a post-pandemic boom as the area develops from a vacation hotspot to a full-time paradise. New businesses, jobs, and restaurants are arriving in town every month!

Pleasant Weather

The town basks in a favorable climate, with temperatures ranging between 50 and 90 degrees for most of the year. Ample sunny days provide opportunities for outdoor activities.

Although winter temperatures can drop to the 20s or 30s on the coldest nights, the climate swiftly recovers in the spring. The only months locals deem "chilly" are December and January, but even during this period, snow accumulation is extremely rare.

Diverse Food Options

Culinary enthusiasts will find delight in Murrells Inlet's diverse food scene. From casual eateries to fine dining, the town caters to all tastes, offering fresh flavors like seafood, specialty pizza, juicy steak, and more.

What’s more, the town proudly boasts the title of “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” with award-winning restaurants and oyster shacks delivering the fresh and abundant seafood straight off the boats.

Great Shopping

As a tourist destination, Murrells Inlet offers an abundance of shopping experiences. Gift and specialty shops, bookstores, antique shops, consignment shops, and more dot the area.

The Hammock Shops Village, just down the road in Pawleys Island, is a shopper’s paradise. Started in 1938, this marketplace has blossomed into a hub of Lowcountry commerce, offering handmade sweetgrass baskets, fresh local seafood, clothes, art, jewelry, and – of course – hand-woven rope hammocks.

Nature Exploration

For outdoor enthusiasts, Murrells Inlet provides access to a range of activities, from kayaking and dolphin tours to picnics, golf, and scenic trails. The town's natural beauty, including the Waccamaw River and Huntington Beach State Park, beckons for exploration.

infogrpahic comparing the pros and cons of mocing to murrells inlet

Cons of Living in Murrells Inlet, SC

While many consider Murrells Inlet, SC a coastal haven, every paradise has its nuances. As we venture into the cons of living in this charming town, it's essential to paint a comprehensive picture for those considering making it their home. Beyond the sun-kissed beaches and delectable seafood, Murrells Inlet has its share of challenges.

Summer Heat and Humidity

An inevitable part of Southern living is adapting to heat and humidity. Yes, there are oppressive summer days, the natural trade-off for Murrells Inlet’s mild winters and comfortable temperatures the rest of the year.

The good news is that the community offers an abundance of fun ways to cool down: lazy days boating on the inlet, a quick dip in the ocean, or grabbing an icy cold beer at one of the town’s air-conditioned watering holes. Despite the heat, summer is still many locals’ favorite time of the year.

Traffic Issues

During the tourist season, heavy traffic is a common challenge. Highway US-17, the main route from Myrtle Beach to Charleston, runs directly through the middle of town. Residents need to plan for early departures and exercise patience when navigating busy roads in the peak of tourist season.

Luckily, there are alternative routes for local traffic to help residents avoid the worst of it and shopping centers off the beaten path to prevent weekend errands from becoming a hassle.

Alligator Presence

While alligators are indigenous to the area, they typically remain in freshwater marshes and rivers. Precautions are advised to avoid potential risks, as these reptiles may occasionally be seen in yards or crossing streets. Every so often, one of these reptilian visitors goes viral, giving Murrells Inlet a brief moment in the spotlight.

Keep all pets on leashes and away from the edges of ponds, and avoid walking or standing near murky water and your chances of a gator run-in are virtually zero.

Murrells Inlet FAQs

Embarking on a journey to explore Murrells Inlet, SC, brings forth a multitude of inquiries for both curious minds and potential residents. To address the spectrum of questions that often arise, we've compiled a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section. Whether you're contemplating a move, seeking local insights, or just curious about life in this charming coastal town, let this section serve as your go-to guide for clarity and information.

Is Murrells Inlet, SC a Safe Place to Live?

Murrells Inlet is considered a safe place to live, with a crime rate lower than both the national and state averages. The total crime rate is 5 per 1,000 people, lower than the national average. Specifically, the violent crime rate is 0 per 1,000 people, and the property crime rate is 5 per 1,000 people.

Close-knit neighborhoods and a smaller population contribute to a sense of community, so there are always neighbors around to watch your back. The town's family-friendly activities and laid-back lifestyle further contribute to its reputation as an ideal place for raising a family or relaxing in retirement.

Is Murrells Inlet Expensive?

When it comes to the cost of living, Murrells Inlet offers affordability with housing expenses 32% lower than the national average. Property values average out slightly higher than other parts of Horry County, but there are still plenty of affordable options for buying or renting in Murrells Inlet.

However, utility prices are 17% higher (chalk that up to summer air conditioning), and transportation expenses, including bus fares and gas prices, are 10% above the national average. Still, Murrells Inlet beats most Northeastern and Southern metropolitan areas on nearly all prices.

Does Murrells Inlet Have a Beach?

While the main part of Murrells Inlet lacks beaches due to the protective inlet, some beach homes with Murrells Inlet addresses are found on Garden City Beach. Additionally, Huntington Beach State Park and the sandy shores of Pawleys Island, just a short drive away, offer uncrowded beaches for residents to enjoy.

Is Murrells Inlet Above Sea Level?

The area's elevation ranges from -16 ft to 57 ft, with an average elevation of 3 ft above sea level. Coastal and inlet locations will naturally have lower elevations.

Does Murrells Inlet Flood?

Approximately 49% of properties in Murrells Inlet have a greater than 26% chance of being severely affected by flooding over the next 30 years. Some areas are located in designated FEMA Flood Zones.

If you are considering buying or renting in Murrells Inlet, it’s important to check the local flood maps to determine if a property is in a flood zone and purchase necessary flood coverage to ensure your property is protected.

marshwalk, murrells inlet is a great place to live, shop, and dine

Is Murrells Inlet a Good Place to Live?

Murrells Inlet receives praise for its atmosphere, food, and small-town feel. While the vibe may not suit everyone’s taste, the overall consensus is positive, especially for those seeking a laid-back coastal vibe.

If you are seeking an escape even further away from the hustle and bustle, you might want to check out Pawleys Island. Also, the town of Little River, just north of North Myrtle Beach, is worth a look as well if the relaxed, fishing village vibe is something you are interested in.

Is Murrells Inlet Crowded?

Considered a small town, Murrells Inlet had 9,292 residents as per the 2020 census. Despite some added traffic from development, the area remains significantly less busy than neighboring Myrtle Beach. There’s still plenty of room for new neighbors!

Does Murrells Inlet Have Alligators?

Yes, alligators are indigenous to the area, including Murrells Inlet. While they are typically found in freshwater marshes and rivers, it’s not uncommon to spot one in a neighborhood pond or golf course water hazard. Precautions are advised to minimize potential risks.

Does Murrells Inlet Have a Downtown?

In Murrells Inlet, the waterfront fills the traditional role of "downtown." The MarshWalk, a half-mile wooden boardwalk along a natural saltwater estuary, is a popular spot with restaurants, bars, and live music. US-17 BUS also features seafood restaurants and bars, so residents are never at a loss for things to do.

Should I Move to Murrells Inlet?

Living in Murrells Inlet offers a sparse suburban feel with a coastal vibe. Many retirees and families choose the town for its above-average public schools, variety of neighborhoods, and overall relaxed atmosphere. The cost of living in Horry County is low, making it an attractive option for those seeking affordability without sacrificing quality of life.

exampes of homes and neighborhoods that are the best places to live in homes and neighborhoods

Best Places to Live in Murrells Inlet, SC

The neighborhoods in Murrells Inlet showcase the town's rich history, featuring large, well-established live oak trees and street names that nod to the past. Popular neighborhoods include Wachesaw Plantation, Creekside Cottages Blackmoor, Mt Gilead, and the master-planned community of Prince Creek.

Prince Creek stands out as a sought-after community, offering diverse neighborhoods with homes for every budget. Gated communities, waterfront areas, and proximity to the Intracoastal Waterway contribute to its appeal.

Final Thoughts

Murrells Inlet is more than a destination; it's a lifestyle. Whether you're drawn to its affordability, coastal charm, or family-friendly atmosphere, Murrells Inlet offers a unique blend of natural beauty and community spirit that captures the hearts of residents and visitors alike. Consider this guide your passport to discovering the myriad facets of this enchanting town on the South Carolina coast.

Ready to make a move? Want some more info? Contact a Right Find Homes agent to take advantage of our local real estate expertise. We're committed to helping you find a home you'll love. Contact us today!

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Provided courtesy of the Coastal Carolinas MLS. Copyright 2024 of the Coastal Carolinas MLS. All rights reserved. Information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use, and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing, and that the data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the Coastal Carolinas MLS.

Listing information last updated on March 1, 2024 at 4:45 PM EST.

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