Are you looking for a place to live or visit in South Carolina? Well, the idea of Charleston vs. Myrtle Beach might have crossed your mind.
If you can’t choose between the two, here is a detailed comparison to make it easier for you.
Cost of Living
According to the data from Numbeo and PayScale, the average cost of living in Charleston is 8% higher than the national average, while the average cost of living in Myrtle Beach is 8% lower than the national average. This means that you would need around $4,818 in Charleston to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with $3,500 in Myrtle Beach.
The main difference between the two cities is the housing cost, which is 32% lower in Myrtle Beach than in Charleston. The median home price in Charleston is $493,200, while the median home price in Myrtle Beach is $305,719. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Charleston is $929.54 per month, while the median rent in Myrtle Beach is $650 per month.
Other expenses, such as groceries, transportation, and healthcare, are also slightly cheaper in Myrtle Beach than in Charleston. For example, a loaf of bread costs $1.98 in Charleston and $2.69 in Myrtle Beach, a gallon of gas costs $3.74 in Charleston and $3.14 in Myrtle Beach, and a doctor’s visit costs $114.67 in Charleston and $108.01 in Myrtle Beach.
Based on this comparison, I would say that Myrtle Beach has a more favorable cost of living than Charleston, especially if you are looking for affordable housing options.
Verdict: Myrtle Beach Wins
Charleston has a humid subtropical climate, while Myrtle Beach has a warm humid continental climate. This means that Charleston has hot and humid summers, mild winters, and more rainfall throughout the year, while Myrtle Beach has warm and humid summers, cool winters, and less rainfall but more snowfall.
The average high temperature in Charleston is 76°F, while the average low temperature is 55°F. The average high temperature in Myrtle Beach is 74°F, while the average low temperature is 51°F.
The hottest month in both cities is July, with an average high of 89°F in Charleston and 88°F in Myrtle Beach. The coldest month in both cities is January, with an average low of 38°F in Charleston and 34°F in Myrtle Beach.
Charleston receives about 50 inches of rainfall per year, while Myrtle Beach receives about 45 inches of rainfall and 2 inches of snowfall per year. The wettest month in both cities is August, with an average of 7 inches of rain in Charleston and 6 inches of rain in Myrtle Beach. The driest month in both cities is April, with an average of 3 inches of rain in Charleston and 2 inches of rain in Myrtle Beach.
Looking into these, it’s clear that both cities have almost the same weather conditions, just with a slight difference.
Charleston has a public transit system called CARTA, which offers bus service, park and ride, and a free downtown shuttle called DASH. Myrtle Beach has a public transit system called The Coast RTA, which offers bus service, paratransit service, and an entertainment express.
The main difference between the two cities is the availability and convenience of public transportation. Charleston has more routes and stops than Myrtle Beach, covering more areas and attractions in the city and the surrounding counties.
Charleston also has a free shuttle service that circulates around the historic peninsula, connecting the visitors center, the aquarium, the city market, the waterfront park, and other popular destinations.
Myrtle Beach has fewer routes and stops than Charleston, mainly serving the airport, the beach, and some hotels. Myrtle Beach does not have a free shuttle service, and the Entertainment Express costs $1 per ride.
Based on this comparison, we would say that Charleston has better public transportation than Myrtle Beach, especially if you are looking for a cheap and easy way to explore the city and its culture.
Verdict: Charleston Wins
The main difference between the two cities is the impact of tourism and seasonality on the job market. Myrtle Beach is a popular tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors every year, especially during the summer months.
As a result, Myrtle Beach has more jobs related to hospitality, entertainment, and retail than Charleston, but these jobs are often low-paying, part-time, or seasonal.
On the other hand, Charleston is a historic and cultural city that has a more stable and year-round economy than Myrtle Beach. This means that Charleston has more jobs that require higher education, skills, and experience than Myrtle Beach, but these jobs are also more competitive and demanding.
To give a verdict, Charleston has better job opportunities than Myrtle Beach, especially if you are looking for a full-time, permanent, and well-paid job in a growing and diverse industry.
Verdict: Charleston Wins
Cuisine & Lifestyle
Charleston’s cuisine reflects its rich history and heritage, influenced by the Gullah, French, English, and Caribbean cultures. Some of the iconic dishes that define Charleston are okra soup, she-crab soup, shrimp and grits, oyster stew, and Frogmore stew.
Charleston also has a variety of restaurants that cater to different tastes and budgets, from fine dining to casual eateries. Some of the best places to try Charleston’s food are Sea Captain’s House, The Glass Onion, and Husk.
Myrtle Beach’s cuisine is more focused on seafood, especially the local blue crab and shrimp. The most popular dish in Myrtle Beach is the calabash-style seafood, which is lightly battered and deep-fried.
Myrtle Beach also has a lot of buffets, chain restaurants, and pizza places that cater to tourists and vacationers. Some of the best places to try Myrtle Beach’s food are Ravenel Seafood, Hook & Barrel, and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.
When it comes to lifestyle, Charleston residents enjoy exploring the historic downtown area, visiting museums and art galleries, attending festivals and events, and shopping at local boutiques and markets.
Charleston also has a lively nightlife scene, with live music venues, bars, and clubs. Some of the best places to experience Charleston’s culture are the Charleston City Market, the Gibbes Museum of Art, and the Music Farm.
Myrtle Beach’s lifestyle is more active and fun-loving than Charleston’s. Its residents enjoy spending time on the beach, playing golf, fishing, boating, and surfing.
Myrtle Beach also has a lot of amusement parks, water parks, mini golf courses, and arcades that offer entertainment for all ages. Some of the best places to have fun in Myrtle Beach are Family Kingdom Amusement Park, Broadway at the Beach, and Ripley’s Aquarium.
Both cities have something different to offer, and the winner here ultimately depends on your preferences. If you like historic charm, diverse food, and artistic culture, you might prefer Charleston. If you like tourist attractions, beach activities, and golf courses, you might prefer Myrtle Beach.
The average crime rate in Charleston is 258 per 100,000 people, while the average crime rate in Myrtle Beach is 2,771 per 100,000 people.
This means that you have a 1 in 240 chance of being a victim of violent crime and a 1 in 46 chance of being a victim of property crime in Charleston, compared to a 1 in 82 chance of being a victim of violent crime and a 1 in 12 chance of being a victim of property crime in Myrtle Beach.
You may be wondering what makes this huge difference. It is actually the impact of tourism and seasonality on crime patterns. Myrtle Beach is a popular tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors every year, especially during the summer months.
Check out: 10 Safest Neighborhoods In Charleston, SC
For this reason, it has more crimes related to theft, burglary, and robbery than Charleston, as well as more crimes involving alcohol, drugs, and disorderly conduct.
Charleston is a historic and cultural city that has a more stable and year-round population than Myrtle Beach. Therefore, it has fewer crimes related to tourism and more crimes related to domestic violence, assault, and homicide than Myrtle Beach.
Verdict: Charleston Wins
According to the data from GeoStat and Stacker, Charleston has a longer average commute time than Myrtle Beach, with 26.6 minutes vs. 16.5 minutes.
Charleston also has more workers who have a one-hour or longer commute than Myrtle Beach, with 6.5% vs. 3.9%. Charleston’s rush hour traffic is more congested and lasts longer than Myrtle Beach’s, especially on major roads such as U.S. 501, U.S. 17, and S.C. 31.
Myrtle Beach has a shorter commute time than Charleston, especially if you are looking for a less stressful and more flexible drive.
Verdict: Myrtle Beach Wins
Charleston vs. Myrtle Beach: Which is Better?
Now to the final verdict, who is the clear winner? According to Dollar Sanity. ‘s research, it was a close call, but Charlestone carried the day (3 vs. 2).
However, your choice may still be Mrtyle Beach, especially if you are looking for a city that will offer more in terms of better commute times and lower cost of living.
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