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Myrtle Beach is known for golf. With nearly 100 golf courses in a 60-mile radius, it's hard to swing a golf club without landing on the links. But the other popular country-club sport of tennis is a bit trickier to find facilities, at least ones that aren't connected with a private club.
Fortunately for visitors to the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach has lots of places for the general public to hit the hard courts. Although they may be a bit more tucked away than golf courses and other attractions in Myrtle Beach, here are five fun places to play tennis at little or no charge:
Midway Park: Located on the south end of Myrtle Beach near the corner of Kings Highway and Harrelson Boulevard, this small public park offers six courts that are free and open to public play on a first-come, first-served basis. The courts have lights for night play, and an adjoining basketball court is a great place to let the little ones shoot some hoops while you get your tennis fix.
Myrtle Beach Tennis Center: For tennis-playing guests at the Caribbean, this is the closest and best place in town. Located about a mile from the resort, this city-run facility features 10 courts (eight with lighting for night play). Situated behind Myrtle Beach High School just off Grissom Parkway, the Myrtle Beach Tennis Center offers public play for $2 per hour for locals, and a slightly higher rate for visitors. A pro shop, restaurant facilities and free water in courtside coolers are among the many amenities at this tennis complex. If you are looking for a playing partner or some friendly competition, Myrtle Beach Tennis Center offers tournament play and mixers. The facility opens at 8 a.m. every day except Sunday, when it is closed all day, and closes at 9 p.m. every night but Saturday, when it shuts down at 6:30 p.m.
Prestwick Country Club: This private club is the perfect place to play, if you can get in. A limited amount of public play is permitted, usually during the heat of the day when members are in the pool. Featuring 13 courts, play is often restricted by availability, but it's certainly worth a shot if you don't mind spending a bit more money than the free public fee courts.
Riverfront Tennis Center: This public facility is located in the nearby town of Conway but is well worth the drive. Featuring seven courses with lighting for night play, this Horry County/Conway co-operative allows affordable play and lots of organized tournaments and activities to help you enjoy the game even more. Surrounded by a city park and playground facilities, you can bring the kids along and let them entertain themselves while you work on your game. There is a $5 daily fee for non-residents and tennis pro is on staff to offer tips or lessons. Riverfront, which is located on Elm Street, just a block away from the scenic Waccamaw River, provides a great place to play and a good excuse to explore the historic town of Conway.
Socastee High School: Located on Highway 707 in western, unincorporated Myrtle Beach, this Horry County Schools member offers free and open play any time of day. Although local schools run through the first week of June so be careful around the increased traffic if you are going around 8 a.m. or 3 p.m., when the classes start and end. The school's tennis seasons are over so public play is open on a first-come, first-served basis. The courts also have lights for night play.