Surrounded by North Myrtle Beach on both sides, the small town of Atlantic Beach has a rich history that carries an impact well beyond its four blocks of beach.
Nicknamed “The Black Pearl” this community was started by the descendants of the Gullah and Geechee people, a group of slaves who inhabited areas between Wilmington, N.C., to Jacksonville, Fla., for nearly 300 years.
This group men and women founded the town in the 1930s — defying the stereotypes of the segregated south by opening their own hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and novelty shops to create a thriving African American community in Atlantic Beach.
Though time has taken its toll on the area, it is still known locally as the home of the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, a huge motorcycle rally which draws tens of thousands of visitors to the area each May.
Once known as simply the “Black Beach,” the area still urges African-American families to visit and honor its heritage as the “only black-owned beach in the nation” while also welcoming folks of all races to join in the celebration of its history.
The area of South Ocean Boulevard facing the beach in Atlantic Beach is nearly deserted, thus offering easy access to a secluded stretch of sand.