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Introducing Myrtle Beach

Love it or hate it, Myrtle Beach means summer vacation, American-style.

Bikers take advantage of the lack of helmet laws to let their graying ponytails fly in the wind, bikini-clad teenagers play Pac-Man and eat hot dogs in smoky arcades, and whole families roast like chickens on the white sand.

North Myrtle Beach, actually a separate town, is slightly lower-key, with a thriving culture based on the ‘shag’ (no, not that kind of shag) – a jitterbug-like dance invented here in the 1940s.

It ain’t for nature lovers, but with enormous outlet malls and innumerable mini-golf courses, water parks, daiquiri bars and T-shirt shops, it’s a rowdy good time.

There’s internet access at Chapin Memorial Library (843-918-1275; 400 14th Ave N; 9am-6pm Mon, Wed & Fri, to 8pm Tue & Thu, to 5pm Sat) and loads of maps and brochures at the visitor center (843-626-7444, 800-496-8250; www.myrtlebeachinfo.com; 1200 N Oak St; 8:30am-5pm Mon-Fri, 10am-2pm Sat).