‘I had no idea’: A decades old law locals should know before booking a staycation

Grand Strand resident Max Neubauer was shocked to find out some hotels turn away locals.
Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 8:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 25, 2023 at 1:58 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Max Neubauer has lived in the Grand Strand for nearly ten years and wanted to book a staycation with his wife for a weekend getaway. However, he was shocked to find out some hotels turn away locals.

Neubauer said he was all set to check out online for a room at the North Beach Resort and Villas, but the submit button would not work.

He looked at their policy and discovered they do not take reservations for Horry and Georgetown residents.

“I had no idea,” Neubauer said. “I was totally floored and flabbergasted when they said we couldn’t book there. I was like, are you sure? She said, ‘Yes, I’m sorry we won’t allow you to stay.’”

Neubauer shared his experience in a now viral post on Facebook garnering thousands of comments with similar stories.

Some people said they were aware, and others were not of a decades-old South Carolina law that has been around since 1994.

The Lodging Establishment Act allows hotels to turn away locals or anyone else as long as they do not discriminate against someone’s race, gender, marital status or age.

MGA Travel President Michael Graham said issues like big parties and illegal activities prompted the rule, and many hotels choose to follow it over safety concerns.

However, Graham shared Neubauer’s frustration as he’s faced a similar issue when trying to avoid driving home after drinking with his wife.

“I tried to rent a room, and they were getting everything ready, but they saw my license and that I had a Little River address, and they said sorry we don’t rent to locals,” Graham said. “That’s not only frustrating, but it’s kind of unsafe for somebody trying to be responsible.”

So, Graham shared some tips for locals who may want to book a staycation.

  • Plan ahead as early as you can
  • Non-chain hotels may be more likely to rent to locals
  • Consider booking staycation during the winter
  • Avoid third-party booking websites because they may not know about the rule

Here’s a list provided by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce updated as of 2023 of properties that rent to locals:

  • Best Western Ocean Sands Beach Resort
  • Cabana Shores Hotel
  • Camelot by the Sea
  • Carolina Winds Resort
  • Compass Cove Oceanfront Resort
  • Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark
  • Fairfield Inn by Marriott at Broadway at the Beach
  • Grande Shores Ocean Resort
  • Hampton Inn and Suites Myrtle Beach Oceanfront
  • Hilton Garden Inn Myrtle Beach Coastal Grand Mall
  • Holiday Inn Oceanfront at Surfside Beach
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Myrtle Beach Coastal Grand Mall
  • Island Vista
  • Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort and Spa at Grande Dunes
  • Ocean Creek Resort
  • Ocean Park Resort
  • Pawleys Plantation Golf & Country Club
  • Polynesian Beach & Golf Resort
  • Sea Crest Oceanfront Resort
  • Seaside Resort
  • Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel
  • Staybridge Suites Myrtle Beach - West
  • The Caravelle Resort
  • Towers at North Myrtle Beach

Note: This list is managed by the Visit Myrtle Beach Call Center and obtainable by calling the center at 800-356-3016. The list is not meant to be a comprehensive list of Grand Strand lodging properties that rent to locals. Rather, it offers a variety of options for locals to take a staycation. As of March 2023, these properties are members of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and shared with Visit Myrtle Beach that they will accommodate locals from Horry and Georgetown counties. Local residents should call the property first to verify their local resident rental policy before booking. Additional accommodations not found on this list may also accommodate locals.