Nascar Experience at Myrtle Beach, SC. (photo by GettyImages)
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - Tourists have continued to come to South Carolina's Grand Strand, but they're not spending as much money there as they used to.
The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported Monday that visitors to the popular beach destination sought out deals this summer and took advantage of free attractions like simply spending time on the beach.
Coastal Carolina University's Center for Resort Tourism says about the same number of people came this summer as last year, with lodging in the area's hotels averaging nearly 80 percent.
Average hotel rates were up more than $5 a night over last summer.
The Grand Strand is the 60 miles of beaches from Georgetown to the North Carolina state line. Myrtle Beach is the heart of South Carolina's $15 billion tourism industry.