Hold hands, move your feet, and do a twirl. Doing the Carolina Shag is that simple! The Shag, which is the official state dance of South Carolina, got its start in North Myrtle Beach in the ‘40s when college kids on spring break flocked to our nine-mile stretch of beaches. Their freshly tanned faces would dot the dance floors of nightclubs on Main Street and Ocean Drive as they enjoyed the rhythm of the night.

But the Carolina Shag isn’t a relic of the past. It’s alive and well and still has fans of every generation flocking to NMB to bust a move. An integral part of North Myrtle Beach nightlife, the shag is simple, and the music is fun. A few underarm turns, a little back and forth with the feet, the trail, and an eight-count pivot, and you are well on your way to shaggin’ with the best of ‘em.

While you may want to master the moves beforehand, the real fun is learning the dance. Trust us – you’re not the only rookie out on the dance floor! The pros are always happy to take a novice under their wing and get them started. Here’s where to learn and dance the Carolina Shag in NMB.

Shag Lessons & Nightly Dance Spots 

Learn a thing or two about the shag and make unforgettable memories out on the dance floor with old and new friends.

Fat Harold’s Beach Club offers free Shag lessons every Tuesday night, and for those really looking to perfect their steps, paid classes are available on Monday evenings. 

Once you’ve got the steps down (most of them at least), head over to bars and pubs like the OD Arcade & Lounge for a Shag dance. This place is a favorite with locals, so if you want to pick up extra tips, this is the place to do so. Duck’s Dance Club and the Spanish Galleon Night Club are also popular spots for shaggers.

To fully immerse yourself in the shag and learn the history behind the dance, visit the Ocean Drive Beach & Golf Resort, home to the Shagger’s Hall of Fame.

Society of Stranders Shag Festivals

The Society of Stranders, better known as SOS, hosts Shag events throughout the year. Their year-round gatherings bring fans of the Shag to NMB for fun and festivities. The SOS Spring Safari from April 18th to April 28th this year hosts a 10-day party complete with a parade! The 2024 Fall Migration takes place from September 12th to September 22nd, and features live music and dancing galore all across Main Street and Ocean Drive. The highlights of the migration include Fun Sunday at OD Arcade, and Fun Monday along Main Street in Ocean Drive.

Every year, North Myrtle Beach is host to the National Shag Dance Competition, which first took place in 1984. Held over two weekends early in the year, you can attend as a spectator and watch contestants dance or sign up to go toe to toe with some of the best shaggers after learning a thing or two on our dance floor. Qualifying rounds are in January and the finals in March. 

The Shag is part of the heart and soul of NMB. Generations have come here to relax by day and shag at night. It’s difficult to find a more fun family tradition to pass down from generation to generation than shag dancing. And remember this while out on the dance floor – dance like no one is watching!