If you look closely, Myrtle Beach is beginning to look like Las Vegas.

Or maybe Myrtle is the new Vegas of the East Coast.

Some of you might get angry at that.

Atlantic City might yell, “Yo, wait a minute.”

Folks down South might say, “Myrtle Beach is not Sin City!”

Vegas peeps might laugh, “Myrtle Beach can’t match the Strip.”

And those responses make sense.

Vegas Not Just Casinos

Still, there are some changes happening in both vacation hotspots that look familiar.

Before we show you, let’s explain my decades of observations of both destinations and the massive changes I have seen and reported on.

I’ve been visiting the surrounding Myrtle Beach area since 1988 and began living here full-time in 2012.  This is a time when the region — including Brunswick County, NC — is still gorging themselves on record growth of new residents and visitors coming from the previously heavily populated Northeast.  Like many of you, my drive time around town has more than doubled in the last few years.

In addition, I lived in Vegas for two decades from 1990 until 2010 with six of those years working as a full-time journalist/news anchor.  I was right there for the renaissance of the new Vegas with major casinos rising like skyscrapers on steroids.  I anchored live TV shows as casino/hotels like The Wynn, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand opened or standing atop other casino skyscrapers as old ones were imploded live for the perfect Vegas booming show opens.  One of the greatest lines about Las Vegas came from US Senator Richard Bryan, who I interviewed many times.  He said, the state bird should be the crane.  Vegas, back then, is like Myrtle Beach now.  Every time you drive to certain areas there is something either being paved, plowed, or under massive construction.

While I am lucky to witness and report on these booms, it seems not much has changed for me

I continue working today with two shows.

First, Undercover Jetsetter, with my Co-Host Susan Anzalone, who still lives in Vegas as we explore travel, food, wine, mixology, and golf.

Second, Carolina Buzz, on Wingding TV, about what is happening along the coast of the Carolinas from south of Myrtle Beach all the way up north of Wilmington, NC.

I rejoice in being a part of both places including and their large number of benefits and their allure while also understanding, like any other place in the world, both regions’ not-so great attributes which don’t overwhelm the good.

Myrtle Boom

And I see a lot of similar trends that are already re-shaping Myrtle Beach – and in some cases making it better than Vegas.

Here’s how they are similar and how we rank them.

First, the Casino Scene: OK this is a little unfair.  Clearly Vegas wins this category.  Myrtle Beach has The Big “M” Casino, a casino boat out of Little River, SC, just north of Myrtle.  You can cruise and gamble.  Because there are no real casinos and sports betting on land, visitors to Myrtle miss out on what I think are some of the greatest times like Super Bowl and this one, March Madness, that we show you here.

Vegas also beats Myrtle with major sports teams: Vegas has the Golden Knights in the NHL with a Stanley Cup, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, soon the Las Vegas A’s in Major League Baseball, and the WNBA’s Aces.

Second, the Entertainment Scene: While Myrtle doesn’t have the glitz and glamour of the Vegas strip, it offers a unique charm and a diverse range of attractions that draw millions of visitors each year. From live shows and concerts to comedy clubs and theaters, there is no shortage of entertainment options to keep visitors entertained throughout their stay. You have the Carolina Opry, House of Blues, and even the Vegas classic Legends in Concert.  So, Myrtle Beach is not too far behind.  Still, with Vegas’s ability to draw some big names with residencies at casinos, we would give Vegas a slight advantage here.

Real Foodie Towns

Third, the Food Scene: Myrtle Beach and Vegas would have a great food battle.  Both places have attracted top-notch chefs and a wide range of culinary choices that are outstanding.

And it is not just the food; it’s the culinary staffs.

Bear with me here to explain this from a foodie point of view.

In the early 1990s when my wife and I arrived in Vegas, the best culinary offering was the casino buffet. Sure, they were good, but not appealing to foodies.  And foodies were beginning to take over.  Remember, the start of the Food Network?  It was right around that time.  And then in the late 1990s, all the great chefs and restauranteurs set up shop in Las Vegas.  As a result, the culinary choices for locals and visitors are so vast that you couldn’t hit them all in a month.

Let me digress again to make a point about the foodie culture.

For years, Hollywood and Los Angeles were known as a foodie hub.  But we noticed that Las Vegas had surpassed the surrounding Tinsel Town by the early 2000s.

Here’s what my Undercover Jetsetter host Susan Anzalone and I discovered.  When you’re at a good restaurant in LA and you wanted some depth of knowledge from the wait staff, you usually heard about the waiters or waitresses efforts to be an actor or actress.  These are aspiring or struggling actors filling in between roles, rehearsals, and auditions.  And, they are hard workers dedicated to the craft of acting.

Here’s the difference.  When in Vegas over the past 20 years, the waiters and waitresses talked like they were trained chefs, mixologists, and sommeliers.  They lived the culinary and food service experience.  This was their primary business.  You learned so much from them.  And you realized how many were trained or going through training at the time.  We have had waiters who were in the midst of becoming certified sommeliers.

That is one reason Vegas is foodie heaven.

Side note irony here: Las Vegas has a number of Hollywood Film Studios about to be built.

Here are some more Vegas foodie delights we found.  We start with Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen.


And how about the classic throwback – the Bootlegger – off the Strip.

But Myrtle Beach competes for Foodie points as well.

We’ve hit some incredible spots.  Here’s one of our meals at Greg Norman’s.


And we hit Boardwalk Billy’s for a number of meals that were superb.


On the Foodie Scale, we give Vegas just a slight advantage.

Bring the Sticks

Fourth, Golf Scene: Las Vegas has some incredible courses in the high desert that give your shots more distance and lots of bounce near the green and many times into the rocks and cactus.  Like Myrtle Beach, you can play in Vegas all year round.  But here we give the edge to Myrtle Beach, the golf capital of the world, with courses designed around pine trees, lakes, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Atlantic Ocean.  Here’s one of the greatest holes in golf, Arnie’s Revenge at Rivers Edge.


Fifth, Places To Stay: Vegas has some of the greatest hotel casinos in the world.  Plus, Vegas is more than just the Las Vegas Strip.  There is Downtown Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Henderson that offer all the pleasures and luxuries of the Strip without the traffic.  And Myrtle Beach is no different.  You can stay in some great hotels near the Myrtle Beach Grand Strand.  But you can also luxuriate on the beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway. Because of the lure of the beach, we give Myrtle a slight advantage here.

Sixth, Adult Entertainment: Both destinations have their share of Strip Clubs with exotic dancers and adult entertainment. Overall, we would rate Vegas safer.  The Las Vegas strip clubs are generally considered safe as they are well secured and often located in tourist-friendly areas such as the Strip and Downtown Fremont, ensuring a safe environment for visitors. Plus, these establishments in Las Vegas maintain security measures such as security cameras and trained personnel to enhance safety.

We highly recommend you hit both destinations.  Then tell us what you think.

John Daly hosts and produces with Susan Anzalone, Undercover Jetsetter, a show on travel, food, wine, mixology and, of course, golf. They show you how to jet set the world and at home. They also co-authored the book, The TV Studio In Your Hand: How to Shoot, Edit & Deliver the Easy Way on Your iPhone. Join them for tips and hacks on the road, at home, or in the kitchen.  Yes, all produced on the iPhone.  You can follow them here on the free Wingding app on the Food and Travel Channels, on YouTube, Facebook, X, and Instagram. John is also a Nevada Hall of Fame Broadcaster during his years as a Las Vegas news anchor at KTNV.  And he also hosts and produces Carolina Buzz, a show about the Carolinas seen exclusively on Wingding Media.