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Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip to Pawley’s Island

September 15, 2012 6:00 AM

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beach 0291 Getaway Guide: Weekend Trip to Pawleys Island

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When people in the Carolinas think about going to the beach, they usually think about Wilmington, Myrtle Beach or Charleston. South of Myrte Beach and north of Charleston, sits a little place perfect for a great weekend getaway, however. Pawley’s Island is one of the oldest summer resorts on the Atlantic Coast. When rice farmers first settled on nearby rivers and built plantations, they realized it was unhealthy to live there in the summer months: Malaria posed a huge threat. They knew it was healthier at the seashore, so they moved everything to Pawley’s Island in May and stayed there until the first frost in November. The laid-back attitude survives to today (along with 12 residences in the historic district dating to the 1700s and 1800s), making it the perfect spot to get away from it all and just relax.

Getting There

To get to Pawley’s Island from Charlotte, take the Billy Graham Parkway/US 521, and drive south. On the way, enjoy the Piedmont of North Carolina, the Sandhills of South Carolina, and the Coastal Area of South Carolina. Photograph beautiful trees, lakes and wide open areas on this scenic drive. Stay on US 521 for 190 miles, and then turn north on US-17 in Georgetown, S.C. After turning north, go another 12 miles to Pawley’s Island.

What To Do

Litchfield Beach
Pawleys Island, SC 29585

Pretty much all of Pawley’s Island is a beach, but if you are looking for a specific one, try Litchfield Beach, just to the north. This area takes its name from a former rice plantation that was first established in the area in the 1700s. This is a quiet and relaxing beach, not one with all the crowds, noise and calamity. Take advantage of a nearby clubhouse with restrooms and outdoor showers for rinsing off.

Related: A Guide To Rock Climbing In Charlotte

Atalaya Castle
Huntington Beach State Park
16148 Ocean Highway
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
(843) 237-4440

Price: free visitor’s center/$1 castle

In some ways, Atalaya Castle resembles a fortress. This was the summer retreat for Archer Huntington, who purchased four adjacent platations and had this home and the Brookgreen Gardens built over a three-year period, beginning in 1931. Atalaya is the Spanish term for watch tower, and there is one here, right in the middle of the courtyard. This is now part of Huntington Beach State Park. You may take a self tour or a guided tour here.

Brookgreen Gardens
1931 Brookgreen Drive
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
(843) 235-6000

Price: $14 adults 13 to 64/$7 children 4 to 12/free children younger than 4/$12 seniors 65 and older

Brookgreen Gardens is both a garden and a zoo. It was built as a garden in the early 1930s by Archer Huntington to preserve local flora and fauna, and display works of art in that natural setting. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark and a wildlife preserve with an impressive display of sculptures, plants and animals.

Related: Best Spots For A Picnic In Charlotte


The Pelican Inn
506 Myrtle Ave.
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
(843) 325-7522

Rate: $250 per night for two adults (Includes two meals)/$12 extra for children older than 6

If you are looking for a place to relax, The Pelican Inn Bed & Breakfast promises that it is impossible NOT to relax as a guest there. Pawley’s is the birthplace of the rope hammock, invented by Joshua John Ward in the late 1800s, and the porch at The Pelican Inn pays tribute to that with its own. Choose from eight rooms at The Pelican, all air conditioned, although the house was built in the 1840s. Enjoy direct beach access and a private dock over the salt marsh. Guests are served both breakfast and midday dinner of low-country cuisine using local ingredients.

Sea View Inn
414 Myrtle Ave.
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
(843) 237-4253

Rates: from $119 per night

This 20-room bed and breakfast right in the middle of the island welcomes you to three meals per day. These meals are down-home style, such as grits, biscuits and fresh fish caught locally. Enjoy WiFi access, but use of laptops and cell phones is restricted here to certain areas that are out of sight. Sea View is aptly named, as it looks right out on the ocean and onto the salt marsh in the back, where crabbing is popular.

Hanser House

14360 Ocean Highway
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
(843) 235-3021

Located just across from Litchfield beach, the Hanser House restaurant is family owned by local natives with more than 55 years experience in the business. This is a good place for familes with children, and also a good place for the bar scene with a happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The menu ranges from choice aged beef to local seafood and includes homemade soups, creole, casseroles and desserts.

Pawleys Island Tavern
The Island Shops, U.S. 17
Pawleys Island, SC 29585
(843) 237-8465

Called PIT for short, the tavern serves lunch and dinner daily from Tuesday to Sunday. This is a family friendly atmosphere with local style and a menu featuring local, seasonal ingredients. Local bands also come here to perform, but the real draw is some of the area’s most delicious cuisine served up in a friendly atmosphere.

Vincent Eagan, III is a minister who has preached and taught Jesus in 30 states and Peru over the last 15 years. He currently lives in Monroe, NC, and is working on his MTh in Theology. He has been a life-long student of the Bible and other religious texts, and loves to discuss history. His work can be found at

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