Top Things to Do Highway 17 Georgetown County

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If you’re visiting Georgetown for the first time, or just exploring all that the area has to offer, there is plenty to do and see along U.S. Highway 17, also known as Ocean Highway.

To that end, the Tidelands Magazine staff developed this list of 17 must-do stops along Highway 17. So take a drive along Highway 17 – and a few detours along the way – and experience everything Georgetown County and the South Strand has to offer. We begin in the most northern portion of the county and take you throughout our most Southern border. Some stops are along Highway 17, while others are short distances just off the highway but all are easily accessible.

1) Garden City Pier

Good old-fashioned beach fun awaits visitors at the Garden City Pier, located at 110 S. Waccamaw Drive in Murrells Inlet. Hand-scooped ice cream, skeeball, live bands and karaoke entices kids of all ages to Garden City’s go-to place for fun. The pier’s nearly 700-foot length tempts many to rent a rod and reel and give pier fishing a try; many young anglers catch their first shark from the rolling breakers below.

2) Belin Memorial United Methodist Church

Nestled in one of the most picturesque spots in Georgetown County, Belin Memorial United Methodist Church sits beneath majestic oaks on the waterfront in Murrells Inlet. Named for the Rev. James L. Belin, Methodist minister and benefactor to the entire Waccamaw Neck, Belin United Methodist Church was originally constructed in 1925 with materials salvaged from the dismantling of the Oatland Methodist Church near Pawleys Island. The current structure, located at 4182 Highway 17 Business, was re-built in 1991 to resemble the original church that sat on the exact same charismatic site.

3) Murrells Inlet & the MarshWalk

It’s known as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” and it’s clear why from the dozens of famous restaurants along the equally famous MarshWalk. For more, turn to Page 16 for a feature story sure to whet your appetite.

4) Huntington Beach State Park

With more than 2,500 acres, there is so much to do and see at Huntington Beach State Park, which has its entrance right off Highway 17. The park features three miles of undeveloped beachfront. Nature trails and boardwalks wind through the park, leading guests through maritime forest and into a salt marsh. Known for its natural beauty, Huntington Beach State Park was the former winter home of sculptress Anna Hyatt and her husband, philanthropist Archer Huntington, who left the park, including one of South Carolina’s landmarks – Atalaya, the picturesque, Moorish-style winter home of the Huntington’s, and adjacent Brookgreen Gardens as their legacy. Revel in sea-breezes while camping, experience the finest surf fishing South Carolina has to offer and enjoy some of the top bird-watching on the East Coast while visiting Huntington Beach State Park.

5) Brookgreen Gardens

Brookgreen Gardens’ combination of art, history and zoo touches the heart and teaches the mind with new exhibits, programs and tours. Boat rides turn into history lessons, and a visit to the butterfly house becomes a lesson in conservation. Entrance is directly off Highway 17. For more, see our feature story on Page 8.

6) Litchfield Beach

Litchfield Beach is one of the longest most pristine stretches of beach along the Pawleys Island corridor of U.S. Highway 17. It is a favorite of dog lovers, being the only beach where dogs are allowed to run free, off their leashes every morning until 9 o’clock. The beach also attracts bikers who can peddle for miles past Huntington Beach State Park to a jetty, and even ride their bikes out to the tip of the jetty with the ocean on one side and the entance to Murrells Inlet on the other; a favorite dolphing watching spot for many. The beach is also a favorite location for fisherman, who cart their gear down to remote places along the beach to cast into the surf in hopes of bringing in flounder, red fish and other fish native to the coast. There are several routes from Highway 17 to the public beaches. Just look for the signs.

7) All Saints Church

All Saints Episcopal Church, 3560 Kings River Road in Pawleys Island, was one of the most significant Episcopal churches in the South Carolina Lowcountry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its first congregation was formed in 1739, and the church has been located at the same site since its beginning. The church cemetery, established in the 1820s, is significant for the individuals buried there, many of whom were the leading public figures of antebellum Georgetown County. Containing noteworthy gravestone art from circa 1820 to circa 1900, the cemetery sits under a canopy of live oaks and is surrounded by a pierced brick fence with wrought iron gates. The majority of the monuments in the cemetery are simple slab steles sculpted in either marble or granite. But the graveyard also includes table-top tombs and sculptural monuments. Pawleys is full of ghost stories and All Saints Church is home to one of the most famous. The grave of Alice Flagg, a young daughter of a plantation owner with a forbidden love, rests in All Saint’s cemetery. Many rings have been placed there in honor of her. Legends and lore abound in this moss-draped live oak burial ground.

8) Historic Pawleys Island

Laced along three miles of oceanfront, the Pawleys Island Historic District is comprised of cottages dating back to the late 1700s through the mid-1800s. Many, built of Cyprus, have deep porches that were built to catch the breeze. Survivors of wind and time, these homes impart the island with its signature nickname, “arrogantly shabby.” Originally, the cottages were the summer haven of colonial rice plantation owners who brought their families to Pawleys Island to avoid malaria and fevers so prevalent in the interior of the state, Pawleys Island is one of the country’s oldest beach resorts. Again, easily accessible from Highway 17 via the north and south causeways – just look for the signs.

9) Hobcaw Barony

Walk the grounds once visited by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, visit the only, fully intact, slave village along the Grand Strand and enjoy unique ecology programs through hikes at the beach, marsh and forests on the grounds of Hobcaw Barony. A 17,500-acre research reserve, Hobcaw Barony is one of the few undeveloped tracts on the Waccamaw Neck. The property includes more than 37 historic buildings and structures representative of the eras of both 18th- and 19th-century rice cultivation and 20th-century winter retreats. Hobcaw Barony, located at 22 Barony Road in Georgetown, was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Public access is limited to guided tours and programs.

10) Historic Front Street in Georgetown

Historic Front Street, located in downtown Georgetown, is a must-see destination for waterfront shopping, dining, boating, fishing, historic tours and ghost tours. Easily assessable by land or sea, a potpourri of family-owned shops and restaurants await those that venture down this tree-lined, riverfront thoroughfare. The Harborwalk, a charming boardwalk overlooking the Sampit River, is lined with cafés, galleries, antique shops and specialty stores. Follow the signs from Highway 17 after crossing into Georgetown. Several side streets lead directly to Front Street.

11) Rice Museum

This museum, with its iconic Clock Tower, located at 633 Front St. in Georgetown, is a prominent symbol of Georgetown County. Through dioramas, maps, artifacts and other exhibits, visitors to the Rice Museum are enlightened to the history of a society dependent on the rice crop. The Maritime Museum Gallery, located next door in the Kaminski Hardware building, displays the Browns Ferry Vessel, built in the early 1700s and sunk approximately 1730. Also located in the Kaminski Hardware building is the Prevost Gallery and the Museum Gift Shop. For information, call 843-546-7423 or visit www.ricemuseum.org.

12) Georgetown County Museum

Located at The History Center at 120 Broad St. in Georgetown, near the intersection with Front Street, this museum offers visitors a look at artifacts that represent 300 years of local history. Artifacts include a model of the Revolutionary War Brig “Fair American,” the first ship in the U.S. Navy, and a cypress dugout canoe found near Caledonia Plantation on the Waccamaw River. Also on display is the original letter from Gen. Francis Marion (the Swamp Fox) to Gen. Nathaneal Greene, dated July 30, 1782, confirming that he would return to Georgetown. For information, call 843-545-7020 or visit www.georgetowncountymuseum.com.

13) S.C. Maritime Museum

This museum at 729 Front St. in downtown Georgetown offers a glimpse into the rich maritime history of South Carolina and Georgetown with large photos, ship models and the actual Fresnel lens that was in the Georgetown Lighthouse at the mouth of Winyah Bay for more than a century. The Harbor Historical Association opened the museum in 2011. One of the most recent additions is a model of The Planter steamship, built by Dennis Cannady of Beaufort County. For information, call 843-520-0111 or visit scmaritimemuseum.org.

14) Kaminski House Museum

Located at 1003 Front St., the former home of Gov. Harold Kaminski was willed to the city by his wife, Julia Pyatt Kaminski, upon her death in 1972. The Kaminski House and the adjacent Stewart-Parker House are perched on a bluff overlooking the Sampit River and Georgetown Harbor. The Kaminski House lawn and gardens, as well as the Stewart-Parker House, can be rented for special events. For information, call 843-546-7706 or visit www.kaminskimuseum.org.

15) Gullah Museum

Tucked away at 123-6 King St., this museum celebrates the Gullah/Geechee culture of West African slaves who were skilled farmers. It offers guests a glimpse into the unique culture and history of the Gullah/Geechee people, who were taken from their homes in West Africa. Skilled farmers and laborers, Gullah slaves made planters rich by farming rice, indigo and cattle. Exhibits include traditional Gullah art such as story quilts, sweetgrass baskets and carved wooden walking sticks. It also has books about the Gullah language, historical photographs and documents. For information, call 843-527-1851 or visit www.gullahmuseumsc.com.

16) Hopsewee Plantation

Built circa 1740, some 40 years before the American Revolutionary War, Hopsewee Plantation was one of the South’s major rice plantations and the birthplace of Thomas Lynch Jr., one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Now a private residence, this National Historic Landmark—near Georgetown, located at 494 Hopsewee Road in Georgetown, is a must-see.

17) Hampton Plantation

Tucked away among live oaks and magnolias, Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, located at 1950 Rutledge Road in McClellanville, just outside Georgetown, is home to the remote, final remnants of a colonial-era rice plantation.

The plantation’s Georgian-style mansion and well-kept grounds serve as an interpretive site for the system of slavery that helped build such plantations in South Carolina into the greatest generators of wealth in early American history.

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Got Fish? Fishing Charters Along The Grand Strand

It’s not that we’re fishing for compliments, really.

But there are some things the South Strand does very well, and inshore and offshore adventures are among them.

While staying at your vacation rental at Litchfield by the Sea in Pawleys Island you’re within casting distance of some fun, knowledgeable and reputable charter companies to take you out, hook you up, and reel your catch in for an incredibly memorable outing. This is an especially great option if you’re chipping in with a couple of other adults to defray costs. Flounder, black drum, red drum, sea trout, tarpon and more (and maybe even a shark — eek!) will be swimming right below your feet while experienced guides walk you through the basics, all the way up to advanced technique. They know all the best spots and the tried-and-true tricks, so all you have to do is show up. And have fun.

Who to try in or near the South Strand? Read on.

Carolina Guide Service: Customization is the key to Carolina Guide Service’s operation, which will work with you to find the best spot to get the fish of choice for your outing. Locations vary but most fishing is done in calm, shallow water and always with land in sight — and with a USCG-certified captain helming your vessel. They provide everything — from rods and tackle to an ice-filled cooler — but you’re in charge of smart sun gear and your own food and drink. They’ll pick you up at one of several area ramps, depending on tides and weather, and prices start at $400 for a four-hour trip. They’re great with kids and have excellent specialized local fishing knowledge. They are based in Pawleys Island.

Barrier Island Guide Service: We love this fully licensed and certified crew if you’re trying to please a variety of folks: some may be more into the fishing, others a little less so. You’ll get it all with Barrier Island, whose trips may also include shelling, birding, dolphin watching, island hopping and lighthouse visiting. This will always go over well with the kids, as does the captain’s patience with learning little ones … and larger first-timers, too. Four-hour fishing trips start at $350 (for two anglers), and the eco-tours go for the same price (for four boaters). Large groups can be accommodated for additional fees. As is the case with most area charters, these folks know their stuff and are committed to ensuring you have a fantastic experience. They are also based in Pawleys Island.

Critter Gitter Fishing Charters: Care to venture a little farther out to sea? Based in nearby Georgetown, the creatively named Critter Gitter outfit is primed and ready to take you to the gorgeous Gulf Stream, more than 50 miles from shore. There the more elusive dolphin, tuna and billfish are swimming under the big, radar-equipped boat you’ll call home for the day. This option affords some luxury, given their new Wellcraft 330 Coastal is outfitted with a bathroom and an air-conditioned salon area. Off-shore adventures are full-day affairs, but half-day inshore trips and bottom fishing excursions are also available. You bring food, drink and personal items, and they’ll take care of the rest. Prices and scheduling upon request, so contact licensed and certified Captain Max here.

Other recommended spots include:

Try Inshore Xtreme for fishing with a side of local love. Take a traditional fishing charter or instead spend a day boating to and from Charleston. Rates are competitive and staff is wonderful, with kids especially.

Georgetown Charters is beloved for successful outings, friendly service and diverse fishing options — think jetty, inshore, near shore or flats. They also have a number of different fishing vessels to further customize your trip.

Travel Advisor Award Winner

Honored that our Lakeside Villa at Litchfield by the Sea was recognized by Travel Advisor at a “Best of 2014” award winner.  Check out our listing and see the reviews on Trip Advisor –  You can also visit our other website to learn more about the Pawleys Island area.  We have included restaurant recommendations, things to do and more.  If you are looking for a terrific vacation rental along the Grand Strand, add us to your short list.  Litchfield by the Sea is just a short drive south of Myrtle Beach.  Close enough to enjoy the attractions, but far enough away to get out of the traffic.  Enjoy amenities such as private beach access with showers and bathrooms, lighted tennis courts, fishing and crabbing docks, and walking / jogging trails.

trip advisor winner

Top Five Reasons to Visit the Grand Strand During the Holidays

 

 

 

Our Top Five Reasons to Visit Myrtle Beach for the Holidays

 

One thing those of us who work in hospitality along the Grand Strand  love is getting to know repeat visitors. We get to see families return year after year, get to watch kids grow up … and Christmas is no exception! Many families make an annual holiday tradition out of their trip to beaches of South Carolina (specifically, Pawleys Island). Here are the reasons they tell us they prefer to visit the beach in the winter:

 

1. Forget about crowds.
Those noisy summer crowds aren’t a concern when you come to visit Pawleys Island in the winter.

 

2. The weather.
You won’t find the almost tropical heat southern summers are known for when you visit the Grand Strand in the fall and winter, but you also won’t get as much rain. In fact, November is much drier than August here in Pawleys Island, and December’s even less wet! So as long as you’re not afraid to dress in layers, you can enjoy clear skies and long walks on the beach.

 

3. We’ve got great Christmas shows.
Carolina Opry and Alabama Theatre in particular offer up annual Christmas shows that people come back for year after year after year. Something’s always a little different, but you can see your favorite performers mature and grow in their careers. And with the amazing holiday decoration displays at these theaters, you will absolutely feel the Christmas spirit move you!

 

4. Less family stress.
Look, we know you love that aunt or grandma or sister-in-law who also happens to drive you crazy every year at Christmas. But you can still send her holiday cheer via a Skype call on Christmas morning from the comfort of your quiet and serene Pawleys Island vacation rental.

 

5. Awesome shopping.
If you go on vacation along the Grand Strand for the holidays, you can get your own shopping done, whether you’re shopping for others or for yourselves. Shoppers cite the Tanger Outlets on Hwy. 501 and Hwy. 17 as well as the trendy Market Common. And if you’re looking for some Christmas cheer in your shopping, be sure to check out the annual Myrtle Beach Dickens Christmas Show Nov. 14-17, 2013.

What about you? Have you ever visited Litchfield by the Sea for Christmas? What was your favorite thing about it?

Litchfield by the Sea – Vacation Resort Near Myrtle Beach

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These photos are sure to get you in the mood to visit Litchfield by the Sea in Pawleys Island. Enjoy the benefits of this gated resort community.  Amenities include pools, private beach access, golf, tennis, crabbing, fishing, bike / jogging trails, on site Starbucks and more.

Far enough away to be out of the Myrtle Beach traffic but close enough to enjoy some of the offerings in Myrtle Beach.

NEED A PLACE TO STAY?  Click HERE

Discover the Hammock Coast in South Carolina South of Myrtle Beach

NEED A PLACE TO STAY?  Lakeside Villas at Litchfield by the Sea

About Litchfield Beach & Pawleys Island

Litchfield by the Sea in South Carolina is located about 15 minutes south from downtown Myrtle Beach.  Myrtle Beach pulls tons of guests a year who arrive for the resorts, surfing, shopping and many from the other local activeness. Litchfield by the Sea Pawleys Island, SC. Pawleys Island real estate is beautiful, with city improvement; the friendly atmosphere has been kept.

Pawleys Island has a few wonderful first class golf life. Several of the golf courses were built on old plantations and you may also see remains of a few of the elderly rice plantations.

Unlike Myrtle Beach, there are few hotels in the area.  Rather, there is the Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort and other vacation rentals.   Litchfield by the Sea has excellent amenities including golf, tennis, an on-site cafe, Starbucks and spa  to name a few. This is probably the best option for those wanting a vacation.  Litchfield by the Sea also offers private beach access.

Pawleys Island has a low density policy on building.  So the zoning, high rise condos and other development is kept in check.  The result is a beautiful area that is not as touristy as Myrtle Beach.   While there are several locations you should visit around Myrtle Beach section, Litchfield by the Sea is perfect if you enjoy a high quality calm visit away from all of high congestion places but near enough to bask unending choices of fun.

Pawleys Island beach happens to be so isolated ocean turtles have chosen the white exciting beaches to put their eggs. Several of the area folk have been truly protecting over these types of sites where ocean turtle nests have been typically found.

Pawleys Island also has legendary eateries.  The area is popular for shrimping boats that might dock in Murrells Inlet as well as Georgetown.  Murrells Inlet is established just miles from Pawleys Island and it has been named the Seafood Capital of the planet. The town has a variety of seafood cafes that provide great balcony room dinning and  live bands.
NEED A PLACE TO STAY?  CHECK OUT 63A LAKESIDE VILLAS AT LITCHFIELD BY THE SEA