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.

Driving Directions to Pawleys Island: Back Road Routes to Avoid Summer Saturday Traffic

shortcut to pawleys island

We want our guests to get their vacation off to a great start.  Thus, we offer this tip:  If you are arriving on Saturday in the summer, we suggest you find an alternate route. Generally, it is better to come to Georgetown than to come via Conway and Myrtle Beach to Litchfield. It is a few miles longer, but takes less time and hassle. If you are coming from Columbia, you can simply come via Sumter, Manning, Andrews, and Georgetown to Litchfield. If you are a little more adventurous, prefer a little better scenery, and have a navigator, you can try our preferred back road route which is written out below.

From Charlotte Airport / Interstate 77:

From the airport take 77 south into Columbia. Take 378 East towards Sumter for a little less than 30 minutes to 261 South at a light. 261 turns into 521 towards Georgetown. Before Andrews take 521 bypass around Andrews and into Georgetown which will take you to 17 N.

Hwy 17 N. takes you directly to Litchfield by the Sea on the right side.  As a point of reference, there is a traffic light where you turn right into Litchfield by the Sea.

Should be about 4 hour from Charlotte airport.

NOTE: Do not follow GPS if opting to use this route until you get onto Hwy 17 N.  Then it is safe to use the GPS.

Our VACATION RENTAL ( Lakeside Villa Cottage )is located just inside the main guarded entrace to Litchfield by the Sea.  If you go past the Starbucks sign on the right, you have gone too far.

 

Estimated Milage to Pawleys Island, SC

Departure City Miles Hours
Atlanta, GA
375
6
Baltimore, MD
506
8
Boston, MA
909
15
Charlotte, NC
225
4
Chattanooga, TN
494
8
Chicago, IL
965
15
Cincinnati, OH
674
11
Miami, FL
656
11
New York, NY
696
12
Nashville, TN
606
10
Philadelphia, PA
607
10
Pittsburgh, PA
648
11
Richmond, VA
350
6
Savannah, GA
180
3
Washington, DC
460
8

Got Wine?

wine

At the end of a day on the beach, shopping or the links, it’s time to slow down and relax.  How about a glass of wine?  Here are a few suggestions close to our Lakeside Villa at Litchfield by the Sea in Pawleys Island, SC

1) Perrone’s: This Mediterranean staple is nearly next door to Litchfield By the Sea, making it a great spot for a late afternoon happy hour and, eventually, dinner. The wine list isn’t one of those books with pages and pages of head-spinning options; instead it’s compact but excellently honed — a perfectly crafted short story as opposed to a rambling novel. We like that their wine menu includes tasting notes, so we have a primer of what to expect. Wines hail from all the important regions and are priced for every level of affordability. If you want to shell out a few more bucks —and it really is just a few more —opt for a glass from their reserve list. These wines are kept in temperature and humidity-controlled environs to slow degradation, so wines that were previously considered too rare or expensive are available to taste. Do note that the three-ounce pours start at $15, but it’s a small price to pay to try the likes of a Domaine Grand Veneer Chateauneuf du Pape. Each wine on the list provides the ideal accompaniment to Perrone’s locally sourced and inventive cuisine as well as their sophisticated but friendly ethos.
2) Austin’s Ocean One: Beloved in the South Strand for their delicious food and stunning sea views, it’s also home to a fantastic wine list. We’ve got lots to choose from among their globe-spanning selections at a number of price points. Riesling from Mosel, Chianti from Tuscany, Shiraz from Vale, Sauternes from Bordeaux — and just about everything in between. A large selection of wines are available by the glass and go as low as $5.50 per pour, but if you’re in a bottle mood, you’re in luck. And if you’ve got deep pockets, you’ll be in hog heaven. High rollers might not bat an eye at the Joseph Phelps Insignia meritage for just about $300, but those of us closer to earth can still get a great bottle of Rainer Ridge merlot and more for under $30. We love getting a smattering of small plates (Bahamian Lobster Skewers anyone?) and sipping a perfectly matched wine alongside them.
3) Bistro 217: This is, like, the quintessential cozy anniversary and celebration spot, so it’s no wonder they stock more-than-a-handful of sparkling wines and champagne. Brunch begs for a mimosa (at the bargain price of $5), but they also can offer you a bottle of ’02 Dom Perignon. Brace yourself for a hefty bill, though, as that bottle will run you close to two hundred bucks. However, if it’s a party of two, who can realistically finish an entire 750mL of bubbly without getting a little too, um, tipsy? We love the idea of splitting a split, and for $8 the Chandon Brut is more than adequate. After you toast your marriage / new job / kids moving out of the house and so forth, travel north on their wine list to find some fun and fabulous wines by the glass or bottle. We like the way they’ve arranged their varietals: some fall under the traditional titles (“chardonnay,”“cabernet sauvignon”) while many wind up under blanket terms such as “friendly reds”or “fresh and fun.”These are good barometers of what’s headed your way, as a glass of Pine Ridge Chenin/Viognier blend is both as fresh and fun as it gets. And paired with Fried Green Tomatoes and Oysters? Wow. Watch as the zippy citrus and clean mouthful cut right through the bleu cheese and bacon cream sauce, as well as elevating oysters  to an explosively flavorful level.

There are many other spots to check out, but we like these finds because they’re so easy to get to from Litchfield by the Sea.

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

MacKenzie Beach Pawleys Island, SC

Going south on Highway 17 from Litchfield Beach into Pawleys Island, just past Sam’s Corner and before the Fresh Market, on the left side of 17 off of Beach Road, there is a broken down building and a magnificent beach view just beyond.

Going south on Highway 17 from Litchfield Beach into Pawleys Island, just past Sam’s Corner and before the Fresh Market, on the left side of 17 off of Beach Road, there is a broken down building and a magnificent beach view just beyond. – See more at: http://life-in-pi.com/blog/436-pawleys-islands-very-own-secret-garden#sthash.Anq5pCan.dpuf
Going south on Highway 17 from Litchfield Beach into Pawleys Island, just past Sam’s Corner and before the Fresh Market, on the left side of 17 off of Beach Road, there is a broken down building and a magnificent beach view just beyond. – See more at: http://life-in-pi.com/blog/436-pawleys-islands-very-own-secret-garden#sthash.Anq5pCan.dpuf
Going south on Highway 17 from Litchfield Beach into Pawleys Island, just past Sam’s Corner and before the Fresh Market, on the left side of 17 off of Beach Road, there is a broken down building and a magnificent beach view just beyond. – See more at: http://life-in-pi.com/blog/436-pawleys-islands-very-own-secret-garden#sthash.Anq5pCan.dpuGoing south on Highway 17 from Litchfield Beach into Pawleys Island, just past Sam’s Corner and before the Fresh Market, on the left side of 17 off of Beach Road, there is a broken down building and a magnificent beach view just beyond.

The dilapidated motel is all that remains of one of the most popular black resorts of its time. The beach was named after Frank McKenzie, one of the resort’s founders. He and Pawleys Island native Lillan Pyatt acquired the land in 1934 and began developing shortly thereafter. McKenzie and Pyatt envisioned a place where blacks, without fear of racial discrimination, could visit the beach, enjoy great food, strong drinks and live music.

In the mid-1930’s, construction began on the causeway that would run across Midway Creek and connect the mainland to the south end of Litchfield Beach. Over the next few years, they would complete the causeway, while adding a pavilion and 15 cabins. Word spread quickly and by the late 1930’s, popular musicians such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker were playing there on a regular basis.

The resort continued to grow until 1954, when Hurricane Hazel destroyed the causeway, pavilion and most of the cabins. McKenzie dissolved his relationship with Pyatt and opened a small motel and bait shop on the mainland.

While the resort regained popularity, things were never the same. McKenzie sold the property due to financial hardship in the late 1960’s. The new owners closed the access to the beach and let the hotel fall into disrepair. Though uninhabited, there is a majestic beauty that surrounds the ruins and evokes a natural energy of years long passed.

McKenzie dissolved his relationship with Pyatt and opened a small motel and bait shop on the mainland. – See more at: http://life-in-pi.com/blog/436-pawleys-islands-very-own-secret-garden#sthash.Anq5pCan.dpuf
Going south on Highway 17 from Litchfield Beach into Pawleys Island, just past Sam’s Corner and before the Fresh Market, on the left side of 17 off of Beach Road, there is a broken down building and a magnificent beach view just beyond. – See more at: http://life-in-pi.com/blog/436-pawleys-islands-very-own-secret-garden#sthash.Anq5pCan.dpuf
Going south on Highway 17 from Litchfield Beach into Pawleys Island, just past Sam’s Corner and before the Fresh Market, on the left side of 17 off of Beach Road, there is a broken down building and a magnificent beach view just beyond. – See more at: http://life-in-pi.com/blog/436-pawleys-islands-very-own-secret-garden#sthash.Anq5pCan.dpuf

Photographs courtesy of Native Isle Photography & Graham Ladd Photography, Pawleys Island, South Carolina. 843-237-5805

 

 

Back Road Routes to Pawleys Island, SC

Back Road Routes to Avoid Summer Saturday Traffic

Over the years we have noticed that some of our summer guests arrive late, grumpy, exhausted, and exasperated by the traffic jams in and around Conway, SC. If you are arriving on Saturday in the summer, we suggest you find an alternate route. Generally, it is better to come to Georgetown than to come via Conway and Myrtle Beach to Litchfield. It is a few miles longer, but takes less time and hassle. If you are coming from Columbia, you can simply come via Sumter, Manning, Andrews, and Georgetown to Litchfield. If you are a little more adventurous, prefer a little better scenery, and have a navigator, you can try our preferred back road route which is written out below.

These are very precise measured directions.

If on I-20 in Columbia, take it east to mile marker 81. Exit right onto Road 53. The exit number is 82.

At the stop sign at the top of the exit ramp, turn right. In two-tenths of a mile, you will come to a dead end with a stop sign. Turn left. Go about a half mile and “Screaming Eagle Road” will fork off to the right. Take the right fork. Set your odometer and go about 8 miles on “Screaming Eagle Road” to a dead end. Turn right. This is McCord’s Ferry Road. Set odometer and go 8.5 miles.

Go under to overpass and immediately turn left, east on Highway 76. Set odometer. Go about 18 miles. Just past a stop light there is a sign saying “Florence-Conway.” Yield here to oncoming traffic, and take a left. Set your odometer and go 15.3 miles.

Turn right onto 527 (there is an old station on your left at the place where you turn right). This is the road to Kingstree. Set odometer and go to Kingstree, to the stoplight. It is about 26 miles. You will cross over I-95 before getting to Kingstree.

At the stoplight go straight across. You are on Academy Street. Go two blocks and the street veers almost 90 degrees to the right. Stay on Academy. Go to the second stop light and turn left onto Main Street. Set odometer and go 9.8 miles on Main Street, which becomes Highway 261.

If it is raining, be very careful after Kingstree. There may be some standing water in some spots.

After 9.8 miles there is a fork in the road. Take the right fork, toward Nesmith, and set your odometer. (Remember what Yogi Berra said. “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”) Go about 16 miles and there is a stop sign. Go straight across and you are on Highway 51, which leads to Georgetown.

At Georgetown take Highway 17 North to Litchfield Beach, about 14 miles. (HINT: Upon entering Georgetown, you can save a minute or two by turning left – about a 45 degree turn at the Scotchman convenience store. This road goes by Georgetown Hospital and is a shortcut to Highway 17. At the traffic light on 17 you’ll be taking a left and that will be Highway 17, headed north.)

Bypass of Conway & Myrtle Beach from I-95

  • Exit from I-95 at Dillon and follow Rt. 301 to Latta, than 501 and Marion Bypass.
  • Take 41 A (41 A on map but sign says 41 ALT) and follow it to Rt. 41 at Centenary.
  • Follow Rt. 41 south about 33.36 miles to Rhems.
  • From Rhems take Rt. 51 about 19.45 miles to Georgetown.
  • From Georgetown take Highway 17 north to Litchfield Beach. (HINT: Upon entering Georgetown, you can save a minute or two by turning left – about a 45 degree turn at the Scotchman convenience store. This road goes by Georgetown Hospital and is a shortcut to Highway 17. At the traffic light on 17 you’ll be taking a left and that will be Highway 17, headed north.) It may seem like you have gone a ling way out of your way, but it is just a little over 15 miles difference coming this way instead of going through Conway and Myrtle Beach.

Estimated Mileage to Pawleys Island, SC

Departure City Miles Hours
Atlanta, GA
375
6
Baltimore, MD
506
8
Boston, MA
909
15
Charlotte, NC
225
4
Chattanooga, TN
494
8
Chicago, IL
965
15
Cincinnati, OH
674
11
Miami, FL
656
11
New York, NY
696
12
Nashville, TN
606
10
Philadelphia, PA
607
10
Pittsburgh, PA
648
11
Richmond, VA
350
6
Savannah, GA
180
3
Washington, DC
460
8

Myrtle Beach International Aiport Upgrades & Improvements

spirit

We are starting to see more visitors in the Grand Strand thanks to spring break and the snow up north. For those that are flying in and out of Myrtle Beach, they will soon be using the new 274,000-square-foot terminal at Myrtle Beach International Airport (myr), which is set to officially open on April 2.  We are all excited because it is almost three years in the making. Airport and city officials are hoping that it will attract major airlines.

So, what does it mean for you? There is a brand new kiosk system. Instead of waiting in line for the airline you are flying with, you can go to any available kiosk to check in, which means quicker check-in times.  Also, a brand-new luggage system is 98 percent hands-free and  luggage will get to the plane quicker and more efficiently. The screening process is also more intense, making flights safer.

There are also more  choices in places to eat.  Besides The Samuel Adams Brew House, Pizza Hut, Java Coast Coffee and Subway, you will also be able to dine at Nacho Hippo, Steak and Shake or Caribou Cafe.

So Myrtle Beach, will this make you want to fly more or will you still prefer to drive to your destination? After moving down from Philadelphia where you had to add an extra hour onto your trip just to park, the hometown feel of our airport and easy parking does encourage travelers to leave the car at the airport instead of the road.

NEED A PLACE TO STAY? 63A LAKESIDE VILLA AT LITHFIELD BY THE SEA