Top Things to Do Highway 17 Georgetown County


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

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

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

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

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

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.

Things to Do: Taste of Murrells Inlet

The 2nd Annual Taste of the Inlet, a fundraiser for Murrells Inlet 2020, is being held at Inlet Square Mall on Sunday, January 26, 2014 (no football that day!) from 6:15 pm – 9:00 pm.  Doors open at 6:15 pm.  Enter the Mall via the Books-a-Million entrance.

Savor the flavors from our fine Murrells Inlet and Garden City Beach restaurants and chefs who will be showcasing their signature dishes, as they serve up a delicious feast of hors d’oeuvres, tapas and heavy appetizers.

Event admission tickets cost $8 in advance ($12 at the door).  Beverage and taste tickets will be priced separately, and sold at the event.  Food and dessert tastes will range $2 – $4.  Beverages will include beer, wine, coffee and soft drinks.  Be sure to purchase your tickets early so you don’t miss out!

How to Purchase Advance Admission Tickets

CLICK HERE  to purchase tickets online.

Call 843-357-2007 to order over the phone.

Online or phone orders can be mailed (thru 1/18) or held in will call

Stop by the MI2020 office at 4124-B Highway 17 Business (next to Uncle Tito’s)

Starting January 13, 2014, tickets are also available (cash or check only) at

Booty’s in Murrells Inlet

Conway National Bank in Murrells Inlet

Jay’s Hallmark at Inlet Square Mall

Lee’s Inlet Apothecary in Murrells Inlet

Be sure to purchase your tickets early so you don’t miss out on this fun and casual evening of dining with the best restaurants on the beach … all while supporting a great community non-profit organization.

Proceeds benefit Murrells Inlet 2020, a 501c3 non-profit grass-roots community organization,focused on commmunity reviatlization and preservation of the creek.

THANK YOU to our restaurants and businsses for your generous support of our wonderful community and your shared commitment to our mission of making the Inlet a nice place to live, work and visit:

Bliss, Bovine’s Carolina Tavern, Cracker Barrel, Crooked Floor Tavern, Flo’s Place, Frank Theatres CineBowl & Grille, Graham’s Landing, Hot Fish Club, Icons Sports and Spirits, Inlet Crab House, K-Rae’s Waterway Bar & Grill, Lee’s Inlet Kitchen, Murrells Inlet Smokehouse, Nalu’s, On the Half Shell, Salt Creek Cafe, Shell Crackers Grill & Oyster Roast, Twelve, Wahoo’s Fish House

Desserts by

Costco, Fuzzy Peach, Lazy Gator

Beverages by

Costco, Copa di Vino, Landshark Lager, New South Brewing, Pepsi Cola Bottling & The Allstate Ronnie Gasque Insurance Agency

Things to Do: Chili Cook-Off Murells Inlet

wicked tuna

The 14th Annual Lip-Rippin’ Chilympics Chili Cook-Off  will be held on Sunday, October 13th, from noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Wicked Tuna Restaurant parking lot, Murrells Inlet. This annual chili competition will feature categories such as Best Overall, Best Restaurant, People’s Choice, Most OriginalBest Vegetarian, Best Theme, Best Use of South Carolina Ingredients, and Hottest Chili.  Cash prizes go to first and second place winners in each category. Chili samples, beverages and other items will be priced separately. Admission is free and this event is open to the public.  There will be a fabulous line-up of live bands.  There will also be a Kids’ Area with food, soft drinks, face painting and inflatables.

4th of July Events Murrells Inlet to Georgetown

Fourth of July events

• 10 a.m. — The annual Fourth of July Parade will take place on Pawleys Island. Trophies will be presented for the best floats.

• Between 1 and 2 p.m. — Salute from the Shore — Vintage military aircraft will fly over South Carolina beaches.

Beachgoers are asked to display red, white and blue during the flyover and are encouraged to take pictures and video of themselves saluting our armed forces and their families.

Share pictures and stories online at “Salute from the Shore” on Facebook and show our troops how much we appreciate their service. For more information, visit

• 5 p.m. — The Murrells Inlet Fourth of July Boat Parade will follow a route from Garden City Point over to the Marsh Walk and down along the Murrells Inlet coast line to Morse Park Landing.  The best viewing areas include Marlin Quay Marina, the Marsh Walk and Belin Methodist Church.

Boats can register for $5 with the committee boat on parade day starting at 4 p.m. For questions, contact Lee Hewitt at 843-652-4236.

• 6 p.m. — The Third Annual Pawleys Island Fourth of July Evening Celebration will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. inside the Precious Blood Parish Life Center, 1633 Waverly Road. This community-wide evening celebration will be a salute to our nation and our military in song and remembrances.

The celebration, sponsored by Knights of Columbus Council 11028 and Assembly 3272, features the Pawleys Island Concert Band along with singing and speakers. Admission is free. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

• 7 p.m. — Indgo Choral Society will present its 17th annual free Fourth of July Concert on the lawn of the Kaminski House Museum in Georgeown.


• 9:30 p.m. — Georgetown City Fire Department will present its annual fireworks display from East Bay Park. The display can be seen best from the Harborwalk or other areas along the Sampit River.

• 10 p.m. — Murrells Inlet 2020 will present its annual fireworks show over the Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk. Restaurants along the Marsh Walk will have live music throughout the night

Entertainment Ideas in March Along the Grand Strand

MONDAY | 03.05

Legends starts Whitney tribute

Legends in Concert will add a tribute to Whitney Houston on Monday as part of its spring lineup through May 12.

Jazmine will portray the late songstress who also was known for such anthems as “One Moment in Time” for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and before the release of her debut solo album in 1985, duets “Hold Me” with the late Teddy Pendergrass and “Take Good Care of My Heart” with Jermaine Jackson.

The Houston tribute artist, who will succeed the Neil Diamond performer – who plays through Saturday – will join other musicians playing the Blues Brothers, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley and George Strait.

Show times in the next week are 8 p.m. daily through Saturday and Monday-Thursday, and a 2 p.m. matinee on Tuesday.

Tickets are $37.95 regular and $42.95 preferred/VIP for ages 17 and older; and $14.95 and $19.95 respectively, for ages 3-16; and  VIP table booth seats are $52.95 all ages.

The theater is at 2925 Hollywood Drive, Myrtle Beach, at U.S. 17 Bypass and 29th Avenue North, next to Planet Hollywood.

Details at 238-7827, 800-960-7469, or

THROUGH MARCH 18 | Three shows in Murrells Inlet, Georgetown and Conway

Two plays and a revue

Three area community theaters have new productions.

• Murrells Inlet Community Theatre has “Southern Comforts,” a two-character play about love in later life, set in a Victorian house in New Jersey.

Show times are 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through March 11 at the Murrells Inlet Community Theatre, 4450 Murrells Inlet Road, south of Bellamy Avenue and the U.S. Post Office.

Tickets are $10. Call 651-4152 or visit

• In Georgetown, the Swamp Fox Players have “Barefoot in the Park,” at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and March 8-10 and 16-17, and 2:30 p.m. March 11 and 18, at the Strand Theater, 710 Front St.

Tickets cost $15. Details at 527-2924 or

• Theatre of the Republic in Conway presents “Illusions on Main Street (with a Twist)” at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, at the Main Street Theatre, 337 Main St.

This show by the Jewel Box Revue, a troupe from Canyonville, Ore., pays tribute to various famous female entertainers such as the late Judy Garland and Patsy Cline, as well as Barbra Streisand and current stars including Reba McEntire, Lady Gaga and Adele.

Tickets are $18 in advance or $20 at the door. Details at 488-0821 or

SATURDAY | 03.03

Rotary night of Broadway

The Rotary Club of Myrtle Beach presents its fourth annual “Broadway Special,” an evening to celebrate music by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Two guest artists who have performed in many Broadway and orchestral productions around the globe – Doug LaBreque, returning for a second straight year, and Christiane Noll, also an opera singer – will join the Long Bay Symphony in concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Myrtle Beach High School, on Grissom Parkway between 29th and 38th avenues North.

Tickets are $35, $40 or $45, and net proceeds benefit Horry County Schools and other Rotary local and international charities. Details at 448-8379 or

MONDAY | 03.05

Piccadilly Circus

The Piccadilly Circus, from Sarasota, Fla., returns Monday to Myrtle Beach, bringing such acts as “Katunga the Giant Jungle Monster,” “Motorcycle Madness in the Chamber of Doom” and “My Little Pony” on parade.

Show times are 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, at Oak Street and 21st Avenue North.

Ticket specials are available until 10 a.m. Monday at, otherwise at the gate, general admission is $32 for ages 13 or older, otherwise $11. Free-ticket coupons for anyone younger than 13 also are available at various locations across the Grand Strand.

Call 877-373-0477 or visit


‘Legally Blonde’ in Socastee

Socastee High School Performing Arts presents “Legally Blonde the Musical,” modeled after the movie from 2001 starring Reese Witherspoon and Luke Wilson.

Courtney Mauldin plays Elle Woods, dumped by her boyfriend bound for Harvard Law School, where she also enrolls. Mauldin also is friends with Bailey Hanks, who won the MTV show “Legally Blonde – The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods.”

Performances are at 7 p.m. Thursday-March 11, and 3 p.m. March 10-11, in the school auditorium, on S.C. 707, at Dick Pond Road, just east of S.C. 544.

Tickets are $12. For every guest who wears pink, the school will make a donation to the Breast Cancer Society, and guests also are encouraged to bring supplies for relay to local pet shelters.

Call 293-2513 or visit

Birds in Art Exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens

Birds in Art, the highly acclaimed traveling exhibition of paintings and sculpture mounted by the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum of Wausau, Wisconsin, opens January 28 in the Rainey Sculpture Pavilion at Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC.

Known as “the best opportunity for indoor bird-watching on the planet”, this exhibit   showcases the remarkable talents of national and international artists, who have presented their very best work interpreting birds and related subjects.

The exhibit will be on display daily from 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. through April 22 and is free with garden admission.

The traveling exhibit includes 49 paintings, drawings, and prints, and 11 sculptures selected from the 112 artworks shown in the full exhibit.  In addition to Brookgreen Gardens, the exhibit will travel to museums in Kansas, Michigan, Colorado, and Alaska through 2012 and early 2013.

Among the distinguished international group of artists having works in the traveling exhibit are Hélène Arfi (France), Chris Bacon (Canada), Robert Bateman (Canada), John Busby (Scotland), Adele Earnshaw (New Zealand), Peter Gray (South Africa), Simon Gudgeon (England), Nobuko Kumasaka (Japan), Lars Jonsson (Sweden), Zev Labinger (Israel), Lucinda Kate McEachern (Australia), Bernd Pöppelmann (Germany), and Ewoud de Groot (Netherlands).  The American artists include James Morgan (Utah), Frank LaLumia (Colorado), Timothy David Mayhew (New Mexico), Anne Senechal Faust (Louisiana), Roger Martin (North Carolina), Mary Cornish (Virginia), Lorri Davis (Alaska), Hilarie Lambert (South Carolina), Paula Waterman (Maryland), and Thomas Hill (California).  A painting by the 2011 Master Wildlife Artist, James Coe, will also be in the traveling exhibit.

In conjunction with Birds in Art, the Woodson Art Museum selects an artist to receive its annual Master Wildlife Artist Award.  The award honors artists who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in using bird imagery in their artwork.  The individual recognized as the Master Wildlife Artist is further honored by a mini-retrospective of 10 to 12 artworks during Birds in Art at the Woodson.  This year’s Master Wildlife Artist is painter James Coe of Hannacroix, New York.

The Woodson’s 32nd Master Artist, Coe initially was fascinated by egrets and shorebirds that flocked to salt marshes near his suburban New York boyhood home.  He worked for many years as a field guide illustrator before he ventured out of the studio and began painting landscapes en plein air.  Coe’s work reflects a synthesis of two styles, weaving his insight and skill as a trained naturalist into fresh, deftly painted landscapes often featuring avian subjects.


2nd Annual Atalaya Holiday Celebrations

This year’s Atalaya Holiday Celebration will be greatly expanded from last year’s event. The living quarters of the home consisted of 30 rooms. These rooms, along with Mrs. Huntington’s sculpture studio will be decorated in holiday motif for the celebration by local groups and designers. Each group will be using their own knowledge and interpretation of the era, the South, and the Holidays for their decorations. Competition will be spirited for the “People’s Choice Award” and visitors will enjoy voting on their favorite for this award.

Other activities include Grandma’s Kitchen where visitors can enjoy hot, spiced cider along with homemade goodies which will be for sale individually or in gift packages. (These holiday goodies are being made by some of the finest Southern cooks around and will give you a great opportunity to skip your own baking for the holidays!)

The Holiday crafts and gifts, contributed by members of the Friends group and their friends, will be an excellent way for visitors to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

A “mini” Oyster Roast will be available, for $10.00, for visitors who wish to try an area favorite.

Live entertainment will add to the Holiday atmosphere throughout the day. Performers include: the Pawleys Island Concert Band, Serendipity Singers, Waccamaw High School Musicians, Jill Trinka of Trinka Folk Music, Duo Inglis, the Hand Bell Choir of the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection and Gwyn Fowler.

The Lionel Train Club will have their trains on display. These exhibits and “remembering the good ole days” always add to the holiday spirit for young and old alike.

Children will be able to make Holiday Crafts for their own homes in a special section set up for them.

Roving Actors will be portraying Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington. Bring your family and don’t forget your camera as this will be a great opportunity to have your holiday picture taken!

We suggest that you dress warmly as Atalaya is not heated

Saturday, December 3, 2011
11 am – 4 pm
At Atalaya
Located Inside Huntington Beach State Park