Category: Travel Tips

Can’t Miss Photo Opportunities Around Pawleys Island

Can't Miss Photo Opportunities Around Pawleys Island

Pawleys Island has earned acclaim from top vacation sources like TripAdvisor and Conde Nast, ranking as not only one of South Carolina’s top beaches but one of the most beautiful on the entire east coast! When you stay in this coastal Carolina paradise, there will be plenty of great opportunities for photos. Whether you plan on sharing on Facebook or in a leather-bound album, here are some of the top places to snap a pic during your Pawleys Island vacation.

Atalaya Castle at Huntington Beach State Park

Atalaya Castle is a breezy Moorish-style castle designed by Archer Huntington in the early 1930s. Archer and his wife Anna contributed heavily to the Grand Strand, as the couple donated the land that would become Brookgreen Gardens. One of the unique aspects of Atalaya is that it was built without any drawn plans. Instead, the layout of the 200’ by 200’ structure was literally the brainchild of Archer, eventually encompassing 30 rooms with a 40-foot tower in the center which housed a 3,000-gallon water tank. Today Atalaya is one of the most beloved landmarks along the Grand Strand and a favorite spot for weddings and formal events. In 1984 Atalaya has bestowed the honor of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, cementing its legacy and ensuring that following generations would be able to enjoy this beautiful estate.

Pawleys Island Chapel

Although its formal name is the Pawleys Island House of Worship, for years this charming church has been known as the Pawleys Island Chapel. The Chapel was originally located in nearby Georgetown before being dismantled and transported to Pawleys Island. It is situated waterfront along a march and actually juts out over scenic tidal creeks. The chapel has survived a multitude of challenges, including Hurricanes Hugo and Hazel as well, and recent repairs in 2017 have ensured that the chapel will be a fixture among Pawleys Island for decades to come. For amazing photos of this landmark, photographers recommend a sunrise visit for truly dazzling shots.

Brookgreen Gardens

As mentioned earlier, Brookgreen Gardens was another contribution to the Grand Strand that Archer and Anna Huntington bestowed. Hailed as one of the premier botanical gardens in the US, Brookgreen is home to a world-renowned sculpture collection, featuring the works of Anna Huntington and many other talented sculptors and artists. In addition to the outdoor sculptures among the lush gardens, rotating exhibits are on display in their galleries and the gardens play host to a multitude of seasonal events, from their Spring Wine Festival to their beloved Nights of a Thousand Candles Christmas celebration. On top of all this, Brookgreen Gardens is also home to a fantastic Lowcountry zoo, featuring native species like whitetail deer, red foxes, river otters, and bald eagles. Make sure your smartphone or camera has plenty of storage space, as fantastic photo opportunities are all around you at Brookgreen Gardens!

There is no shortage of natural beauty to behold and snap photos of all around Pawleys Island. If you haven’t visited this tranquil coastal area, there’s no better time than now to make plans for what is sure to be a fabulous vacation! The Lachicotte Company offers beach house rentals in the most prominent vacation areas of the Georgetown and Horry County beach areas including Debordieu Colony, Litchfield Beach, Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, and Surfside Beach. Check out our vacation rentals page to see unbeatable rates on our beach house rentals for your next Pawleys Island vacation.

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Seven Best Seafood Restaurants in Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet

Seven Best Seafood Restaurants in Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet

Seven Best Seafood Restaurants in Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet

While, yes, the beach and golf and sunshine play a big, big part in the decision to visit the Grand Strand, the fact that we also happen to be home to some of the freshest, most incredible seafood in the country ought to weigh in, too.

With the abundance of grouper, flounder, drum, trout, mackerel, and more packing our waters, not to mention shrimp and inlet oysters, coastal Carolina has a lot to boast. And don’t we reap the benefits!

We like to venture down Route 17 in the Pawleys/Murrells corridor to hit some phenomenal but off-the-beaten-path options. Here are seven — out of MANY — of our faves, in no particular order:

Seven Best Seafood Restaurants in Pawleys Island and Murrells Inlet

1) Bliss

Location: Murrells Inlet

This award-winning local favorite doesn’t fib — their seafood is blissful. Flanking meat and poultry offerings are an abundance of raved-about seafood dishes, including crab-crusted grouper, shrimp and grits, and regionally beloved she-crab soup. It’s more of a special-night-out sort of place, so get a sitter for the kids.

2) Bistro 217

Location: Pawleys Island

This sweet spot received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and it’s not just because of their famous burger. The appetizer menu is loaded with delicious seafood options, and if you’re in the mood for something a little different, try the shrimp-and-mussel-filled paella. The 217 Eggplant Treasure Chest tops fried eggplant with local shrimp, scallops, and grouper in basil-parmesan sauce — and is a delicious way to eat your way through the region.

3) Litchfield Beach Fish House

Location: Pawleys Island

Ok, we think the kids would be pretty bummed if you left them behind while visiting this gem. This joint is as laid-back as it gets, which is easy to gather with their cheeky vintage truck parked outside. The homey menu features lots of fried items, such as grouper and oysters, but the shrimp and grits are a great bet, too. Save room for the hush puppies.

4) Lee’s Inlet Kitchen

Location: Murrells Inlet

This is an old-school spot but in the best possible way. The same family has owned it since 1948, so expect standbys done right. It behooves visitors to come very hungrily, so take the plunge with either the fried or broiled Lee’s Shore Dinner, comprising either shrimp or oyster cocktail, a cup of clam chowder or she-crab soup, 3 ounces of lobster, flounder filet, oysters, scallops, deviled crab and fantail shrimp. Only if you were a shark would you have a license to consume more fresh fish.

5) Frank's Restaurant

Location: Pawleys Island

Here’s another local institution, and a good option for that special occasion worthy of a big night out. Go for the sautéed mini crab and lobster cakes for a tidy small plate option or the pan-seared jumbo scallops over vegetable risotto for heartier fare. Crispy fried oysters with green goddess dipping sauce leave our mouthwatering.

6) Nance’s Creekfront Restaurant

Location: Murrells Inlet

We love Nance’s for its complete lack of pretense — but more importantly for its delicious eats. This is a spot for lovers of the bivalve; oysters and clams in every iteration, in every amount, with an abundance of crab legs and side orders to round out your meal. All oysters are local, and are best enjoyed in season — in other words, during a month with an “R” in it… September, October, November, etc.

7) Wicked Tuna

Location: Murrells Inlet

Big, boisterous, and bold is the name of their seafood (and ambiance) game, where Fried South Carolina Sea Bass and Blackened Trigger commingle with Hamachi Nigiri and Spider Rolls. The Raw Bar offers just-out-of-the-water delicacies and the Catch of the Day sandwich special guarantees the freshest fish in two-handed eating form. We love this spacious spot for larger get-togethers with friends.

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Five Must-Do Activities in Pawleys Island

Horse Statue at Brookgreen Gardens

Can't Miss Photo Opportunities Around Pawleys Island

There are the suggestions, the hints, the if-you-have-time ideas for what to do on your Pawleys Island vacation. Then there are the stop-everything, don’t-leave-without-’ems, your-life-is-not-complete-unless-you-do-this itinerary. So here you have it, folks, the five absolute must things to do in the South Strand while you enjoy your vacation.

1.) Huntington Beach State Park

Any beach will do, really, but the pristine stretch of sand and surf that is Huntington State Park is a peaceful reminder of what the South Carolina coast looked like before, well, we showed up. Excellent shelling and birding, shimmering seagrass, and a much chiller vibe than so many beaches to our north make the few-bucks admission price well worthwhile. Have a couple of minutes and a couple more dollars? Duck into the impressive Atalaya Castle, the former summer home of the artists responsible for so much of the work at nearby Brookgreen Gardens. The swaying palms and Moorish-style architecture is evocative of another era entirely.

2.) Brookgreen Gardens

While we’re in the neighborhood, be sure to carve out a chunk of time to explore this beloved treasure of the Grand Strand. Acres upon acres of manicured gardens, impressive art, native animals, classes, tours, and more make this meandering melange of beautiful things one of the most popular places to visit in the state. Nevertheless, it’s so big and varied that it never feels crowded. Summertime is an explosion of blooms, but as the weather cools the colors will change to golds, burgundies, and umbers. Stroll beneath the corridor of Spanish moss-draped live oaks to get an incomparable taste of the Lowcountry. There’s nothing like it anywhere. Don’t feel like you’ve seen enough on your one visit? Admission is good for a full week.

Horse Statue at Brookgreen Gardens

2.) Brookgreen Gardens

While we’re in the neighborhood, be sure to carve out a chunk of time to explore this beloved treasure of the Grand Strand. Acres upon acres of manicured gardens, impressive art, native animals, classes, tours, and more make this meandering melange of beautiful things one of the most popular places to visit in the state. Nevertheless, it’s so big and varied that it never feels crowded. Summertime is an explosion of blooms, but as the weather cools the colors will change to golds, burgundies, and umbers. Stroll beneath the corridor of Spanish moss-draped live oaks to get an incomparable taste of the Lowcountry. There’s nothing like it anywhere. Don’t feel like you’ve seen enough on your one visit? Admission is good for a full week.

3.) Hammock Shops Village

You might be feeling the heat from friends and family back home to return with something nice, or you just might be dealing with your own major shopping jones. The quaint, eclectic, and cute array of stores at the Hammock Shops Village will reaffirm your stance that shopping small and local is preferred. Anchored by the eponymous Original Hammock Shop, the Village touts an array of apparel, accessories, gifts, décor, art, jewelry, toys, and food. While some shops are part of small, local chains, most are one-off spots where you’ll find the perfect memento of your Pawleys Island vacation. Worked up an appetite? Feast a burger at bisQit, fresh Mahi at Cerra Sushi, or a juicy steak at Pawleys Prime.

4.) Water Sports

The unique topography of the South Strand means that many local spots are nearly surrounded by water. What does this mean? So, so much to do. Ride the waves with the fantastic instructors at Surf the Earth to the east, or look west for the placid inlet waters where kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and eco tours provide ideal activities for beginners and experienced outdoors people alike. If you prefer to leave the oars ashore, consider a fishing charter that will accommodate your group and experience level.

5.) Eat

We in the Lowcountry have a lot, and we mean a lot, of pride in our food. Farm-fresh produce abounds in the summertime, as does fresh, delicious seafood caught right in our ocean and inlet waters. Our local oysters (when in season) are among the best anywhere, and the unmistakable kiss of history, culture-melding and folklore in every bite of shrimp and grits or she-crab soup will transport you to another world. Restaurants abound in Pawleys Island, and lucky for us, they’re awesome. If you’re looking to explore a little beyond city limits, spend an evening noshing, sipping and walking the famous Murrels Inlet MarshWalk.

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Offshore Surf and Pier Fishing Around Pawleys Island

Off shore fishing

Offshore, Surf and Pier Fishing Around Pawleys Island

Pawleys Island offers a plethora of fantastic fishing options to visitors of the south strand! Whether you’d like to cast a line or net right off the beach or take a charter out to try to land a blue marlin, a Pawleys Island vacation is a dream for both novice or seasoned anglers. Here are a few great fishing opportunities to experience on your next trip to Pawleys Island.

Inland and Offshore Charters

There is no shortage of inland or offshore charters available for your fishing pleasure around Pawleys Island! Take advantage of pristine area inlets and marshes with Living Water Guide Services. They offer inland fishing excursions among vibrant inlets and rivers as well as the Santee Delta, the largest river delta system on the east coast. These waters are full of all sorts of saltwater species including flounder, speckled sea trout, spot tail bass, and even blacktip and bonnethead sharks! For offshore adventures, multiple charters are available at nearby Murrells Inlet. Crazy Sister Marina offers both fishing charters and offshore tours, with fishing charters ranging from half-day trips that go up to 20 miles offshore to full-day journeys venturing up to 60 miles offshore in search of mackerel, sailfish, wahoo, and marlin.

Off shore fishing

Surf Fishing

Surf fishing from the shores of Pawleys Island is permitted, with popular spots around the north beach of Huntington Beach State Park and around the jetty area. You’ll need to provide all the gear, including bait (mullet and shrimp are recommended), a durable rod, and a sand spike to set up your rod. You can also try your luck with casting nets, with the chance of hauling in smaller fish, shrimp, or crab.

Pier Fishing

Several area piers are located in or around Pawleys Island. These offer great chances to relax, soak in some rays, and cast a line in search of a big catch. The Garden City Pier has long been a favorite for fishing, with anglers likely to reel in flounder, black drum, or mackerel. A bait shop is available on-site for all your fishing supply needs. Further north in Myrtle Beach, the Apache Pier is one of the longest wooden piers along the east coast, measuring over 1,200 feet and offering rod rentals for those who don’t have their own gear. Fishing from the area piers does not require a fishing license.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of fantastic fishing opportunities for you to enjoy on your vacation to Pawleys Island! Make sure to book one of our great Pawleys Island vacation rentals today to plan an unforgettable getaway to the south strand.

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