Pawleys is one of the oldest resorts on the East Coast |
Pawleys Island and Litchfield bathers carry on traditions dating back to the early 1700s.
In colonial times, people did not know about malaria. Even so, they knew it was healthier to travel to the coast and stay there from May to November each year. Owners of indigo and rice plantations crossed the Great Pee Dee and Waccamaw rivers and stayed at the beach for months.
They and their families traveled by barge, horseback or carriage. They would bring furniture, bedding, clothing, household items and provisions for those hot summer and fall months.
The beaches along the South Carolina tides are still the main attractions in all of Georgetown County today.
They are particularly attractive along the Pawleys Island/Litchfield area of the county.
The town of Pawleys Island encompasses the entire island. Within the incorporated community there are approximately 130 full-time residents. There are approximately 450 rental properties available from various real estate companies.
The city and county have three landing stages on the island and a dozen public beach access points. The largest and most popular is at the southern end of Pawleys Island.
At this location there is parking, beach access as well as access to Pawley’s Creek and portable toilets are available. The other public access points to the beach each have limited parking. All beach access points are open to the public.
Surf and sand
Catching some rays, swimming in the ocean, surfing and surf fishing, fishing in the creek or crabbing or collecting oysters are all activities that many people enjoy.
One of the fun things about beaches that many kids and moms and dads enjoy is building sandcastles and other crafts. There is a new county ordinance passed in March 2022 that requires that if a hole is dug on the beach to build their sandcastle and other “building projects”, they must put the sand back in the hole so that it does not present a danger to other beachgoers.
Turtles also frequent the beaches. Speaking of turtles, all of the beaches in Georgetown County have varying numbers of sea turtles that come ashore each year to lay their eggs.
There is a volunteer group called South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts. Member volunteers patrol the beaches daily during turtle nesting times to ensure the nests are not disturbed by humans or predators. You can visit the SCUTE Facebook page for more information about this group.
With the incorporated town of Pawleys Island, the general area is also called Pawleys Island and is served by a post office which covers much of the neck of Waccamaw.
Litchfield Beach is on the north of Pawleys Island and also includes public beach accesses maintained by Georgetown County. Litchfield Beach has residential homes and neighborhoods.
There are plenty of shops and a wide choice of restaurants available to people in Pawleys Island and Litchfield. There are several supermarkets that provide groceries and other necessary items for residents and visitors.
Golf and cycling nearby
In the Pawleys Island/Litchfield area there are approximately a dozen golf courses open to the public. Many of them receive high rankings from various golf organizations.
As with some of the golf courses in the Murrells Inlet area, most are built on land that was once part of the area’s indigo and/or rice plantations.
Stretching from Murrells Inlet to the Pawleys Island area, the Bike the Neck group has led efforts to develop and then maintain bike paths that provide designated areas for people to exercise and enjoy. of the landscape and the various attractions of the region.
One of the goals of the Bike the Neck group is to help develop local portions of the East Coast Greenway. The ultimate goal of this greenway is to have a bike path along most of the eastern seaboard of the United States.
As in other parts of Georgetown County, the Department of Parks and Recreation operates a number of neighborhood parks. There are four state parks in the county and various ball diamonds and tennis courts.
You can visit the Department of Parks and Recreation webpage for detailed information on available locations and features. Throughout the year there are seasonal sports programs for children and some for adults.
Many regional recreation centers have scheduled programs and teams that are open for people to enjoy.
Check the website for times and registration information — http://www.georgetowncountysc.org/235/Parks-Recreation — then click on the “Current programs and registrations” link
Boating, fishing and tasting oysters
All along the Waccamaw Pass there are local oyster beds where, during designated times, people can harvest oysters. There are several seafood outlets and fishmongers that sell oysters.
In partnership with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there are several oyster shell recycling sites where people are encouraged to take the oyster shells after tasting them.
Periodically, the SCDNR will collect oyster shells and take them to a quarantine area where they can be processed and ultimately used to help establish and maintain oyster beds in the coastal waters of Georgetown County and along the South Carolina coast.
In addition to the sailing possibilities by the sea, there are several landing stages and marinas. Some are operated by Georgetown County. There are also several commercial operations open to the public.
For many years, Georgetown County in general had one of the highest numbers of boats per capita in South Carolina. With the Atlantic Ocean, five rivers and numerous creeks, the possibilities for outings on the water are endless. People enjoy boating, personal watercraft, paddle boarding and water skiing. There is also, of course, plenty of fishing.
Pawleys Village Fishing Pier is for owners and guests only. People also fish along some bridges and causeways. If you head south to Georgetown, there are two Winyah Bay fishing and viewing piers at the city limits. These are remnants of the old Lafayette Bridge.
When you go out and enjoy the beaches, rivers and coves, be sure to use sunscreen regularly and drink fluids.