Travel: The South Carolina Hammock Coast
by The Press and Standard | May 11, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: May 8, 2019 at 2:00 pm
By MARY GALLAGHER
We’re always looking for a short escape to nearby interesting places that provide relaxation, culture, good food and hopefully something we haven’t seen before.
Where is it?
Do you know about South Carolina’s Hammock Coast?
It’s five communities — Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield, Pawleys Island and Georgetown. All are located in Georgetown County which comprises the pristine coastal area between Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Just about 115 miles from Walterboro! There is an abundant variety of accommodations including beachfront homes, hotels, cozy bed and breakfasts and RV parks and camping.
“Architectural Digest” ranked America’s 50 Most Beautiful Small Towns, and one of the Hammock Coast’s most popular locales, Pawleys Island, earned the 44th spot on the prestigious list.
A stunning barrier island with approximately 100 residents Pawleys Island is one of the oldest summer resorts on the East Coast. The families of rice planters who owned plantations on the nearby rivers first settled Pawleys Island in the early 1700s. Here is a laid-back lifestyle, crabbing in adjacent creeks, fishing, ghost stories, rope hammocks and the unspoiled stretch of wide beach and sand dunes. For more information, visit www.OnlyPawleys.com.
Georgetown, a waterfront community with 9,000 residents, was voted the nation’s “ Best Coastal Small Town ” by USA Today. You shouldn’t miss the Wooden Boat Show that takes over the downtown waterfront Georgetown each fall.
The Wooden Boat Show
The 30th Georgetown Wooden Boat Show — this year October 19-20 — features one of the Southeast’s best wooden boat exhibits with more than 140 mouth-dropping classics displayed on land and water, children’s model boatbuilding, knot tying, maritime art and crafts, food and music. Sunday is a fun-filled family-oriented day that includes a Corrugated Boat Regatta, and an Opti Pram Regatta. The Wooden Boat Show takes place on the waterfront and along Front Street in Historic Downtown Georgetown.
Proceeds benefit the South Carolina Maritime Museum.
My advice: Go as early as possible, wear comfortable shoes and clothes, bring sunscreen, bug spray, be prepared to be on your feet a lot and take water and snacks. There are some handicapped parking spots at the city lot, but there is no parking past Screven Street due to exhibitors in the street. Handicapped restrooms are in the SC Maritime Museum and the museum is wheelchair accessible. https://woodenboatshow.com/
Huntington Beach State Park
Huntington Beach State Park on Ocean Highway at Murrells Inlet offers a three-mile stretch of idyllic coastline. You’ll want to stroll along the park’s causeway to view the many types of wildlife, take a self-guided audio tour or docent-led tour of Atalaya, the picturesque, Moorish-style winter retreat of 20th-century sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington, or take part in a Coastal Exploration Program with a naturalist. The whole place is amazing at every turn even before you land at the beach.
Campers appreciate the 173 campsites to choose from. Each site equipped with water, electrical hookups, and complimentary WiFi. Both campgrounds are located near the shoreline.
You can reserve a picnic shelter and spend the day exploring Huntington Beach State Park. Shelters are conveniently located near Atalaya, for touring and enjoying the beach.
Between Murrells inlet and Pawleys Island on Route 17 is the entrance to the over 9,000 acres comprising Brookgreen Gardens. It’s so comprehensive and large that your $18 adult ticket is for seven days and you will want to return!
The Live Oak Allée has 250-year-old live 0ak trees that were planted in the early 1700s when this land was four thriving rice plantations.
The butterfly garden offers many horticultural surprises. There are the Dorothy P. Peace Garden Room for Children and the Kitchen Garden. The Brenda W. Rosen Carolina Terrace Garden has a spectacular array of perennials, roses, shrubs and mature trees. Three additional major gardens focus on formality.
The Palmetto Garden, was named for the use of Sabal palmetto, South
Carolina’s state tree. The whimsical Fountain of the Muses Garden, displays the sculpture of the same name.
The sculpture collection contains over 2,000 works by 425 artists and is unequaled in its size, focus on figurative works, visibility of the sculpture to the visitor, and integration within a garden setting.”
Indoor galleries, present exhibits of smaller sculptures, as well as paintings, etchings and other artwork by internationally-renowned artists.
There is always a lot going on at Brookgreen, including at Christmas! I cannot even come close to telling you what a joy it is to spend time at Brookgreen. Just to be out of doors with the art, flowers, plants and wildlife, the various shows and exhibits. You’ll want to spend all the seven days your ticket buys you here for sure!
We have visited at different times of the year and no matter how much time we allow it is never enough.
The grounds are generally flat with paved paths. Buildings and restrooms are quite modern and the entire site is quite accessible but check with them if you have specific questions. Bring sunscreen, hats, snacks and water. Wear good walking shoes even if you don’t plan to walk the complete 9,000 acres! There are picnic areas and three cafes (seasonal) plus an impressive gift shop.
Brookgreen also offers other programs including:
The Lowcountry Trail
Explore these places through the special tours and programs at the Wall Lowcountry Center. Purchase tickets for these extras when you arrive so you don’t miss out. Check for restrictions on small children.
The Creek Excursion March – November
The Trekker Excursion March – November
The Oaks Excursion
The Brookgreen website is quite helpful.
For more information and the many attractions we didn’t get to on the Hammock Coast see HammockCoastSC.com.