Located 70 miles north of Charleston and 25 miles south of Myrtle Beach, the nearly four-mile-long, one-quarter-mile-wide Town of Pawleys Island, South Carolina, is the kind of fairy tale escape that has visitors returning again and again, promising pure relaxation with multi-generational memory-making. One of the oldest resort areas on the eastern United States’ coast, step back in time touring the Island’s historic district which hearkens back to the late 1700s, complete with antebellum homes owned by multi-generations of the same families. The district was designated in 1972 by the National Register of Historic Places and features homes that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, some now available to rent, and that share a distinct style of gabled roofs and wraparound porches where rice plantation owners once lingered enjoying breezes during summer getaways. Embrace a getaway that embodies a laid back lifestyle—with no distractions—not even a gas station, to interrupt the views of marsh, sand and dune or interfere with the salt air vibe. Swing away a summer afternoon in the comfort of a Pawleys Island rope hammock and quell hunger pangs with Palmetto Pimento Cheese. Pursue Mother Nature with ecotourism outings. Fishing here is second to none. When adventure calls, nearby options, just off the island, range from paddling the backwaters to cruising for dolphins to charter fishing and plantation touring. At the end of the day, retire in comfort at The Pelican Inn, an eight-room, beachfront bed and breakfast established in the 1850s, try the Seaview Inn, a 20 room getaway established in 1937—and where the mouthwatering Palmetto Cheese spread gained its first following, or choose from a variety of beachfront house rentals and home with views of the salt marshes and tidal creeks, many designed with enough space to accommodate large groups and families.  www.OnlyPawleys.com

Fast Facts

  • The only two businesses on the island are the Pelican Inn (built 1858) and Sea View Inn (built 1937). An ordinance was passed in 1986 preventing any further commercial establishments and therefore preserved the peaceful and quaint landscape forever.
  • Pawleys Island was named after the family of Percival Pawley, the first European settler to develop plantations in the area.
  • The Washington Light Infantry, one of the oldest militia units in the nation, was stationed on Pawleys Island in 1900.
  •  Wealthy rice planters escaped to Pawleys Island as early as 1700s, making the island one of the oldest summer resorts on the East Coast.
  • Twelve homes on the island date from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s.
  •  Legend has it that the shores of Pawleys Island are the roaming grounds for the ghost of the Gray Man. Reportedly first seen in 1822, the Gray Man walks the beach to warn residents of impending hurricanes.
  •  The full-time population of Pawleys Island was recorded at 103 during the 2010 census.
  •  The chapel on the island was moved to its present location in the 1940s and services are still held there every Sunday.
  • Since the earliest families resided on Pawleys from May to November, many of the houses are equipped with large chimneys and fireplaces.
  • Pawleys Island is just short of four miles long and is ¼ miles at its widest point.
  • Most of the houses on Pawleys are beach-front on one side and have docks extending into the creek on the other.
  • In the late 1800s/early 1900s, Pawleys local riverboat captain Joshua John Ward designed a rope hammock in order to get a cooler night’s sleep as opposed to the traditional hammocks made of canvas. The hammock was a hit, and is one of the best known hammock brands in the country. Ward’s family opened the still-in-business Original Hammock Shop in the 1930s to better market the product.
  • You can only access the island via the South (built in 1846) and the North (built in the early 1900s) Causeways.

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