Great Escapes: Our guide to Pawleys Island, SC

Pawleys Island, located between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, offers protected coastlines, immaculate gardens, historic homes, and — of course — some of the best seafood in SC.

The sun rising over the coastline in Pawleys Island, SC.

Find a prettier view for a beach sunset than Huntington Beach, we’ll wait. | Photo by GVLtoday

Table of Contents

While summer may be winding down, the fall is the perfect time to head to the Carolina coast. City Editor Danielle here. Before I lived in Greenville, I was a Pawleys Island local, and September and October were my favorite months to live at the beach.

Why go?

  • Pawleys Island is 40 minutes south of Myrtle Beach and 1.5 hours north of Charleston, just a day trip from your beach vacation to the bustling Broadway at the Beach or shopping on King Street.
  • Plan your trip around these upcoming events: Halloween on the Marshwalk (Tuesday, Oct. 31) + Nights of a Thousand Candles at Brookgreen Gardens (Saturday, Nov. 25-Sunday, Dec. 31)
  • Visit miles of preserved coastline. (Read: It’s all dunes without a home or high-rise in sight.)

We don’t know if we prefer Brookgreen Gardens at day or night. | Photo by GVLtoday

Act like a local:

  • Food: With greenery walls and strings of lights, you can’t miss Frank’s Outback for elevated American fare — reservations recommended.
  • Experience: From seafood spots to live music and beachy cocktails (Don’t Miss: The Mullet Hut’s Rum-a-rita), plan to spend an afternoon or evening exploring the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk. Pro Tip: Visit during Taste of the Marshwalk (winter 2024) for small plates and a Bloody Mary competition.
  • Shop: The Shops at Tweaked in Murrells Inlet features goods that are vintage to modern, funky to primitive and rustic to regency.
  • Drink: Brown Fox Coffee Box — located in the parking lot of Creek Ratz at the Marshwalk — is the perfect spot to grab cup of coffee (or two) and walk the Marshwalk without the crowds and live music.
  • Outdoors: One of my favorite spots in SC, Huntington Beach State Park, boasts protected coastline. Pro tip: Park at the north beach access and walk 1.5 miles north to the jetty — you won’t find better views at sunrise and sunset.
  • Learn: Explore Historic Pawleys Island as you walk or bike around the historic district with homes dating back to the 1800s.

Where to stay:

  • Vrbo: Pawleys Island House — This pet-friendly property boasts a rooftop deck and is steps away from the beach and the creek. ($234/night)
  • Hotel: Pelican Inn — While you can stay at the Inn from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can also rent the entire home in the off-season with private ocean access on a secluded stretch of Pawleys Island. ($300/night)
  • Splurge rental: Lemon LaBruce — This oceanfront and creekfront 6BR, 3BA home is one of the original Pawleys Island properties (read: built in the mid-1800s), filled with historical character and charm. ($1,036/night)
  • Save hotel: The Litchfield Inn — Enjoy a complimentary grab-and-go breakfast before walking down to the beach at this oceanfront hotel. (~$130/night)