Pawley’s Island: Awards and Accolades for the Vacation Art of “Doing Nothing”

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Pawley's Island, South Carolina | I-95 Exit Guide
Embrace Mother Nature with ecotourism outings. | Credit: Christopher John

The shifting sands, rhythmic waters, ocean breezes and coastal sunsets have long drawn visitors to Pawleys Island, South Carolina. As one of the oldest resorts on the east coast, Pawleys has welcomed generations of travelers looking to escape and refresh. Relaxing on an island with no shops, no crowds, not even a stop light is even more appealing this year.

The art of “doing nothing” is highly rated. That’s why Pawleys Island placed second as a readers’ choice in Garden & Gun’s “Favorite Southern Beach Town” brackets this spring, making it all the way to the final championship round. That’s just one of the many accolades this part of South Carolina’s Hammock Coast has been awarded over the years, from TripAdvisor to National Geographic, from Golf Digest to Golfweek and from Coastal Living to Southern Living. The superlatives cover everything from charming accommodations and golfing to dining and the nearby Brookgreen Gardens. Even the famed Pawleys Island hammocks have earned praise, becoming an iconic symbol of whiling away the day.

Pawley's Island, South Carolina | I-95 Exit Guide
Most of the houses on Pawleys are beach-front on one side and have docks extending into the creek on the other. | Credit: Christopher John

A four-mile-long barrier island that provides vacationers stunning beach front, abundant eco-activities and some of the Palmetto State’s premier restaurants and cultural attractions, Pawleys Island is located in the heart of South Carolina’s acclaimed Hammock Coast. Just 70 miles north of Charleston, here and on the Pawleys mainland visitors enjoy shelling and beach combing, crabbing and fishing, kayaking and birding and much more.

Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development for the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce, notes “The success and awards Pawleys Island has enjoyed reflects the love vacationers have for the community and the Hammock Coast in general. With so many people looking forward to the opportunity to travel, many of them are looking for that low-rise, Lowcountry, laid-back getaway.” He adds with a smile, “Many try to add an apostrophe between the ‘s’ and ‘y’ in Pawleys, but its founder wouldn’t have wanted it to be referred to in the possessive. Everyone can enjoy this special place.”

About Pawley’s Island, South Carolina

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’s Hammock Coast, is a kind of fairy tale escape. Its allure keeps visitors returning again and again, promising pure relaxation with multi-generational memory-making. One of the oldest beach resort areas in the country, Pawleys allows a step back in time while touring the island’s historic district which hearkens back to the late 1700s, complete with antebellum homes families have owned and cherished for generations. The district was designated in 1972 by the National Register of Historic Places. It features homes that are listed on the register, some now available to rent, and that share a distinct style of gabled roofs and wrap-around porches. Here, rice plantation owners once lingered enjoying breezes during summer getaways.

The full-time population of Pawleys Island was recorded at 103 during the 2010 census. The full-time population of Pawleys Island was recorded at 103 during the 2010 census. | Credit: Christopher John

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 dunes or interfere with the salt air ambiance. Swing away a summer afternoon in the comfort of a Pawleys Island rope hammock and quell hunger pangs enjoying locally famous Palmetto Pimento Cheese. Outdoor adventures range from shelling to paddling to fishing, which is second to none here. More options for adventure, just off the island, include exploring the backwaters to cruising for a glimpse of 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 beach houses, either beachfront or with views of the salt marshes and tidal creeks. Many are designed with enough space to accommodate large groups and families.  www.OnlyPawleys.com


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