South Carolina’s Hammock Coast
Charleston and Myrtle Beach are two of South Carolina’s most popular vacation destinations. But the area in between, known as the Hammock Coast, isn’t overcrowded with tourists and offers a more laid-back experience. Georgetown, Garden City, Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, and Litchfield Beach make up South Carolina’s Hammock Coast. These five towns boast beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, boutique shopping, and more nature that you can imagine. Best of all, each town has its own distinct personality. Whether you are looking for a vacation spot or a day trip during your visit to Charleston or Myrtle Beach, check out South Carolina’s Hammock Coast!
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Georgetown is full of American historical attractions. Founded in 1729, Georgetown has a charming oak-lined downtown area with quaint, yet upscale restaurants and trendy locally owned boutiques.
Georgetown’s restaurants are delicious and innovative, serving fresh seafood, classic cocktails, and Lowcountry cuisine. My favorite is Seven Hundred Modern Grill & Bar. Start your meal with the Harborwalk Flat Bread (pickled red onions, goat cheese, roasted peppers, and spinach) and then try the Colonial Salad (dried cherries, hand-cut bacon, bleu cheese, topped with white balsamic vinaigrette).
The Harborwalk is a boardwalk area with a great waterfront view of the Sampit River. People come to stroll around at night and watch the sunset. Georgetown has a ghost history dating back to the Civil War and claims to be haunted. Drive around to see the antebellum mansions and old rice plantations; the two most popular are the Hopsewee and Hampton Plantations. Other popular things to do are deep-sea fish, take an eco-tour, and sail.
Family Friendly Garden City
Garden City has spacious/less crowded beaches and a great pier (The Pier at Garden City) for hanging out and fishing or listening to live music and dancing. The family-friendly pier has a cafe, tackle shop, and dozens of arcade style games. My father-in-law loved fishing for blue crabs and Spanish Mackerel here.
Next to the pier is Sam’s Corner, a 24-hour retro diner that has tasty and cheap hotdogs. Be prepared, as the restaurant only accepts cash. The most popular restaurant in the area is Sara J’s, a seafood spot built on the marsh. Other points of interest include Carolina Escape Games, Maze Mania & Arcade, Myrtle Beach Surf School, and several putt-putt (mini-golf) courses.
Murrells Inlet Is For Seafood Lovers
This sleepy fishing town on a protected inlet features an awesome marsh walk. Known as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina”, Murrells Inlet will be your go-to dining destination. During the seasonal months of May through September, be prepared to wait (often for hours) for a table. My daughters adore Captain Dave’s Dockside Grill, a laid-back restaurant on the water that has been featured in Southern Living Magazine. Go for the hushpuppies with strawberry butter.
Next door, Drunken Jack’s has a fun atmosphere, huge salad bar, live music, and a relaxing bar. Graham’s Landing is my favorite place in Murrells Inlet. It has foodie worthy eats and a nice patio overlooking the marsh. Graham’s Landing also accepts reservations, a rarity in this area. I recommend the seafood baskets (flounder, oysters, shrimp, scallops, or a combination of two) or Grambo’s Shrimp & Grits. One of our favorite inexpensive places to eat is River City Cafe, serving magnificent sweet tea, burgers, and fries.
Murrells Inlet is home to Brookgreen Gardens, a combination of nature, flowers, art, and history all rolled into one stop. There are so many lovely things to see here, including their amazing sculptures. Another gem is the Huntington State Beach Park, one of the top birdwatching spots in North America. Take an eco-tour with Black River Outdoors while you are in town!
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Playful Pawleys Island
Pawleys Island has grown since the 1980’s, but it still reminds me of that era, in an upscale manner. The area is most famous for hand-woven rope hammocks, made since 1938. See picture perfect Pawleys Island at the Litchfied Plantation, a beautiful country inn retreat with superb historic roots, though unfortunately it is only open to resort guests.
You can find great shopping at Oak Lea, especially the Joggling Board store (a must for children’s clothing and Lilly Pulitzer). Visit the Hammock Shops: whimsical stores (selling beachy clothing, art, jewelry, wind chimes, toys, pet gear) in a natural setting with labeled plants, trees, and flowers, plus cutting-edge restaurants. This is my favorite place to roam around on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast.
My choice eatery is bisQit. I enjoyed the thick old-fashioned milkshakes (adult versions available, too!) and the American Beauty Burger, topped with American cheese, bacon jam, shredded lettuce, and a secret sauce. Seriously, Pawleys Island is for foodies!
Laid-back Litchfield Beach
Halfway between Georgetown and Myrtle Beach is Litchfield Beach. The town is built on and around rice plantations from the years gone by. Litchfield has impressive beaches, shopping, and impeccable dining spots.
The Litchfield Market Village has great boutique stores and a prospering wine shop. Directly behind the Market Village is Kudzu at the Beach, a cooking enthusiast’s dream store. Kudzu features a fresh bakery, gourmet kitchenware, posh grocery store with upscale wines, homemade frozen items for take-and-make, and rare cookbooks. Try the Roasted Red Pepper Bisque with manchego, spinach/walnut ravioli, or the fantastic Chicken Salad!
Two of the area’s award-winning golf courses are also in Litchfield: True Blue and Caledonia Golf & Fish Club. These properties are regularly featured in golf publications’ Top 100 Golf Clubs list. Like many of its neighboring towns, Litchfield boasts a number of ghost stories, and my husband even witnessed his own “unexplainable happening” during one of his golf games there.
South Carolina’s Hammock Coast Is A Great Vacation
The Hammock Coast is a vacation destination within itself. But, Myrtle Beach visitors should spend some time day tripping to these five towns, too. Best of all, you are sure to have a great meal on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast!
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Book your Hammock Coast Vacation today!
Check out some of our other posts in the area:
Family Favorite Myrtle Beach
La Belle Amie Wine Vineyard