Welcome to Georgetown County and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast

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Georgetown County is home to one of America’s first vacation destinations – the award-winning, beloved Pawleys Island, which has welcomed vacationers since the 1700s. Today, our county, affectionally known as South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, is the sixth largest tourist destination in the Palmetto State.

Nestled between Myrtle Beach to the north and Charleston to the south, South Carolina’s Hammock Coast offers a quieter, beautifully pristine, and more nature-centric area than its more famous neighbors.

In March 2023, Southern Living Magazine, in its Best of the South edition, said this: “South Carolina’s Hammock Coast is known for its rich history, generous hospitality, and natural Lowcountry beauty. … You’ll have plenty to write home about no matter what you get into.”

For generations, South Carolina’s Hammock Coast has quietly given beach lovers, golfers, families, outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs a vacation destination infused with Southern charm and natural beauty.

The Hammock Coast is the official tourism moniker for Georgetown County, and it perfectly describes the destination. It’s all about relaxation and rejuvenation with a twist of history! The Hammock Coast is made up of the beach communities of Pawleys Island, Litchfield Beach, Murrells Inlet, DeBordieu and southern Garden City, as well historic Georgetown, South Carolina’s third oldest city, and Andrews, where the winding Black River beckons anglers and kayakers.

Each area has its own distinct personality, but when combined as the Hammock Coast, they all form a unique attraction. You won’t have trouble claiming your spot on our beaches. Our spacious beaches and pristine salt marshes are perfect for soaking up the sun, doing some birdwatching or even catching some fish or blue crabs for dinner.

Pawleys Island is, in fact, the oldest seaside resort in America and continues to be a great place to enjoy a quiet, laid-back vacation. As the birthplace of the famed Pawleys Island rope hammock, relaxation has a long history here. Other than two historic inns, the historic island has no commercial development; however, just over the short causeway, there are first-class restaurants and boutique shops. Several homes and a series of condos known as the Pawleys Pier Village can be rented throughout the year on the island.

Murrells Inlet is proudly known as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina.” Originally a fishing village on a protected inlet, the community boasts some of the best seafood in the entire South! The Murrells Inlet MarshWalk is a half-mile-long boardwalk on the banks of the Inlet, allowing visitors to truly experience the salt-marsh eco-system along with restaurants, shops, parasailing, jet skiing and fishing excursions.

Between the business districts of Murrells Inlet and Litchfield Beach, ranked by TripAdvisor as one of America’s Top 10 beaches, are two of the Hammock Coast’s most famous locations – Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park. The park, which Southern Living says is the top birding spot on the East Coast, offers camping and access to a pristine undeveloped beach, as well as the ability to tour Atalaya Castle. (Yes, we have a real castle at one of our beaches!) Just across Ocean Highway is Brookgreen Gardens, a 9,127-acre botanical and sculpture garden that has drawn visitors from around the world since the 1930s. It’s also home to the only accredited zoo on the South Carolina coast.

Award-winning golf, with 12 public courses within a 15-minute drive, dots the Hammock Coast. Many are built on former rice plantations giving a graciously Southern golf experience. Three of Golf Magazines’ “Top 100 You Can Play” are here, and Pawleys Island was named one of the top 10 “Golf Islands” in the world by Links Magazine. A collective organization, the Hammock Coast Golf Trail, offers packages for the 12 courses and promotes Georgetown County as one of the best places for golf anywhere in the United States.

For the history buff, Georgetown, founded in 1729, is the perfect place for a visit. The historic district has five museums, all within walking distance of one another: the Kaminski House Museum, The Rice Museum, the Georgetown County Museum, the Gullah Museum and South Carolina’s Maritime Museum. Unique eateries and shops welcome customers on Georgetown’s historic Front Street, many with stunning waterfront views.

Andrews, located 18 miles inland from Georgetown, offers the perfect place to experience the natural world. From sporting clays to kayaking along the winding Black River, Andrews is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

Near the city of Georgetown are two of our county’s most important historic sites: Hobcaw Barony to the north and Hopsewee Plantation, to the south. Both offer tours rich in history that are not to be missed.

Hobcaw Barony is now a 16,000-acre research preserve that was once part of plantation life in the South and eventually, in the 20th century, home to New York financier Bernard Baruch, who welcomed guests such as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Bernard’s daughter, the extraordinary and independent Belle, would eventually establish Hobcaw Barony as a private foundation that still exists today to maintain the sprawling property that includes the family’s former homes, a former slave village and thousands of acres of preserved beach, marsh and pine forests. Expertly guided tours of the property are offered throughout the year,

Hopsewee Plantation, built circa 1740, some 40 years before the American Revolutionary War, was one of the South’s major rice plantations and the birthplace of Thomas Lynch Jr., one of the famed signers of the Declaration of Independence. Now privately owned, this National Historic Landmark is open to the public for tours and dining. Visitors can explore the original home from room to room, as well as two original slave cabins that still stand on the grounds, where Gullah Geechee interpreters tell the full and rich history of Hopsewee, its previous families, as well as its current owners, the Beatties. The history of the enslaved West Africans whose knowledge, ingenuity, and labor helped build our community and nation is part of the full story told at Hopsewee.

Be sure to stop by either of the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centers, located at 531 Front St. in Georgetown or 28 Wall St. in Pawleys Island. Pick up information about the Hammock Coast, including walking tour brochures of the Georgetown historic district and Pawleys Island. 

Here on South Carolina’s Hammock Coast, you can rediscover life with no schedules and the importance of true relaxation. The only itinerary you may need is a tide chart!

For more information, go to HammockCoastSC.com. To receive a free Visitors Guide, click here.