Out and About in Pawleys Island

You know we love Myrtle Beach.

Like, love.

But we also enjoy getting out a little, venturing off the beaten path, reveling in some quieter corners of the Grand Strand.

Which is why we really love Pawleys Island.

But what to do? Where to start? And how do we get there?

Easy. Follow us.

Pawleys Island lies off the Highway 17 corridor that links Myrtle Beach to Charleston, making it a snap to get from one spot to the other and everything in between. Murrells Inlet is just to the north, as are popular Brookgreen Gardens and Huntington Beach State Park. Just to the west the links-lovers among you will find a golfers paradise. It’s an “island” in the sense that narrow stretch of land is bordered on one side by the ocean and the other by the Midway Inlet. It’s a beach community in every sense, so prepare to unwind.

Okay, we’re here. Now what?

Are you hungry? Good. Now do yourself a favor and go to Perrone’s. It’s a bit of a splurge, so save it for date night, but boy, is it worth every dime. It’s Mediterranean-inspired modern fine dining, meaning they use new-fangled cooking techniques (sous vide, anyone?) with farm fresh, intelligently sourced ingredients. It’s inventive, it’s incredible, and it’s routinely cited as the best in the area. If it’s something more family-friendly you’re after, head to Quigley’s Pint and Plate for fish and chips, a burger, shepherd’s pie and all other manners of belt-busting deliciousness. Their kids menu is excellently priced and offers loads of options on the pickiness spectrum. Monday Happy Hour deals are fabulous, too: $2 pints and $3 Smirnoff drinks, as well as specially priced appetizers. If you’re en route to the beach, a boat, a picnic or just back to your room for a low-key evening, give Get Carried Away Southern Takeout a whirl. Pop in for casseroles, appetizers, sandwiches, sides, as well as local faves like Chicken Bog and Low Country Boils (call ahead for that one). They offer nightly specials and can easily feed a crowd.

Looking for more ideas? Check here.

Belly is full, now it’s time to explore.

For starters, there’s the beach, which will and ought to eat up a sizable chunk of your time here. Like everything else about Pawleys, you’ll notice that the seaside crowds are a little smaller, the pace a little slower, and the vibe a little chiller. Of course there’s also the aforementioned, world-renowned Brookgreen Gardens, which enthralls with its sprawling flora, statuaries and zoo.

For those craving more activity, we recommend renting a kayak, canoe or paddle board from Pawleys Kayaks. The quiet but eco-rich inlet is an ideal backdrop for beginners, but experienced paddlers will find a good challenge in these parts as well. Prices are very reasonable, and they include delivery, pick-up, cleaning, accessories and tax. Do note they offer crab trap and corn hole board rentals, too, which is sort of awesome.

A good option for some quiet time with the kiddos or friends is All Fired Up Studio, a paint-your-own-pottery spot that both gets the creative juices flowing and provides a perfect memento from a delightful vacation. After painting, it takes a couple days for your masterpiece to be glazed and fired, but if you’ve left town, they’ll ship it to you.

Take a sun-soaked jaunt through history on a Plantation River Tour where folks get to see old rice plantations, moss-draped live oaks, and wildlife, including alligators, eagles and osprey. The 60-foot pontoon departs from Murrells Inlet.

Planning a fall getaway? The Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art is a weeks-long bonanza of music, art, food, wine, entertainment, activities and more beginning September 19. Event locations, times and prices vary, but there’s something for everyone — as well as some likely cooler temperatures. Check out the schedule here.

Did we tucker you out? Good. Now you see why we love Pawleys so. What’s your favorite part? What do you recommend doing or seeing?

(posted 8/19/14)
(Photo courtesy: Brookgreen.org)