There are the suggestions.
The if-you-have-time ideas for what to do on your Pawleys Island vacation.
Then there are the stop-everything, don’t-leave-without-‘ems, your-life-is-not-complete-unless-you-do-this itinerary.
So here you have it, folks, the five absolute-must things to do in the South Strand while you stay at Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort.
1) Huntington Beach State Park: Any beach will do, really, but the pristine stretch of sand and surf that is Huntington State Park is a peaceful reminder of what the South Carolina coast looked like before, well, we showed up. Excellent shelling and birding, shimmering sea grass and a much chiller vibe than so many beaches to our north make the few-bucks admission price well worthwhile. Have a couple of minutes and a couple more dollars? Duck into the impressive Atalaya Castle, the former summer home of the artists responsible for so much of the work at nearby Brookgreen Gardens. The swaying palms and Moorish-style architecture is evocative of another era entirely.
2) Brookgreen Gardens: While we’re in the neighborhood, be sure to carve out a chunk of time to explore this beloved treasure of the Grand Strand. Acres upon acres of manicured gardens, impressive art, native animals, classes, tours and more make this meandering mlange of beautiful things one of the most popular places to visit in the state. Nevertheless, it’s so big and varied that it never feels crowded. Summertime is an explosion of blooms, but as the weather cools the colors will change to golds, burgundies and umbers. Stroll beneath the corridor of Spanish moss-draped live oaks to get an incomparable taste of the Lowcountry. There’s nothing like it anywhere. Don’t feel like you’ve seen enough on your one visit? Admission is good for a full week.
3) Hammock Shops Village: You might be feeling the heat from friends and family back home to return with something nice; or you just might be dealing with your own major shopping jones. The quaint, eclectic and cute array of stores at the Hammock Shops Village will reaffirm your stance that shopping small and local is preferred. Anchored by the eponymous Original Hammock Shop, the Village touts an array of apparel, accessories, gifts, decor, art, jewelry, toys and food. While some shops are part of small, local chains, most are one-off spots where you’ll find the perfect memento of your Pawleys Island vacation. Worked up an appetite? Feast a burger at bisQit, fresh mahi at Cerra Sushi or a juicy steak at Pawleys Prime.
4) Water Sports: The unique topography of the South Strand means that many local spots are nearly surrounded by water. What does this mean? So, so much to do. Ride the waves with the fantastic instructors at Surf the Earth to the east, or look west for the placid inlet waters where kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and eco tours provide ideal activities for beginners and experienced outdoors people alike. If you prefer to leave the oars ashore, consider a fishing charter that will accommodate your group and experience level.
5) Eat: We in the Lowcountry have a lot, and we mean a lot, of pride in our food. Farm-fresh produce abounds in the summertime, as does fresh, delicious seafood caught right in our ocean and inlet waters. Our local oysters (when in season) are among the best anywhere, and the unmistakable kiss of history, culture-melding and folklore in every bite of shrimp and grits or she-crab soup will transport you to another world. Restaurants abound in Pawleys Island, and lucky for us, they’re awesome. If you’re looking to explore a little beyond city limits, spend an evening noshing, sipping and walking the famous Murrels Inlet MarshWalk.