Pawleys Island—A Historic Resort Town, Affectionally Known by Locals as 'Arrogantly Shabby'

The Lachicotte Company is the Exclusive Affiliate for the northeastern coast of South Carolina


Properties for sale in Pawleys Island, SC, USA


Population: 138
Language: English
Currency: US Dollars


Pawleys offers the simple pleasures such as swimming, sunbathing, on-shore fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding, crabbing, surfing, biking, and walking on the beach. Award-winning golf courses and restaurants are just across the Causeway. Historic tours, museums, specialty shops, and the waterfront Harborwalk are part of the Historic Seaport of Georgetown. The quaint fishing village of Murrells Inlet offers more dynamic water sports, fishing trips, dining, and sightseeing cruises.

Pawleys Island is in the heart of Georgetown County in an area locals call the "Waccamaw Neck." With the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Waccamaw River (part of the Intracoastal Waterway) to the West, this stretch of land (the Neck) offers its residents and visitors alike a unique location to take advantage of some of the coast's most beautiful scenery and its enjoyable lifestyle.

The charm of this area goes back centuries and offers a rich history to explore not only in Pawleys Island, but in the Historic Seaport of Georgetown to the south, the quaint fishing village of Murrells Inlet to the north, and the many Southern plantations throughout the county. The river system includes the Waccamaw River, which is part of the Intracoastal Waterway and offers a scenic highway all the way to Florida. The area has many smaller rivers and tributaries leading inland but offering access to the ICW, Winyah Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean for boating, skiing, kayaking, and fishing.

Hunting is a popular pastime for residents and tourists alike in the rural areas of the county, and there are thousands of acres of protected areas to preserve wildlife, watershed, and heritage land tracts. Brookgreen Gardens, a renowned sculpture garden and a National Historic Landmark, is also host to numerous events including the annual Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art.

The miles and miles of sandy beaches have long been the main draw to the area, but award-winning golf courses, eco-tourism, a lower cost of living, and the laid-back lifestyle have attracted many to area. While the region is popular with retirees, many families have also settled here to enjoy the quality of life it affords.  

Pawleys Island was first settled in the early 1700s by the families of rice planters who owned plantations on the nearby rivers. Although not aware of the dangers of malaria at the time, the planters realized the seashore was much healthier than the rivers in the summertime and moved their families, horses, cows, bedding, provisions, and furniture to Pawleys Island in May of each year, where they remained until the first frost in November.

From this leisurely existence developed the charm of Pawleys that still remains. Pawleys continues to be known for its carefree, laid-back lifestyle, which includes crabbing in the adjacent creeks, fishing, the stories of ghosts, the rope hammocks, and the unspoiled delightful stretch of wide beach and sand dunes. Pawleys is an island of simple virtues and lack of pretense.

In the Pawleys Island historic district, 12 charming residences still remain, dating from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s. A number of signs dot the landscape, sharing a brief history of these historic antebellum homes. As visitors traverse the island, they will note the variety of shapes and sizes of the beach houses, most of which are available for summer rental.

Pawleys Island is a barrier island less than four miles long and mostly one house wide, separated from the mainland by a beautiful salt marsh and accessible by two short causeways. Generations of visitors have returned with the feeling that "their blood pressure goes down when they cross the causeway."

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