Technically, I spent my vacation in three costal South Carolina cities. Murrell’s Inlet is about 2 minutes north of Litchfield, which is about 3 minutes north of Pawleys Island. Two of my cousins live in one of them… The three mostly look like one town, but if I had to guess they’d be in Litchfield. We laughed hearing them and other locals tell us how literally everything we asked for was just five minutes away, and it was true. I took my camera, but never once took it out of it’s case, and both mine and Taylor’s phones stayed dead the majority of our trip. I didn’t get nearly the pictures I would have liked and the ones I have are not great, but I did enjoying taking in the trip away from a camera lens.
We decided to tent camp in the middle of the summer. Our decision was questioned around 4 o’clock every afternoon, as we trekked to the bath house for a cold shower to forget the heat, but still we enjoyed ourselves. We chose to camp at the stunning Huntington Beach State Park. The park rests on the south end of Murrell’s Inlet. It is home to gorgeous bicycle trails, the remains of Atalaya, a castle like home built by famous sculptor and her husband in the 1930’s, close to 150 camping sites, and a host of rabbits, Mosquitos, and terribly smart raccoons. Our tent site was just a quick walk from the beach, and we could actually hear the waves crashing as background noise to the insects as we fell asleep at night. The boardwalk from our tent site took us to the north end of the park, which meant a practically private beach. It was a thin beach at high tide, with hardly 40 feet of sand between the dunes and the water. The water was impressively clear and blue for the Atlantic, and the sand was a perfect soft tan.
We spent most of our days on the beach, or fishing, or both. On beach days, I posted up with my umbrella and book while Taylor went surf fishing. Two mornings, we took a guided kayak fishing tour though a company called Black River Outdoors. While they were a little hard to get in touch with at first considering everyone there just uses their personal cell phone to contact clients, our guides, Mike and Johnny, were amazing. Both were knowledgeable and helpful, and there was no mistaking they loved the environment in which they work and wanted to share that love. We had an amazing time on both trips, and brought home a speckled trout and redfish that made for delicious meals. I would be delighted to fish with Mike and Johnny again any day.
We had originally planned on cooking most of our own dinners, but found ourselves longing for an escape from the bugs and stagnant heat. Aside from the night we used our fresh caught redfish for tacos, most afternoons we set out to find a cool place for food and drinks. We tried somewhere new every night, and our favorite dinner spot was a place called Bubba’s Love Shack in Murrell’s Inlet. The Murrell’s Inlet Marshwalk where Bubba’s is located seems to be the most tourist attracting place around, yet Bubba’s held on to it’s effortless beachy vibe drawing in locals and tourists alike. The entire back wall of the restaurant opens to a patio that overlooks Goat Island, a small island in the marsh where someone strangely decided goats and peacocks should cohabit as a topic of conversation for onlookers.
Our last night there, my cousin took us to a local bar called Pawleys Island Tavern, also known as The PIT. This place was awesome, and definitely a home for the locals. A tourist would never know it was there unless they’d been told about it. Tucked away from the main road (yes, THE. There is really one main road.) the bar is covered in visitors’ dollar bills and half the people there are barefoot. It felt like our favorite bars at home, except that I wish Atlanta places would let me in without shoes. It felt like everyone knew everyone at The PIT, giving a glimpse into small town island life that is all but a distant dream of simplicity and community as I’m sitting back in Alpharetta, where my immediate neighbors and I have hardly exchanged more than a hello. At The PIT, old high school friends didn’t ignore each other, and new friends felt like old friends. There was no live music the night that we were there, but apparently it happens more often than not. Pawleys Island Tavern has a great, down to earth vibe. It’s the kind of come-as-you-are bar that doesn’t try to impress you, and you don’t have to impress it.
I adored our trip to Murrell’s Inlet/Litchfield/Pawleys Island. In fact, I wasn’t quite ready to come home. I suppose I’ll just use it as a good excuse to see family again soon.
If you ever make the trip to the easy going, nature loving beach town, be sure to download the Life in PI app for iPhone or visit their website at www.life-in-pi.com. It was an amazing resource to have as we searched for where to go and what to do.