The book is divided the same way as the coast: Myrtle Beach area, Georgetown area

,
Charleston area, and Beaufort area (including Hilton Head Island).
Also in this book:
* Fast facts for each area
* Hundreds of historical and recent photographs
* Complete histories, local attractions, and points of interest
* List of annual traditions for each place
* Strange tales and Lowcountry recipes
* Helpful maps and tourism resources

Coastal South Carolina

Whatever you’re looking for can be found along this special stretch of coastline that starts
along the action-packed Grand Strand and meanders on down to the scenic Lowcountry.
Author Terrance Zepke makes sure that you don’t miss any of the charm and lore these
coastal hamlets have to offer. This reference was written for everyone interested in coastal
South Carolina: vacationers, retirees, anglers, nature lovers, watersports enthusiasts, daytrippers, boaters, and armchair travelers. The “fun ways to learn” sections and end-ofchapter quizzes make it an exceptional resource for educators, as well.

Coastal
South
Carolina
Welcome to the
Lowcountry

Terrance Zepke

Award-winning travel writer/photographer Terrance Zepke loves the
Carolinas, which is why she lives part-time in each. It also explains the many
books she has written: Coastal North Carolina, Ghosts of the Carolina Coasts,
Ghosts and Legends of the Carolina Coasts, The Best Ghost Tales of North
Carolina, The Best Ghost Tales of South Carolina, Lighthouses of the
Carolinas, and Pirates of the Carolinas.

51295

Pineapple Press, Inc.
Sarasota, Florida
www.pineapplepress.com
Cover design by Shé Heaton

$12.95

9

781561 643486

Zepke

ISBN 1-56164-348-3

COASTAL
S OUTH
CAROLINA
WELCOME TO THE LOWCOUNTRY

TERRANCE ZEPKE

PINEAPPLE PRESS, INC.
S ARASOTA , F LORIDA

Copyright © 2006 by Terrance Zepke
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in
any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Inquiries should be addressed to:
Pineapple Press, Inc.
P.O. Box 3889
Sarasota, Florida 34230
www.pineapplepress.com
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Zepke, Terrance,
Coastal South Carolina : welcome to the lowcountry / Terrance
Zepke.-- 1st ed.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-1-56164-348-6 (pbk. : alk. paper)
ISBN-10: 1-56164-348-3 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Atlantic Coast (S.C.)--Guidebooks. I. Title.
F277.A86Z47 2006
917.404'44--dc22
2005030267

First Edition
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Design by Ramonda Talkie
Printed in the United States of America

Coastal South Carolina

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION ix

1

MYRTLE BEACH AREA
Introduction | 1
Fast Facts | 3
Islands and Towns | 5
1. Conway | 5
History | 5
Sites and Attractions | 7
2. North Myrtle Beach | 8
History | 8
Sites and Attractions | 10
3. Myrtle Beach | 10
History | 10
Sites and Attractions | 15
4. Murrells Inlet | 17
History | 17
Sites and Attractions | 18
5. Little River | 18
6. Surfside Beach | 19
Nearby Towns
Calabash (NC) | 19
Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach (NC) | 19
Recreational Activities and Sports | 20
Nature Preserves, Parks, and Sanctuaries | 27
Strange Tales and Ghosts | 30
Traditions | 33
Test Your Knowledge | 37
Fun Ways to Learn | 38

2

3

GEORGETOWN AREA
Introduction | 43
Fast Facts | 44
Islands and Towns | 45
7. Georgetown | 45
History | 45
Sites and Attractions | 50
8. Andrews | 53
9. DeBordieu Beach | 53
10. Litchfield Beach | 54
11. McClellanville | 56
12. Sandy Island | 57
13. Pawleys Island | 59
History | 59
Sites and Attractions | 64
14. North, South, and Cat Islands | 66
History | 66
15. Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge Islands | 70
History | 70
Recreational Activities and Sports | 73
Nature Preserves, Parks, and Sanctuaries | 78
Strange Tales and Ghosts | 82
Traditions | 86
Test Your Knowledge | 90
Fun Ways to Learn | 91

CHARLESTON AREA
Introduction | 95
Fast Facts | 96
Islands and Towns | 98
16. Charleston | 98
History | 98

Sites and Attractions | 105
17. Daniel Island | 110
18. North Charleston | 111
19. Mount Pleasant | 112
20. Shem Creek | 114
21. Summerville | 115
22. Capers Island | 115
History | 115
23. Dewees Island | 118
History | 118
24. Goat Island | 121
History | 121
25. Isle of Palms | 123
History | 123
26. Sullivans Island | 126
History | 126
Sites and Attractions | 129
27. James Island | 131
History | 131
28. Folly, Morris, and Black Islands | 134
History | 134
Sites and Attractions | 135
29. Johns Island | 140
History | 140
Sites and Attractions | 143
30. Kiawah Island | 146
History | 146
31. Seabrook Island | 152
History | 152
32. Wadmalaw Island | 154
History | 154
Sites and Attractions | 157
33. Rockville | 160
34. Yonges Island | 160

35. Edisto Island | 161
History | 161
Sites and Attractions | 166
36. Botany Island | 167
37. Edingsville | 168
38. Pine Island | 169
39. Otter Island | 169
Recreational Activities and Sports | 169
Nature Preserves, Parks, and Sanctuaries | 175
Strange Tales and Ghosts | 179
Traditions | 186
Test Your Knowledge | 192
Fun Ways to Learn | 193

4

BEAUFORT AREA
Introduction | 197
Fast Facts | 198
Islands and Towns | 199
40. Beaufort | 199
History | 199
Sites and Attractions | 202
41. Bear Island | 204
42. Cat Island | 205
43. Coosaw Island| 206
44. Deer Island | 206
45. Dataw Island| 207
46. Distant Island | 207
47. Harbor Island | 207
48. Knowles Island | 208
49. Lady’s Island | 208
50. Port Royal | 210
51. St. Helena Island | 211
History | 211
Sites and Attractions | 215

52. Hunting Island | 217
History | 217
Sites and Attractions | 219
53. Fripp Island | 219
History | 219
54. Parris Island | 222
History | 222
Sites and Attractions | 224
55. Spring Island | 224
History | 224
56. Hilton Head Island | 227
History | 227
Sites and Attractions | 230
57. Jenkins Island | 232
58. Bluffton | 232
59. Turtle Island | 233
60. Pinckney Island | 233
History | 233
61. Daufuskie Island | 235
History | 235
Sites and Attractions | 242
Nearby Towns
Savannah (GA) | 243
Tybee (GA) | 243
Recreational Activities and Sports | 245
Nature Preserves, Parks, and Sanctuaries | 251
Strange Tales and Ghosts | 254
Traditions | 259
Test Your Knowledge | 262
Fun Ways to Learn | 264
Additional Resources | 268
Index | 270
Photo Credits | 275

INTRODUCTION
The South Carolina coast was used by the Indians long before
“white man” discovered it. It is believed the Spanish explored
it as early as 1514. The French tried unsuccessfully to establish
a colony near Beaufort in 1562. The Spanish, fearful of French
efforts to conquer the New World, established the settlement
of Santa Elena in the same area in 1566. The colony relocated
to Florida in 1587.
This area remained uninhabited by settlers until the
English established a colony on the Ashley River in 1670. A
few years earlier, England’s King Charles II had given a land
grant to eight prominent men, known collectively as the
Lords Proprietors. It was a huge parcel of land, extending
from the “southern boundary of Virginia to the mouth of the
St. John’s [sic] River.”
By the mid-1700s, rice and indigo crops had made many
men rich. These planters owned large plantations and summer homes throughout the Lowcountry. The coastal hamlets
were backdrops to many important skirmishes during the
Revolutionary and Civil Wars. In fact, it was many years
before most recovered from the impact of the Civil War.
Places that were flourishing before the war, such as
Charleston and Georgetown, were severely punished for their
role in the war when the conflict ended.
The increase in manufacturing and the opening of several
military bases during World War I and World War II helped
jump start these sagging economies. Ever since then, these port
towns have thrived, thanks in large part to tourism. An increasing number of cruise ships are departing from Charleston,
South Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, bringing in
millions of dollars annually. Military bases (and the families of
military personnel) continue to play a vital role in the
economy, especially around Beaufort and Parris Island. Places
like Hilton Head Island and Myrtle Beach are becoming
increasingly popular for weddings and honeymoons. As a
result, the number of chapels and wedding-related services has
risen substantially in the past few years. Furthermore, a record
number of retirees have been relocating to these coastal communities in recent years. Millions of visitors, from students on
spring break to families on summer vacation, continue to come
to our beaches every year.
Each section of this book includes its own introduction
detailing specifics about that part of the coast. Additionally, the
ix

beginning of each section includes “fast facts” about the area. At the
end of each section is a quiz to test your knowledge, fun ways to
learn, and strange tales relating to that area. You’ll also notice that
there are many historical photos and tourism images included; it is
important to realize how much these coastal hamlets have changed
over the last few decades. While most have grown and prospered as
expected, some places remain true to their origins, while others are
hardly recognizable due to development.
This book was written for a wide audience: students as an
educational aid, potential vacationers looking for resources, those
already on vacation who may be looking for a useful souvenir, daytrippers, history buffs, nature lovers, water sports enthusiasts,
retirees, anglers, those looking to relocate or buy a vacation home,
honeymooners, and armchair travelers. I wanted this to be much
more than a guidebook, and hoped to convey the essence of each
coastal community through history, trivia, folklore, and specific
tourist information.
The book is divided into four sections according to the geography of our coast: the Myrtle Beach area, Georgetown area,
Charleston area, and Beaufort area. The upper coast consists of
the Myrtle Beach and Georgetown areas, while the Charleston and
Beaufort areas are known as the Lowcountry. Everything you
could ever desire can be found along this stretch of coast, such as
some of the best championship golf courses in this country, eerie
ghost walks, exotic serpentariums, America’s only tea plantation,
pristine beaches, historic lighthouses, stately old plantation homes,
scenic carriage tours, Lowcountry seafood specialties (have you
ever had Frogmore Stew?), folklore, dolphin-watching excursions,
Let me
excellent fishing, strange museums, and much more.
show you the many splendors of the South Carolina coastline,
starting with Myrtle Beach, commonly dubbed “The Grand
Strand.”

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This book could not have been completed without the aid of
many people who went out of their way to provide photographs,
verify facts, and open doors to invaluable research. I’d like to
extend a hearty thank you to everyone (and you know who you
are) who made my job easier. I truly cannot thank you enough.
This extensive list includes family and friends, who know just
what to say and do to keep me motivated. I’d also like to thank
the staff at Pineapple Press for all their efforts. Couldn’t have
done it without you!
x

This book is dedicated to my Aunt Jack, who has survived more than her fair
share of hurricanes. Through it all, she has managed to hold on to her sense of
humor (just about the only thing that didn’t blow away during her last narrow
escape) and her pure love of the coast.

Myrtle Beach Area

1
Myrtle Beach
Area

T

he Myrtle Beach area, dubbed “the Grand Strand,”
has more golf courses, restaurants, theaters, shops,
and amusements than any other place of equivalent
size in the state. That’s why tourists return year after year to
try different activities or explore different places. It is also an
excellent starting point for numerous day trips—visitors can
be in Georgetown in an hour, or Charleston within two
hours. Or they can go north and be in the Southport, North
Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina, areas in about an
hour.
Just twenty minutes north is Calabash, North Carolina.
Calabash-style seafood is so popular that tourists line up outside restaurants for dinner as early as 4 P.M. During fishing
season, you’ll find folks standing on the docks with their coolers, waiting for the fishing boats and shrimp trawlers to
return. There’s nothing like fresh, local seafood! If you don’t
like seafood, that’s okay. There are restaurants of every origin and ethnicity in the area. Did you know that there are
approximately 1,850 restaurants along the Grand Strand?
The prices vary as drastically as the menus, but the dress
code remains “resort casual” wherever you choose to dine.
Myrtle Beach doesn’t have much to offer in the way of
historical attractions, but what it lacks historically it makes up
for recreationally. From outlet malls to miniature golf
courses, all can be found in close proximity.
1

2 | Coastal South Carolina

The South Carolina State Welcome Center
is on U.S. 17 right at the state line near Little River. In
addition to hundreds of brochures, maps, and discount
coupons, knowledgeable staff is on site to answer any and
all queries. For more information call 843-249-1111.
The Grand Strand extends from Calabash, North
Carolina, and Little River, South Carolina, area all the way
to the Waccamaw Neck beaches and Georgetown area.
This Grand Strand is further divided into three “ministrands”: North, Central, and South. North Strand includes
Myrtle Beach, Little River, and North Myrtle Beach. The
Central Strand also includes Myrtle Beach, Conway, and
Surfside Beach. South Strand includes a chunk of Myrtle
Beach, Murrells Inlet, Pawleys Island, Litchfield, and
Georgetown.
The following information was found on www.myrtle
beachweather.com: the Grand Strand averages 215 days
of sunshine. The average air temperature is 64˚F and the
average ocean temperature is 66˚F.

AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURES
(IN DEGREES FAHRENHEIT)
Month

Average
Air Temperature

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December

56
60
68
76
83
88
91
89
85
77
69
60

Average
Ocean
Temperature
51
51
56
66
71
78
83
80
77
72
60
50

Myrtle Beach Area | 3

FAST FACTS
Fourteen million tourists come to Myrtle Beach every year.
There is no true off season for this coastal community.
Canadian “snowbirds” migrate to the area to leave behind
their harsh winters. They stay at area campgrounds and
resorts for as long as a month or two. Golfers enjoy the
championship courses year round. People with vacation
homes especially enjoy them in the fall and spring when
tourism is not as significant as summertime. Anglers often
return year after year to their favorite fishing spots and
piers. Busloads of seniors are brought in by various tour
operators for day trips. The same holds true for daytrips to
factory outlet shops and legendary dinner theatre shows,
such as those at the Medieval Palace and Alabama Theatre.
As with most beach communities, Easter and spring
break officially kick off the high season, which ends with
Labor Day. September, October, and November are the
low seasons and December, January, and February are the
off seasons. However, with the growing number of permanent residents and all the aforementioned tourists, there
really is no off season anymore. There are still a few restaurants and attractions closed in late January and February.
Hurricane season (for the entire coast) runs from June
1 to November 30. Some vacationers opt to purchase trip
interruption/cancellation insurance due to weather concerns.

TOURIST
SEASON

Brookgreen Gardens contains over 9,000 acres of
savannah, marshes, and beaches. Canopies of live oaks,
formal gardens, sculpture gardens, and botanical gardens
can be enjoyed. Its wildlife park includes foxes, otters, and
alligators. There is also a bird sanctuary, raptor aviary,
swamp, and picnic areas.

MOST
POPULAR
ATTRACTION

This is a close call between the walkway along
Murrells Inlet and the walkway in Conway.
Walking and bicycling “The Neck” is a popular pastime
for tourists and residents alike. It is only partially completed, but when finished it will be a 27-mile scenic path
extending from Murrells Inlet to Georgetown. Conway
Historical Trail meanders along the waterfront and
includes views of the town’s stately oak trees and picturesque buildings listed on National Register of Historic
Places.

BEST VIEW

4 | Coastal South Carolina

MOST
UNIQUE
ANNUAL
EVENT

Shag Fest. Each April and September, thousands of
shaggers descend on North Myrtle Beach to shag and
party. It is sponsored by the Society of Stranders and held
at Ocean Drive, commonly called O.D. Shag originated
on O.D., which is why the annual shag celebrations are
held there. Shag is the official state dance of South
Carolina, and is a cross between swing dancing and the jitterbug.

MOST
IMPORTANT
INDUSTRIES

Tourism. There is no question that tourism is the primary industry here. That is why there are thousands of
shops, restaurants, and recreational activities.

MOST
IMPORTANT
HISTORICAL
EVENT

F.G. Burroughs (Burroughs & Collins Co.) purchased and developed 80,000 acres of prime
coastal land, extending from Little River to
Murrells Inlet in the late 1800s. Burroughs’ vision
shaped the development of this land. If he hadn’t bought
so much land and developed it the way he did, Myrtle
Beach might not exist today. It may have been a very different place instead of becoming the legendary “Grand
Strand.”

Grand Strand Coastline.

Myrtle Beach Area | 5

ISLANDS & TOWNS
1. CONWAY
History
Conway was founded in 1733, making it one of the oldest
communities in South Carolina. Thanks to the Waccamaw
River, the port city grew throughout the 1700s and 1800s.
By 1824, a courthouse was constructed. It was designed by
Robert Mills, who was the same architect that designed the
Washington Monument. The building still exists today but
is used as city hall instead of a courthouse.
Formerly known as Kinston in honor of England’s
King George II, the name of the town was later changed
to Conwayborough. This was to honor a Revolutionary
Way hero, General Robert Conway, who was given a land
grant by the state. Conway died in 1823 at the age of 70.
By 1825, records indicate that Conwayborough (also written in early records as Conwayboro) had one hundred residents. The main exports were timber, rice, cotton, and tar.
The name was shortened to Conway in 1883. It was incorporated in 1898 and today it is the county seat of Horry
County. The first major employer, Conway Lumber
Company, began operating in 1902. During its peak pro-

The Conway Water Tower, river wharf, and two
Waccamaw line steamers, circa 1890.

6 | Coastal South Carolina

ducing years, it operated sixty hours a week and had four
hundred employees.
Waccamaw River Memorial Bridge opened in 1928.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places and also
serves as a memorial to Horry County residents who
served in the American Revolutionary War, Civil War, and
World Wars I and II. During the next decade or so, the
town really flourished. The first hospital, Burroughs
Hospital, opened. The post office began operating in 1935
and the Horry County Memorial Library was built circa
1949.

Jumping off the bridge into the river was a popular way to
cool off during summer months. Photo circa 1930s.

Highway 501 opened in 1948. This was a big deal
because it linked Conway to Myrtle Beach. Prior to this
the only way to go from one town to the other was by
using a one-lane bridge and later on, the Waccamaw River
Memorial Bridge.
Conway has managed to grow and expand, yet still
maintain its “old town” charm. This is due in large part to
the numerous historic edifices, the ancient oak trees, the
scenic Waccamaw River, and controlled development.
From Myrtle Beach or North Myrtle Beach, take Highway
501 to Conway. Or, get on the Highway 22 Bypass until it
dead ends into Highway 501 about 7 miles outside of

Coastal South Carolina
by
Terrance Zepke

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