The Lowcountry is a place rich in history, shaping the strong cultural landscape of the Myrtle Beach area. From glass blowing in Conway and handmade hammocks on Pawley’s Island, to Georgetown’s stately rice plantations with endless stories to tell— Myrtle Beach is proud of its heritage and welcomes visitors to indulge in its local customs. If you’re seeking a little more than the beach to round out your trip, check out the unique and unforgettable attractions below.
A 17,500-acre wildlife refuge situated on 14 former rice plantations, Hobcaw Barony is now used as a teaching and research site for colleges throughout the state studying forestry, marine biology, wildlife and more – in addition to attracting day-tripper visits to its interesting and remote trails. Tours of Wall Street financier Bernard Baruch’s 1930-era mansion, as well as intact historic landmarks like slave cabins, are available.
Located just south of Georgetown, Hopsewee Plantation dates back to 1740 and was formerly a rice plantation and home to Thomas Lynch – one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Boasting an impressive collection of antique furniture and showcasing beautifully manicured landscapes, Hopsewee offers guided tours and unique hands-on activities like traditional sweetgrass basket weaving workshops taught by Gullah Geechee descendants.
Approaching Litchfield Plantation through a canopy of majestic oak trees instantly conjures images of the Old South for visitors to Myrtle Beach. This one-time coastal rice plantation now houses a variety of upscale lodging options spread across 600 acres of beautiful landscape. Classically opulent room décor and a variety of formal dining options, including the prestigious Carriage House Club, make the experience even more memorable for guests. For more information, call (800) 869-1410.
Since 1937, Sea View Inn has served as a tranquil “barefoot paradise.” Located on a private beach in the middle of Pawley’s Island, the nostalgic inn offers guests a comfortable and casual hideaway, full of charm and hospitality. Steeped in tradition and history, this beachfront escape is perfect for those looking to take a break from the everyday hustle and bustle, and to enjoy the South Carolina coast at its finest.
Established in 1718 on the banks of the Black River in historic Georgetown and covering nearly 1,000 acres, Mansfield Plantation is recognized as one of the most architecturally intact rice plantations in South Carolina. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is still owned and operated by a descendent of the original owners. Guests can stay overnight in the bed and breakfast-style accommodations, and day trippers can take advantage of guided tours and educational programs.
For more than 240 years, the Kaminski House has been a staple on Front Street in the historic heart of Georgetown. Built during the reign of King George III of Great Britain, this two-story home houses a collection of 18th and 19th century American and European furnishings within its rooms. Guided tours and special events are available.
It took two years in the early 1930s for construction to be complete on the Spanish-style castle of sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington and her husband, Archer. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a national historic landmark, visitors can tour the castle on the grounds of Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet. Don’t miss the Atalaya Arts and Crafts Festival, which happens annually at the end of September.Club – also known as the “Grandaddy” – will find a room with press clippings and other mementos from that conference.
Considered the largest collection of American figurative sculpture in the nation, Brookgreen Gardens was created in the early 1930s by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington on the site of four former rice plantations. The massive site is also home to the Lowcountry History and Wildlife Preserve, containing acre upon acre of native plants and animals; the E. Craig Wall Jr. Lowcountry Center, featuring exhibits and educational programs focusing on the area’s rich history; and a Lowcountry Zoo featuring native wildlife. Guests can visit varied ecosystems and historic sites via boat or overland aboard Springfield tidal creek excursions and Trekker back-roads excursions.
Considered the Grand Strand’s home for contemporary visual art in all mediums since 1977, the art museum has been a showcase for southern artists that include Myrtle Beach’s own Alex Powers, Dixie Dugan, and Ouida Salvo. Housed in a restored 1920s beach cottage with signature green-striped awnings and picturesque tea porch, the museum has 10 galleries with visual art exhibitions changing throughout the year. The museum also boasts works of historic regional significance including The Waccamaw Arts and Crafts Guild Collection and the Bishop Collection of Antique Maps and Prints.
Housed inside the former Burroughs School, a historical landmark on the National Historic Register in Conway, the Horry County Museum focuses specifically on the past of its local inhabitants – from pre-Revolutionary War to present day. Exhibit topics range from natural history/wildlife and military to local industries and even iconic beach locations.
By 1840 nearly half of the nation’s total rice crop was produced in Georgetown County, and now visitors can get a glimpse into the area’s rich history through maps, dioramas, artifacts and other exhibits at the Rice Museum. Located in the Old Market Building, the first Georgetown structure to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Rice Museum complex also includes the adjacent Kaminski Hardware Building – with the Maritime History Gallery, Rice Museum Gift Shop, and Prevost Art Gallery within.
There is nothing more authentic than a hand-woven rope hammock from The Original Pawley’s Island Rope Hammock Shop. First created in the late 1800’s by a riverboat captain, Joshua John Ward, these hammock masterpieces continue to embody the fine craftsmanship of this area of South Carolina. Visitors to the Original Pawley’s Island Rope Hammock Shop can choose from hammocks in a wide variety of new colors and fabrics, as well as the original cotton that Joshua John Ward found so strong and comfortable.
Located in historic downtown Conway, Conway Glass is owned by husband-and-wife team Ed and Barbara Streeter, who collaborate on design and color to create their unique collection of blown glass. The couple also offers classes in glass blowing, glass bead making and glass fusing – perfect for visitors – and holds free public demonstrations of glass blowing throughout the year to increase the appreciation of this traditional craft.
This 17-acre farm brings to life what it would have been like to live in Horry County from 1900-1955. Visitors can observe and participate in activities that would have been commonplace on traditional family farms during this era including plowing with mules, making lye soap, curing meat and milking cows. Events and demonstrations change continually, so there’s always something new to see at the L.W. Paul Living History Farm. Admission is always free.
Located in a rural section of Horry County, where many former slaves settled after the Civil War, Freewoods Farm is the only living history farm in the country that recreates African American farm life and celebrates this important group’s agricultural contributions to the state and national economy. Visitors can tour the farm, as well as the Wetlands Preserve and Main Street re-creation also onsite.
Running along the Waccamaw River in downtown Conway, this sprawling trail takes walkers past historic buildings, marinas and more – with a main highlight being the Waccamaw River Memorial Bridge, built in 1937 to honor Horry County citizens who served in battles from the American Revolution to World War I. Festivals and special events are held along the Riverwalk throughout the year.
Sports enthusiasts have scrolled the pages of Sports Illustrated for more than 60 years, but may not realize that Myrtle Beach played a major role in the iconic magazine’s history: the Pine Lakes Country Club hosted the outlet’s first sales conference prior to its launch in 1954, essentially marking the birthplace of Sports Illustrated. Today, visitors to the Pine Lakes Country Club – also known as the “Grandaddy” – will find a room with press clippings and other mementos from that conference.
For additional information on the Myrtle Beach Area, visit www.VisitMyrtleBeach.com or call 1.888.Myrtle1.