Saturday, July 2, 2016

Pawley's Island Beach, 'Our' Beach

We spent the last couple days in Georgetown making some arrangements for the purchase of our new home and doing a little exploring.

Near the top of our list in importance was checking out the place where we will walk the beach most mornings.

Pawleys Island is a barrier island on the Atlantic that was a summer refuge for the rice planters and their families. It turns out that those rice fields, flooded all summer for growing phenomenonal crops of golden rice, were just as good at growing big crops of malaria-bearing mosquitos. The island breezes blew the bugs away and kept malaria somewhat at bay.

Pawleys Island beaches are just 20 minutes from our new home and one of the big reasons we chose Georgetown. It is unique among the other islands on the southern Atlantic coast with their towering condos blocking the view, commercial beaches, and endless tourist shops. It was and is still known for its "arrogantly shabby" vacation homes and beach life.


Here's a typical beach house, I guess what is meant by "arrogantly shabby",



There has never been a large hotel on Pawleys Island. The Sea View Inn was built in 1937 and is still operating, as is the Pelican Inn, built in 1858. This is the Pelican Inn.


There are no other commercial businesses on the island, no hotels, restaurants, or shops. You have to go back to the mainland for those.

In the 1980s property owners heard talk of large chain hotels considering vacant land on the island and banded together to incorporate as a town. In 1986 with their slogan "Keep Pawley as it is," they passed ordinances forbidding commercial establishments and high rise buildings. A few condos built in the 1970s were grandfathered in and remain the exception with no further such buildings built since the ordinances were passed.


Early morning surfing lesson



  1. Cythia it seems a perfect place for living. The beach houses look inteesting compleely diffeent from europe. I am jealous of your living close to ocean. I live 600km from Baltic Sea.

  2. You won't go far wrong beginning the day on that beach.

  3. Sounds a lot like Edisto. Looks great, not one of the islands we've visited.

  4. Sounds a lot like Edisto. Looks great, not one of the islands we've visited.

  5. I think ypu made such a right choice to starting living there. It looks perfect. I like those empty beaches and the natural way they look Those beachhouses don't look shabby at all to me. It is a matter of taste, I like the authentic ones.

  6. So calm, peaceful, and lovely - how could you not be happy? I wish our small town had the foresight years ago to establish a moratorium on building.

  7. I will be curious to learn how the Inn does filling their rooms. What a beautiful setting. Beautiful sunrise. Wishing you all the best.

  8. The people on Pawley Island have the right idea. You made a good choice of where to buy a house.

  9. Good ole Pawley Island. This is where my friends from Charlotte, NC. holidayed every year.
    I was best man in 1986 at the wedding of the second son, Stokes van Pelt, in Atlanta, Ga. who I met in Europe in 1974.
    I had a couple of days with Stokes and his wife on one of my 6 Atlanta visits.
    I am afraid that the surfing conditions were very placid, most unlike our surfing beaches here.
    I thoroughly enjoyed my Pawley visit, can't recall the shopping situation, but we survived quite
    I am sure you and Paul will enjoy your new home.
    I am sure you'll be getting visits from Ana, Don and the 4 boys!!!

  10. Beautiful! You are going to love it there. Who wouldn't with beautiful beaches and islands nearby.

  11. Looks idyllic, what a great place to explore.

  12. How wonderful that the people of the island got their way. It is so much more attractive being undeveloped. A lovely place for your morning walks.

  13. I'm so happy for you in finding a community that fits your lifestyle. I love hearing about towns that rejected big businesses and most of all protected the views of the water from being bought up by the rich for condos and yacht clubs to the exclusion of everyone else.

  14. I've heard of Pawley's Island all my life, but never been there. I know you must be excited about moving into your new home. Don't know how I missed three of your posts lately!

  15. Your beach looks terrific to me! :)

  16. How gorgeous the thought of an early morning walk on the beach to start the day :)
    Wren x