In between Myrtle Beach and Charleston lies Georgetown, a charming waterfront locale that prides itself on being South Carolina’s third oldest city. Affectionately called “Little Charleston,” Georgetown features a number of charming shops, art galleries, restaurants, and historical landmarks that visitors can enjoy during a leisurely stroll along oak lines avenues.
Established in 1732, Georgetown’s pride is the Harborwalk in the heart of the city, a waterfront boardwalk that runs between two of the town’s most famous landmarks, the he Kaminski House and the Rice Museum. Here, day-trippers will find over 30 specialty stores including galleries, boutiques, and antiques, and a number of restaurants and cafes.
Boat tours allow visitors a picturesque view of the town from the Winyah Bay, and can even guide visitors to the remote barrier island where the North Island Lighthouse stands. On foot, guided and self-guided tours are readily available, perfect for exploring more than 50 antebellum mansions and historical homes and shops that date back over 300 years.
So for a day trip exploring the Southern beauty of one of South Carolina’s oldest and most distinguished towns, plan to breeze by the little city of Georgetown during your next Myrtle Beach vacation.
Attractions in Georgetown:
Hop aboard the Carolina Rover to go shelling and/or bird watching on a barrier island under the shadow of the Georgetown Lighthouse. Go to 733 Front Street or call 843-546-8822.
Ghosts of Georgetown is a nocturnal, lamp-led tour through the haunted district with Bob Wolf and Elizabeth Robertson Huntsinger Wolf, authors of “Ghosts of Georgetown” and “More Ghosts of Georgetown.” Reservations are required. Call 843-543-5777.
Hobcaw Barony Visitors Center is a nature preserve and wildlife refuge, and also the former winter residence of presidential advisor and Wall Street millionaire Bernard M. Baruch. He hosted Franklin D. Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill in his 13,500-square-foot mansion, sitting pretty on a 17,500-acre refuge. The public may tour the house, the grounds and stables of Bellefield Plantation, walk along a slave street and on a saltmarsh boardwalk, and visit a nature and history museum with alligators, a saltwater touch tank, a touch table and numerous exhibits. “Paddle North Inlet” launches from this shore and includes basic kayaking, a natural history overview and insights into the North Inlet ecosystem. The naturalist staff also runs the “High Tide Shell Midden Path of North Inlet” and the “Beach Discovery Walk.” Go to 22 Hobcaw Road or call 843-546-4623.
Hopsewee Plantation is a national historic landmark and the birthplace of Thomas Lynch, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The house was built in 1740 and has been continuously preserved in its original condition over the centuries. Visit 494 Hopsewee Road or call 843-546-7891.
Kaminski House Museum displays a fine collection of American and English antiques from the 18th and 19th centuries, in its distinguished 1769 structure. Visit 1003 Front Street or call 843-546-7706.
The Rice Museum tells the history and displays the art of the low country’s rice plantation and Gullah/Geechee culture. Visit 633 Front Street or call 843-546-7423.
Strand Theater at 710 Front Street is home of the Swamp Fox Players. The box office is open 2 to 4 p.m. daily and can be reached at 843-527-2924.
The Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor
More of the low country’s past will be present in its future. In 2006 U.S. Congress passed the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Act, to preserve and interpret historical sites mostly centered in the coastal regions of Georgia and South Carolina. The $10 million project is administered by the U.S. National Park Service.
The low country was rice country and slave traders servicing the Charleston and Savannah ports brought in slaves from the Sierra Leone and Liberia regions of West Africa, which were rice-growing areas. Because so many slaves arrived en masse from the same part of the world, they have been able to retain their own language and traditions over the years, and one thing you’ll see just about everywhere is their art of sweetgrass basket-weaving. Countless roadside stands sell these baskets, and the gift shops of Charleston and Myrtle Beach are filled with them. Expect to see more Gullah/Geechee handiwork and learn about their language and traditions as the project gains momentum.