For over 30 years, CENTURY 21 Broadhurst & Associates, Inc. has been a part of the Grand Strand area of South Carolina, our little corner of the coast. We specialize in real estate throughout the 60 miles from Little River to Georgetown. Here’s a brief summary of these wonderful areas — each a jewel in the crown that we affectionately call the Grand Strand.
“THE GRAND STRAND”
You won’t find it anywhere on a map because the Grand Strand isn’t just one place. It’s a nickname commonly used to describe the 60-mile stretch of coastline from the South Carolina state line in Little River (Horry County) to Pawleys Island, located south of Myrtle Beach in Georgetown County. Consistently ranked among the top vacation destinations in the United States, the Grand Strand welcomes an estimated 15 million visitors annually. Once a predominantly spring and summer vacation destination, the area has blossomed with a growing number of new attractions and amusements, live entertainment theaters, retail shopping centers and golf courses. Those activities, combined with our beautiful beaches and the area’s natural beauty have made the Grand Strand a year-round destination.
Little River, “Where the Two Carolinas Meet,” is the northernmost part of the Grand Strand. A quaint little fishing village with a charm all its own, Little River is unique in its unhurried pace — quite a contrast to some of the other areas of the Grand Strand. Nestled beneath the twisted arms of weathered oak trees, Little River offers what can best be described as “classy yet quaint, sophisticated yet casual… sometimes formal, but always fun.” Shop in century-old buildings filled with antiques and gifts, dine in their lakeside or harbor-view seafood restaurants, play golf at a variety of championship courses nearby, or simply pass the time by watching the shrimp and fishing boats or by taking a leisurely cruise down the Intracoastal Waterway.
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH
Comprised of four oceanfront communities — Ocean Drive, Cherry Grove, Windy Hill and Crescent Beach - the city of North Myrtle Beach was incorporated in the 1970s. The undisputed home of South Carolina’s Official State Dance, the shag, North Myrtle Beach offers a variety of accommodations from oceanfront condominiums, hotels and motels to beach houses located on the natural inlets in the Cherry Grove area.
North Myrtle Beach is also home to one of the Grand Strand’s most popular attractions, Barefoot Landing, a shopping, dining and entertainment destination with dozens of unique retail stores and restaurants. In addition, Barefoot Resort, a development of over 1,000 acres west of the Intracoastal Waterway features new residential communities, waterfront condominiums, golf villas and three signature 18-hole golf courses.
The “heart” of the Grand Strand — and that of the entire South Carolina coast — is Myrtle Beach. With millions of visitors to the city each year, Myrtle Beach is the perennial leader among vacation destinations along the East Coast. Drawn to the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean and the clean, white beaches, visitors and residents alike enjoy the wide array of attractions, accommodations, golf courses, shopping centers, live entertainment theaters and more. Another major attraction set to open in the spring of 2008 is the Hard Rock Park, a $400 million theme park comprised of 140 acres of roller coasters and other rides, restaurants and a 10,000 seat amphitheater. Also, work is nearing completion on what will be the area’s first urban village, The Market Commons, being developed on the site of the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. That development features homes, town homes, retail shops and other businesses in a unique village setting.
No description of Myrtle Beach would be complete without mentioning the area’s love affair with golf. With over 100 area courses and nearly 4 million rounds of golf played each year, Myrtle Beach is second only to Florida as the most popular golf destination in the country.
Approximately 15 miles west of Myrtle Beach lays the city of Conway, an integral part of the Grand Strand, despite its inland location. Rich with area tradition and history, Conway is known for, among other things, its beautiful old live oak trees. Conway’s historic oaks measure from the smallest at 6 feet in circumference to a whopping 20 feet. Billed as “Conway’s Oldest Citizens”, the city has been built around the trees, keeping them safe from the path of development. The first settlers to Conway, then known as Kingston, arrived in 1735. The rivers around the Conway area were vital links for shipping goods and transportation and, still today, the Conway Riverwalk is one of the community’s most tranquil and beautiful amenities. It was said the first Myrtle Beach visitors came from Conway… and they still visit today. Decades later, the city of Conway represents the unofficial “gateway to the Grand Strand” since the vast majority of travelers pass through Conway on their way to Myrtle Beach.
Located on the beautiful blue Atlantic Ocean, near the heart of the Grand Strand just a few miles south of Myrtle Beach, Surfside has long been a popular address for vacationers, retirees and others relocating to the area. The Surfside Beach area is conveniently located to a number of golf courses, attractions and shopping centers. In addition, it’s home to one of the Grand Strand’s favorite live entertainment theaters, Legends in Concert. The town of Surfside Beach recently made national headlines by adopting a no-smoking ordinance in all public buildings and other public areas.
Just south of Surfside is Garden City, a family-oriented community that features hundreds of residential homes, summer cottages and condominiums. Surf fishing is a popular past time for beachgoers and the Garden City features a deep-water marina with access to the Atlantic Ocean, making it a popular spot for boaters and sports fishermen. In addition, restaurants overlooking the inlet and marsh add another dimension to eating out. Garden City is also one of the Grand Strand area’s most popular retirement destinations, offering a number of controlled access senior citizens communities.
Murrells Inlet is the oldest fishing village in South Carolina and one of the most unique places of its kind anywhere in the country. And for a relatively small community, Murrells Inlet is home to more history, legends and ghost stories than we can mention here. The Native American Waccamaws, Sewees and Winyah tribes traded with English and Spanish explorers along the creek-banks of what is now Murrells Inlet. Evidence of these early settlements includes pottery and arrowheads found in the shellbanks of the rivers and inlets. The area was also rife with renegade pirates in the 1600s and 1700s, and the coves and trees surrounding the inlet provided a perfect hiding place for the pirate ships to launch their attacks on the unsuspecting shipping fleets that navigated the Atlantic at the time. The notorious pirate, Blackbeard was said to have a particular affinity for the area and used it often to bury his ill-gotten gain. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Murrells Inlet area was a popular summer retreat for plantation owners who enjoyed fewer mosquitoes, bountiful seafood and cool ocean breezes.
Today, Murrells Inlet enjoys the title of “Seafood Capital of South Carolina”, a designation earned as a result of the local area fish, shrimp, crabs and oysters that thrive in and around the inlet — and the number of very popular seafood restaurants that offer such fare. Two recent additions to the Murrells Inlet area continue to attract visitors: the 1,400 foot Marshwalk, a environmentally-friendly “boardwalk” overlooking the beautiful marsh and inlet, and the restored Veteran’s Pier. The inlet also proudly displays The Lost at Sea Memorial at Morse Park as a tribute to those who lost their lives pursuing their love of the ocean.
The drive south from Murrells Inlet along U.S. Highway 17 to Litchfield is among the prettiest little stretches anywhere in the South. Densely wooded forests line the highway and stately old oak trees overhang the roadway, punctuating an orchestrated blend of natural surrounding and inevitable growth in this beautiful part of the Grand Strand known as Litchfield. The short drive will take you past Brookgreen Gardens, which features the most significant collection of figurative sculpture, in an outdoor setting, by American artists in the world, and has the only zoo accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on the coast of the Carolinas. Brookgreen Gardens has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is a “must-visit” while you’re on the Grand Strand. Litchfield Beach is named after Litchfield Plantation, a former rice plantation that dates back to the early 1700s. Today, Litchfield Plantation exists as a country club and lodge and boasts the former manor house as one of the few remaining buildings of a bygone era.
Litchfield Beach features nearly pristine, clean and wide beaches and is known for its several golf courses and fine dining restaurants — among some of the best along the Grand Strand.
Pawleys Island proudly proclaims itself as the oldest resort area in America, a claim whose origins trace back to the early 1700s when the 2-mile barrier island was a popular summer retreat for wealthy plantation owners and their families. Despite storms, hurricanes and the ravages of time, many of the weather-worn, rustic old cottages still remain as a testament to both history and what has come to be known as a “laid-back” and relaxed lifestyle, unhurried by their more commercialized neighbors to the north, Surfside, Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach. The Pawleys Islanders have even adopted the slogan, “Arrogantly Shabby,” to connote their mock disdain for the “newness” that development and progress invariably bring.
Points of interest include the historical police station and island church, along with the popular Hammock Shops shopping village, where you can see the world famous hammocks made by hand. If you’re lucky — or unlucky, as the case may be — you might even get a glimpse of the legendary “Grey Man,” a friendly ghost equipped with a lantern who warns of impending hurricanes. And, when it comes to dining and shopping, there’s plenty to see and do in Pawleys Island.
At the southernmost end of the Grand Strand is Georgetown, a community, whose heritage dates back to 1729, making it the third-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston and Beaufort. A one-time rice plantation and shipping area, Georgetown was designated as a vital port of entry for shipping and trading in 1732. Today, Georgetown‘s past can easily be seen in the preservation of its cobblestone streets leading to churches and homes that are over two hundred years old. The bell-towered Rice Museum overlooks the center of town and contains exhibits of antebellum plantation history. Historic Front Street has been preserved and improved as restaurants and retail shops prosper with an ever-increasing number of visitors to the waterfront. There are walking tours, tram tours and boats that leave the dock each day to sightsee. In addition, Georgetown is home to several museums, including the Kaminski House, the Georgetown County Museum and the Rice Museum.
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