Thousands of acres of wetlands and high ground are protected in and around Georgetown County. With a keen sense of the importance of continually nurturing nature and protecting the wildlife that abounds, Georgetown’s fore fathers laid the framework that those lands would remain unspoiled…for all to enjoy. Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy and experience the unspoiled nature of the Hammock Coast:
1. Join Black River Outdoors Center for a Huntington Beach Salt Marsh Creeks Tour. Paddle through spartina cord grass marshes and saltwater creeks from the sandy dunes of Huntington Beach State Park at Murrells Inlet, past mysterious Drunken Jack Island, reputed to hold the treasures of the pirate Blackbeard, and to a fresh water lagoon with alligators basking in the sun. See bald eagles, osprey, wood stork, herons, egrets, sea turtles, wading shore birds, oyster catchers, maybe even porpoises and sting rays that inhabit the ecotone between sand dunes and maritime forest.
2. Go Shelling on a barrier Island with Carolina Rover. This is a bird watchers paradise under the shadow of the Georgetown Lighthouse.
3. Join Black River Outdoors for the Cypress-Tupelo Swamp Tour. Paddle the clear black waters that ebb and flow through wilderness cypress-tupelo swamps over sandbars and spreading through creeks to the hidden ponds of the 1300 acre Black River Nature Preserve owned by The Nature Conservancy. Watch for ducks, owls, beavers and otters, alligators, kingfishers, deer, spider lilies, ibis and wood storks, swallow-tail kites, wild turkeys, and swamp canaries (prothonotary warblers) on this 4 Hour Tour.
4. Wildlife Dolphin Encounter – Located right up the road in Murrells Inlet at Capt. Dick’s Marina Blue Wave Adventures offers truly unique opportunity for almost everyone in the family to experience the most intimate dolphin encounter on the Grand Strand.
5. Hobcaw Barony – Hobcaw Barony, a natural preserve and wildlife refuge, is also the winter residence of presidential advisor and Wall Street millionaire Bernard M. Baruch. Open to the public through guided tours, you see the 13,500 sq. ft. mansion he called home and where he hosted such visitors as President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill. Other stops in the 17,500-acre refuge include the grounds and stables of Bellefield Plantation, a ride through the only existing slave street left on the Waccamaw Neck, and a stroll along a salt marsh boardwalk. the Visitors Center features a small nature/history museum with two alligators, a saltwater touch tank, a touch table, videos and many other exhibits to entertain adults and children. Please call for more information.
6. Paddle-boarding with Surf the Earth – Take a a paddle board tour and journey through the Pawleys Island and Litchfield salt marsh eco-systems. You will experience a unique look at the beautiful environment that surrounds this picturesque area.
7. Brookgreen Gardens – A showplace of art and nature developed in the 1930s by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington on the site of four colonial rice plantations. Over 550 pieces of America’s finest 19th and 20th century sculptures, by artists such as Frederic Remington, Daniel Chester French and Mrs. Huntington, are exhibited among 2,000 species of plants. Native animals and birds can be seen in a wildlife park, and special guided nature cruises and kayak trips wind through the tidal creeks and abandoned rice fields for a closer peek at the area’s history and wildlife.
8. Lowcountry Tours and Adventures – Guided birding & general nature tours to plantations and preserves in and around Georgetown County. Birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, wildflowers, trees and history are all emphasized. Professional Naturalist guided with personalized service.
9. Stop in at the Audubon Shop and Gallery – Located at the Hammock Shops in Pawleys Island, you’ll find binoculars, bird feeders and houses, books, chimes, hand-crafted gifts, gardening supplies and tee shirts.
10. Hiking at Huntington Beach State Park continues to be one of the favorite nature activities. We offer several wooded trails that run along the coast in highly forested areas where wildlife, flora, and fauna can be seen.