Once a quiet fishing village, Murrells Inlet is now one of the many popular seaside towns along the Grand Strand of South Carolina. The town is known primary for its salt marshes, seafood restaurants, and the biker bars that line the town's main drag. Compared to heavily commercialized Myrtle Beach just to the north, Murrells Inlet is much quieter, in keeping with its fishing village roots, and lies near the scenic natural reserve of Huntington Beach State Park, which has one of the most pristine, undeveloped stretches of beach on the Grand Strand.
Murrells Inlet proper sits on US Highway 17, about ten miles south of Myrtle Beach. From US 17, you can exit onto Business US 17, the quieter main street of the town.
Brookgreen Gardens, 1931 Brookgreen Drive (off of US 17 south of town), ☎ . A huge garden on the grounds of a former plantation that has one of the most significant collections of figurative sculpture by American artists in the world. The sculpture collection is large and quite varied, and sits in a beautiful setting of lakes, ponds, and groves of oak trees covered in Spanish moss. Connected to the gardens is the Lowcountry Zoo, where you can see alligators, otters, foxes, and deer in naturalistic exhibits built into the swampland, as well as get (very) up-close with birds in a couple of aviaries. Additionally, there are historical exhibits, a playground with structures based on fairy tales, a butterfly house (extra admission required), sculpture pavilions, and a lake where you can take boat rides (extra admission required). A warning, however: the historical exhibits, particularly the movie that plays in the welcome center, have a habit of glorifying the plantation culture that was once here, so you might want to skip the movie and just get out into the gardens. $14 adults, $12 seniors, $7 children.
Huntington Beach State Park, 16148 Ocean Hwy (off of US 17 south of town), ☎ . Park opens at 6AM, closing times vary but are generally an hour or two after sunset; Atalaya open 9AM-5PM daily, year-round. A splendid place for nature lovers, Huntington Beach is a large state park that preserves a three-mile stretch of pleasant sandy beach, one of the few remaining undeveloped stretches of shoreline in the area and a scenic and much quieter alternative for beach-goers and surf fishers. There are also opportunities to hike along a large salt marsh, where you can see alligators and a large variety of birds; a nature center in the park has exhibits on the animals in the area as well as a chance to see some critters up close. You can also take a tour of Atalaya Castle, an old and unusual home with Moorish-inspired architecture that was built in the 1930s and was the winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington. $5 adult, $3 youth, free for children under 6; admission to Atalaya is an additional $2.
- Overnight camping is available at Huntington Beach State Park.
|Routes through Murrells Inlet|
|Myrtle Beach ← Garden City ←||N S||→ Pawleys Island → Charleston|