Pawleys Island and Hobcaw Barony
South of the commercial chaos of Myrtle Beach, travelers in search of serene tranquility have long appreciated Pawleys Island. The rope hammocks for which the island is best known aptly symbolize this generally relaxed, weatherworn community, where a few traditional tin-roofed shacks mix with ever-increasing numbers of multimillion-dollar mock-antebellum mansions. The poet and novelist James Dickey, author of Deliverance, liked the island so much he is buried in the small Pawleys Island cemetery, adjacent to All Saints Episcopal church.
An even more extensive and intimate (and affordable) taste of the old-fashioned Lowcountry life is available just down the road from Pawleys Island. Spreading along the north bank of the Pee Dee River, a mile north of Georgetown on US-17, Hobcaw Barony is a 17,500-acre estate that was once the winter home of 1920s financier and New Deal-era statesman Bernard Baruch and his daughter, Belle. The extensive, mostly undeveloped grounds are home to two university research centers specializing in coastal ecology, and the main homes and plantation buildings have been kept in original condition, complete with one of very few surviving slave streets. Along with preserving these historic quarters and the regional history they represent, the nonprofit educational foundation that runs Hobcaw Barony offers two-hour tours (843/546-4623, Tues.-Fri., $20) to school groups and individuals. Tours start at the visitors center and museum (Mon.-Sat., free) along US-17.