Murrells Inlet lies South of the city of Myrtle Beach, straddling Horry County and to the South, Georgetown County. To the West, it borders the wild and beautiful Waccamaw River, a slow, deep river with abundant flora and fauna, especially the South’s famed live oak trees that drip Spanish moss. Murrells Inlet is a quintessential sleepy little fishing village with a population around 8,000. It has a down-to-earth feel and a true home-town vibe. People are friendly, everyone seems to know everyone else’s name, and if you’re new to the area, you’ll soon feel amongst old friends. It’s alive with local stories and legends, both recent and long past. (Visit www.coastalinsider.com and search for “Captain Jim.”) The infamous pirate Blackbeard, as well as less legendary ones, used the tidal creeks of the inlet to ensconce their ships from the eyes of the law for around 200 years. Those same creeks today, rife with marsh grass and home to an abundance of aquatic life, are what lend Murrells Inlet so much of its charm. There is a lot of nature in this 7.5 square mile area, and a distinct feeling of peace permeates. The area’s shops, restaurants, and houses are quaint. It is rich with history and culture. It is a bird-watchers paradise, a fisherman’s sanctuary, a nature-lovers boon, and a seafood-lover’s heaven.
Open air restaurants cluster along the public Marsh Walk which winds its way along the water for a half of a mile. Passersby can watch fisherman at the dock returning with their day’s catch, while just across the street, several local fish markets offer the day’s fresh haul. Pirate-themed restaurants keep the area’s history alive in the minds of patrons, and live music and bars keep things lively at night. Boat culture abounds here; there are several docking options, and public outfitters offer excursions like private fishing charters, jet skiing, kayaking, and more.
Also in Murrells Inlet is Brookgreen Gardens, founded by Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1931. The Huntingtons were patrons of the arts, and left Brookgreen Gardens as a gift to the community upon their passing. It contains over 9000 acres of landscaped gardens and natural areas, dotted throughout with a renowned collection of American sculpture that draws visitors from around the Globe. Across the street, Huntington Beach State Park is an expansive 2500 acre preserve with hundreds of acres of salt marsh, its sandy 3 mile shore-line graced by the stillness of ancient trees.